Tour Dates 30 Jan - 10 Feb (12 days)
Tour Price (Per Person) US$6565 * £3995 * €4852 * ZAR71220
Single Supplement US$840
Flights (Approx cost) US$650
Spaces Available 4 Spaces available
Can be Linked With India - Varanasi "The Holy City" Photographic Expedition
Home to over a billion people in arguably the world’s richest cultural landscape, India is a country with no equal. This great nation boasts a staggering geographical diversity ranging from deserts and forests to tropical, palm-lined shores and snow-capped peaks. India is of course also famous for its rich avifauna and iconic mammalian mega fauna, foremost of which is the regal Bengal Tiger.
This safari visits a number of the top reserves in central India that offer chances to get great views of a variety of the countries birds and animals. Kanha and Bandhavgarh Reserves, at which we spend the most of our time, are widely considered to be two of the best places to see the Tiger, arguably the most magnificent of the world’s big cats. Join us in this unforgettable celebration of some of India’s iconic mammals and kaleidoscope of cultures!
Your photographic highlights…
• Spectacular Taj Mahal
• Birdlife including the Sarus Crane
• Fatepur Sikri a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Antelope including the Nilgai and Chital
Kanha National Park:
• Royal Bengal Tiger
• Sambar, Spotted Deer and Hanuman Langur
• Swamp Deer
• Landscape photography including Bamboo Forests
• Bengal Tiger in their natural habitat
• Rhesus Macaque and Black-faced Monkeys in the tree canopy
• Spectacular birdlife
Day By Day Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi and transfer to Bharatpur.
On arrival in the bustling capital city of Delhi we will transfer to Bharatpur, taking the roughly four-hour journey to our accommodation near the incredible Keoladeo Ghana National Park, where we will commence our photographic exploration in the afternoon. Usually known simply as “Bharatpur,” a former Maharaja of Bharatpur artificially created the extensive series of shallow ponds as a duck-shooting preserve, but now form part of a wetland sanctuary attracting thousands of wintering waterfowl, waders, cranes and raptors, as well as a variety of other species in the surrounding woodland. We will explore the reserve on foot and by means of cycle rickshaw, following the network of raised dykes that criss-cross the labyrinth of ponds. Antelope such as the Nilgai (the mature males are also called Blue Bulls due to their blue grey color) and Chital (an Indian sub-continent endemic, also known as Spotted Deer) can be photographed, and we will likely be overwhelmed by the staggering numbers and variety geese, ducks, storks, cormorants, jacanas, darters, kingfishers and herons.
Overnight ‘The Bagh’ or Similar
Day 2: Bharatpur to Agra, via Fatepur Sikri.
We spend the morning exploring and photographing the riches of this amazing reserve. The marshy edges attract a variety of migrant passerines such as the secretive Bluethroat, numerous warblers and 5 species of wagtail, whilst a number of swallows hawk insects overhead. Raptors are often especially well represented at Bharatpur, with concentrations of large migrant eagles that include Asian Imperial and Greater Spotted. Other raptors we may find include Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Snake and Bonelli’s Eagles, Western Marsh Harrier and Laggar Falcon. This is also one of the best places to find the resident Sarus Crane, tallest of all flying birds, which is sometimes joined by small numbers of the migratory Common Crane in winter.
After our morning photographic excursion we will depart for Agra via Fatepur Sikri (A UNESCO World Heritage Site). This historical city was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1570 and served as the empire’s capital from 1571 until 1585. Though it took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population. The city includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid; completed in 1571, it could accommodate some 10 000 people!
Overnight ‘The Clarks’ or Similar
Day 3: Full day photographing Agra, Taj Mahal, then overnight train to Jabalpur.
We will set out again this morning to first visit a Marble Inlay factory, which will give us some insight into the immense skill and craftsmanship involved in the construction of the fabled Taj Mahal. Thereafter we continue on to this white marble monument that was built by the Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz. It is a World Heritage Site famous for the elegance of its design and the immense numbers of intricately carved and inlaid semi-precious stones that adorn its walls. We will be here in the late afternoon in order to make the most of this photogenic masterpiece. In Agra we will also visit the fabled Agra Red Fort, located in the centre of the city and serving as a monumental reminder of the fascinating history of the region. This evening we will catch our overnight train (refer to the ‘Please note’ section below for more details) to Jabalpur in anticipation of the pristine forests and grasslands of Kanha National Park.
Overnight on Train
Day 4: Jabalpur to Kanha National Park.
After arriving in Jabalpur this morning, we will then drive to Kanha National Park. This Park was proclaimed in 1955 and incorporated under Project Tiger in 1974. This was also the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s fabulous Jungle Book, in which he wrote so vividly about India’s animals and countryside. The 393 sq miles (940 sq km) park consists of Sal and Bamboo Forests, rolling grasslands and plentiful streams. We will commence our adventures here with an afternoon game drive in search of the rich wildlife that inhabit this wonderfull national park.
Overnight ‘The Baagh’ Resort or Similar
Days 5 & 6: Kanha National Park.
