Indian Wildlife 2018 - Trip Report

Wildlife Mad Travellers’ search for Tigers!

This was our second trip to India to explore some of its best national parks in search of its regal tigers. We were fortunate to have sightings of these orange and black wonders in Kanha and Bandhavgarh in 2009. For our return visit we would be exploring two new parks to us, Tadoba & Satpura, as well as returning to Pench and Kanha.

 

Like African safaris, India's national parks have much more to offer than just its big cats (tigers & leopards) there are also lots of other mammals, birds and reptiles to see... and an animal you won't see in Africa, a bear! 

 

Did we see more tigers? Did we see any sloth bears? Read on to find out!

Overview of our Indian wildlife adventure

Following our successful Naturetrek Just Jaguars & Just Pumas tours we decided to book their Tiger Direct! tour, we also added on the pre and post tour options and changed our flights to and from Mumbai to British Airways rather than Jet Airways.

 

Day 1 - Flight from UK direct (non-stop) to Mumbai.

Day 2 - Arrived Mumbai early in the morning and joined rest of group on an afternoon flight to Nagpur.

Day 3 - Nagpur to Tadoba

Days 4 & 5 – Tadoba National Park

Day 6 - Tadoba to Pench

Day 7 - Pench National Park

Day 8 - Pench to Kanha

Days 9 to 11 - Kanha National Park

Day 12 - Kanha to Satpura

Days 13 to 15 Satpura

Day 16 - Satpura to Bhopal to Mumbai

Day 17 - Mumbai

Day 18 - Mumbai to UK

Weather

March has a good balance between chilly winter mornings (December, January & February) and the unbearable heat of early summer (April & June). We still needed an extra layer for the first couple of hours of the morning drives, but the day time tempartures, whilst hot at 35-40 degrees celsius, were ok due to the dry heat.

 

The only rain we experienced was very light rain and only for a few seconds, so it pretty much dried up as soon as it hit the ground.

 

Sunrise was around 6am and sunset was around 6:30pm during our March visit.

Camera Equipment

For this trip we took both our 7D MII’s & their 100-400mm MII lenses plus the 77D & its 15-85mm lens (for landscape shots), however, after the first drive we decided to use the iPhone for landscape shots due to the hassle of getting the 77D out of its bag (we carried it in its padded camera bag in case it bounced onto the floor) and it was only used around the lodge and driving between places.

 

We took the monopods to use in the jeeps, but only used them during one of the night drives.

 

Absolutely essential is a dry bag for each camera to help protect them from the dust. It was incredibly dusty!

Pre-tour Preparation

The cool mornings and hots days suit a layered approach and the following were the items we considered essential before we did the trip (with some comments on whether they actually proved themselves essential!)

 

 

Feet

 

Breathable trainers / sneakers - good for keeping your feet warm on cold mornings!

 

Legs

 

Trousers (craghoppers) - great protection from the sun and biting insects.

 

Shorts (for Alan) - he took 3 pairs but only wore one pair a couple of times.

 

Upper body

 

Long-sleeved shirts - to protect arms from biting insects

 

Short-sleeved shirts & t-shirts for middle of day

 

Hands

 

Thin gloves - for cool mornings, only used once.

 

Head & neck

 

Buffs - to protect neck from sun and face from dust - ESSENTIAL!

 

Hat (wide brim hat & baseball cap) - only wore our wide brim hats - ESSENTIAL!

 

Sunglasses

 

Other ‘essential’ items

 

Binoculars - didn't use as we had our cameras with us at all times.

 

Sunscreen/lip balm

 

Dry bags / Ziploc bags - to protect cameras from dust - ESSENTIAL!

 

Camera covers - it didn't rain enough to bother using them, but good to have with you just in case.

Tiger Direct! Tour Review

This summary review covers the Naturetrek ‘Tiger Direct!’ tour including the pre and post tour add-ons.

 

The Tiger Direct! tour included travel from London to Nagpur via Mumbai, 2 nights to explore Pench National Park and 4 nights to explore Kanha National Park. We also took the pre-tour extension of 3 nights to explore Tadoba National Park and the post-tour extension of 4 nights to explore Satpura National Park.

 

There were 16 guests on the main tour (including us) mostly couples & two singles. Age range from mid-40's to mid-80's! 13 guests did the Tadoba add on and 11 guests did the Satpura add on.

 

Our tour guides were Yusuf Rizvi & Bhanu Pratap – Indian guides that were familiar with the parks and very knowledgeable of the local wildlife. Yusuf was tour leader and did a good job of keeping the group happy.

 

Travel between the lodges was in cars that seated up to 5 people (not includng the driver). If you were sat in the back seats it was very cramped with little leg room.  There wasn't enough room for all our luggage to be transported inside the vehicles so some bags were placed on top of the cars strapped down with thin rope! Had it been raining it could have been a bit of a disaster.

 

Be warned drives in the national parks can be a little crowded - it is recommended you pay extra for private vehicles - the open gypsy 4x4s are shared by 4 'customers', plus you must have a compulsory park guide, so with your driver and naturalist it can get a little cosy!

 

During our trip Naturetrek hadn't booked naturalists for every vehicle - Yusuf & Bhanu, plus a naturalist from the lodge would accompany 3 of the vehicles but one vehicle would have only a national park guide, whilst the plus side was more space in the vehicle the quality of sightings was affected by when you had a rogue guide! 

 

The accommodation was better than expected (see photos in main trip report). In general the food was pretty good.

 

In India the power sockets are of type C, D and M. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Most rooms had plenty of sockets, 24 hour power and European type plugs fitted in most of the sockets.

 

The usual pattern of each day was up & ready to head out at 5:30am, after a hot drink & biscuit. We had a packed breakfast while out. Back to hotel between 10:00-11:00am, lunch at hotel. Out again around 2:30pm. Back to hotel around 6:00-6:30pm for hot dinner usually served between 8:00-9:00pm.

 

Overall the tour was well organised, the accommodation as described, the guides were good and the wildlife viewing excellent, we saw 17 different tigers.

 

Do read the trip report (links below) for the details, photos & videos.

Trip Report

Part 1

Days 1 to 3

London/Mumbai/Nagpur

Part 2

Days 3 to 6

Tadoba National Park

Part 3

Days 7 to 8

Pench National Park

Part 4

Days 9 to 12

Kanha National Park

Part 5

Days 13 to 16

Satpura National Park

Part 6

Days 16 to 18

Bhopal/Mumbai/London

Comments or Questions?

If you have any questions about our Indian Wildlife adventure or just want to say hi, please visit our contact page... please remember we are not a travel agent, we can only give you information on adventures that we have done ourselves :)

PrintPrint | Sitemap Recommend this page Recommend this page
© Wildlife Mad Travellers 2008-2019