Please note: this page gives details of our 2010 trip.

For details of our 2011 trip please click here

 

NORTHERN INDIA

a classic tour combining birds, tigers and the Taj Mahal

 

 

"Many thanks for a wonderful trip to Northern India. A great mix of birds, beasts and cultural experiences. We thought to trip was very well organised...."......  Mr and Mrs S, South Yorkshire

 

 

 

 

For anyone with a love of natural history, the chance to see a magnificent Bengal Tiger in the wild is an opportunity not to be missed. At the Project Tiger reserve of Kanha, there is an excellent chance to see these magnificent creatures, alongside numerous other animals and birds. Add to this a classic tour of Northern India’s Golden Triangle: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, plus the delights of Bharatpur, and you have the ingredients of a truly epic wildlife and cultural holiday.

 

Chambal Safari Lodge is a great place to see Indian Skimmer, as well as Gangetic Dolphin and Gharial. At Bharatpur, our quarry includes Black-necked Stork, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Sarus Crane. In the semi-desert of Rajasthan we will look for Desert Wheatear, Indian Courser and White-capped Bunting. The forest at Kanha holds Red-naped Ibis, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Indian Scimitar-babbler. The Amber Fort and Taj Mahal provide a distraction from the birding just long enough to give us an appetite for more birds. We will spend two nights in Delhi, two nights at Chambal Safari Lodge near Agra, three nights at Bharatpur, two nights in Jaipur and four nights at Kanha, giving us plenty of time to find all these birds and more….

 

ITINERARY

 

DELHI

Our flight arrives in Delhi a little before midnight, so it is a relief that our hotel for the first two nights is not far away.

 

Our first full day will be spent birding at a leisurely pace in the vicinity of Delhi. In the morning we will visit the Yumuna River, with its abundant ducks, waders, herons, gulls and terns. In the afternoon we will visit Okhla reserve. Key species in the marshes include Indian Shag, Bar-headed Goose, River Lapwing, White-tailed Plover, Great Black-headed Gull, Brown-headed Gull, Rosy Pipit, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Striated Babbler and Black-breasted Weaver.

 

CHAMBAL SAFARI LODGE

The following morning we will leave Delhi, travelling to Chambal Safari Lodge, just east of Agra, for a stay of two nights. Here we will take a boat trip to see Gharials, Muggar Crocodiles and Gangetic Dolphins, and we have a great chance of seeing Indian Skimmer and Great Thick-knee.

 

BHARATPUR

On day five we will drive west to Bharatpur, and the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, for a stay of three nights. En route we will visit the Taj Mahal at Agra, allowing plenty of time to walk around the grounds and inside this magnificent building.

 

Hardly needing introduction, Bharatpur is one of the most famous bird reserves in the world.

 

Walking along raised banks we can expect Bluethroats in abundance, along with small numbers of Siberian Rubythroats and Smoky Warblers. Waterside trees hold Marshall’s Iora, White-browed Fantail, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker and Indian Grey Hornbill. Being such a well-watched area, many nocturnal birds can be seen at their daytime roosts. Local guides can show us roosting Indian Scops Owls, Collared Scops Owls, Dusky Eagle Owls and Spotted Owlets, as well as Jungle and Large-tailed Nightjars.

 

We will be hoping for a good monsoon prior to our visit which will allow thousands of Painted Storks and other waterbirds to nest. Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Greater Painted Snipes, Black Bitterns, Brown Crakes, Cotton Pygmy Geese, Black-necked Storks, Common Cranes, White-breasted Kingfishers and Citrine Wagtails are amongst the multitude of birds we can expect to see. Eagles are one of the main attractions of Bharatpur, as they give fantastic views. Eastern Imperial, Greater Spotted, Indian Spotted, Bonelli’s and Steppe Eagles were all seen at close range on our last visit.

 

Bharatpur has suffered from a lack of water in recent times, and we are pleased to say that following a ruling in the Indian High Court, water will be supplied to the reserve through canals, restoring this globally important site to its former glory.

 

On day eight we will leave Bharatpur and drive to Jaipur.

 

JAIPUR

To most tourists, the riches of Jaipur comprise its magnificent Amber Fort and the breathtaking gems and fine carpets on sale behind dusty shop fronts. We can also appreciate the stark rocky hillsides, beautiful lakes and exciting birdlife which combine to make the city a must on any visit to Northern India. We will spend half a day visiting the traditional tourist sites, plus two half days of birding. Desert Wheatear, Eastern Pied Wheatear, Long-billed Pipit, Grey-necked Bunting, Indian Courser, Jungle Bush Quail, Sirkeer Malkoha and Rufous-tailed Lark are all possible. Opposite our excellent hotel is the Jal Mahal, a large lake which holds hundreds of birds including Indian River Tern, Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint and Greater Flamingo.

