India Tiger Quest: A Photo Safari
7 days with Natural Habitat Adventures Rating:
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 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: 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 and our ecolodge, 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 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.
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.
Delhi: Taj Mahal Hotel and Trident Gurgaon
Ranthambore: Khem Villas
Pre and Post Add-ons
Agra and the Taj Mahal Extension - 3 Days / Apr – Jun, From $1575
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.
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* 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.