Wildlife Tours in India
Trip Code: AITWOI
Price: from AU$8,800 per person twin share
Prices are valid until 30 September 2020, excluding the Christmas / New Year period.
Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and current prices.
- Accommodation based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room with breakfast
- All meals at Satpura, Kanha, Kaziranga and Kabini
- Air-conditioned Toyota Innova vehicle with English speaking driver for all transfers, touring and sightseeing as per the itinerary
- Train tickets in best available class for Satpura to Jabalpur
- English speaking naturalists in Satpura, Kanha, Kaziranga and Nagarhole National Parks
- Satpura National Park: 4 safaris (jeep/elephant/canoe ride/walking)
- Kanha National Park: 5 jeep safaris
- Kaziranga National Park: 4 safaris (jeep/elephant)
- Nagarhole National Park: 4 safaris (jeep/boat)
- Entrance fees to monuments, Park fees
- Assistance on arrival and departure at airports and train stations
- 24 hour support through our local representative offices
- Complimentary mineral water in the vehicles
- All land and vehicle taxes
- Camera fees at sightseeing places
- Activities other than those specifically mentioned as included
- Meals other than those mentioned as included
- Tips, porterage and personal expenses
- Visa Fees
- Flights: Delhi to Bhopal; Jabalpur to Delhi; Delhi to Guwahati; Guwahati to Kolkata; and Kolkata to Bangalore: AUD$683 approximately
Hotels (4 and 5 Star):
- Delhi: The Claridges
- Satpura: Forsyth Lodge
- Kanha: Shergarh Tented Camp
- Delhi: Four Points by Sheraton
- Kaziranga: Diphlu River Lodge
- Kolkata: The Oberoi Grand
- Kabini: Orange County Resort
A unique wildlife tour of India created specifically for wildlife enthusiasts. This 16-day tour includes visits to four of India’s most rewarding National Parks – Satpura, Kanha, Kaziranga and Nagarhole – and covers the states of Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka.
This itinerary is aimed at naturalists and wildlife lovers. It highlights the diversity of ecosystems in India: the marshland and tropical broadleaf forest of Kaziranga in the North East; the grassy meadows and dry deciduous forests of Kanha in Central India; the dense forest and rugged sandstone peaks and gorges of Satpura, also in Central India; and the swamp and moist deciduous forest of Nagarhole in the South.
Wildlife tours in India have a propensity to focus too heavily on the tiger, and while the tiger runs through each of the parks featured in this itinerary, we encourage visitors to look beyond the tiger and enjoy prolific sightings of other large mammals such as Indian Bison (Gaur), Sloth Bear, many species of deer, four-horned antelope (Chausingha), Nilgai antelope, Indian wild dog (dhole), Indian fox, striped hyena, jungle cat, panther, porcupine and wolf – to name just a few! Naturally birdlife and fauna in these parks are abundant, with bird species counts running to 250 or more in each of the parks.
The trip is devised in a modular fashion whereby we can add other national parks and nature based activities to create a customised itinerary based on your specific interests – for example you might be particularly interested in birds, in which case we can add one or more bird sanctuaries such as those of Keoladeo or Thattekkad, or on endemic flora and fauna, in which case we can add a visit to Gir National Park to see the Asiatic Lion or Sundarbans National Park to see the unique mangrove ecosystem.
The itinerary can be extend in order to give your experience more depth – for example at Satpura you can undertake a 4-day trek to the hill station of Pachmarhi, and at Kaziranga you can to take a cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra River (from 4 to 14 days). Not only does this give your experience more depth, it offers a welcome variation to the commonly offered program of twice daily game drives in the national parks.
In addition to wildlife viewing and nature based activities, a cultural element can be brought into the itinerary with visits to tribal villages, tea and rubber plantations.
Lastly, there is the option to precede this tour with a Snow Leopard tracking expedition in Hemis National Park, Ladakh. An eleven or twelve day trek, this would be most attractive to adventurous and physically fit wildlife lovers. As the Snow Leopard is a very elusive creature, this is a thrilling expedition, but with no guarantee of sightings (in fact, a very small chance of sightings). It is best undertaken during the winter months of November to March when temperatures can be below zero. Please let us know if you are interested in this option and we will send you the full itinerary.
By using the best run lodges, which in turn employ the most highly trained and specialised guides – our India wildlife holidays will satisfy even the most ardent naturalist or wildlife lover.
Day 1 Delhi
Welcome to India.
You will be met at Delhi International Airport by our local staff on arrival and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay, before departing for Satpura early tomorrow morning.
Day 2 Satpura
Fly to Bhopal. You will be met on arrival and driven to Satpura.
