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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.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

    Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi.

  2. Day 2: 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

  3. Day 3: 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.

    Accommodation: Jamtara Wilderness Camp, 3-nights

  4. Days 4-5 : 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. 

  5. Day 6: 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. 

    Accommodation: Singinawa Lodge, 7-nights

  6. Days 7-12 : 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. 

  7. Day 13: 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.

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 days from £5,995 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 days from £5,295 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,430
  • Group size: 10
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Domestic flights between Delhi-Nagpur and Jabalpur-Delhi
    • Transfers
    • 1 night hotel in Delhi
    • 3 nights tented lodge in Pench
    • 7 nights safari lodge in Kanha
    • Most meals
    • Field art, sculpture & photography workshops
    • Sculpture equipment, tools and clay
    • National park and camera fees
    • Services of local guides
  • Activities available:
    • Nature drive
    • Photography

Expert leaders

Nick Mackman

Photo of Nick Mackman

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.

Nick Garbutt

Photo of Nick Garbutt

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.

Featured locations:

Pench National Park

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

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
Featured accommodation:

Jamtara Wilderness Camp

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

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.