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India Park Profiles
India wildlife tours
Tiger safari in Ranthambhore
In the colourful desert state of Rajasthan, easily reached from Delhi and convenient to combine with visits to Jaipur and Agra. With over 300 types of trees, more than 270 species of birds and approximately 30 different types of mammals; Ranthambhore is packed full with life. The reserve derives its name from the hill top fortress which dominates the approach to the park. The mixture of lakes, ancient temples and summer palaces, alongside abundant Indian wildlife provide magical photographic opportunities unique to Ranthambhore. The varied topography provides a diversity of habitats for animals like the jackal, mongoose, sloth bear, leopard, and of course the tiger. It is important to know that vehicle numbers (jeeps and larger canters, divided between pre-allocated routes) have been very strictly limited for several years. Booking opens each September and safaris must be pre-booked 90 days in advance to avoid disapointment. We first visited in 1997 and over the years have forged excellent relationships with guides, lodge owners and local villages, gaining our guests a truly special experience for their India wildlife tour and bespoke tiger safari
Tiger safari in Bandhavgarh
Set amongst the Vindya Hills of Madhya Pradesh. One of the most famous parks in India, thanks to the many books, films and articles that have been produced about the charismatic tigers that have made Bandhavgarh their home.The major reason for all the interest is Bandhavgarh's high density of tigers, sightings of Sita, Charger, Mohini, B2 and now generations of their wonderful offspring, will live on in our minds and pictures. The Maharaja of Rewa was the last occupier of the fort, and managed the surrounding forest to increase his chances of a good hunt. In addition to the tiger it is also possible to see chausingha (small four horned antelope), chinkara, nilgai, sambar, chital, langur and rhesus macaque, birds are a little less abundant (still over 150 species). The core area of Bandhavgarh (Tala zone) is a far smaller zone (than Ranthambhore for example), there are increasingly measures in place to limit the disturbance of the tiger’s activities; jeep numbers are now even more strictly limited, must be pre-booked, and are split between three zones with the ‘premium’ Tala zone attracting increased entry fees.
Tiger safari in Kanha
In the heart of India lies one of India's most spectacular and exciting parks, also one of the largest parks, and after Sunderbans, home to the second largest population of tigers, it is also one of our favourites! The dense sal forests, bamboo thickets, river valleys, expansive meadows and waterholes are said to have provided the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book'. One of its first ambitious projects was to protect and preserve the local population of Barasingha (swamp deer). The mixed forests provide good breeding grounds for approximately 200 different species of birds, as well as 22 mammal species. Herbivores include chitel, sambar, gaur (Indian bison) and blue bull (nilgai). Feeding on these prey species are jackal, leopard, hyena, dhole (wild dog) and of course the tiger. Although we generally promote the quieter Mukki side of Kanha it is fair to say that reported tiger sightings on the opposite side (Kisli) are more regular, however because more visitors enter the park from that gate to some extent the regularity of sightings is linked to the greater number of people.
Tiger safari in Pench
In fact two parks with the same name in the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The landscape varies between undulating terrain with small hills, open grass meadows and dense forests; primarily teak. The park has been attracting growing interest due to an increasingly visible tiger population, supported by a healthy gain in ungulate numbers following improved protection of the habitat. There are many other notable residents in common with 'nearby' Kanha; including sloth bear, gaur, nilgai, wild dog, chausingha, leopard and lesser cats, jackals, rhesus macaque and flying squirrels. Approximately 250 bird species are listed in the park, including winter migrants attracted to the reservoir. The lack of a larger number of lodges, and therefore other visitors, only adds to the charm of visiting this park, however it is appreciably busier at weekends with day-trippers from nearby Nagpur drawn to the excellent chance of seeing the magnificent Indian Bison.
A tiger safari in Satpura
less well known than near neighbours such as Pench and Tadoba, but physically this is an absolute gem of a park, with magnificent unspoilt forest, fewer visitors and a much more balanced array of wildlife activities that can be taken as an alternative to jeep safaris - including guided walks, elephant rides, boat safaris, canoeing, staying in portable hides and night time safaris in the buffer forest. Birding is excellent within and around the park and although tiger sightings are not common, it is a privilege to have a chance to see animals such as sloth bear, leopard, wild dog and gaur (unusually golden coloured individuals) within the beautiful forest. This is a park for people looking to escape the crowds and gain a real appreciation of wildlife and wilderness in central India.