Your accommodation here Forsyth, is a small eco-friendly wildlife lodge set in 17 hectares of reclaimed jungle at the edge of the Satpura Tiger Reserve. It consists of independent cottages, built out of cob and sited to offer unique vantage points into the landscape; they provide simple yet comfortable accommodation. As it is not ‘tiger-centric’, Forsyth does not have the crowds that many of India’s other wildlife sanctuaries have; a stay here promises to provide a meaningful, sustainable wildlife and wilderness experience.
Established in 1981, the Satpura National Park covers an area of 524 sq kms of the unique central Indian highland ecosystem. The terrain is extremely rugged and largely hilly and consists of sandstone peaks, deep narrow gorges, ravines, waterfalls and dense forests.
Being part of a unique ecosystem, the park is very rich in biodiversity. The flora – over 1300 species of plants – consists of mainly sal, teak, tendu, mahua (Indian butter-tree), bel (stone-apple), bamboo, grasses, unchecked grown lantanas and many medicinal plants.
Its fauna comprises Indian Bison (Gaur), Sloth Bear, several species of deer, Chausingha or four-horned antelope, and Nilgai antelope, wild dog, wolf, hyena and Rhesus Macaque. The Malabar Giant Squirrel and the Mouse Deer, unusual species for Central India, have also been spotted here. Among the smaller mammals reported are Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Indian Porcupine, Bengal Fox, Black-naped Hare, Jungle Cat and Rusty Spotted Cat.
The Park provides a habitat for more than 300 bird species. Hornbills and peafowl are commonly found here, as well as migrant waterfowl, including Bar-headed Geese, Pintail, Garganey, Pochard and Ruddy Shelduck. Birds of prey such as Black Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Shahin Falcon, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Mountain Hawk Eagle are often sighted.
Day 3 Satpura
Today you will head into Satpura for a number of wildlife experiences, depending on your preferences.
Satpura affords a number of means of viewing wildlife and birdlife – from jeep safaris, elephant safaris and canoe rides, to walking.
Jeep safaris are conducted by expert naturalists and trackers from the reserve in the early morning, late afternoon and at night. The night drives in the buffer zone of Satpura are a fantastic way of looking for rarely seen nocturnal species such as owls, civets and Rusty Spotted Cats – in addition to leopards and sloth bears.
Elephant Safaris, accompanied by mahouts and naturalists, offer a unique way to experience the jungle terrain and its flourishing ecosystem. The elephants are able to tramp up more difficult areas into thicker clumps of vegetation in quieter parts of the forest – where the leopards are.
A Canoe Safari is the perfect means by which to spot and photograph birds. Three-man canoes for two guests and a boatman take you across the Denwa into its many small bays and inlets. Birds you might see on the sandbanks include sandpipers, red-wattled lapwings, cranes, herons, stilts, and five kinds of kingfisher. In addition to unobtrusively observing birds, you may come across animals stopping to drink, or marsh mugger crocodiles sunning themselves.
The Satpura Reserve is one of only two protected forests in India where visitors are allowed the privilege of walking through a designated area. The Walking Safari is done in small groups, usually at dawn, sometimes later in the day; it is lead by a tracker from the reserve and a naturalist. (You are put through a quick safety-drill beforehand so you know what to do for instance, should a curious sloth bear turn up!).
Day 4 Satpura
Another day to explore Satpura National Park with game drives and wildlife activities. Whilst not on safari you can relax and enjoy your accommodation – take a dip in the eco-friendly swimming pool (with virtually no chlorine) or simply laze on a planter’s chair at your cottage.
Alternatively – particularly if you are new to wildlife travel and are interested in acquiring the basic tools of jungle craft – you may like to participate in a fun and interactive course with Forsyth’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable young naturalists. The course operates for about 2 hours per day with sessions held between safaris. It covers use of equipment, basics of ecology, learning how to identify different species, using field guides and making field notes and sketches, identifying tracks and the basics of nature photography. The course aims to enhance your enjoyment and understanding of any wilderness.
If you would like to extend your stay here the Lodge offers excursions such as two to four nights in Pachmarhi, the highest point of the Satpura Hills; explore this wild and beautiful mountain area with its unique flora and fauna with a specialist local guide. Or, take a scenic gentle two-day hike – up to or down from Pachmarhi – the Forsyth Trail.
Day 5 Kanha
Travel by train to Jabalpur. India’s rail network is one of the largest in the world and a rail journey of a few hours during the day can be a great way to experience this vital part of the country. You will be met on arrival and driven to Kanha (4 to 5 hours).
