Jeep safari is the most popular way to do jungle safaris in wildlife destinations of India. Read about jeep safari experience, its benefits, challenges & more.
Jeep safari is the most widely used mode to do jungle safari in any wildlife destination. These safari vehicles are mostly open to sky, except during rainy season. If we search about jungle safari experience at any national park or wildlife sanctuary of India, the first picture come in front of us is of jeep safari mode of safari ride. At Bandhavgarh national park, jeep safari is the most preferred mode for enjoying jungle safaris in the forest. It has seating capacity of 06 tourists, 01 safari guide and 01 driver. In this way total 08 person can seat comfortably in safari jeeps. During safari for wildlife photography, we often see 02 to 04 tourists only, with safari guide and driver. This is due to the desired comfort & space required for photographer to do their prime task i.e. photography in comfortable way, without any constraint.
As mentioned, for jungle safari in Bandhavgarh, majority of tourists prefer safari vehicle as jeep. It is the most widely used mode to undertake jungle safaris in India. These vehicles are of 4x4 wheel driven quality which enables them to travel on any kind of geographical or topographical conditions. Their are some other modes of jungle safari also, available in Bandhavgarh like Canter safari, hot air balloon safari etc. But due to the associated benefits of jeep safaris, tourists choose it as their first preference. When jeep safari option becomes unavailable, due to pre-booked by other tourists, normal tourist think of other available option. These safari jeeps are mostly open to sky which enables tourists to view the wildlife beauty of forest and can comfortably do the birding. Here in India, forests are mostly dense with large trees thus during jungle safari drives, vehicle should be open to sky so that tourists can easily spot the birds, arboreal animals like leopard, langurs etc. Open safari jeeps also provides comfortable positioning for wildlife photographers to do photography and videography, while standing on vehicle, using their equipments like bean bag, monopods, tripod etc. Due to high tiger density national park, large number of wildlife photographers visit Bandhavgarh national park in different seasons and their preferred safari vehicle is open jeeps.
Jeep safaris in Bandhavgarh is offered by safari operators. Here forest department or park management offers only safari permits which is also called safari tickets. It is the legal permission to do jungle safari in restricted area. Here safari jeeps are of private operators in which mainly operators are local villagers and local resorts. Their vehicle charges are managed by their local union thus tourists gets a fixed vehicle charge, leaving no scope for cheating with any visitor. These safari charges are decided by coordination meeting between park management team and jeeps union representatives, thus indirectly, park management controls their pricing and safari rules. Such a coordination between park management and private operators is beneficial for park visitors as they get good deal with complete security of their payment. Here limited number of safari vehicles are duly registered to park management, at the beginning of each safari season. Validity of such registration is for single safari season. Here park management has a rule that only 0-5 years old vehicles will be registered for jungle safari drives. This clause ensures fit and fine safari vehicles for tourists. Vehicle older than than this period will not be allowed to enter inside the national park. Here in Bandhavgarh we can find varying safari trails. At some place, it passes through meadows, slopes, steep hills, wetlands etc. These safari jeeps are 4x4 wheel driven thus they can run on these challenging conditions, without any difficulty. In these vehicles, we can find all the seats are front facing with no horn provision. As horn and music playing, inside park area are strictly not allowed that vehicle owner has to ensure that these equipments should be removed from vehicle so that driver will not violate the rule, even by mistake. Due to forest area, agricultural practices are very limited in adjoinint villages. Majority of jeep safari operators are from local villages like Tala, Gohadi, Mardari, Rancha, Bijhauri, Parasi etc. Tourism allied activities are their main source of livelihood. Their main earning season is from October to June month, when core zones are open for tourism. During monsoon period, core zones remain closed for tourism thus it is off-season for jeep operators, during which they do their household works, maintenance of vehicle, outstation visits etc.
Just like any service, jeep safari is also having some pros and cons. Here we will read about challenges with jeep safaris. As we know that it is available for all popular safari zones like Tala zone, Magadhi zone, Khitauli zone, Dhamokhar zone, Panpatha zone etc. As it is mostly used for exclusive safari drives thus jeep safari is a costly deal for cheap or budget category of tourists. Sometimes, due to high cost, tourists have to compromise with their desired number of safari rounds. They reduce the number of safari rounds which restricts their exploration desire for Bandhavgarh. Limited seating capacity is another common challenge, faced by tourists. In safari jeeps, only 06 adults tourists visitors are allowed to visit. If 07 or 08 tourists are visiting the park and want to explore the jungle together, then seating capacity and safari rule restricts their possibility to visit jungle together. They have to use 02 safari vehicles. Its alternate solution is to visit on Canter vehicle. It is an open bus to accommodate 18 tourists together but can't be booked in advance. Canter safari seats can be booked through ticket counter on first come first serve basis. One more commonly faced challenge with jeep safaris are its unavailability or rule of limited safari vehicle. As per this rule, only limited number of safari permits are issued. Mostly these permits get sold out in advance thus all aspiring visitors don't get the chance to undertake safari as per their schedule, in desired safari zone. Its possible solution is to either do advance booking of safari permits or visit buffer zone area only.