Tiger safari in Tadoba
Offering a lot of the species diversity of Kanha but increased tiger visibility and since Allan’s reccie in 2009 there is at last some improved accommodation options. Two major lakes and a network of man-made water holes provide perfect hunting grounds for birds and tigers alike and alarm calls ring out on a regular basis. With a chance to see leopard, Sloth Bear, Gaur (Indian Bison), wild dog, lesser cats, several deer and antelope species, Flying Squirrel, and more. Over 195 species of birds are listed. Add to this an interesting history centred around the Gond King of Chandrapur and the stone pillars he erected to guide his processions and you have an intriguing location to visit. Some points to bear in mind with regards to scheduling; the park does get noticeably busier on weekends, and is closed for the full day on Tuesdays – so it is good to aim to arrive or leave on Tuesdays, and avoid weekends if possible on your India wildlife tour.
Tiger safari in Panna
Close to the temple town of Khajuraho, the boundary is marked by the broad and rocky River Ken which flows towards the Ganges. The river is home to both of India’s crocodiles the marsh mugger and the fish eating gharial, and unlike nearby Bandhavgarh, this park attracts an excellent variety of resident and migratory bird species, from storks and cranes to eagles and Paradise FlyCatchers. The dense cover of teak, acacia and sal provides excellent habitat for nilgai, chinkara, sambar and chitel as well as (much) more elusive species such as the sloth bear, tiger, leopard and lesser cats. Unfortunately by 2007 all of the earlier good tiger conservation work here had been completely undone. Despite the reintroduction program, since 2009, a visit here should be approached for the time being as a more general wildlife and bird safari.
Tiger safari in Corbett
Named after the legendary Jim Corbett who wrote the famous 'Man-eaters of Kumaon'. Situated in Uttar Pradesh at the foothills of the Himalayas with hilly areas of mixed forest, low lying ground with ravines and vast dense forests of Sal trees. The magnificent Ramganga River brings a continuous supply of water that results in an abundance of fauna and flora. There are 110 tree species, 50 mammals, nearly 600 bird species including high altitude Lammergeirs and Steppe Eagles, and 25 reptiles including both Gharial (fish eating crocodile) and the fresh water mugger. Not only does this park afford the visitor a realistic chance to see tiger in the hotter months, it also provides spectacular elephant sightings, with groups as large as 30 animals making the daily crossing over the Ramganga river. Aside from jeep safaris, it is possible to view both wild elephant and tigers from elephant back on what we regard as some of the most exciting and ‘genuine’ elephant safaris in India, which depart from both Bijrani and Dhikala.
Tiger safari in Sariska
Shares similar terrain with 'nearby' Ranthambhore, in the evening wildlife in Sariska heads towards the many water holes which litter the park, thus providing visitors with their best chance of viewing game. Prey species such as sambar, chitel, niglai, chausingha, wild boar, rhesus macaque and langur attract carnivores including leopard, lesser cats, hyena and jackal. There is a rich and varied birdlife including Grey Partridge, Bush Quail, Sand Grouse, Goldenbacked Wood Pecker and The Great Indian Horned Owl. It has to be said that tiger sightings remain incredibly rare despite the recent reintroduction and the impressive prey density. Although leopard sightings always require excellent luck they remain a little more likely at Sariska than other ‘tiger parks’, due to the reduced conflict with tiger territories.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
One of the most important breeding and feeding grounds for migratory birds in the world. With shallow lakes and scrubby woodland harbouing over 350 bird species, it is possible to see 150 species in a day and as many as 10 species nesting in a single tree. One of the most visually exciting sights is the Keoladeo Heronry with six different species of herons and egrets. Nesting alongside are Painted Storks, Ibises, Spoonbills, Jacanas and Cormorants, together with terrestrials including a variety of Babblers,Warblers and Bee-Eaters. Sadly the Siberian Cranes no longer visit. There is other wildlife worthy of a mention; resident mammals include wild boar, nilgai, sambar, chital, mongoose, lesser cats and civets. Food sources vary from plankton to plants, insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Walking and cycling along raised embankments offers a unique opportunity to get closer to the rich birdlife. Many people choose a cycle rickshaw, which has the added advantage of providing a local bird expert.
