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Discover the remote wilderness of the Eastern Himalayas with wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt on a quest to view the endearing red panda, before continuing to Panna National Park in search of iconic Indian wildlife.

Our journey to discover many of India's exotic mammals starts by visiting Singalila National Park, an area of remote wilderness straddling the Indian-Nepal border. With its temperate broad-leaf and coniferous forest, it provides the ideal habitat to the elusive red panda. Staying at Habre’s Nest, a small lodge dedicated to the conservation of the red pandas of the region, we join specialist trackers on walks from the lodge to search for this secretive mammal.

Whilst the red panda is our main mammal to search for in Singalila, the national park is sure to provide us with many other spectacular wildlife encounters including yellow-throated marten, leopard cat, Himalayan serow and barking deer. The area is also a birder's paradise with a wonderful array of birds – over 300 species have been recorded here.

We then continue to Panna National Park, prime tiger country, but a park less visited than its more famous counterparts such as Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh. With an estimated population of 30 tigers in Panna, we set out on morning and afternoon jeep safaris to photograph this majestic big cat, whilst also observing other iconic Indian wildlife such as leopards, dhole, and sloth bears. Again, birders will not be disappointed with their time in Panna with over 200 species of birds to watch for.

Typical Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

  2. Day 2: Arrive Delhi

    We arrive late morning into Delhi and transfer the short distance to our hotel located near the airport.

    Accommodation: Hotel near Delhi airport, 1-night

  3. Day 3: Fly to Bagdogra, transfer to Darjeeling

    We depart Delhi this morning, flying to Bagdogra, from where we continue by road to the hill station of Darjeeling.

    Accommodation: The Elgin Darjeeling, 1-night

  4. Day 4: Transfer to Singalila National Park

    Leaving Darjeeling this morning, we begin our journey to Singalila National Park. The first part of our journey is the drive to Manebhanjen, where we then transfer into Land Rovers to complete our final ascent to Habre’s Nest travelling through the spectacular and rugged landscape of the Eastern Himalayas.

    We aim to reach the lodge in time for lunch and meet with the trackers who would have been out during the morning looking for red pandas. This will hopefully allow us to have our first walk in search of them this afternoon.

    Accommodation: Habre’s Nest, 5-nights

  5. Days 5-8 : Red panda tracking in Singalila National Park

    During our time based in Habre’s Nest, our days are likely to follow a similar pattern. After breakfast we set out of foot with our dedicated trackers in search of the red panda. Whilst most of the walking trails are accessible directly from the lodge, Land Rovers are at our disposal to transfer us to sightings made further afield. For those wanting to enjoy the rich birdlife of the area, there will be time in the early mornings to use Habre’s Nest in-house bird hide.

  6. Day 9: Transfer to Bagdogra, fly to Delhi

    This morning we depart Habre’s Nest by Land Rover, driving to Manebhajan before continuing by minibus to Bagdogra to catch our flight to Delhi.

    Accommodation: Hotel near Delhi airport, 1-night

  7. Day 10: Fly to Khajuraho, transfer to Panna National Park

    Departing Delhi on a morning flight to Khajuraho, we then have a short drive to Panna National Park where we are based for the next five-nights. We arrive in time for lunch at our lodge before enjoying our first safari in the park this afternoon.

    Accommodation: Sarai at Toria, 5-nights

  8. Days 11-14 : Explore Panna National Park

    During our four full days in Panna National Park we use small safari vehicles, setting out on morning and afternoon safaris each day. Amongst the beautiful waterfalls, dense teak forest and grasslands, we will be on the lookout for not only the majestic tiger but hope to encounter sloth bear, leopard and dhole, along with many other iconic Indian mammals and exotic birdlife.

  9. Day 15: Transfer to Khajuraho, fly to Delhi

    Before departing Panna National Park for our flight to Khajuraho to Delhi, there will be time to enjoy one final morning safari drive. 

    Accommodation: Hotel near Delhi airport, 1-night

  10. Day 16: Fly to the UK

    We depart Delhi on an early afternoon flight to London, arriving later the same day.

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 16 days from £7,295 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 15 days from £6,695 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,650
  • Group size: 6
  • Departures:
    1. , Fully booked
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return flights between Delhi – Bagdogra & Delhi - Khajuraho
    • 4 nights hotel accommodation
    • 10 nights lodge accommodation
    • Most meals (breakfast only in Delhi, full board elsewhere)
    • Transfers
    • Photographic tuition
    • Park fees
  • Activities available:
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking

Expert leader

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:

Singalila National Park

Lying on the India-Nepal border on the Singalila Ridge, Singalila National Park is one of the most exotic Himalayan forests in India. The park is one of the best locations within India to search for the elusive red panda and is a birder's paradise with more than 300 species found here.

  • Where: West Bengal
  • Ideal for viewing: red panda, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, barking deer, yellow-throated marten
  • Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Birdwatching

Panna National Park

Panna National Park is one of India’s least explored parks and combines very well with Bandhavgarh. Its environment is one of teak and dry deciduous forest, mixed with open grasslands, woodlands and thorny woodlands, that create diverse habitats for many mammals and over 300 bird species.

  • Where: Madhya Pradesh State
  • Ideal for viewing: desert cat, jungle cat, nilgai, rusty-spotted cat, tiger
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Tiger safaris
Featured accommodation:

Habre’s Nest

Located in Kaiakata near the India-Nepal border, Habre’s Nest offers a unique homestay style experience combined with wildlife research and conservation. A small property of just four bedrooms, all offering sunset views, Habre’s Nest is perfectly positioned for searching for the region's red pandas.

Sarai at Toria

The Sarai at Toria sits on the riverside, close to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, an area of natural beauty and wonderful history. Covering three hectares, the grassland and jungle of this eco-friendly retreat attracts colourful dragonflies, a host of bird life and many mammals.