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Not Just Tigers! Satpura - Best of Central India

Tour Code: IND45

A 10-day holiday to the most scenic and peaceful of central India's Tiger Reserves, the little-known Satpura National Park, in search of a classic selection of birds and mammals, inlcuding Leopard, Sloth Bear, Asian Wild Dog, Gaur and Indian Giant Squirrel.

10 days from £2595(inc flights) Land Only Price: £2095 SRS: £395 + an optional 4-day extension
+ an optional 4-day extension


Satpura National Park is one of the most spectacular and rewarding of India's Tiger Reserves. It is little-known and attracts relatively few visitors, having only two (excellent) tourist lodges. Mammalian highlights during a visit to Satpura are likely to include Leopard, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Asian Wild Dog and Indian Giant Squirrel, while birds such as Indian Skimmer, Bar-headed Goose, Grey Junglefowl, both Red and Painted Spurfowl, hornbills, babblers and bee-eaters are among its avian specialities. As well as traditional jeep safaris in Satpura, walking safaris are permitted in designated areas of the park, and you can explore the shores and inlets of Tawa reservoir by boat or canoe. We stay in two superb wildlife eco-lodges during our visit to Satpura and for those who wish to stay longer and go in search of Tigers we recommend an extension to Kanha National Park.

  • Stay in luxury lodges within central India’s most scenic & peaceful Tiger Reserve
  • Leopard, Sloth Bear, Asian Wild Dog, Gaur & Indian Giant Squirrel
  • Sambar, Chital, Blackbuck, Rhesus Macaques, Mouse Deer, Nilgai & Chousingha
  • Birds include Tawny-bellied Babbler, Blue-bearded Bee-eater & Malabar Pied Hornbill
  • Explore on foot, by elephant-back & by canoe
  • Visit the 10,000-year-old rocks at Bhimbetka
  • Led by expert local guides
  • Optional extension to Kanha National Park for Tiger watching recommended

 

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

A luxury, historic 'palace hotel' in Bhopal, and a fabulous wildlife lodge in Satpura. All rooms have private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Bhopal

Day 3/8 Satpura National Park

Day 9 Fly London, via Mumbai

Day 10 Arrive London

In the rugged heart of India lies one of the most spectacular and rewarding of Tiger Reserves, Satpura National Park. A haven for wildlife, thankfully it is little-known and attracts relatively few visitors, having only two tourist lodges. Yet it is one of the key players in the chain of central Indian Tiger Reserves designed to protect one of India’s most extensive Tiger landscapes. Satpura is, quite simply, classic Tiger country. Here, open woodland, dense forest and grassy meadows rise from the shores of the Tawa reservoir in a series of hills, plateaux and sheer red sandstone cliffs to the Pachmarhi plateau and the peak of Dhoopgarh — the highest point of central India. It is a stunningly beautiful landscape — gnarled, eroded and fissured, with plunging gorges, rushing streams, ruined temples, ancient cave art and Stone Age rock paintings, plus a wealth of biodiversity unmatched in central India. Indeed it is thought that the Satpura Hills once formed the montane corridor between the eastern Himalaya and the Western Ghats before the softer rock on either side of Pachmarhi eroded to leave an isolated ‘highland island’ supporting many species of plants and animals that have long since disappeared elsewhere in central India. Indian Giant Squirrels and Indian Mouse-deer, for example, still occur, and the skies are often patrolled by Black Eagles and Mountain Hawk-eagles. 

With such a range of habitats and altitudes, Satpura offers a wealth of wildlife-viewing that is amongst the best in India. Nowhere else are Gaur (the giant Asian Bison), the much sought-after Sloth Bear and the elusive Asian Wild Dog so abundant and easily seen. These species, together with the beautiful Indian Giant Squirrel and the Leopard (which is relatively common here), make up Satpura’s ‘big five’. Sambar, Chital, Muntjac, Nilgai, Blackbuck, Wild Boar, Rhesus Macaques and Common Langurs, Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, and even the elusive Chousingha, may also be seen, while Indian Skimmer, Bar-headed Geese, Grey Junglefowl, both Red and Painted Spurfowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Blue-bearded Bee-eater and Tawny-bellied Babbler are amongst Satpura’s avian specialities. 

What we hope you will not see here is a Tiger! It is true that there are plenty of them in Satpura (at least 40 within its 1,503 square kilometres), but these are wild Tigers — fearful and wary of you. They are not habituated to man, as the Tigers of Ranthambore, Kanha and Bandhavgarh have become. They will not stroll amongst your jeeps, or lounge at the feet of your elephant; but they will watch you from afar, and endeavour to avoid you. At least, that is what we hope; for once Satpura’s Tigers lose their natural shyness, this fabulous Tiger Reserve will be swamped with tourists, and the tranquillity of this most spectacular of Tiger Reserves will be lost. So, if you should be so lucky as to see a Tiger here, enjoy a rare and natural sighting and keep it to yourself! 

But there is so much more that is special about Satpura. Here, unlike in any other Tiger Reserve of north or central India, you may walk in designated areas of the park, and truly absorb the sounds, sights, smells, signs, tracks and so on of so thrilling an environment as ‘Tiger country’. Here you may explore the shores and inlets of Tawa reservoir by boat or canoe, paddled by local fishermen, in search of a rich spectacle of waterbirds and other wetland wildlife. Perhaps you will choose to explore the forest by elephant-back and, with just 12 jeeps currently permitted to enter the park at any time, game drives in Satpura will be as rewarding and enjoyable as they get!  