Please note: if you want to focus on tigers and maximise your chances of seeing them, Bandhavgarh National Park is a better option than Kanha National Park as it has one of the highest known populations of Bengal tigers in India. The vegetation type is similar in both Parks, but Kanha has older, larger fauna and is therefore more picturesque.)
Once the exclusive hunting ground of British viceroys, Kanha National Park was established in 1955; with an area extending over 1,940 sq kms, it is the largest national park in Central India. The setting of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’, it is also amongst the most scenic and beautiful wildlife reserves in India, comprising lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines.
Kanha is home to some 22 species of mammals. The most commonly spotted are the stripped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig, chital (spotted deer), barasingha (swamp deer), sambhar and black buck. Less seen species are tiger, Indian hare, dhole (Indian wild dog), barking deer and gaur (Indian bison). Other animals found in the park are Indian fox, sloth bear, striped hyena, jungle cat, panther, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, porcupine and wolf.
The park’s main attraction, however, is the barasingha, or swamp deer. The barasinghas at Kanha are unique in that they have adapted to hard ground unlike swamp deer of the North, which live in marshy swamps. Faced with extinction some twenty years ago, a number of measures were taken to save them and they now populate the large open tracts of grass amidst the forests of teak and bamboo.
Kanha has some 300 species of birds. The commonly seen species include cattle egret, pond heron, black ibis, common peafowl, crested serpent eagle, racket-tailed drongo, and hawk eagle, various species of fly-catchers, woodpecker, pigeon, dove, parakeet, babbler, mynah, Indian roller, white-breasted kingfisher and grey hornbill. [Image: aloshbennett].
Day 6 Kanha
Spend the next two days exploring Kanha National Park with the option to take both early morning and late afternoon safaris. Forest Department guides accompany visitors around the park on mapped-out circuits, which enable viewing of a good cross-section of Kanha’s wildlife.
For bird watchers – in addition to the birds you’ll spot while on safari, the bird watching in and around the lodges – which are all located near the Park itself – is most rewarding. The better lodges have in-house naturalists, some of whom specialise in birds.
Some of the lodges around the Park offer quite a number of activities other than game drives, such as guided nature walks and village visits, thus affording an opportunity to experience more than only the park and wildlife viewing. [Image: Sumeet Moghe].
Day 7 Kanha
Another day to enjoy game drives and wildlife activities. A nice way to end your stay here is a late afternoon safari to Bamni Dadar. Known as Sunset Point, this is one of the most beautiful areas of the park, from where – as the name suggests – a spectacular sunset can be enjoyed. [Image: Honza Soukup].
Day 8 Delhi
Transfer to Jabalpur today to take a flight to Delhi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to a hotel for an overnight stay before tomorrow morning’s departure for Kaziranga.
Day 9 Kaziranga
Transfer to the airport this morning to board a flight to Guwahati. You will be met on arrival and driven to Kaziranga (5 hours). Your accommodation here, the eco-friendly Diphlu River Lodge, is located on the banks of the Diphlu River overlooking the Kaziranga National Park. Designed to blend seamlessly in with the forest surroundings, it comprises individual cottages constructed in natural materials such as bamboo and wood, topped with thatched roofs; they are furnished and decorated with local items and artefacts.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park has been a reserve forest for more than a hundred years and lies in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River. Covering some 430 sq kms, it has a varied landscape of extensive grasslands, densely forested tropical areas, interconnecting streams and numerous small lakes.
Home to the world’s largest population of Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant, the Park also contains some 35 other major mammals (including 15 species of India’s threatened mammals). Water buffalo, swamp deer, hog deer, barking deer, sambar, wild boar, Hoolock gibbons, leopard and sloth bear are commonly sighted. Kaziranga also boasts the highest density of tigers in India (however the dense vegetation here can make them hard to spot). The reptilian fauna include Assam roofed turtle, water monitor, Indian python, common cobra and king cobra.
The avifauna of the Park region comprises over 400 species, including the rare Bengal florican. Numerous water bodies – rich reservoirs of food – attract thousands of migratory birds that visit seasonally from as far afield as Siberia.
Day 10 Kaziranga
Spend the next two days exploring the Park with experienced and passionate guides and park rangers. You can take early morning and late afternoon safaris by elephant or by 4×4 open top jeep. Elephant rides, in particular, enable you to get close to the wildlife, especially rhinos and buffalo, which can be easily seen in the marshes and grasslands.
At some point during your stay, take a unique forest walk; a 2 hour guided walk enables you to experience and appreciate details that you may miss on an elephant or in a jeep.
