When you hear the word “safari,” Africa may come first to mind. But India should, too! India’s wild habitats are rich with exotic animals and offer rare treasures for those who are passionate about nature. This comprehensive 12-day safari gets you far away from India’s intense cities and into its natural realm, a landscape of powerful rivers, fabled jungles and intriguing wildlife.
- Explore three of India’s top national parks on multiple safari drives in open 4x4s—you won’t find a richer or more diverse wildlife-focused itinerary
- Safari with our naturalist Expedition Leader in search of tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephants, sloth bears, barking deer and other fascinating wildlife
- Relax in comfort at premier ecolodges tucked within India’s best wildlife reserves—yet we avoid the crowds by choosing less-visited destination
The Grand India Wildlife Adventure
12 Days | Starting at $9,495 pp
Your adventure begins in New Delhi (where you’ll be staying at the 5-star Taj Mahal Hotel) and features a rickshaw ride through India’s vibrant capital. Visit Old Delhi and Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque and the magnum opus of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Built in the mid-17th century, the striking edifice has a vast inner courtyard that can hold 25,000 people.
Then it’s south to Jabalpur and the Bandhavgarh National Park. An essential stop on any serious tiger safari, Bandhavgarh is renowned for one of India’s highest concentrations of magnificent Bengal tigers. Over the next two days, we explore the park on morning and afternoon wildlife drives in open 4×4 safari trucks.
Bandhavgarh’s rich biodiversity includes a multitude of other wildlife. We’ll hope to see a sampler of its 37 mammal species, among which are leopard, jungle cat, civet, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, muntjac (barking deer), sloth bear and Asiatic jackal. Some 250 bird species, 70 different butterflies and various reptiles round out the diverse wildlife population.
The Kanha National Park is our next stop. Situated in central India in the Satpura Hills, the park’s bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous collection of stories in The Jungle Book.
Once a hunting ground for imperial rulers and viceroys, Kanha is now one of India’s most important conservation reserves.
Greet dawn each day with an early wildlife drive, entering the park just as the sun’s rays break over the jungle. The open meadows where herbivores graze attract tiger, leopard and wild dog to the edges of the clearings, and we’ll hope to see some of these predators on the hunt.
Then it’s on to Kolkata. Our luxury hotel provides a restful layover after a long day of travel as we transit from one region of the country to another. The ITC Sonar provides a resort-like urban oasis on the edge of one of India’s largest cities. The beautifully designed gardens are shaded by more than a million trees and accented with serene ponds dotted with water lilies. Though its architecture is sleek and minimalist, the hotel’s decor and ambience celebrate the golden age of Bengal during the reign of the Pala dynasty, an era of extraordinary cultural advancement.
Next stop: Jorhat, the tea capital of India, and the Haroocharai Tea Estate. Following lunch on the grounds, we tour the gardens and tea fields. The final leg of our journey takes us into far-eastern India, and Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The park is a refuge for the one-horned rhinoceros, with two-thirds of the world’s remaining population found within the park. Kaziranga is also home to some of India’s other largest mammals including Asian elephant, Asian water buffalo and barasingha. Accommodations are at the Diphlu River Lodge, whose verdant grounds contain more than 40 species of trees and some 200 species of shrubs, creepers and climbers.
Morning and afternoon 4×4 drives reveal Kaziranga’s diverse wildlife. In addition to one-horned rhinoceros, keep a close eye out for buffalo, elephant, wild boar, hog deer, hoolock gibbons, sloth bears and pythons, as well as the elusive Bengal tiger. In the river, look for otters, gharials and rare Gangetic dolphins.
A special event during our time in Kaziranga is a chance to meet the park’s working elephants up close. These elephants, which accompany rangers on regular patrol missions, are accustomed to interacting with guests. Conditions permitting, one afternoon an elephant will be brought to our lodge where we can touch it and help wash it under the guidance of its handler. On our final evening, revel in memories of our Indian safari adventure as we gather for a farewell dinner.
Trip price includes: Accommodations, services of professional Expedition Leader(s), local guides, lodge and park staff, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on final day, most gratuities, still camera fees, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, all activities and entrance fees, all taxes, permits and service fees. 2019 departures include internal air between parks. Internal air cost and trip cost are listed separately beginning Nov 2019.
Since the areas you will travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that’s why we go there!), the tour operator requires medical evacuation insurance for this program with at least $250,000 in coverage. Please note that the operator will provide coverage under their policy (at the cost of $48 per person) if desired.
Contact Susan Rogers in our Vacation Department to book your spot on this exclusive safari. You can reach Susan at (678) 420-2510 or email her at [email protected]