When you think of safaris your first thought is probably the open plains of Africa, lion and cheetah after the prey animals; elephant and giraffe and in the rivers and lakes, crocodile and hippo. These places have been brought to the screen by talented cameramen with boundless patience. In India, it is the tiger that tourists hope to see, and perhaps the elusive leopard. These two cats are becoming increasingly rare, especially the severely endanger tiger. Both still survive in very small numbers and although they are rarely seen, there may always be a chance. National Parks are hopefully the saviour of wildlife that suffers from poaching and loss of habitat. While tourists in Vietnam do not really go for the wildlife, many go for the great natural environment and if they see fauna that is an added bonus.
Standard Vietnam travel packages may not include a visit to a national park but local Vietnam travel agencies are certainly able to adapt to client’s needs. For example, there is a lovely national park, Cat Tien, in the south of the country, halfway between Ho Chi Ming City and Dalat to the north that not only has a good variety of wildlife but it offers night safaris when many of the animals who hide away and sleep by day come out to feed or hunt. The Park has yet to receive the tourist numbers of other Asian Parks which makes this night safari one of enormous possibilities.
The environment includes grasslands, wetlands, bamboo and evergreen forests.
It is impossible to promise sightings of particular animals and it would be dishonest to suggest your changes of seeing tiger and leopard are good. However, the Asian elephant lives in the Park and a few years ago the Javan Rhinoceros was discovered; there is a special protected area for the Rhino that is subject to the threat of poaching. Sun Bears, Black Bears, Gaur and Water Buffalo are the two other large species that you will be thrilled to see.
There have been many sightings of exotic animals including Asian Elephants, Sun Bears and Water Buffalo, Tigers, Leopards and Clouded Leopards, just to name a few.
A trip to Cat Tien may be a very early start from Ho Chi Minh City or Dalat. Your accommodation near the Park is in the form of guesthouse or fairly basic hotel but each is clean and comfortable. There are cheap wooden shacks which are fine and blend well with the environment and some concrete bungalows that have recently been built.
It is possible to hike in the Park or hire a mountain bike. Ornithologists will love the variety of birds within the Park so be certain to have your binoculars, as well as of course your camera. There is a waterhole which is a good place for seeing wildlife, especially during dry periods.
If you consider all the other great things that Vietnam has to offer and add a safari, you should think about a trip over.