This deluxe tour, through the heartland of wild India, combines the opportunity to enjoy wildlife viewing in two of India’s finest Tiger Reserves with visits also to some of the great monuments of Moghul India, including the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Above all, this tour offers you the opportunity to enjoy it all from the comfort of some of India’s very best hotels and luxury lodges, and we spare no expense in ensuring the utmost quality of all aspects of this holiday whilst maintaining a competitive price.
We begin in the capital, where we stay at the tranquil 5-star Holiday Inn hotel. This splendid hotel is located near the airport and boasts a large swimming pool as well as a spa and health centre. Whilst here, we offer keen birdwatchers a visit to Sultanpur National Park and the more culturally minded an optional tour of some of the monuments of Old Delhi.
Next we travel to Kanha, taking a comfortable flight to Jabalpur or Nagpur followed by a scenic drive into the heart of rural Madhya Pradesh where Kanha National Park is situated. Our delightful base for a 3-night stay here is Kanha Earth Lodge, a world class lodge in the Tiger heartland, or Tiger Corridors, a luxury tented camp hosting a maximum of just 16 guests in eight air-conditioned tents, each with its own bathroom and verandah and each occupying a private setting within wooded grounds which also hold a lovely swimming pool. Tiger Corridors is located near the Kisli entrance to the park, giving us access to the best area in Kanha for sightings of Tigers, the park’s wealth of other large mammals, and abundant birdlife.
It will take us all day to drive, on rough roads, through the Vindhyan Hills and the farmlands and villages of Madhya Pradesh, to Bandhavgarh National Park and Tiger Reserve. Once there we will settle in for a 3-night stay at Kings Lodge, a group of luxury chalets with their own private swimming pool set in 12 acres of forest. Each spacious chalet has a luxurious attached bathroom whilst, in the dining room and lounge area, delicious Indian cuisine and a good library may be enjoyed.
During our time at Kanha and Bandhavgarh we will strike out twice daily on morning and evening game drives into the parks, rising at dawn and returning at dusk, though enjoying a lengthy midday siesta. Whilst Tigers can never be guaranteed, the combination of these two top Tiger Reserves within a week gives you the best chance you could have in that period. Tigers may sometimes be encountered from the jeep but, should the government elephants and their mahouts, who usually track the Tigers on a daily basis, locate an animal in the forest or grasslands away from the jeep tracks. Our aim, though, is to observe, enjoy and photograph all the many species of mammals — amongst them Sambar, Spotted and Swamp Deer, Common Langur and Rhesus Monkeys, Gaur (the huge Asiatic Bison), Wild Boar, Asiatic Jackal, Jungle Cat and, with luck, perhaps even a Leopard, Wolf, Dhole (the Indian Wild Dog) or Sloth Bear — as well as a wealth of birdlife.
Journeying onwards, the overnight sleeper train from Katni to Agra may not quite offer the high standard of accommodation to which we have become accustomed, but it is, nonetheless, an experience, and one that is rewarded with a day to relax, and a night in one of the world’s finest hotels, the 5-star Trident hotel, located close to India’s most beautiful monument — the Taj Mahal — there is no better base from which to enjoy the Moghul splendour of the Taj itself, nearby Agra Fort and the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, and no better way to complete our holiday (unless, of course, you choose to extend it with a visit to Ranthambore, in Rajasthan, one of the most picturesque of the Tiger Reserves).