What’s more, Satpura is easy to reach. It lies just a 3-hour drive from the modern airport of Bhopal, and allows a visit to the fascinating 10,000-year-old rock shelters of Bhimbetka en route. Best of all, in this clean, peaceful and scenic part of rural India, just three luxury lodges service Satpura. They are amongst India’s leading ‘eco-lodges’, so good that we stay in one of these lodges for six nights. We are confident that you will love Satpura and, if you are really concerned that you may not see a Tiger, we offer an optional extension to Kanha National Park, where the Tigers are rather more obliging!

 

 

Reni Pani swimming pool, SatpuraReni Pani, SatpuraReni Pani bedroom, SatpuraReni Pani dining room, SatpuraReni Pani, SatpuraReni Pani, SatpuraSatpuraReni Pani Jeep, SatpuraMarsh Mugger Crocodile, Satpura (David Raju)Indian Giant Squirrel (David Raju)Gaur, Satpura (David Raju)Leopard, SatpuraLeopard, SatpuraSloth Bears (David Raju)Sambar, SatpuraGaur and Spotted Deer, Satpura (David Raju)Leopard, Satpura (David Raju)Jungle Cat (David Raju)Chital, or Spotted DeerBlack Buck, Satpura (David Raju)Sambar (David Raju)River Terns (David Raju)Ruddy Shelducks (David Raju)Indian Skimmers (David Raju)Chameleon, Satpura (David Raju)Common Jezebelle (David Raju)Forsyth's Lodge, SatpuraForsyth's Lodge, SatpuraForsyth's Lodge, SatpuraMale Sambar, SatpuraElephant ride in SatpuraSpotted Deer (David Raju)Bar-headed Geese (David Raju)Fisherman at dusk, SatpuraDholeDholesSloth Bear with cubs (copyright Pradeep Singh)Sloth Bear
O.K.
Surrey
Brilliantly organised. Cannot praise the taxi company from Bhopal more. Staff at the lodges did everything to make us feel welcome. Excellent tour guides. Fantastic food. Best coffee in the world. Unforgettable Christmas lunch and dinner.
D.H.
Hertfordshire
This is a brilliant holiday for people who have a wide range of zoological/botanical interests, not just spotting Tigers etc. The leaders and other staff went out of their way to make this holiday enjoyable.
N.H.
Hertfordshire
Everything went extremely smoothly, and Naturetrek did a wonderful job in paying great attention to detail as usual. The lodges were superb, especially Forsyth's Lodge, and the tour leaders were incredibly knowledgeable, and did their best to locate the wildlife we were searching for. It was my first visit to India, and Satpura was the perfect introduction. Many thanks to Rajan for his help arranging our trip beforehand, and to our excellent leaders Aly and David.
R.B.
Warwickshire
Satpura is a very special place, it is a beautiful National Park. I had a great holiday, with a lovely group.
G.B.
Worcestershire
We were very lucky to have experienced exceptionally good sightings of everything feathered and furry! Wonderful.
J.R.
Berkshire
The guides at Satpura were outstanding. Dilip Saini was a good trip leader, well organised and knowledgeable, and I would happily go on a trip led by him in the future. I enjoyed the whole experience at Satpura, with the 'eco' accommodation, enthusiastic guides and lodge staff, and the sheer variety of activities: canoe safari, boat trip, evening/night drive, half day and whole day game drives, walk in the core zone, short walk to see the rock paintings at Churna, walks from the Forsyth Lodge. The variety of mammals, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, trees and other fauna/flora encountered all contributed to the enjoyment and interest of the trip. The relatively small number of visitors to the park, the short boat ride across the river to reach the core zone, the friendly villagers including children who photographed us with their mobiles as we drove past, made for a very special experience.
M.D.
Derbyshire
I can recommend this trip to anyone wanting a really great wildlife experience. The two lodges were both excellent and our guides, David and Aly, both extremely knowledgeable and informative. Under their guidance we saw both bears and a wonderful leopard besides great birding.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 3rd November 2017 - Sun 12th November 2017

FULL

£3595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 22nd December 2017 - Sun 31st December 2017

2

£2895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2395 More info

Room sharing options: Female sharing is available More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 9th March 2018 - Sun 18th March 2018

YES

£2595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 9th November 2018 - Sun 18th November 2018

YES

£2595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 21st December 2018 - Sun 30th December 2018

YES

£2895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 25th January 2019 - Sun 3rd February 2019

YES

£2595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 1st November 2019 - Sun 10th November 2019

YES

£2595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Fri 20th December 2019 - Sun 29th December 2019

YES

£2895

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Kanha extension , Satpura extensionMore info

Visiting: India

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Tour Extensions

If you wish to prolong your holiday we offer the following extensions.

Kanha extension
Satpura extension

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Rajan Jolly
Operations Manager

Email Rajan

01962 733051

Tour Focus

BirdsMammals

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

Brilliantly organised. Cannot praise the taxi company from Bhopal more. Staff at the lodges did everything to make us feel welcome. Excellent tour guides. Fantastic food. Best coffee in the world. Unforgettable Christmas lunch and dinner.
O.K., Surrey