A sound engineer by profession, Hans Dalal has spent the last few years of his life in and out of tiger reserves. He is well known for recording a five-track album with music from the Moghiya tribe of poachers and a documentary, With A Little Help, which features the recording process of the same. He now devotes all his time to PROWL (Preservation of Wild Landscapes), a trust for wildlife conservation that he set up in 2013.
For any wildlife enthusiast, a trip to the African continent is a bucket list worthy affair. The vast number of wildlife regions and game parks allow sighting of diverse wildlife in their most natural behavior across varying landscapes, and often in close proximity. The diversity and variety, however, makes the task of planning a wildlife trip to Africa very daunting. The way out is to have a clear idea of all the best offered experiences and decide accordingly.
If you are looking for some luxury in the wild, South Africa is the place to go. Home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo), Kruger National Park allows self-drive safaris as well as walking foot safaris in the company of two guards – both extremely thrilling experiences. If you are looking to go off road into the bushes, check into one of the top safari lodges in private game reserves bordering Kruger as they provide expert rangers, trackers and vehicles.
If you are feeling adventurous, visit Chobe National Park in Botswana to take a river cruise surrounded by African crocodiles, hippopotamus and elephants. Uganda and Congo, with safety measures and prior permission, can be exploited for gorilla tracking. Equally dangerous and thrilling is visiting the Tsavo Lions, who are known to actively participate in hunting, in Tsavo National Park, Kenya.
To photographers, I would strongly recommend visiting Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to witness the Great Migration. Visit between July and October to experience the surge of energy in the forest as zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and Wildebeest migrate to and from the Serengeti.
If you, however, choose to visit in February, which happens to be the wildebeest’s annual birthing season, you will see thousands of calves being born in Serengeti every day. Even though the calving season draws thousands of tourists to the National Park it does not limit the high chances of closely experiencing a kill by the wild predators.
Kenya has something to offer to the bird enthusiasts as well.
Lake Nakuru National Park is home to around 450 species of birds. I remember believing the lake was pink for a second during my visit, only to realise that I was looking at millions of Flamingoes.
To top it all, Kenya provides visa on arrival to Indian tourists, making it a hassle-free holiday choice.
– Hans Dalal spoke to Sarita Santoshini
– Photographs by Hans Dalal and Supriya Kantak