The Kerala Backwaters are a self supporting ecosystem. Its network of 900km of canals and lakes are created by 44 rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea and provide access to many villages, surrounded by coconut palms and paddy fields, whose rural ways of life are best observed from overnight houseboat excursions
Ideal for viewing: lion-tailed macaque, sloth bear, lesser frigatebird, Bonelli’s eagle, Asian elephant
Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest known density of Bengal tigers in India and over the years our clients have maintained an excellent record of sightings. Its rocky hills, grassy swamps and forested valleys create a diverse eco system, also home to other predators and mammals as well as 250 bird species.
Where: Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: chital, leopard, sloth bear, tiger, white-breasted kingfisher
Bharatpur consists of 29 sqkm of scrub, grassland and shallow wetland. The former duck-shooting reserve of the Maharajas it became a national park in 1982 and is now recognised as one of the finest waterbird sanctuaries in the world, home to more than 300 species, including the highly endangered Siberian cranes.
Corbett National Park lies at the base of the Himalayan foothills and it is this picturesque location that results in a rich variety of habitats ranging from lush green forests to high valley ridges, sustaining a good population of mammals, including tigers and exceptional birdlife with over 620 species recorded.
Ideal for viewing: golden jackal, rhesus macaque, tiger, wild boar, Asian elephant
This park stands in an elevated position in the Kannan Devan Hills of Kerala. Established to protect an endangered wild mountain goat, the Nilgiri tahr, the area is known for its stark beauty. Anamudi Peak (2,695 metres) stands at the centre of the park, its hillsides covered in rare orchids and wild balsams.
Ideal for viewing: leopard, nilgiri langur, nilgiri tahr, tiger
The forested Anamalai Hills contain one of Tamil Nadu’s most beautiful reserves. Its steep slopes are covered with deciduous jungle and bamboo thicket, where sightings of gaur, elephant and leopard are common. The birdlife is also prolific, with over 300 species. You can join a game drive in a park vehicle or walk with a guide.
Where: Tamil Nadu
Ideal for viewing: African elephant, sloth bear, tiger, wild boar, wild dog
Kanha National Park offers some of India’s finest tiger viewing. The setting for Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book, the undulating grassland and deciduous forest also supports a further 22 species of mammal and its waterholes create tranquil spots for bird watching in the peace of the surrounding jungle.
Where: Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: Asiatic jackal, barasingha, Indian gazelle, nilgai, tiger
Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO world-heritage site, is located on the Brahmaputra River, and is a rich natural habitat for the Asian one-horned rhino. The open country makes wildlife viewing at Kaziranga fairly easy, and it is also a paradise for birders – thousands of migratory birds visit the park seasonally.
Ideal for viewing: Asian one-horned rhino, leopard, jungle cat, fishing cat, Asian elephant
Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Tiger watching, Birdwatching
This wildlife sanctuary is a vast expanse of saline desert, which in the monsoon becomes a network of islands. Known as the last remaining home of the Asiatic wild ass, it is a conservation success story, with a population of over 2,000, usually seen in small herds. Birdlife is rich, and the area is an official Ramsar site.
Ideal for viewing: Asiatic wild ass, blackbuck, Indian gazelle, jungle cat, nilgai
Nagarhole is a mixture forests and rolling hills criss-crossed by streams, waterfalls and swamps. Formerly a Maharaja’s hunting reserve, it is now dedicated to saving wildlife, and is considered one of the best places in India to see elephant. In the summer months they congregate in large herds along the river.
Ideal for viewing: Asian elephant, striped hyena, Indian pangolin, brown mongoose
This beautiful sanctuary was established in 1979 along a vast stretch of India’s Chambal River. Numerous ravines, the product of centuries of soil erosion by flood and rain water, line its banks. The cliffs and vegetation shelter numerous birds, mammals and reptiles, and the river is one of India’s most pristine.
Where: Uttar Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: Gangetic river dolphin, gharial crocodile, Indian skimmer, marsh crocodile, smooth-coated otter
Panna National Park is one of India’s least explored parks and works as a brilliant itinerary combination with Bandhavgarh. Its environment is one of teak and dry deciduous forest, inter spread with open grasslands, woodlands and thorny woodlands, that create diverse habitats for many mammals and over 300 bird species.
Pench National Park, is renowned for the richness of its flora and fauna. Nestling in the Satpuda Hills, it takes its name from the nearby river, which winds through the park from north to south. Its most famous residents are tigers, but is also home to large herds of Indian bison and four endangered species of vulture.
High in the Cardamom Hills in southern India, Periyar has a diverse range of flora and fauna, with 1,800 species of flowering plant, 44 reptiles, 112 butterflies, and a wide range of birds and mammals. A popular activity is a boat trip on the lake to see herds of wild elephants frolicking in the water.
Ideal for viewing: African elephant, lion-tailed macaque, sloth bear, tiger, Asian elephant
Ranthambhore National Park is renowned for its tigers and stunning scenery. The crumbling ruins of numerous temples and a hilltop fort, dry dhok forest and tranquil lakes evoke its princely splendour. There are good opportunities to see many mammals and is therefore a popular inclusion to an itinerary.
