Join acclaimed prize-winning photographer Nick Garbutt to watch and photograph a broad span of India’s fabulous wildlife, including one-horned rhinoceros, sloth bear, wild dog , gaur and tiger, in some of India’s quieter reserves.
While several of India's more famous tiger reserves have become overcrowded and may prove unrewarding with regard to the wildlife experience they provide, tigers can still be seen in some lesser-known reserves, where the experience is memorable for the right reasons. This tour visits two such parks in Central India – Satpura and Tadoba – that are very different in character, yet complement each other. Both offer excellent general wildlife viewing as well as a realistic chance of seeing tigers and other large predators.
However in India it is all too easy to become preoccupied with one animal (the tiger) and judge the success of a tour around seeing it alone, yet the forests and remaining wild places of the subcontinent support a wealth of other charismatic species such as one-horned rhinoceros, sloth bear, wild dog (dhole) and gaur (Indian bison) that are also exciting to see and photograph. Daily sessions with Nick will enable you to pose questions you've always wanted to ask in situ and hone your photography talents.
There are three main areas to be explored in small safari vehicles: the western, central and eastern districts. The habitat is a mixture of forest patches, with extensive areas of marshland and lakes known as jheels. Rhinos are frequently encountered, and are best seen grazing the margins on the edges of the water. Encounters with herds of wild buffalo and elephants are also likely. Birdlife is prolific and is especially visible close to water, where there are large numbers of herons, egrets, waterfowl and raptors.
Day7: Return to Guwahati, and then an onward flight to Delhi for 1-night
Day8: Fly to Nagpur, then continue by road to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Morning flight to Nagpur, then a road transfer to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Our delightful lodge lies close to the edge of the park and is set adjacent to areas of open woodland that provide plenty of bird and other opportunities to watch wildlife.
We have three full days in the tiger reserve. Tadoba is arguably one of India’s most exciting and best protected tiger reserves, yet it has largely been overlooked by tourism until relatively recently (being overshadowed by more famous places like Kanha and Bandhavgarh). However, because it remains somewhat off the beaten track, it provides the potential for some wonderful wildlife experiences, including a realistic chance of good tiger sightings.
We explore the reserve primarily by jeep, which gives us the best chance of covering the most ground to maximise our chances of seeing and photographing tigers as well as the numerous other species in the park.
Day12: Drive to Pench National ParK
The distance between Tadoba and Satpura is too great to cover comfortably in a single day, so to break the journey we transfer to Pench National Park – itself a drive of around six hours.
With an early start we should have time for a late afternoon game drive on arrival, to enjoy a first taste of what Pench has to offer. Our accommodation, which lies just outside the northern reaches of the park, is a safari-style camp with twelve luxury tents with en suite bathrooms, set in the forest just outside the timeless Jamtara village.
We have a full day of game drives to explore Pench National Park, which nestles in the southern reaches of the Satpura Hills, and is named after the Pench River that flows through it from north to south. It is a mixture of moist deciduous forest mingled with dry deciduous teak forest. Many seasonal streams and nallahs cross the area, creating a rich habitat for for a great variety of species including chital, sambar, wild boar, jackal, leopard and tiger.
Day14: Drive to Satpura
After one last morning vehicle safari to uncover another part of Pench National Park, we then drive south on to Satpura National Park. Our delightful lodge lies close to the edge of the park and is set adjacent to areas of open woodland that provide plenty of bird and other opportunities to watch wildlife.
Days15-18: Explore Satpura National Park by boat, on elephant back, on foot and by vehicle safari
We have four full days to explore Satpura National Park, through a combination of jeep safaris, walks and boat trips on Tewa Reservoir. Close to the reservoir are large areas of more open grassland that provide good grazing for chital (spotted deer) and other smaller grazers. Away from the water the terrain is largely hilly and wooded, with many streams cutting deep, narrow gorges and ravines - a landscape that perfectly suits the reclusive habits of animals like sloth bears, leopards and tigers.
Day19: Drive to Bhopal and fly back to Delhi. 1-night
In the morning we get a last taste of Satpura’s great wilderness before driving to Bhopal for a flight back to Delhi.
Day20: Depart Delhi
You should note: New regulations in India’s national parks mean that safaris must be booked and paid in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. As places are limited, we recommend you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 20 daysfrom £5,095 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 19 daysfrom £4,295 pp
Single supplement: From £850
Group size: 10
When to go: Mar
Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
An award-winning photographer and author, with a background in zoology, Nick has forged a career by combining these skills with leading tours and lecturing.
Nick has written and photographed several critically acclaimed books, including: ‘100 Animals to See Before They Die’, ‘Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide’, ‘Wild Borneo’, and ‘Chameleons’. He is a regular contributor to international magazines such as National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Africa Geographic and Geographical.
Nick has twice been a winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. In 2000, he won the prestigious Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife. His photographs appear widely in books, calendars and other publications worldwide. He is a Special Lecturer on the MSc course in the Wildlife Photography and Imaging at Nottingham University, where he studied.
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.
Where: Assam State
Ideal for viewing: Asian one-horned rhino, leopard, jungle cat, fishing cat, Asian elephant
Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching
Pench National Park, is renowned for the richness of its flora and fauna. Nestling in the Satpura Hills, it takes its name from the nearby river, which winds through the park. Its most famous residents are tigers, but is also home to large herds of Indian bison and four endangered species of vulture.
Where: Madhya Pradesh
Ideal for viewing: chital, nilgai, sambar, tiger, gaur
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Wildlife Art Safaris, Vehicle safaris, Tiger safaris
Satpura National Park is one of India’s most intriguing wildlife destinations. Walking safaris are possible here and hides have been built in its meadows, forested plateaux and mountains, which are shared by a number of mammal species, including sloth bear, leopard and bison.
Where: Madhya Pradesh State
Ideal for viewing: sloth bear, wild dog, nilgai, sambar, leopard
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Bear watching
Tadoba Andhari is the largest national park in Maharastra and is becoming increasingly well-known for its tiger sightings, and is one of India’s 41 Project Tiger reserves. The park is bounded by the Chimur, Moharli and Kolsa ranges and is dominated by teak and bamboo forests.
Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Wildlife for families, Vehicle safaris, Tiger safaris, Birdwatching
Small and stylish, this eco-friendly property has been built with environmental and community considerations in mind. There are 12 air conditioned cottages with en-suite bathroom and verandah, and the exceptionally attentive staff is supported by in-house naturalist guides.
Jabiru Safari Lodge is located in 2,000 hectares of savannah woodland, grassland and freshwater wetland in the Atherton Tablelands. The lodge offers unique safari-style cabins so guests can enjoy the exceptional natural beauty of the Mareeba Wetlands and see over 200 species of birds alone.
Situated in the rural village of Jamtara, close to Pench National Park, the Camp’s exclusive position gives easy access to the Park on both sides of the river. Each of the 12 luxury tented rooms overlooks the forest, immersing guests in the jungle experience, and there is also an option to sleep under the stars.
Located barely 270 metres from the Kolara gate at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in north eastern Maharashtra, the luxurious Svasara Lodget promotes sustainable eco-tourism and conservation and offers guests a luxurious base from which to engage in the jungle experience.
This simple jungle lodge is situated beside a stream in paddy fields and forest outside Kaziranga National Park, the last stronghold of the one-horned Indian rhinoceros. It has 18 en suite rooms, and activities include wildlife safaris in the national park with a local naturalist guide, and nature walks.