This holiday offers a wonderful introduction to the wildlife and culture of northern India and includes stays at three iconic and much-loved reserves. We begin with a 4-night stay in Ranthambore National Park where we will take morning and afternoon game-drives to look for Tiger and other mammals, as well as a wealth of birds including flycatchers, minivets, sunbirds, kingfishers, and up to five species of owl. Next we take the express train north-east to Keoladeo Ghana National park (known as Bharatpur), one of India’s best birdwatching sites where we will stay for three nights before transferring to Chambal via Fatehpur Sikri. We’ll explore the River Chambal and its adjacent woodlands and pastures by boat and jeep, hoping to see Smooth-coated Otters, Gangetic River Dolphin and Indian Skimmer before it is time to drive to Agra where we will enjoy a cultural tour before heading back to Delhi for our flights home, or to Corbett National Park for a 5-day extension to the main tour.
- Explore Ranthambore National Park, Bharatpur & Chambal Sanctuary
- Tiger, Sloth Bear, Leopard & Chinkara possible, Ranthambore
- Ranthambore is home to over 300 bird species
- Sarus Crane & Siberian Rubythroat among the wealth of birdlife at Bharatpur
- Look for mammals such as Jungle Cat, Nilgai & Blackbuck, Bharatpur
- Includes visits to the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri
- Option to extend your holiday with a visit to Corbett National Park
- Led by expert naturalist guides
All inlcuded in the price, except for lunches and dinners in Delhi. Allow £20.
Comfortable tourist hotel in Delhi; comfortable forest lodges elsewhere. All rooms have private facilities.
Day 3/6 Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
Day 7/9 Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Day 10/11 National Chambal Sanctuary.
Day 12 Visit Agra. Overnight Delhi.
This new holiday offers a comprehensive introduction to the many fabulous facets of northern India, amongst them three much-loved and iconic wildlife reserves which are home to some of the subcontinent’s most enthralling wildlife. In Ranthambore we will search the woodlands, lakeshores and escarpments of this beautiful national park for its top predator, the Bengal Tiger, before moving to the world famous wetlands of Keoladeo Ghana National Park — more commonly known as Bharatpur — one of India’s very best birdwatching sites. We then visit the National Chambal Sanctuary through which the peaceful Chambal River flows, home to Gangetic River Dolphins, prehistoric-looking Gharial Crocodiles and an abundance of birdlife. Each offers a contrasting variety of landscapes and wildlife, to which we will add interest with visits to the greatest monuments of Moghul India — the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
Our holiday begins with a flight to India’s capital city, Delhi, from where we take an early morning train to Ranthambore National Park, arguably India’s most beautiful Tiger Reserve. Ranthambore is spread over an area of 392 square kilometres and is bounded by the Banas River in the north and by the Chambal River in the south. We have four nights in Ranthambore, based at the comfortable Pug Mark Lodge. From here we will take morning and afternoon game drives through park’s dry deciduous forest and around the lakes — which form the centrepiece of the reserve — in search of the elusive Bengal Tiger and the wonderful variety of other mammal and birdlife which lives in its shadow. Whether or not we see a Tiger, we cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer variety of other wildlife that calls Ranthambore home. This might include a chance encounter with a Sloth Bear, Leopard, or perhaps a Chinkara (Indian Gazelle). Marsh Mugger Crocodiles are common in the lakes and Bengal Monitor Lizards are frequently seen around their shores. The park is also home to over 300 species of bird including Black-rumped Flameback, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Purple Sunbird, Rufous-tailed Lark (an Indian endemic), Painted Spurfowl, Jungle Bush-quail, Small Minivet and Stork-billed Kingfisher. In addition, we have a chance of finding up to five species of owl, amongst them Brown Fish Owl, Dusky Eagle Owl and Collared Scops Owl.
We bid Ranthambore farewell and next travel by express train to Bharatpur. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park — as Bharatpur is less commonly, but correctly, known — offers a spectacle of birds that is unsurpassed on the Indian subcontinent! The series of man-made jheels (shallow lakes) that form the heart of the reserve were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries and used by the Maharajahs of Bharatpur from 1850 onwards to attract wildfowl to this man-made hunting preserve. Their phenomenal success in this aim provides us today with an unrivalled variety and number of waterbirds including Sarus Crane, Black-necked Stork and Cotton Pygmy Goose. Overhead soar many different birds of prey, whilst surrounding bush, forest and grassland provide cover for a wonderful selection of passerines, such as Siberian Rubythroat, Tickell’s Warbler and Orange-headed Thrush, together with mammals including Jungle Cat, Nilgai and Blackbuck. We will spend three nights at this wildlife haven before proceeding to Chambal, stopping en route to explore the fascinating abandoned Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri.
Finally we will stay for two nights at Chambal Safari Lodge, a former hunting lodge of the feudal chiefs of Jarar, tucked into 130 acres of woodland and pasture. The lodge is ideally located for exploring the reserve and the surrounding farmland, which is best done by boat and jeep. The highlight of our time here will be the boat ride on the calm and gentle waters of the Chambal River, which is the focus for all the sanctuary’s wildlife, including the rare Gangetic River Dolphin, Gharial and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, freshwater turtles and Smooth-coated Otter. The River Chambal is one of the country’s most beautiful and least polluted rivers and the National Chambal Sanctuary was created to protect a section of this pristine riverine ecosystem. The river and the adjacent woodlands and fields are a birdwatcher’s paradise and offer an opportunity to look for a wide variety of species such as Indian River Tern, Pallas’ Gull, the increasingly uncommon Black-bellied Tern and the bizarre Indian Skimmer which is often to be found resting on exposed sandbars.
Our tour ends back in Delhi, after a stop en route at Agra’s famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. However, for those of you wishing to stay longer, our extension to the north-east into the scenic forested hills and wide river valleys of Corbett National Park is thoroughly recommended.