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The Grand India Wildlife Adventure

12 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 5-star Taj Mahal Hotel. This afternoon, explore the old sectors of India's vibrant capital on a rickshaw ride revealing the many layers of its captivating history. Stroll through the bylanes of Old Delhi, visit Chandni Chowk Market, and tour Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque and the architectural magnum opus of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Built in the mid-17th century, the striking edifice is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble, with a vast inner courtyard that can hold 25,000 people. We also visit Bangla Sahib, one of the country's most revered Sikh temples. The complex includes the main temple, a school and a large community kitchen that prepares more than 10,000 free meals each day, cooked by volunteers using donated ingredients from Sikh farmers. After this exhilarating introduction to the country, enjoy a welcome dinner this evening and an orientation to our India wildlife safari by our Expedition Leader.
 
Day 2: Jabalpur / Bandhavgarh National Park
Transfer to the airport early this morning for our flight south to Jabalpur. Continue by road through the countryside of Madhya Pradesh to Bandhavgarh National Park. An essential stop on any serious India safari, Bandhavgarh is renowned for one of the country's highest concentrations of Bengal tigers. Originally established as a national park in 1968, Bandhavgarh was declared a protected tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1993. At 444 square miles, it is a relatively small park with a thriving tiger population, offering guests a good chance of encountering them, as well as other distinctive Indian wildlife. Check in to Kings Lodge, surrounded by wild natural forest just outside the park boundary, then, time permitting, we set out on our first wildlife drive in open 4x4 safari vehicles.
 
Days 3 & 4: Bandhavgarh National Park
Over the next two days, explore Bandhavgarh’s varied habitats on morning and afternoon wildlife drives. Predominantly covered with sal and mixed deciduous forest, thickets of bamboo and expansive grasslands that line the stream valleys, the park’s hilly terrain harbors one of the highest densities of tigers in the world. Bandhavgarh was once a prime hunting reserve for the Maharajahs of Rewa, where Maharaja Raman Singh himself shot an astounding 111 tigers by 1914. Today it is a pacesetter in tiger protection. With tigers at the apex of the food chain, Bandhavgarh’s rich biodiversity includes a multitude of other wildlife. We'll hope to see a sampler of its 37 mammal species, among which are leopard, jungle cat, civet, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, muntjac (barking deer), sloth bear and Asiatic jackal. Some 250 bird species, 70 different butterflies and various reptiles round out the diverse wildlife population.
 
Day 5: Bandhavgarh / Kanha National Park & Tiger Reserve
After an early morning wildlife drive in Bandhavgarh, we drive to Kanha National Park. Situated in central India in the Satpura Hills, the park covers 750 square miles of rich and varied wildlife habitat. Its lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous collection of stories in The Jungle Book. Kanha was established as a national park in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under India's Project Tiger. The park's landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare barasingha, an endangered swamp deer with 12-point antlers, saving it from near-extinction. Strict conservation programs for the overall protection of the park's fauna and flora make Kanha one of the most exemplary national parks in Asia. From our ecolodge base in the tiger heartland of the world, learn in depth about the Bengal tiger and its habitat and observe how conservation travel directly benefits local communities and the tiger reserve.
 
Days 6 & 7: Kanha National Park
Spend two more full days in search of Bengal tigers and other wildlife on excursions in open 4x4 vehicles. Scenic Kanha, once a hunting ground for imperial rulers and viceroys, is now one of India’s most important conservation reserves. With ideal habitat for tigers and their prey, it offers some of India’s best tiger viewing, though it can take effort to locate them in the sun-dappled scrub forest that provides superb camouflage for many species. Greet the dawn each day with an early wildlife drive, entering the park just as the sun’s rays break over the jungle. The open meadows where herbivores graze attract tiger, leopard and dhole (wild dog) to the edges of the clearings, and we'll hope to see some of these predators on the hunt. The Banjaar River bordering the park provides a steady water source for wildlife. Dense jungle interspersed with vast grassy meadows called maidans support a range of species similar to those in Bandhavgarh. Other mammals we might see include chowsingha (four-horned antelope), common langur, gaur (the world's largest wild ox), rhesus monkeys and occasionally leopard. 
 
Day 8: Kanha / Raipur / Kolkata
As the morning mists recede, one last sunrise game drive reveals more of Kanha's wildlife. After breakfast, we drive a half-day to Raipur, then fly to Kolkata. Our luxury hotel, with an elegant spa and outdoor pool, provides a restful layover after a long day of travel as we transit from one region of the country to another. Located outside the city center, our accommodations offer convenient access for our airport departure tomorrow morning.
 
Day 9: Jorhat / Haroocharai Tea Estate / Kaziranga National Park
Fly from Kolkata to Jorhat, the tea capital of India, then drive to Haroocharai Tea Estate. Following lunch on the grounds, we tour the gardens and tea fields. Observe local workers harvesting leaves, and learn how raw leaves are processed into tea. Continuing by road into far-eastern India, we reach Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The park, which borders the sacred Brahmaputra River, was created in 1926 as a refuge for the one-horned rhinoceros. Once hunted nearly to extinction, this 2-ton beast today is a conservation success story, its population rebounding to more than 1,600 individuals. Two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos are found within the park, and we're sure to see plenty of them grazing in the open. In addition to the rhino, Kaziranga is home to some of India’s other largest mammals including Asian elephant, Asian water buffalo and barasingha. Stay at the Diphlu River Lodge, whose verdant grounds contain more than 40 species of trees and some 200 species of shrubs, creepers and climbers.
 