Ideal for viewing: Indian gazelle, leopard, nilgai, sloth bear, tiger
Sasan Gir National Park preserves the remaining population of critically endangered Asiatic lion, whose territory once extended as far afield as Persia. The terrain is one of arid, rocky hills separated by deep, well-watered valleys, with beautiful stands of teak, acacia and dhak trees interspersed with grassy plains.
Satpura National Park is one of India’s most intriguing wildlife destinations. Walking safaris are encouraged here and hides have been built throughout its meadows, forested plateaux and mountains, which are shared by a number of mammal species, ensuring that the overall experience to be had makes it worth visiting.
Where: Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: sloth bear, wild dog, nilgai, sambar, leopard
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Tiger watching, Birdwatching
The world’s largest impenetrable mangrove forest covers 10,000 square kilometres of mudflats and tidal waterways in the Ganges Delta. Home to numerous birds and mammals – including over 250 tigers (albeit elusive) – the Sundarbans offer a unique wildlife experience, as game-viewing is done either by boat or from hides.
Velavadar is a peaceful sanctuary consisting of 35 square kilometres of savannah. Set between two rivers a few miles inland from the Gulf of Khambhat, the park is home to a couple of thousand endemic blackbuck. In former times these handsome antelopes were protected for hunting trips of the Maharajas of Bhavnagar.
Ideal for viewing: houbara bustard, Indian wolf, jackal, jungle cat, sarus crane
The Pachmari Sanctuary is part of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, a non use conservation unit. The park is home to rhesus macaque, Indian giant, and flying squirrel which are all endemic to this region. The park is also home to tiger, leopard, black buck and four-horned antelope as well as a wonderful variety of birds.
Where: Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: sloth bear, rhesus macaque, chital, Indian giant squirrel, wild dog
Bandipur National Park, located about 80 kilometres from Mysore, was established in 1974 and, like many of the other reserves in India, was once a maharaja’s private hunting area. It is a reasonably large park covering an area of just under 900 square kilometres and protects a number of India’s more interesting species.
Ideal for viewing: Asian elephant, leopard, brown mongoose, nilgiri langur, sloth bear
From the colourful white-bellied blue flycatcher and Malabar parakeet, Siberian stork, darter and steppe eagle Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a paradise for bird lovers. Located on the banks of Vembanad Lake along Kavanar River, the sanctuary is spread over five hectares and provides temporary home to many migrant birds.
Ideal for viewing: Siberian crane, malabar parakeet, white-bellied blue flycatcher, spot-bellied eagle owl, Brahminy kite
Excellent for: Walking safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching
With Bandipur National Park in the north and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in the west, Mudumalai forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, an important conservation area for the wildlife of Southern India. Its mixed environment with hills, watercourse swamps and tropical forests makes it an ideal home for a great variety of wildlife.
This trip offers opportunities to see and photograph a broad span of India’s fabulous wildlife, including one-horned rhinocerous, sloth bear, wild dog , gaur and tiger, in some of India’s quieter reserves.
Discover India’s unspoilt south on a trip that explores the backwaters of Kerala by houseboat, takes you to view elephants at Nagarhole National Park and provides guided walks, game drives and boat tours in Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Duration exc. international flights: 14 days
When to go
The optimum time to visit India is between October and March, when the heat is much more bearable and you are outside the downpours and soaring humidity of the monsoon period.
Dec to Feb: December and January are the coldest months of the year
Mar to May: April (in the west and south) and May (in the north) are the hottest months
Jun to Sep: The southwest monsoon sweeps across the country from late May or early June onwards
Oct to Nov: Often cloudless in the northwest, while in the south Tamil Nadu has its highest rainfall
Sep to Oct: Migrant birds join resident species in Bharatpur & Keoladeo
Mar to Apr: Grass recedes in Madhya Pradesh’s parks, good tiger spotting
Feb to Mar: Best time to see Asian one-horned rhino
Standing at the top of a small hill with breathtaking views over the forest and a nearby waterhole known to attract tigers, Pashan Garh lodge sits in the ideal location to enjoy the wildlife wonders of Panna National park.
Rock-End Manor is a small, well-restored, colonial bungalow. The property features six very comfortable, old-fashioned rooms with huge tiled bathrooms. The veranda offers fantastic views over the hills and of a flower garden.
This distinguished and sophisticated heritage resort lies on the bank of the beautiful lake Vembanad. Kumarakom Lake Resort offers personal and stylish accommodation in a unique natural setting, with luxurious amenities.
Orange County Resort is not only a place to stay but a whole experience in itself for the discerning mind. Surrounded by 150 hectares of coffee and spice plantations, between Dubare Reserve and the Cauvery River, this natural retreat is a luxury haven.
Spice Village Hotel offers an authentic flavour of the nature, culture and traditions of the Periyar region in comfort and luxury. An ‘earth experience’ of relaxation, ecology, mountain spirit and tribal wisdom!
Located on the Western Ghats, perched on a hilltop of cardamom and tea plantations, the Windermere Estate is a beautiful nature retreat with incredible views over Munnar estate close to Eravikulam National Park.