A stay in the jungle can be a thrilling experience for any wildlife enthusiast. You get to see rare birds, wild animals, and flora in their natural habitat. However, your experience can go downhill really quickly if the right kind of planning is not done. It is also important to be aware of the rules and regulations of the jungle or national park that you plan to explore. So here are some important things to bear in mind:
1. Plan ahead
Every trip requires planning but when it comes to planning a trip to the wilderness, a little more effort is needed to make sure you have a safe stay. Once you have decided on the place you want to visit, your first task would be to check which time of the year is best for animal sighting there. You would want to plan a trip during the dry season because it significantly increases your chances of spotting wild animals when they wander in search of water.
If you have a limited budget, planning your trip ahead helps you save on expenses. Make sure to check when the peak season is so you can book your stay in advance and not face disappointment later because the place turned out to be fully booked! To enjoy Nature at her best, you have to force yourself to put away your electronic gadgets and try and live life the ‘primitive’ way.
2. Jungle safari
A trip to the jungle means plenty of safaris to spot the big cats. It is advisable to choose government-authorised safaris and guides, not just to ensure your safety but also to get the best chance of seeing wildlife up close. Private operators would hardly have the same right of access or knowledge of the jungle. The best time for a jungle safari is either early morning before sunrise or around sunset. Both typically have high demand, so you might want to pre-book yours.
3. What to pack
Your backpack must have an ID proof, a printout of your tickets, camera to shoot wildlife, medicines for insect bites or allergies, sunscreen lotion and insect repellent, some snacks (just in case), a first aid kit, binoculars, torch, and money (because jungles don’t have ATMs!) Remember to pack drab-coloured clothes that camouflage you, and dress warmly because nights can get very cold. Of course, choose sensible footwear such as comfortable sneakers or boots. Leave your portable Bluetooth speaker at home – loud music has no place in a jungle. Also avoid strong perfumes and bright-coloured clothes or shoes since wild animals can be distracted by them.
4. Safety measures
• Always be prepared for any encounters with wild animals by choosing the right guide and authorised safaris.
• Wear appropriate clothes, preferably in green or khaki so you don’t stand out.
• Avoid using the flash while taking pictures.
• Do not trigger animals by flashing torches or honking at them.
• Do not get off your vehicle unless you are asked to.
• Keep children away from the windows.
• Do not enter restricted and prohibited areas.
5. How to spot wildlife
Spotting wild animals out in the open is tricky. It is all about being in the right place at the right time. There’s no definitive place or time where you are guaranteed to succeed. What you can do is plan your trip during the dry season, opt for safaris during dawn or dusk, visit spots with water bodies, and be observant of scat and pugmarks. Above all, maintain absolute silence.
Even with all this planning there’s a chance that the big cat might elude you. Do not despair; there are other animals that might oblige. An element of luck is always involved, but if you follow these tips you can maximise your chances of a (safe) encounter!