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India's Tigers & Wildlife: A Photo Safari

7 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1: Delhi, India
Arrive in New Delhi and transfer to the Taj Mahal Hotel. One of the most distinguished addresses in India’s capital, this elegant hotel ensures a comfortable transition to India as you settle in for the next two nights. This evening is at your leisure.

Day 2: Delhi
India’s capital of 16 million people offers a spellbinding introduction to the country—not to mention quite a contrast to the wilderness and wildlife we will soon be encountering. Explore and photograph the city’s layers of history on a half-day guided tour as we embark on a rickshaw ride that reveals the many layers of its complex and captivating history. We also take a stroll through the bylanes of Old Delhi and visit Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque and the architectural magnum opus of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Built in the mid-17th century, the stunning creation is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble, with a vast inner courtyard that can hold 25,000 people. This evening we gather with our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner and overview of our photo safari ahead. 

Day 3: Sawai Madhopur / Ranthambore National Park
Drive to the railway station to board our train to Sawai Madhopur, the "Tiger City" of eastern Rajasthan. Originally called the Frontier Mail, this historic passage is among India’s oldest train routes. On arrival we transfer to our eco-hotel, where we spend the next four nights. After a quick lunch we head into Ranthambore National Park for an introductory visit. One of India’s largest and most renowned nature reserves, Ranthambore is famed for its population of comparatively approachable tigers, in comparison to other parks. Our explorations take place on early morning and afternoon game drives. In the middle of the day, there’s time to relax at the hotel, enjoy the refreshment of the swimming pool, and visit the Ranthambore School of Art and Dastkar Ranthambore women’s craft cooperative. 

Days 4–6: Ranthambore National Park
The former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park offers India’s best opportunity to observe and photograph tigers in the wild, at this time of year. Tucked between the rugged Aravalli and Vindhya hills, the reserve is a broad swath of jungle scrub bordered by steep, rocky ridges and highland plateaus dotted with lakes. The dry, deciduous habitat generally makes it easier to spot tigers here than in other locations where the vegetation is more dense and lush. 

We head out in our safari vehicles early in the morning, usually before dawn. In contrast to African wildlife, the animals in India take work to find. Tigers tend to remain under the cover of trees and bushes, hiding from their prey and finding relief from the heat. Because their striped coats offers superb camouflage, they can be a challenge to locate. We listen for sounds that give us clues to their whereabouts: rustling grasses, deer running away from their presence, birds swirling overhead.

At the same time, we look for myriad other wildlife. In addition to tigers, healthy populations of spotted chital deer, nilgai, jackal, various jungle cats, sambar, chinkara gazelle, wild boar, langur monkeys and rhesus macaques thrive here, as do sloth bear. The park is also home to a sizable number of leopards, though they are shy and tend to stay in higher, more inaccessible areas. More than 300 bird species inhabit the reserve, ranging from crested serpent eagles to paradise flycatchers, peacocks and painted storks. While our focus may be tigers, we may encounter a multitude of other wildlife photography opportunities.

Day 7: Delhi / Depart
This morning we transfer to the railway station for our return journey to Delhi. Day rooms are available to us in Delhi before we transfer to the airport for flights home.
Map
All This Included
We’ve designed our exclusive India photography expedition to capitalize on the very best opportunities to see Bengal tigers and other wildlife. India’s strictly protected reserves remain one of the only places on Earth to observe tigers in their natural habitat. As the Indian spring moves into summer, animals anticipate the monsoon that is still weeks away. While they seek shelter during the soaring heat of midday, they still must drink and feed, moving to water at least twice a day. April to mid-June is thus the best time for tiger sightings, and our small group explores the park during this season, visiting twice daily in the cooler early morning and late afternoon. We allow plenty of time to obtain unhurried photos, while acknowledging that photo opportunities are not guaranteed and sightings may be fleeting.
  • Airport transfers on or before Day 1 and final day only
  • Round-trip train from Delhi to Ranthambore
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from breakfast Day 2 to lunch final day
  • Bottled water during activities and bottled water and soft drinks at meals
  • Services of an NHA Expedition Leader, local guides and lodge staff
  • Most gratuities
  • Camera fees in all parks (but not fee for video cameras)
  • All permits, entrance fees and taxes
Highlights
  • Enjoy India’s best tiger photography opportunities with only two travelers per open safari truck—just six travelers total!
  • Explore Ranthambore National Park on twice-daily game drives at the optimal time of year for tiger sightings
  • Safari in search of entrancing jungle wildlife including sloth bear, leopards, and more, on this immersive nature adventure
Accommodations
New Delhi: Taj Mahal Hotel
Ranthambore National Park: Khem Vilas
New Delhi: Trident Gurgaon
Pre and Post Add-ons
Agra and the Taj Mahal - Photo Tour Extension - 3 Days / From $1,395
Extend your India photography adventure with this journey to the fabled Taj Mahal and Red Fort, impressive monuments to the splendor of the Mughal imperial age.
Notes
  • Group Size Limit: 6 Travelers.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end points of trip (Delhi, India), alcoholic beverages, passport and visa fees, some gratuities, optional activities, fees for video cameras in parks, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, Internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, required medical evacuation insurance and optional travel insurance.
  • Mandatory Insurance: Since the areas we travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for our guests' safety. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat, we request that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We will add the cost of a medical evacuation policy to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, contact number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy. You must be able to walk unassisted at least 1 mile over uneven terrain, climb a short ladder to get in and out of our safari vehicles, and tolerate daily excursions in extremely hot conditions, in order to participate in this trip. Although we avoid the hottest part of the day during outings, note that temperatures can be excessive and may exceed 110°F. Activities include short walking tours and wildlife drives in the park that take place on very rough and bumpy dirt roads, with many ruts and potholes, in potentially extremely dusty conditions. Those with back problems or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions should take this into consideration. The trip also involves very early morning starts and long days of activities. Note that all activities are optional and those who choose may opt out of game drives and relax at the hotel instead.
  • Arrive at anytime on Day 1 of the itinerary. You are free to depart anytime after 8 pm on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.