Days 10 & 11: Kaziranga National Park
Morning and afternoon 4x4 drives reveal Kaziranga’s diverse habitats—a mix of elephant grass, thorny rattan cane, tracts of semi-evergreen forest and shallow marshes. Stretching from the banks of the Brahmaputra River to the dense forests of the Mikir Hills, the reserve hosts an impressive variety of wildlife. In addition to one-horned rhinoceros, keep a close eye out for buffalo, elephant, wild boar, hog deer, hoolock gibbons, sloth bears and pythons, as well as the elusive Bengal tiger. The national park has been declared an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International and is home to a great variety of resident and migratory birds. Drawn to the life-giving artery of the Brahmaputra River, waterfowl abounds, and we may see egrets, pond herons, river terns, black-necked storks, fishing eagles and pelicans. In the river, look for otters, gharials and rare Gangetic dolphins.
 
A special event during our time in Kaziranga is a chance to meet the park's working elephants up close. These elephants, which accompany rangers on regular patrol missions, are accustomed to interacting with guests. Conditions permitting, one afternoon an elephant will be brought to our lodge where we can help wash it under the guidance of its handler. On our final evening, revel in memories of our Indian safari adventures as we gather for a farewell dinner.
 
Day 12: Guwahati / Delhi / Depart
After breakfast, drive to Guwahati to catch our afternoon flight to Delhi. Day rooms have been reserved for the remainder of the afternoon, with a transfer included to the international airport to meet departing flights this evening.
Map
All This Included
The Indian subcontinent is one of the world's most stimulating destinations. While its melange of human cultures has long drawn the attention of historians and travelers, its wild habitats rich with exotic animals offer rare treasures for those who are passionate about nature. This comprehensive safari gets you far away from India's intense cities and into its natural realm, a landscape of powerful rivers, fabled jungles and intriguing wildlife. From Bandhavgarh to the Brahmaputra Basin, this is the native territory of the Bengal tiger, whose numbers are on the rise again after a century of decline. Ecotourism is integral to conservation in India, and our travels directly benefit the continued existence of tigers and other precious vanishing species, which we go in search of on daily 4x4 wildlife drives. Join us for a grand Indian safari that shows you more than any other we know of!
  • Accommodations
  • Services of Nat Hab's professional Expedition Leader(s)
  • Local guides
  • Lodge and park staff 
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on final day 
  • Most gratuities 
  • Still camera fees
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day 
  • All activities and entrance fees 
  • All taxes, permits and service fees
Highlights
  • Explore Three National Parks: Explore three of India’s top national parks on multiple safari drives in open 4x4s—you won’t find a richer or more diverse wildlife-focused itinerary
  • Look for Tigers & Much More: Safari with our naturalist Expedition Leader in search of tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephants, sloth bears, barking deer and other fascinating wildlife
  • Stay at Secluded Ecolodges: Relax in comfort at premier ecolodges tucked within India’s best wildlife reserves—yet we avoid the crowds by choosing less-visited destinations
Accommodations
Delhi: Taj Mahal Hotel
Bandhavgarh National Park: Kings Lodge
Kanha National Park: Singinawa Jungle Lodge
Kolkata: Westin Kolkata
Kaziranga National Park: Diphlu River Lodge
Delhi: Trident Gurgaon
Pre and Post Add-ons
Agra and the Taj Mahal
3 Days / Nov – Apr, From $1995
 
Extend your India wildlife adventure with this cultural journey to the fabled Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, impressive monuments to the splendor of the Mughal imperial age.
Notes
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 11 Travelers.
  • National parks in central India are closed on Wednesday afternoons. Should a portion of our visit to Kanha or Bandhavgarh fall on a Wednesday, we will have alternate afternoon activities planned in place of a wildlife drive. 
  • Not Included: Travel to and from the start and end point of your trip, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry and internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, required medical evacuation insurance, optional travel protection insurance. Note: India requires additional fees for video camera usage in parks, which is not included in your trip fee.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy to Moderate. In order to participate in this trip you must be able to walk unassisted (without the use of walking aids) at a steady pace for at least two miles over uneven terrain, climb multiple sets of stairs at some accommodations, and climb a short ladder to get into and out of our safari vehicles. Activities include a city walking tour that could be as long as three miles in crowded conditions, walking with luggage through multiple airports, and walking on sometimes dark and uneven paths at our accommodations. Wildlife drives in the parks take place on very rough and bumpy dirt roads with many ruts and potholes, in conditions that are potentially very dusty. Travelers with back problems or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions should take this into consideration. The trip also involves many very early morning starts and long, full days of activities with little downtime, which can be quite tiring. As the national parks we visit are spread over a large area, we are required to fly and drive between several locations, with some drives lasting between 5-6 hours and occurring amid rather chaotic local driving conditions.
  • Since the areas you will travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat Adventures, we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of Natural Habitat Adventures' medical evacuation policy (currently $48 per person) to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. 
  • Arrive in Delhi by 9 am on Day 1 in order to participate in a guided city tour beginning at approximately 1 pm. You are free to depart Delhi any time after 9 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.