We have two full days to explore this wonderful park. We will mostly use an open-top jeep to explore the park, watching for telltale Tiger signs such as pugmarks or scat in the road and listening for the alarm calls of Sambar, Spotted Deer and Hanuman Langur. With luck, these will lead us to a Tiger padding along a dusty track or sprawled out in the dappled sunlight of a bamboo thicket. Looking into the amber eyes of this, the largest of all the big cats, undoubtedly ranks as one of the world’s ultimate wildlife experiences, and we also hope to capture some cracking images of these amazing animals! On one of our days here we will also take to elephant back for a more intimate and personal Tiger adventure. This in a truly invigarating experience and will no doubt be one of our expidition highlights. In addition to Tigers and their favourite prey species, during our safari jeep drives we may also come upon Indian Muntjac (or Common Barking Deer), the now very rare Swamp Deer (the western race of which is now virtually restricted to this reserve), Ruddy Mongoose, or even Jungle Cat, Leopard, Wolf and Sloth Bear.
Although our main reason for visiting Kanha is to search for and photograph the regal Bengal Tigers, the rich woods and meadows of this scenically stunning park also offers excellent birding and wildlife. The interesting mixture of deciduous woodland and meadows on the valley floors support good numbers of Red Junglefowl, smaller numbers of Red Spurfowl, the resplendent Indian Peafowl, Barasignha or Swamp Deer, the vulnerable (IUCN red List) Gaur or Indian Bison, Sambar and the Barking Deer.
Other more widespread bird species that we could encounter are Crested Serpent Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Shikra, Peregrine Falcon, Jungle Bush Quail, Indian and Savannah Nightjars, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Yellow-eyed Babbler and the bizarre Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. Widespread wildilife includes jungle cat, python, mongoose , leopard and hanuman langur (an old world monkey)
Overnight ‘The Baagh’ Resort or Similar
PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE 3 VEHICLES AVAILABLE FOR OUR TIME AT KANHA, A MAXIMUM OF 2 PHOTOGRAPHERS AND 1 LOCAL GUIDE PER VEHICLE. YOUR ORYX LEADER WILL MOVE BETWEEN THE VEHICLES FOR HANDS – ON PHOTOGRAPHIC TUTORING.
Day 7: Kanha to Bandhavgarh
Today we will venture out into Kanha for a final morning’s photography, before making our way to Bandhavgarh National Park. Set in the rugged Vindhya hills of central India’s Deccan Plateau, Bandhavgarh National Park protects a rich mosaic of deciduous woodland, bamboo thickets, meadows and marshes.
Overnight Tigerden or Similar
Days 8 to 10: Bandhavgarh National Park
This wonderful reserve contains high concentrations of herbivores such as Spotted Deer, Sambar and Wild Boar, and it is this abundance of prey species in turn that supports one of the healthiest populations of Bengal Tiger. Locating these magnificent cats requires a combination of skill and patience, with a bit of luck thrown in.
We would have to be very lucky to find Dhole (also known as Asian Wild Dog), Indian Fox, or the sought-after Sloth Bear in the reserve where they occur in very small numbers and co-exist with the much more frequently encountered Jungle Cat. Monkeys found here include Rhesus Macaque and Black-faced Monkey.
One of the highlights of the park is the drive near a centrally situated escarpment overlooking the park, where the well-watered woodland attracts parties of scarcer birds for the region. These include Malabar Pied Hornbill as well as migrants such as Blue-capped Rock Thrush and Sulphur-bellied Warbler. Taking advantage of the panoramic viewpoints provides us with an opportunity for seeing the endangered Indian Vulture, which breeds on nearby cliffs, as well as other raptors that might be cruising by overhead, such as the huge Red-headed Vulture, Changeable Hawk-Eagle and White-eyed Buzzard. Marshy areas inside Bandhavgarh are home to a small population of the endangered Lesser Adjutant, as well as Brown Shrike, Tawny-bellied Babbler and Common Rosefinch.
Overnight Tigerden or Similar
PLEASE NOTE: WE HAVE 3 VEHICLES AVAILABLE FOR OUR TIME AT BANDHAVARH, A MAXIMUM OF 2 PHOTOGRAPHERS AND 1 LOCAL GUIDE PER VEHICLE.
Day 11: Bandhavgarh to Khujarao
We have a final early morning to photograph the riches of this magnificent reserve. After breakfast we will then drive to Khajuraho, where we will transfer to our hotel for the night.
Overnight Hotel Chandela or Similar
Day 12: Morning Khujarao, fly Delhi and depart to final destination
This morning we spend some time at the temples in this area. These fabulous and ancient structures are well known for their erotic carvings but also showcase some amazing artworks. Around midday we will then catch a flight to Dehli, from where the tour will conclude and we will depart on our flights home.
Safari Cost Includes:
• All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 12;
• Bottled drinking water during the day;
• All lodgings during the tour;
• All ground transportation in air-conditioned vehicles (including train journeys);
• Game viewing by jeep in Kanha and Bandhavgarh;
• 2 Photographers per vehicle in both Kanha and Bandavgarh;
• One elephant ride in both Kanha & Bandavgarh (SUBJECT TO TIGER SIGHTINGS);
• All national park and other reserve entrance fees;
• Camera fees (still);
• All guiding services (including tips for local guides and services); and
• Service of an ORYX Photographic Expedition Leader, Marius Coetzee.
