Join award winning sculptor Nick Mackman and acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt, in the steps of Rudyard Kipling on this once-in-a-lifetime art safari in India’s Pench and Kanha National Parks.
Wildlife photography, art and sculpture are very different, yet complimentary. This tour combines morning and afternoon vehicle safaris (when light conditions are at their best) with practical demonstrations and tuition in the field, which participants can then interpret into photos, sketches and sculptures.
Be it sights, sounds or smells, there's nowhere quite like India for tantalising the senses. Few places are more evocative or magical than its ancient forests, shrouded in early morning most, where shafts of light spear through the trees and there is a glorious display of golds, oranges and greens. Starting in Pench, we explore its quieter corners dominated by teak forests covering rolling hills, before continuing to a delightful lodge on the southern edge of Kanha National Park, an area that has close ties with local creative communities and offers an ideal environment for our workshops. Kanha provides one of Central India's finest all-round wildlife experiences – a magical place, where large meadows form focal points for wildlife, such as wild dogs (dhole), sloth bears and leopards, as well as tigers and also gaur, chital and sambar.
Throughout the art safari, our experts will be with you to offer all the advice and tuition you need, from observation skills and camera basics to composition techniques and sketchbook work.
Day1: Depart UK
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi.
Arrive in Delhi and transfer downtown to our hotel for the night. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel in Delhi, 1-night
Day3: Transfer to Pench National Park
We take a morning flight to Nagpur and then an onward drive (three and a half hours) to our delightful tented lodge, remotely located near the village of Jamtara on the northwestern edge of Pench National Park. In the afternoon we go on our first vehicle safari in the park.
Days4-5: Explore Pench National Park: field art & photography workshops
We have two full days in Pench National Park, with morning and afternoon vehicle safari on each day. Using small safari vehicles we explore areas of teak forest, grassy meadows and open areas adjacent to the large reservoirs that occupy central positions within the park. These areas provide good grazing and so attract large numbers of herbivores and this in turn of course means they are prime hunting areas for wild dogs and tigers.
Day6: Transfer to Kanha National Park
We have a final morning vehicle safari in Pench, before driving (approximately five hours) to our delightful lodge near the Mukki Gate on the southeast edge of Kanha National Park.
Days7-12: Explore Kanha National Park: sculpture & photography workshops
After a period of instability and frustrating bureaucracy, Kanha is thriving once again and the park has consolidated a reliable reputation for tiger sightings, with good potential for photography. The park is situated in the Maikal hills, in the Satpura range, and provides a quintessential Central India experience. It is without doubt one of the country’s most diverse reserves and has been a Project Tiger reserve since 1974.
Our location near the Mukki Gate allows us access many of the best areas for tigers and other wildlife as well as offering plenty of opportunities to escape into quieter corners of the park. Early mornings in areas of sal forest can be particularly evocative and picturesque.
We have six full days in Kanha with morning and afternoon vehicle safaris to maximise sightings and build on skills of observation and photography. Between safaris, in the middle of the day, we can concentrate on our sculpture and with expert help from Nick Mackman, turn our animal observations into realistic and dynamic pieces of ceramic art.
Day13: Fly to Delhi & onward to the UK
Leaving early morning we drive to Jabalpur and fly to Delhi airport where we connect with our international return flight to the UK, arriving later the same day.
You should note: No prior experience or knowledge is required; all tools and clay are provided. This trip is operating immediately before our India’s Wild Cats, photography tour, also led by Nick Garbutt.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 daysfrom £5,995 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 daysfrom £5,295 pp
Single supplement: From £1,430
Group size: 10
Included in the price/package:
Domestic flights between Delhi-Nagpur and Jabalpur-Delhi
1 night hotel in Delhi
3 nights tented lodge in Pench
7 nights safari lodge in Kanha
Field art, sculpture & photography workshops
Sculpture equipment, tools and clay
National park and camera fees
Services of local guides
Nick is an award-winning ceramic sculptor, who gains inspiration from the full breadth of the animal kingdom. The majority of her pieces are based on observations of animals in the field.
She aims to get under the skin of the animal, giving each sculpture its own personality. Many of her subjects are highly endangered and, in depicting them, she seeks to enlighten the viewer to their beauty, humour and tenderness.
Her work is widely exhibited in international collections, and in 2010 she won the Wildlife Artist of the Year Open Category. In 2012 was again a category winner and overall runner-up. Each year she makes the trophies for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. In 2015 she won the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation 2015 Artist of the Year award with her fantastic collection of ceramic warthogs.
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.
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
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 surrounding jungle.
Where: Madhya Pradesh State
Ideal for viewing: Asiatic jackal, barasingha, Indian gazelle, nilgai, tiger
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Wildlife Art Safaris, Vehicle safaris, Tiger safaris
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.
Singinawa Jungle Lodge offers unique accommodation in the heart of Kanha National Park, with 12 tastefully designed cottages, set in 55 acres of grasslands, together with a spa and swimming pool. Enjoy jeep safaris with the in-house naturalist guides in search of India’s spectacular wildlife.