There are experiences and then there are experiences which leave you speechless. Jawai Leopard Safari is one such experience. My first experience of Leopard Safari in Jawai was way back in 2014. At that time we had only a couple of Hotels and since I was in the Luxury Segment, I needed something which was over the top, for a Set of clients.
We had created an experience with Mobile tents which would be set up for the Leopard Safari, in the region close to Jawai. Jawai Leopard Safari as an experience had not started till then. These were luxury tents, pitched for my clients and me, we had chefs and helpers and a group of trackers who were watching the movement of Leopards.
During late afternoon is when we first went out and saw 2 Leopards. However the Magic happened late in the Night when we went for a night safari. In the 3 hours we were enroute we saw these magnificent cats in their wild habitat, we chased them in our Jeeps we saw them play and look for food.
A couple of years later, I was told that along the Jawai Dam the sighting of leopards was better. Jawai Leopard Safari had been born and a few good hotels had come up. This experience on staying in one of the posh Lodges or Hotels coupled with the Safari to watch the leopards is truly one of a kind.
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Jawai Leopard Safari – The Region
The region of Jawai is sort of between Jodhpur and Udaipur. So if you are already planning a visit to this region, then this would serve as an excellent break in between. You are in the middle of Aravalli hills, surrounding you is the Kumbalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and the region around the Sanctuary is where the habitat of leopards is.
Kumbalgarh the second largest fort in India, on its own is a World heritage Site, The fort was built in 15th century, is also called the Great wall of India on account of its 36kms long wall, has played a critical role in many a battles fought between the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughals. It was here that Guerilla warfare was first practiced in India against the Mughals and every stone has a Story to tell.
Kumbalgarh on its own is well worth a visit, but add the Jawai Leopard Safari to it and it is a hidden gem that you can experience on your trip to India.
What to expect from Jawai Leopard Safari?
Jawai area covers 16 Villages and 9 Leopard Safari points, is spread over an an area over 60 kilometer of radius and is home to around 60+ leopards. The region has a Dam called the Jawai Bandh which in turn is 62 feet deep and spread over 5km range and is surrounded by impressive formation of mountains of lava rocks.
Apart from the natural beauty of this area, Jawai is also blessed with undomesticated animal species like leopards, hyena, sloth bear, blue bull, blackbuck, wild boar, jackal, foxes to name a few and a rich birdlife, with 115 bird species being found in this area, of which 65 are migratory and can be seen between November to end March. The main draw amongst the Migratory birds are Flamingo and cranes.
The most amazing part about Jawai Leopard Safari is that the leopards can be sighted anywhere and anytime. Leopards in the Jawai area reside in the natural caves which are in abundance in the mountains of Lava Rocks. What makes Jawai Leopard Safari stand out is the fact that Leopards can be sighted in the rugged or uneven terrains.
Another fascinating thing is that leopards are very familiar with the locals and there hasn’t been a single incident of leopard attack in the villages nearby. The people have also reciprocated this behavior by keeping the habitat of big cats uninterrupted. It is truly an incredible experience to watch them roam around freely.
This behavior of Jawai leopards is something which would be shared with you atleast once during the Safari because even though they live very close to the human settlement they are surprisingly friendly with them. They attack only the wild animals at night and do not even try to prey on the cattle reared by the locals.
When to Plan your Jawai Leopard Safari? / Best Time for the Jawai Leopard Safari.
Since travel to this area usually happens between October and March due to favorable weather, this also would be the perfect time to plan your Safari. However If you are planning to visit India in the Summer months, you can still see the Leopards during a Safari.
The Best time to do a Safari is either in the morning between 0600 and 0900 or during afternoon 1600-1900. In the summer months the morning Safari is an hour earlier and afternoon one an hour later.
In between there are other activities that can be done, like visiting the Jawai Dam to watch the Crocodiles and one of the many villages around the Jawai area.
The Rabri Villages of Jawai
The Rabris of Jawai, take their name from a legend, according to legend, Lord Mahadeva, (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) created the first camel for the amusement of Parvati, his consort. In order to look after the camel, he created a caretaker and called him a ‘Rabari’, from where this tribe has received their name.
That’s why for Rabris, keeping animals is sacred and they see themselves as their herds’ custodians rather than their owners. The Rabris are also referred to as Rewari or Desai, and are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle, camel herders and shepherds.
Whether during your Safari or as you arrive, while traversing the granite hills and mustard fields, or while wandering along the waters and down the dusty tracks, you may see the occasional splash of red from the Rabari tribesmen, which adds a dash of color and vibrancy to this area.
Rabri also means ‘a person who shows the path.’
Where to Stay during Jawai Leopard Safari?
There are plenty of Options to suit all budgets, Accommodation is usually found in Bera, Bijapur and surrounding areas. The question always remains which one is right for you. I recommend a minimum 2 Nights for a proper Jawai Leopard Safari experience and try and get your Safaris all included in the price before hand.
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If after that you wish to have it booked, I would get it booked for you locally which would
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B) You will benefit from last minute upgrade deals that are made available locally.