Bandhavgarh Monsoon Safari
8 days from £1215*
Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is one of the best known National Parks in India for the chance to find tigers (maybe too well-known). With a comparatively small area but a high tiger density, for many years it has been in highest demand, thankfully since 2012 visitor numbers have been more strictly limited - in fact vehicles numbers have more than halved with more rigourous regulations in place. In the main season, just over 100 jeeps each day are permitted to enter the tourism area - divided across through distinct zones that make up less than 20% of the core habitat. Even with these improvements you may still find yourself sharing the best sightings with several other jeeps all jostling for prime position, and just securing your jeep booking can become reminiscent of the 'wacky races' if you book late.
But at the end of June when the tiger-obsessed tourists vacate and the main park zones (Tala, Magadhi and Kithauli) close for the monsoon season, the wildlife of course remains. Many lodges also close and those locals employed seasonaly find themselves trying to get by without an income. The resident mammals and birds pay little heed to cartographic boundaries where the core areas join the protected buffer zone, so with far fewer other vehicles around a monsoon visitor can enjoy a greater sense of wilderness and more freedom to take a 'slow safari'. Once the rains begin the previous heat and humidity is quickly lessened, and as the water sources are naturally replenished and vegetation begins to flourish the herbivores will no longer be reliant on forming protective groups (safety in numbers) near the artificial water holes of the core area and will disperse through the buffer forest and surrounding hills. This is the time that spotted deer can be found rutting, various ungulates will have young arriving in time to feed on the tender new greenery, resident birds such as the Black Ibis prepare to nest, Sarus Cranes arrive to breed. Butterflies and orchids add splashes of colour, and reptiles (and their predators) can be more easily seen than the winter months.
The advance of the rains is not an exact science, but generally it won't rain everyday, and rarely all day, and August and September have less rain than June and July. Don't come expecting to find tigers, along with leopards, they do pass through these forests and close to the tribal village that remain in the buffer zone but they remain understandably cautious and can easily slip out of sight - but you may just get lucky and catch a glimpse or find evidence that they are nearby. With a more relaxed approach to buffer zone activities and excursions to nearby lakes and view points, enjoy the chance to see something that few others will once the tiger chasers return again in November.
This is a Private Tour
meet and greet at Delhi international airport and transfer to ‘The Claridges’ to rest and refresh
early morning flight to Jabalpur and transfer to the ‘Tala Camp’ at Bandhavgarh, arriving for lunch. Later afternoon jeep safari inside the buffer zone
Day 3, 4, 5
a mix of morning and afternoon buffer zone drives, guided walks, visits to nearby lakes, taking packed ‘bush meals’ if you want to stay longer
extended morning buffer zone safari by jeep and later afternoon drive, stopping for a scenic ‘sundowner’ and returning slowly after dark looking out for nocturnal species
a leisurely start, or early morning walk, before your transfer to Jabalpur (stopping as you wish) for the evening flight back to Delhi. Overnight again at The Claridges’
bid a fond farewell to India after your monsoon wildlife tour
Accommodation: a private tour throughout, good quality tried and tested lodges, with upgrade options on request. All meals included at the Wildlife Lodges, breakfast only in Delhi.
Cost: from £1215 per person based on two sharing (excludes international flights)
Dates: 1st July to 30th September 2017
For a full tour description email Wildlife Trails and include the trip title, or for a different combination we are happy to help design your ideal tour.
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* Based on 2 persons and not including flights