Almost all the major national parks of India have streams, rivers, lakes and beautiful waterholes. Thus, boat safari is one of the major attractions for tourists in all these national parks. Boat safaris give tourists a wonderful opportunity to see the regions that are inaccessible through land. Boat safari is famous especially in the Sunderbans and Periyar where wildlife watching by jeep or elephant is not possible. Besides, it is a wonderful experience to slowly glide along the water surface, taking in the magnificent glory of nature around. The adventurous tourists can splurge in exciting water sports along the coastal areas too. River rafting is another popular sport amongst the tourists. The following are the famous boat safaris that take place in different parts of India.
BOAT SAFARI AT VARIOUS NATIONAL PARKS IN INDIA:
Periyar Boat Safari:
The boat safari is done here in the Periyar Lake. The Periyar Lake is formed by the construction of dam across the Mullaperiyar river in 1895. The lake is a home to a unique aqua ecosystem which is worth exploring and studying. The comfortable boat ride arranged by the tourist centre at Thekkady offers two hours boating trips arranged by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. If lucky, tourists are entertained by the antics of the Smooth Indian otter. The sight of elephants and deer along the lakes is common. For a lover of wildlife who wants to spot animals in their most natural habitat, the hot months of March and April are ideal. Gaurs, Sambars and wild boars are seen lazing around the grasslands near the lake.
- Boat timing: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 11:15 am, 1:45 pm and 3:30 pm.
Chambal River Boat Safari:
This boat safari is a unique experience to see the wildlife of this rugged terrain up close. The boat sailing across the smooth water of River Chambal is an exhilarating experience. The safari is done under the jurisdiction of Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary which is a home to Gharials, endangered Gangetic Dolphins, Marsh Crocodiles, turtles and Otters. Thus, the boat safari is an exciting way of spotting these magnificent reptiles and amphibians in their natural space. The sanctuary boasts of about 316 species of birds and thus, the river safari is an excellent way of bird watching. The tourists can get rare glimpses of the large nesting colonies of migratory birds like The Indian Skimmer,the Small Pratincole and the Lapwings.
Kabini Boat Safari:
The Kabini River separates the Nagarhole National Park from the Bandipur National Park. The boat safari on the Kabini River is very unique because of the fact, that one can see the largest congregation of Asiatic Elephants here. The river is also famous for spotting the marsh crocodiles and Smooth Coated Otters. In the early morning, the fun of taking the boat ride is different as the unsettled fog gives a mysterious aura with the excitement of bird watching. The boat ride generally lasts about 2 hours during which the tourists can see the dense forests along the river to the village farms where the forests get thinner.The lucky ones can spot a tiger drinking along the banks. The tourists can also take the exciting trip of riding down the Kabini in Coracales, large basket like boats.
River Zuari Boat Safari:
This boat safari takes place along the River Zuari of Goa. A 15 seater passenger boat takes off for the safari along the mangrove lined canal of Cumbhar jua Canal. The main attraction of the Boat Safari is the marsh crocodile. However, bird sightings are also common in this boat safari. Many endangered species like the Collared Kingfisher and the Ospreys are other major attractions for tourists here. This boat safari is famous for bird watching and starts at 7:30 am from the Cortalim Jetty of the Zuari River. The safari ride lasts for about two to two and a half hours. The tourists can catch sightings of five different species of Kingfisher here. One can also see Greater Crested Terns, White – Bellied Sea Eagle, and other types of species of waders. For crocodile watching, the boat safari leaves at 2.30 pm. This trip takes place along the creeks of Cumbahar jua canal where marsh crocodiles can be seen basking along the mud banks.
Sunderbans Boat Safari:
The Sunderbans offers an exciting boat safari in its adventurous narrow boats and also on its powerful 4/6 cylinder motor boat. The Sunderbans can be given the epithet of the Indian Amazon with its thrilling boat safaris where tourists have to be cautious about spotting the Royal Bengal Tiger. The river safari generally lasts for four days and takes you to the swamps and marshlands which is the heart of the Sunderbans. The boat trip mainly starts from Khulna, a small town in Bangladesh. For short, day boat safaris, tourists can go to Mongla. The tourists are taken to the narrow tide channels in narrow boats where they can spot wildlife like Monitor Lizard, Small Octopus, Star Fish, Jelly fish, Horse shoe crabs, Prawn seeds etc., The cooler winter months of October to February are most favourable for exploring the Sunderbans in boat safari.