The term wildlife safari used to be associated with big-game hunts. Nowadays (thankfully), people no longer “hunt” for wildlife but for observing (and capturing on camera) all creatures great and small, in their natural habitats. This is sightseeing out in the Great Wide Open.
There are various types of safari experiences, ranging from guided safaris, walking safaris, jeep safaris and fly-in safaris to more specialized types, among them elephant safaris, camel safaris, horse safaris, river safaris, balloon safaris, photographic safaris and accessible safaris for the disabled.
History of Wildlife Safari
In Swahili, safari means ‘long journey’. The word became part of the English language during colonial Britain’s high noon in the African continent (explorer-soldier Sir Richard Francis Burton is thought to have introduced it into English). But the etymology of the word is Arabic (‘safar’), in which language it means, simply, ‘to make a journey’ (‘safariya’ means ‘journey’). A safari can refer to any journey, but it has increasingly come to be associated with a trip out into the bush to watch and photograph wildlife. And safaris are not restricted to tourism; in their line of work, naturalists and wildlife biologists can also be said to be going on ‘safari’.
Wildlife Safari in India
India boasts a range of habitats, and an amazing store of biodiversity. Although poaching is a serious issue, a safari here still offers one of the best chances on earth to get up close with wildlife in the natural habitat. In India, one is constantly surrounded by animals – the Hindu faith worships creatures like the elephant, the monkey, the bull and the peacock.
India ranks ninth in the world for the number of animal species (over 400), and also has 12 percent (approx.) of the planet’s birdlife. Altogether, the country has almost 450 wildlife sanctuaries, close to 100 national parks and 18 biosphere reserves.