We were one of the first wildlife operators to start promoting the boat safaris on the Chambal River; as a consequence our guests have enjoyed a special relationship with the excellent wildlife guides who show you this unspoilt wilderness location. There is the chance to see the rare and threatened Gangetic Dolphins that live in the clean waters of the river. As well as the Dolphins, there are large Gharial, Marsh Muggers and a variety of resident and migratory birds, including the rare Indian Skimmer. Jeeps will take you towards the Chambal ravines looking out for Blackbuck antelope and Indian Coursers or to the wetland area looking for Sarus Crane and other wetland birds. Remarkably all of this peaceful diversity lies within an hour or two of the Taj Mahal!
In the western state of Gujurat. Terrain is rugged and hilly particularly in the northern and western areas with tropical dry deciduous forest. The lion sanctuary is definitely one of India's success stories. From a pitifully small number of around twenty lions at the turn of the century there are now approximately three hundred lions in the park. If you compare this number to the populations of 30 to 40 tigers in most Project Tiger parks you can see that your chance of a lion sighting (with a reasonable length of stay) is good. Gir is also home to one of the largest leopard populations in any park in India, and especially in the hotter season they can sometimes be seen at night close to the lodges. Other wildlife to look out for are the Four-Horned Antelope, Wild Boar, Wolf, Hyena, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Chinkara, Blue Bull, Marsh Muggers as well as a wonderful variety of bird species.
Southern Rajasthan Leopard Destination:
Although leopards are quite widely spread throughout India, and resident in the same regions as the tigers they are not easy to see. Aside from favouring the cover of darkness, leopards naturally opt to avoid crossing paths with the larger cats. At our destination the whole safari experience is very different, as you will not be entering a National Park or protected reserve. This gives much greater flexibility to search for the Leopards at the optimum time.This is a beautiful area with a good chance of Hyena, Sloth Bear and some of the lesser cats. There are also two large dams in the area, which are good locations to visit on the way back from morning safaris to look for migratory birds. Leopard sightings during the day will be normally be at distance but can be closer at night, with the Leopard’s eyes shining from the top of boulders as you slowly scan the fascinating landscape.
Kaziranga National Park
In the far North East of India in the state of Assam, this is a huge rhino success story; the one horned Indian rhinoceros population has increased from 12 individuals in the early 1900’s to the current estimate of over 1000. The marshland, grassland and semi-evergreen forests are constantly managed (mainly by fire) to maintain an ideal wildlife habitat. With a large population of wild elephants, Indian bison, swamp deer (barasingha), hog deer, sloth bears, tigers, leopard cats, jungle cats, otters, hog badgers, capped langurs, hoolock gibbons, wild boar, jackal, wild buffalo, pythons, monitor lizards and of course the rhino, several of which may be found grazing together. Kaziranga is also a birding paradise, including the oriental honey buzzard, black-shouldered kite, Pallas's fishing eagle, white tailed eagle, himalayan griffon and the short-toed snake eagle.Three different species of hornbills can be seen as well as pelicans and the rare bengal florican. Elephant back safaris depart early in the morning into the tall grass named after them, while jeep safaris allow you to cover a much larger area of the park, increasing your chances of wildlife encounters.
Manas National Park
This park is regularly discussed amongst those with a passion for wildlife, especially the older generation who were lucky enough to have seen the park at its very peak. It enjoyed a golden period before the onset of the Bodo insurgency and rampant poaching reduced this park to a shadow of its former self, however a recovery is well under way and we hope that future generations have a chance to see her recapture her crown. One of the great attractions of Manas is the variety of methods of viewing wildlife. Jeep safaris allow you to see large areas of the park, the more peaceful and intimate boat rides offer the chance to observe resident wildlife as you gently float down the river. There are also elephant safaris available at Mathanguri, and marvellous jungle trails to walk along for some excellent birding. Accommodation is fairly limited in Manas and ranges from very basic forest guest houses to a simple private lodge that has been built more recently.
Nameri National Park
Although a small national park, Nameri provides the rare and unique opportunity to walk through the impressive forest whilst out on safari as there are no jeeps allowed within the boundaries of the park. Having visited many of India’s parks we have often been frustrated at the over reliance on the internal combustion engine, so this opportunity is not to be missed. The whole experience from crossing the river to walking slowly through the park with your armed guard is great; the sound of prehistoric looking hornbills flying over head as you follow narrow trails between the huge trees with their magnificent buttress roots. This is an excellent place for birds, especially Hornbills with 4 species. It is more difficult to see larger mammals, but patiently waiting at one of the hides can reap rewards as deer and elephants make their way to water holes. Not many other travellers will be included this beautiful park as part of their India wildlife tour.
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