Marco’s love of ethology and species adaptations translates perfectly to a wildlife safari in India
The largest of all felids, Bengal Tigers are powerful, solitary hunters . © Jonathan Rossouw
The Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is named for its single, thick horn of keratin. The heavy, armor plate-like skinfolds further enhance its strangely prehistoric appearance. © Giovanna Fasanelli
One of the most striking of all pheasants, the Indian or Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is entirely restricted to the Indian sub-continent. © Giovanna Fasanelli
The rarest of all wildlife sightings on an Indian safari is the nocturnal, insect-eating Sloth Bear. © Giovanna Fasanelli
The strictly vegetarian Gray Langur is also known locally as Hanuman Langur, a reference to the humanoid deity who was an ardent devotee of Rama. © Jonathan Rossouw
The Indian Roller is a sit-and-wait hunter of open habitats across South Asia. © Jonathan Rossouw
India Wildlife Safari
Travelers throughout history have feasted their senses on India’s intoxicating mix of fascinating culture, dramatic landscapes, and abundant wildlife. On this comprehensive 15-day India wildlife safari, journey from the bustling bazaars of Delhi to the tranquil teak forests of Madhya Pradesh. Set off on exciting tiger safaris amidst the teak forests of Pench National Park, and walking safaris in search of Sloth Bear in Satpura and Greater One-horned Rhinoceros on the banks of the fabled Brahmaputra River. While the primary focus is the charismatic megafauna of the Indian Subcontinent, your India expedition exposes the incomparable cultural and scenic diversity of this ancient land.
- Travel by Air
- Travel by Road
- Travel by Boat
- Travel by Bullet Train
- Travel by Rail
- Travel by Dog Sled
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel. The day is yours to explore this vibrant cultural melting pot. Delhi consists of two starkly different worlds: upscale New Delhi was built as the seat of government for the British Raj; Old Delhi served as the capital of the Mughal Empire. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and briefing at the hotel. Overnight at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Delhi / Bhopal / Satpura National Park
Depart Delhi early on a flight to Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. From there, a picturesque drive will take you to the sandstone peaks and narrow ravines of Satpura National Park. Satpura, covering roughly 200 square miles, is part of an ambitious government initiative that seeks to preserve and reclaim dwindling forests and repopulate the area with endangered wildlife. Dinner and overnight at the small Reni Pani Jungle Lodge at the edge of the Satpura Tiger Reserve.
Satpura National Park
Early this morning, cross the Denwa River in a 4×4 to watch the Satpura Reserve come alive. Satpura is located in a transition zone between the forests of eastern India and Western India—the careful observer will notice stands of both Teak and Sal—and this affords the privilege of being at the exact place where several habitats overlap. The area is home to Gaur, a bison-like animal that is the largest of all the world’s bovids; the world’s only four-horned antelope, the Chousingha; and the Rhesus Macaque. The impressive Malabar Giant Squirrel, an unusual species for Central India, has also been spotted here. But of all the park’s denizens, it is the Sloth Bear for which Satpura is most famous, for nowhere else on Earth are these typically elusive and reclusive creatures more conspicuous. Explore the reserve on foot or take another 4×4 safari to its outer reaches, constantly alert for any sign of the presence of this spectacular animal. Dinner and overnight at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge.
Satpura / Pench National Park
Leave Satpura this morning for a scenic day’s drive past picture-perfect teak forests and jungle streams and arrive this afternoon in Pench National Park and Tiger Reserve. Immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in “The Jungle Book,” Pench’s terrain is characterized by both dry, deciduous forest and undulating grasslands, making it choice habitat for a staggering diversity of wildlife, including one of the highest densities of herbivores of any Indian park. Dinner and overnight at Jamtara Wilderness Lodge, in the heart of rural Pench outside the park.
Pench National Park
This India wildlife park gets its name from the Pench River, which winds through it like a python, adding a number of aquatic species to an already long list of wildlife. Renowned as an ever-more-reliable location for India’s apex predator, the iconic Bengal Tiger, Pench is also home to the elusive Asiatic Leopard and the handsome Dhole, or Asiatic Wild Dog. It’s also a bird-watcher’s dream, with over 250 recorded species, including the impressive Malabar Pied Hornbill, Crested Serpent-Eagle and Madhya Pradesh’s State Bird, the Yellow-footed Green Pigeon. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives and guided walks, watching herds of elegant Chital, or Spotted Deer, often accompanied by foraging troops of elegant, long-tailed Hanuman Langurs. Dinners and overnights at Jamtara Wilderness Lodge.
