A wildlife safari offers an incredible chance to admire nature’s wonders. In the jungle, when searching for wildlife like tigers, leopards, or other predators, we look for pug marks as clues of their presence and movements. Yet, the most telling hints come from the anxious calls of their prey. 

The jungle can be hauntingly quiet as we weave through it, leaving us without any cues about where to go. The entire safari can go by without any sightings as we simply roam through the quiet forest, keeping an eye out for signs of predators.

We stop by the water bodies, hoping to see animals coming for a drink. 

After a short wait, we carry on, with the hope of spotting a tiger at the next watering hole.

To add some excitement to the wait, the naturalist pulls out his binoculars and points to a distant tree, saying, “Indian roller.” Those new to wildlife watching look at the bird with wonder, admiring its bright blue colours. Meanwhile, more experienced wildlife enthusiasts, who’ve seen a million Indian rollers before, playfully consider nicking the guide’s head with their beanbag.

All at once, the eerie silence is shattered by the shrill cry of an animal, like a deer, langur, or peacock. In a flash, the jeep drivers sit upright, swiftly tuck their right foot back inside, and slam the door shut. They rev up the engine, with a firm grip on the wheel and a quick glance behind to check for any approaching traffic.

Their guests, some standing and gazing into the distance with a face that’s as plain as a blank page, others leaning with their eyes closed, quickly take their seats with eyes like saucers and hold onto something tightly as the jeep speeds toward the source of the call.

Wildlife safari at Jim Corbett National Park

I took these photos with an iPhone 7 for my blog posts. On wildlife safaris, carrying two cameras with large telephoto lenses makes it tough to find room for a third camera to document the process of wildlife spotting and those spontaneous moments of learning and discovery. This is where an iPhone camera proves invaluable, allowing me to photograph those unforgettable moments with the new friends we make during our safaris.