Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups

Countries

To find itineraries for the countries listed below just click on the country name, above or below, or do a refined search choosing country and holiday type.

India

Kerala Laughingthrush © R Wasley

Kerala Laughingthrush © R Wasley

From the high mountains and foothills of the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan, from the lush Western Ghats across the Deccan Plateau to the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans and the endless golden beaches of Kerala, India is a rich and varied land with a unique blend of landscape and wildlife, cultures and traditions, offering something special for everyone

Bird watching here offers a profusion of exciting species. You will be amazed by the colourful and charismatic common birds like Indian Roller and White-throated Kingfisher so easy to see by the roadside as well as rare birds that can be found in all corners of the sub-continent, like the exquisite Fire-tailed Myzornis of the north-east, the stately Great Indian Bustard best looked for in the west and Kerala Laughingthrush in the south.

Bengal Tiger, Tadoba © G Dean

Bengal Tiger, Tadoba © G Dean

Our mammal tours can offer close views of Tiger, Asian Elephant, One-horned Rhino and Asiatic Lion.  More difficult to see are Striped Hyena, Indian Grey Wolf, Leopard, Sloth Bear and Ganges River Dolphin and to search for Snow Leopard involves trekking and dedication. Naturally, sightings depend on a certain amount of luck but we take you to the best places and have an excellent success rate for seeing some of the most difficult mammals.

Take a culture tour and experience some of India's finest and immeasurable heritage, with magnificent forts, monuments, palaces and temples, colourful festivals and local traditions. India boasts 27 World Heritage Sites, from the Taj Mahal in Agra, to Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and ancient rock paintings at Elephanta Caves reached by boat from Mumbai, you will have a truly unique and varied experience.

"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."  Mark Twain

Preview these two books to see more images from our India holiday locations:

wildlife-western-rajasthan-gujarat-india
Wildlife of Western Rajasthan & Gujarat
wildlife-northern-central-india-book
Wildlife of Northern & Central India

Ecuador

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock © V Perez

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock © V Perez

From the Andean cloud forest and high páramo, down to the incredible richness of the Amazon rain forest with a fascinating heritage and colourful handicrafts along the way, a journey through Ecuador will imprint memories to last a lifetime.

Ecuador has an amazing array of birds - with over 1,500 species it has the fifth-highest list in the world.   Whilst we cannot guarantee them all, we do have local experts who know where to find many that you will want so see.   The forests on the west Andean slopes are alive with dazzling hummingbirds, fabulous manakins, gorgeous tanagers and breath-taking Andean Cock-of-the-rock.  On the eastern slopes there are yet more rare and endemic birds to find in high páramo, such as  Andean Condor, Andean

Golden-tailed Hummingbird © K Barnes

Golden-tailed Hummingbird © K Barnes

Ibis and Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe.  The Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest is another world - Hoatzins and trogons, fruitcrows and cotingas and a whole kaleidoscope of parrots.  Rainforest birding can be extremely difficult but our guides have the local knowledge and extensive expertise to seek out the more difficult and exotic species.

The varied habitats are excellent for other wildlife, too - frogs, butterflies and plenty more.   Many mammals can be seen on our tours, such as Colombian Red Howler, Saki and Black-mantled Tamarin monkeys, 2-toed and 3-toed Sloths, Southern Tamandua and Kinkajou.  On the western slopes there’s a chance at one of the lodges to see an Olinguito, which was only recognised as a species as recently as 2013.

Quito © J Thomas

Quito © J Thomas

You can straddle the equator, marvel at the splendour of Quito and Cuenca’s Spanish colonial palaces and churches or absorb the atmosphere at the famous Andean market in Otavalo.   Enjoy Ecuadorian hospitality in a charming lodge, float silently along a channel in the Amazon rainforest or be inspired by the beauty of Ecuador’s cultural towns and cities.  Whether it’s birds or amphibians, mammals or splendid architecture, Ecuador offers an unforgetable experience.  It really does have the lot and all in a country about the size of the UK!

"The point of going somewhere like the Napo River in Ecuador is not to see the most spectacular anything. It is simply to see what is there." Author: Annie Dillard

 

Sri Lanka

With its exceptionally high number of endemics - birds, mammals, reptiles, plants - and concentrations of Asian Elephant and Leopard, its scenic forests, wetlands and marine life, combined with an exotic culture and rich heritage all on one island, Sri Lanka is a wonderful place to explore.  It lives up to its reputation as a Jewel in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie © Tony Sawbridge

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie © Tony Sawbridge

Exciting birding with a real chance of finding all 33 endemics such as Serendib Scops Owl, Layard’s Parakeet and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.  Sri Lanka Spurfowl and other species can prove difficult but our experienced guides know where to search.  You’ll enjoy a spectacular range of colourful birds in wetlands and along the coast, in the hills and the rain forests.