Pench / Kanha National Park
After breakfast, travel past rich farmland and colorful villages to Kanha National Park. This 366-square-mile preserve was established to save the endangered Barasingha, or Swamp Deer, before being declared part of the Project Tiger network. Take an afternoon wildlife safari, before returning for dinner and overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge, at the edge of the park.
Kanha National Park
Kanha’s magnificent Sal forests are home to prolific wildlife, notably India’s largest population of tigers, and your time in this wildlife Mecca will focus on experiencing firsthand this most regal of big cats. Beginning every day before dawn, enter the park with morning mists still hanging over dew-drenched meadows. At sunrise, the forests resound with bird song, from the quiet purring of Jungle Owlets and rich melodies of Orange-headed Thrushes to the raucous crowing of Red Junglefowl. Be especially alert to the warning barks of Sambar, Chital or Barking Deer that may lead to a a majestic Bengal Tiger padding through the forest. While seeing tigers will undoubtedly be foremost in your mind, you may also cross paths with Golden Jackal, Ruddy Mongoose, Wild Boar, or the impressive Gaur.
Ascend the plateau of Bamni Dadar for panoramic views over the park far below. Flamboyant Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Red-whiskered Bulbuls and flocks of Scarlet Minivets enliven the treetops, and in the arid scrub of the plateau you may be lucky enough to glimpse the elusive Chousingha. This remote part of Madhya Pradesh still preserves its rural tradition, and between excursions into the park you’ll visit a nearby school for a taste of local village life. The lodge is also renowned for its fine Indian cuisine and you may choose to partake in a cooking demonstration.
Kanha / Raipur / Kolkata
After a last morning wildlife safari drive in Kanha, head east through rural villages to Raipur, in the state of Chhattisgarh. Transfer to the airport and fly to Kolkata, where you have time for dinner before the overnight at Swissotel.
Kolkata / Guwahati / Kaziranga
Rise early this morning for a flight east to India’s principal tea-growing region, Assam, on the fertile plains of the Brahmaputra River. Land in Guwahati and continue by road to Kaziranga National Park, global stronghold of the prehistoric-looking Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. Once hunted to near-extinction, this rhino’s numbers have now rebounded to more than 1,600, two-thirds of which are found within this park. Kaziranga is also home to the highest density of tigers, although the density of the Elephant Grass makes seeing this elusive cat unlikely. Dinner and overnight at Diphlu River Lodge, in traditional stilt cottages set amongst lush bamboo groves.
Bordering the sacred Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga National Park is a World Heritage site and one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas of eastern India. Morning and afternoon game drives will reveal the park’s 160 square miles of Elephant Grass, marshland and dense, tropical, moist broadleaf forests. Aside from Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and the elusive tigers, the park is home to Asian Elephants, one of only two populations of wild Water Buffalo in existence, Barasingha, Hog Deer, and Indian Rock Python. It has also been deemed by Birdlife International an Important Bird Area, due to its population of both Lesser and Greater Adjutant Storks and the scarce and endangered Bengal Florican, as well as the abundant herons, migrant waterfowl and shorebirds that often throng its oxbow lakes, or jheels. A visit to the banks of the Brahmaputra may reveal watchful Grey-headed Fish Eagle or even the rare Gangetic Dolphin foraging in midstream. Gather at our lodge Friday night for a festive farewell dinner. Overnights at Diphlu River Lodge.
Kaziranga / Guwahati / Delhi
Drive back to Guwahati for an afternoon flight to Delhi. Transfer to the Pride Plaza Hotel, near the airport, for dinner. Rooms are booked for the night, although many flights depart late this evening, or early the following morning.
Transfer very early this morning to the airport for your international flights home.
- March 26 – April 9, 2019
- Leaders Marco Tonoli
- $11,970 Per Person Rate
- $14,580 Solo Rate
- 15 days Trip Length
- 10 guests
- New Delhi Start/End
In addition to all tour services from arrival in New Delhi, trip price includes all gratuities, services of an Apex expedition leader and local guides throughout, flights as noted in the itinerary (New Delhi/Bhopal, Raipur/Kolkata, Kolkata/Guwahati, Guwahati/New Delhi), plus local beer and wine with lunch and dinner daily.
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The Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
Largest of the three Asian species of horned pachyderms, the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros is one of the world’s most impressive animals. In addition to the single, thick horn of keratin that gives it its name, this gigantic animal sports heavy, armor plate-like skinfolds that only enhance its strangely prehistoric appearance. One-horned Rhinoceros have seen their range reduced to a few tiny remnants, islands of habitat in a sea of humanity. Watching these behemoths wallow in their mudbaths, as the dawn mists lift off the elephant grass, is like stepping back in time.