I’m glad to see jungle safaris gaining popularity with the travellers today, but it’s still a vacation that not many would be comfortable with. I am of the opinion that due to limited information about the jungles and wildlife of India, it becomes difficult for people to plan this getaway. A safari is a hectic yet meditative experience, and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and sadly not enough is being done to promote that.
For a safari vacation you need to plan so much more than just your flights and stay. How do you get to the jungles? When do you go for the safaris? Which gate do you enter the forest from? Where will you stay? Do you have a naturalist? This might get overwhelming, so allow me to break it down for you.
A couple of things to keep in mind while planning a safari vacation
– Only plan this if you have at least 4 days in hand. Once you reach the nearest airport to the jungle, you will need to travel by road to your accommodation and safari. This takes 2-3hours minimum (4 hours on an average)
– If you have a large budget, you will find enough star properties that will take care of the logistics. If you’re travelling with a limited budget, you will have to book your safaris, airport pick up and drop, and stay separately.
Tip : if you’re only interested in safaris, I would suggest booking a budget accommodation because you might only end up sleeping there at night. If you’re looking for a bit of everything, opt for 1 safari a day and a star property.
Costs to be considered
– Flight tickets
– Airport pick up and drop from the jungles (take 4000INR one way as an average)
– Accommodation (depends on your style) Food is often included in this package. Do check with your hotels.
– Cost of safari : this is further broken down into cost of the jeep + cost of driver (if you’re keeping the driver with you for all days, there’s an additional waiting charge to be paid) + cost of the guide+ cost of permit. Each jungle has its own set of prices, and the easiest way to check this is on the tiger reserve/national park’s website.
Now keeping all of this in mind, your average safari experience can cost somewhere around 40,000INR(including flights) Please note that this is the average and not the final figure. There are jungles where you can do 6 safaris in a group considering all costs (with flights) in around 30,000INR which include budget stays for 3 nights. But you can also choose to do 3 safaris, live in a star property for 3 nights, and spend a total of 80,000INR (with flights) It all depends on your style, and what you’re looking for.
I’ve done both of these, and I don’t want to compare them both because each has its own charm. Which one should you opt for? I’ll explain what these 2 experiences are like, and you take your pick.
1. A low budget vacation where the stay is basic, and the only focus is on the safaris. You wake up early, get to the jungles, get back, eat, head back for another safari, get back to eat and sleep and repeat the drill the next day. You also probably head straight to the jungles from the airport. You can either do this with a camp organized by a travel company, or plan it on your own (please book your safaris, permits etc carefully. Flights are the last thing to be booked here since safaris are usually sold out weeks in advance)
2. You check in at leisure, spend an evening at the property, wake up at ease the next day, spend time admiring the jungle, head for your afternoon safari after a wholesome meal, get back and unwind at ease. You may have to wake up early the next day for a morning safari, but the rest of the day is meant for doing nothing. It’s relaxed, with a bit of everything. In this case most probably the hotels/travel company will be arranging the safaris for you.
I am now extending an opportunity to BOTH sets of travellers : I am working on an immersive safari + storytelling experience that will be a luxurious trip focused on community building and safaris, while another experience will focus on safaris only. These will be 2 separate trips, ideally in January and February of 2022. The idea behind writing this blog post was to help you understand that there’s a lot that goes into planning a safari getaway, and when we do plan one, we want to make sure that we cater to all types.