 

On day ten we will drive back to Delhi, stopping en route at the wetland oasis of Sultanpur. The reserve is centred around a jheel (a shallow lake surrounded by a raised bank) and hosts nesting Painted Storks as well as Sarus Crane and Spot-billed Duck. Black-shouldered Kites are particularly common here. In the surrounding dry grassland and scrub we can hope to find Indian Roller, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Large Grey Babbler and Red Avadavat. Shrikes are a feature of the area, with Isabelline, Bay-backed, Southern Grey and Long-tailed all expected. The most conspicuous mammal here is the Blue Bull or Nilgai, a large antelope. There is also the chance of Small Indian Mongoose and Jackal.

 

From Sultanpur we will drive to Delhi to catch the overnight sleeper train to Gondia.

 

KANHA

We will arrive midday at Gondia and drive to Kahna. We will spend four nights here, at the luxurious Baagh Lodge, on the doorstep of one of India’s premier tiger reserves. Game drives can be taken morning and afternoon, each day, by both jeep and elephant. They offer us the best chance anywhere in the world of seeing Tiger. Birding excursions are also available to look for the numerous species which inhabit the lakes and forests. Oriental Darter and Red-naped Ibis are amongst the waterbirds. In the air there are Red-headed Vultures, White-eyed Buzzards, Crested Serpent-eagles and Changeable Hawk-eagles. In the forest we can hope to see Crested Tree Swift, Lesser Flameback, Small Minivet, Blue-winged Leafbird, Orange-headed Ground Thrush and Black-headed Oriole. During the game drives we can expect sightings of Red Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Woolly-necked Stork, Pied Harrier, Alexandrine Parakeet, Verditer Flycatcher and Crested Bunting. Each client can choose on a daily basis whether they want to join the game drives or not. In practice, most will probably do game drives until they are satisfied with their views and photographs of a Tiger .…

 

On day 15 we will fly back from Nagpur to Delhi, allowing plenty of time to connect with our flight back to the UK.

 

PACE

Breakfast will normally be taken at 7am, except at Kanha, when an earlier breakfast is required before the 6.30am game drives. Long breaks during the day at Kanha will allow people to catch up on their rest. There is no uphill walking of any significance.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD

Full-board accommodation will be provided, with two nights at the Hotel Atrium in Delhi, two nights at the Chambal Safari Lodge near Agra, three nights at the Hotel Bagh, Bharatpur, two nights at the Hotel Trident in Jaipur, four nights at the Baagh Lodge, Kanha and one night on a sleeper train (sharing only). All accommodations are of a high standard and all offer continental cuisine as well as a wide choice of local dishes. Most lunches will be taken at our hotels.

 

PRICE INCLUDES …..

All birdwatching excursions with expert leader, full-board accommodation (starting with breakfast on 20th, ending with dinner on 2nd), local transport by coach, local guides, soft drinks at meal times, all safari activities (jeep drives, elephant rides, boat trips), all reserve and site entrance fees, sleeper train ticket, domestic flight, international flights and airport taxes.

 

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

Our optional travel insurance, payable at the time of booking. Items of a personal nature, alcoholic drinks, laundry, tips.

 

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Return flights from most UK airports to Delhi (via Amsterdam) using the scheduled services of KLM. Outbound flight departs the UK early morning, return flight arrives back mid-morning. Meals are provided on this flight.

 

 

15 nights including

one overnight flight:

                               

Principal leader:

 

Local guide:

 

Maximum group size:

 

Cost with discount

(if you book before

6th October 2009):

 

Full Cost:

 

Single supplement:

 

Deposit:

 

Insurance premium:

 

 

           

19th Jan. to 3rd Feb. 2010

 

Andrew Woodall

 

Ansaar Khan

 

10 clients with one leader

and a local guide

 

 

£3260 per person sharing

 

£3410 per person sharing

 

£650

 

£500

 

£59 due at time of booking

(£89 for age 65 to 69)

(£118 for age 70 and over)

 

 

 

Striated Babbler

Taj Mahal

Water Monitor

Sunset at Keoladeo

On the way to the Amber Fort

Gaur

Mugger Crocodile

Gharial

Camels crossing the Chambal River

Bay-backed Shrike

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Spotted Owlet

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Indian Grey Hornbill

Greater Painted Snipe

Red-wattled Lapwing

Golden Jackal

Golden Jackal

White-breasted Kingfisher

Egyptian Vulture

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Spotted Owlet

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Collared (Indian) Scops Owl

Black-faced (Hanuman) Langur

Barasingha (Swamp Deer)

Bengal Tiger

Jungle Cat

Jungle Cat

Jungle Owlet

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Red-naped (Indian Black) Ibis

Bengal Tiger

Barasingha (Swamp Deer)

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