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India Tiger Quest: 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. The evening is at leisure with dinner on your own—try one of the hotel's many fine restaurants, or inquire with the concierge for nearby suggestions.
 
Day 2: Discovering Old Delhi
India’s capital 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 Old Delhi 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 take a stroll through the bylanes, including bustling Chandni Chowk Market, 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. We also visit Bangla Sahib, one of the country's most revered Sikh temples. The complex is associated with Guru Har Krishan and includes the main temple, a school, a sacred water tank and a large community kitchen that generously prepares over 10,000 free meals each day, known as langar, all cooked by volunteers using donated ingredients from Sikh farmers. This evening we gather with our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner and overview of our photo safari ahead.
 
Day 3: Jaipur / Ranthambore National Park
This morning we transfer to the Delhi airport for our short flight to Jaipur, known as India’s stately “pink city” for the trademark stone from which it is built. From Jaipur, we travel by road to Ranthambore National Park and our luxurious 5-star tented accommodations that are inspired by the opulent caravans of the royal families. We spend the next four nights surrounded by tranquil gardens, forest and grasslands that are the domain of the Bengal tiger, staying in utmost comfort within excellent proximity to the park. After a quick lunch we head into the 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 our elegant tented camp, 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 deer, nilgai, jackal, jungle cat, 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: Sawai Madhopur / Delhi / Depart
This morning we transfer to the railway station for our return train journey to Delhi. Day rooms are available to us in Delhi before we transfer to the airport for flights home.
Map
All This Included
Our most tiger-intensive itinerary! If your goal is to search for Bengal tigers with the very best odds of spotting them, this compact adventure is for you. Deep within the jungles of southeast Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is India’s premier tiger safari destination. Our trip is strategically timed for early summer, when visitors are fewer and tigers are less elusive. It’s warmer, yes. But that means tigers must head out of the dry underbrush to quench their thirst at least twice a day—and that is when we safari in search of them, allowing plenty of time to obtain unhurried photos. With just four travelers per open vehicle (two on our photo departures) and a side seat for all, our presence is understated...and the views unimpeded! Ranthambore is home to much more than its famous tigers, too: it’s a veritable Jungle Book of creatures, with chances to spy sloth bear, caracal, jackal, striped hyena, desert fox, mongoose and much more.
  • Accommodations 
  • Services of Nat Hab's professional Expedition Leader(s) 
  • Local guides and lodge staff 
  • All meals from breakfast on Day 2 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
  • Best Time of Year to Spot Tigers: Explore Ranthambore National Park at the optimal time of year for tiger sightings and photography—as the weather warms, tigers are drawn into the open in search of water
  • Diverse Wildlife Viewing: Look for other jungle wildlife, too: the park's dry deciduous habitat is home to sloth bear, leopard, sambar, chital, langur monkeys, pythons and more
  • India's Premier Naturalist Guides: Travel with top naturalist Expedition Leaders who are tiger experts, conservationists and all-around interpreters of this wildlife-rich ecosystem—you'll find no better guides!
Accommodations
Delhi: Taj Mahal Hotel 
Ranthambore: The Oberoi Vanyavilas
Delhi: Trident Gurgaon
Pre and Post Add-ons
Agra and the Taj Mahal Extension
3 Days / Apr – Jun, From $1595
 
Extend your India adventure with this journey to the fabled Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, impressive monuments to the imperial splendors of the Mughal age.
Notes
  • Group size limit is 6 travelers.
  • Internal Air Cost: $150 per person
  • 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 at a steady pace for at least one mile over uneven terrain, climb a short ladder to get into and out of our safari vehicles, and tolerate daily excursions in extremely hot conditions. Although we avoid the hottest part of the day during our outings, note that temperatures can be very high and may exceed 110°F. Activities include a city walking tour that could be as long as three miles, walking with luggage through crowded airports and train stations, and walking on sometimes dark and uneven paths at our accommodations. Wildlife drives in the park take place on very rough and bumpy dirt roads with many ruts and potholes, in extremely dusty conditions. Travelers 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 (before dawn) and long days filled with activities, which can be very tiring, especially in the heat.
  • 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 at any time on Day 1 of the itinerary. You are free to depart Delhi 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.