Safari Cost Exclude:
• All international flights;
• Airfare from Khujarao to Delhi;
• Visa fees;
• Special gratuities;
• Video camera fees;
• Any drinks other than bottled drinking water during the day; and
• Telephone calls, laundry and other items of a personal nature.
a.) Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration (a minimum of 4 paying participants) a small party supplement will have to be charged. Furthermore, these costs are subject to major foreign exchange fluctuations and unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result. Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.
b.) Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we now quote our tours in 4 currencies. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold (US$), and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 3 months before the tour.) Approximate flight and single supplement rates have been converted to US$ but are also subject to exchange rate movements.
c.) The price for the India – Tigers, Wildlife & Culture tour does NOT include the domestic flight from Khujarao to Delhi. As a general guideline, we suggest you budget +/- US$300 per person. ORYX can book this flight on your behalf.)
As noted above, gratuities (drivers, hotel staff, restaurants etc) are included on this tour. However, this does NOT include your ORYX leader. Therefore, if you feel that he has given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip him.
• The train rides are always something to consider when travelling in India. Although we use the highest class, sleeper cabins, these journeys can be taxing especially if you are a light sleeper. Each cabin is enclosed by a curtain only and has 2 or 4 bunk beds with clean bedding. Although noisy at first, things settle down and people generally get a reasonable sleep. These trains are by far the best way to reach many of the sites we visit, as the distances they cover would take infinitely longer if done by vehicle on the congested roads. In order to fly to Kanha we would need to re-route to Delhi for an overnight stay. In addition, we choose to journey at night as this allows us to fit in more photographing hours by day.
• Wildlife photography is a fascinating and most alluring activity. Obtaining incredible images, does however often take an extended amount of dedication, time and a bit of luck! Wild creatures are unpredictable, and it is unrealistic that any situation, sighting or photograph can be guaranteed. However, please be assured that your professional ORYX Photographic leader will do his upmost (within the circumstances, and without impacting on the wellbeing of your subject) to ensure that you obtain the images of your dreams!
• It is important for the comfort of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly stick to 20kgs for check in luggage and 8kg’s for hand luggage.
• This India Photographic tour does not require a high level of fitness, but participants should be in good general health and reasonably fit as some of the photography, particularly in Bharatpur, will be done on foot and may require walking and standing for a few hours at a time. Guests will be notified when longer walks may be undertaken. If you have any physical or medical limitations or conditions, please notify us in advance of departure. Please note that for much of this tour we will be far away from modern medical facilities.
• Accommodation throughout the trip is of a good standard and the hotels and resorts that we make use of range from comfortable to rather luxurious.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DETAILS:
This tour does not include ANY airfares. The tour will begin in Delhi on day 1, which is scheduled as an arrival day; you are free to arrive at any time on this day. Further meeting details in this regard will be forwarded to you in due course. The tour will conclude in New Delhi on day 12. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance or advice in this regard, kindly contact the ORYX office.
New Delhi is the main port of entry for international flights into India for those travelling on this Northern India tour and is well serviced by many of the world’s major airlines. As our guests come from all over the planet we do not include international flights in our tour prices. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. However, please DO NOT book your international flights until you have consulted the ORYX office for confirmation on the status of the tour.
Tour Fact Sheet
Indian Peafowl, Bengal Florican, Greater Adjutant, Black-necked Stork, Pied Harrier, Brown Fish-Owl and Swamp Francolin
Bengal Tiger,Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat, Leopard, Spotted, Barking and Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Dhole (also known as Indian Wild Dog), Ruddy Mongoose, Asiatic (Golden) Jackal, Indian Wolf, Gaur (Indian Bison), Indian Fox and Barasingha (Swamp Deer)
Long linear grasslands, marshes, rich mixed forests and dense bamboo thickets.
Clear sunny skies. Pleasant and mild but cooler in the evenings
Max Group Size Limited to 6 participants & 1 ORYX leader
Tour Pace & Walking
Relaxed and Undemanding
Accommodation Comfortable 4 star lodges and hotels
Bandhavgarh Fort, ancient monuments, fascinating culture, Taj Mahal, Fatepur Sikri (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Temples at Khajuraho
Photographic Opportunities Incredible
Key Photographic Targets
Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat, Leopard, Spotted, Barking and Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Dhole (also known as Indian Wild Dog), Ruddy Mongoose, Asiatic (Golden) Jackal, Indian Wolf, Gaur (Indian Bison), Indian Fox and Barasingha (Swamp Deer)
Photographic Vehicle & Boat
Open Safari Jeep
Start Location New Delhi
End Location New Delhi
Linked With India - Varanasi "The Holy City" Photographic Expedition
Excludes international flights and subject to exchange rate fluctuations.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia India Nature & Wildlife Birdwatching