The Lodge has plenty to offer beyond wildlife viewing, with activities that can be customized to suit individual needs and interests. For instance, you can get a glimpse into the lives of the local tribal peoples with guided visits to the homesteads of three different tribes in the area – Bodo, Mising and Karbi. Visit a nearby tea garden where you can observe tea being grown, plucked and processed in pristine natural surroundings. Get hands-on with an Indian elephant; help wash down a domesticated elephant along with its handler in the refreshing waters of the Diphlu River. Or, take a guided walk through lush rubber forests, scenic vistas and charming villages to a local rubber production unit.
There is also an opportunity to spot dolphins on a daylong boat safari on the majestic Brahmaputra River. [Image: Kangkan.it2004].
Day 11 Kaziranga
Another day to to undertake game drives and wildlife activities. Alternatively, you may simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings in one of the inviting cane chairs on the veranda of your cottage – a perfect place to watch for birds. Take a picnic lunch by the riverbank and end the day with an exuberant dance performance followed by a bonfire and sumptuous barbecue dinner.
You may like to extend your stay here with a 4-day river cruise. Drift up the imposing Brahmaputra River exploring wildlife parks, villages, tea gardens, riverine islands and much more in riverboats with modern amenities.
Day 12 Kolkata
Transfer to Guwahati today for a flight to Kolkata. You will be met on arrival and transferred to a hotel for an overnight stay before departure for Bangalore and Nagarhole tomorrow morning.
You have the option to extend your trip from Kolkata with a 3-day stay in the Sunderbans National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sunderbans are a part of the world’s largest delta formed by the mighty rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, creating a unique estuarine forest whose fragile eco-system is supported by numerous rivers and lakes that surround the area. It is also the world’s largest estuarine forest. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species (which includes such rarities as the Masked Finfoot, Mangrove Pitta and the Mangrove Whistler), the Bengal tiger (it is home to more than 250) and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.
To reach the Sunderbans, transfer to Sonakhali Jetty (a 2-hour drive through beautiful countryside and rural bazaars) where you board a boat for a spectacular 2 hour cruise through the rivers Hogol, Gomor, Durgaduani and Gumdi. Arrive at Bali Island and check into a jungle camp.
During your stay here, enjoy birding and game cruises through creeks and canals to various watchtowers from where you may see Bengal tigers. The Dobanki Watch Tower is famous for its long walkway; at a height of 6 metres from the ground, it is covered in grill and strong net to form a canopy to protect from the wildlife. It takes you deep into the forest where you could find yourself walking alongside any number of mammals, including tigers!
There is also an opportunity to take a guided village walk in which you are able to interact with the local villagers and explore their crafts and cuisines, as well as learn about their farming methods. [Image: Frances Voon].
Day 13 Nagarhole
Transfer to the airport for a flight to Bangalore. You will be met on arrival and driven to Nagarhole National Park – a 5.5 hour scenic drive through plantations of ginger and lemon grass and small villages.
Spread over 645 sq kms of lush forestland, steep valleys, waterfalls and streams, Nagarhole is one of the most popular wildlife destinations of Karnataka; it is home to herds of elephants, gaur, chital, sambar, barking deer, sloth bears, langur, leopards, tigers and crocodiles and over 270 species of birds.
Your accommodation here, the secluded and tranquil The Serai, comprises individual cottages and villas situated on the banks of the Kabini River, with the imposing Nagarhole forest towering on the other side. As a result, it isn’t uncommon to hear the calls of animals and the trumpeting of elephants as they pass by the resort.
Day 14 Nagarhole
Full day to enjoy the resort and two jeep safaris – one early morning and one late afternoon – into the park, accompanied by experienced drivers and naturalists.
There are other naturalist activities on offer here such as a coracle (a round native boat) ride on the Kabini River to view aquatic bird-life and spot crocodiles and other wild life on the water’s edge; or spend some time in the watchtower and observe as a variety of wildlife comes down to the water hole.
Other activities on offer include a bullock cart ride which will take you on a slow trip to the nearby village where a guide will talk about the crops and lifestyle of the village; call into a tribal home and share a cup of tea or coffee with the locals. Or, if you are feeling energetic, take a 3-hour cycle ride across trails with breath-taking mountain views.
Day 15 Nagarhole
Another day to enjoy game drives and wildlife activities. Alternatively, you may like to indulge in a rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment at the resort’s spa, or simply relax in a hammock, or take in the view of the Kabini River and the forest beyond from your own private veranda. End your stay here with a magical lantern-lit dinner on the banks of the river.
Day 16 Bangalore
Depart Nagarhole today for the drive to Bangalore and flight home or onward travel to one of our R&R destinations.
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