For mammal enthusiasts Sri Lanka has much to offer.  The 16 endemics include Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Toque Macaque and Golden Palm Civet.  In National Parks, seek out Sloth Bear, Leopard and Asian Elephant and try for more difficult species such as the tiny White-spotted Chevrotain, or head to the coast for the thrill of seeing some of the 28 species of cetacean around the island, such as the mighty Blue Whale and acrobatic dolphins.  There’s a huge diversity of amphibians, with claims of over 100 endemics, and all five species of sea turtle breed on the coast, four of them in one of the National Parks.

The island abounds in evocative ancient ruins and world-renowned frescos, temples and palaces, traditional processions and folklore with exotically-costumed dancers and drummers.

Blend all of this and you have the making of a truly unforgettable holiday!

 

Panama

Golden-headed Manakin © C Bethancourt

Golden-headed Manakin © C Bethancourt

There is more to Panama than its canal - much more!  Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, rain forest, cloud forest, dry tropical forest, stretches of mangroves, rivers, marshes and pools.  Abundant wildlife with a wealth of birds, fascinating mammals, reptiles, amphibians and a beautiful flora, all within easy reach of Panama City. 

On a birdwatching tour search for such delights as Golden-headed Manakin, Ocellated Antbird, 6 species of trogon, many tanagers and much more.  A range of mammals can be seen here - Central American Agoutis are everywhere, White-nosed Coatis forage along roadsides, 9-banded Armadillos snuffle along the forest edge, 3-toed Sloths happily feed on Cecropia trees in full view and Mantled Howler Monkeys are one of the best alarm clocks available! 

Stay at the famous Canopy Tower in the tropical forest habitat of Soberania National Park for a unique experience, looking out over the forest canopy from the top deck each morning before venturing out to explore the many exciting locations nearby.  Spend a few days at Canopy Lodge with its lush, bird-rich gardens and search the cool cloud forests for mid-altitude species.

Rothschild's Porcupine © M O'Dell

Rothschild's Porcupine © M O'Dell

A river excursion will take you close to herons, waders and ducks as well as caiman and iguanas.  A visit to the Caribbean slopes will bring a different suite of birds amidst beautiful scenery, with a little history thrown in at Fort Sherman, a deserted reminder of former USA Army occupation and once a jungle warfare training centre.  Call in at the modern Miraflores Visitor Centre to learn about the canal’s history from its conception to the present day.

With everything “close by” (no long drives), knowledgeable guides, good infrastructure and accommodation and often very-obliging wildlife, Panama really does have it all. 

 

Spain

Iberian Lynx, La Lancha © H Moore

Iberian Lynx, La Lancha © H Moore

Explore Spain's rich and varied habitats to experience some naturally amazing wildlife spectacles in the company of English speaking local guides with years of knowledge from working in this wonderful country – discover there's more to Spain than just the beaches – majestic bustards and stunning birds of prey. Much more awaits your arrival!

Take a trip to Andalucia, one of the best places to see the world's rarest cat, the enigmatic Iberian Lynx, certainly a sight to behold. At home in the Sierra de Andujar natural park, situated within the Sierra Morena mountain range, remnant tracts of Mediterranean forest of Cork, Holm Oak, Alder, Ash and Fir harbour this most sought-after mammal. On the brink of extinction the population of this stunning cat is on the increase, in part thanks to the proactiveness of the Andalucian government.

Lammergeier © D Tipling

Lammergeier © D Tipling

Raptor watching on a Lynx and Lammergeier tour is also on the agenda and it's possible to see four breeding European Vultures, the most magnificent of which is the Lammergeier. Add to this soaring Spanish Imperial, Bonelli's and not to forget Golden Eagles and birds of prey are very likely to leave an indelible memory.

The Spanish wilderness is good for mammals too. On some of our tours we visit mammal feeding stations and viewing points which significantly help increase the chance of seeing shy Stone Martens as well as Otters, Spanish Ibex and not to mention the Mouflon (Wild Sheep) with its large twisted horns.  Discover Sierra de Cazorla with us, a contrasting nature reserve of high mountain peaks, pristine Mediterranean forests and precipitous conifer covered slopes, a hot spot for biodiversity and home to Spanish Ibex. We'll stray down to Linanejos to see endemic crayfish in their natural environment. Spend a few days exploring the Cazorla's mountains, where it is possible to walk through the impressive Utrero's Gorge where familiar Dipper, Grey Wagtails and Kingfishers thrive with Red-billed Chough overhead. Climb to the home of the Ortolan Bunting and Melodious Warbler at Rambla Seca, where it is sometimes possible to see Citril Finch.

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Petrola © J Sykes

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Petrola © J Sykes

Incredible birding in Castilla La Mancha, where Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse can, with just a little bit of luck, be seen in one day! We'll take you to see some of Spain's iconic wetland species at Valencia's best birding sites – White-headed and Marbled Ducks – sharing their pools and marshland homes with Crested Coots, Glossy Ibis and Great White Egrets.

So, in summing up, if you want to listen to the variable choir of Zitting Cisticolas, Savis, Great Reed and Moustached Warblers and enjoy Azure-winged Magpies in your hotel garden, where Short-toed Treecreepers, Firecrests and Serins come as standard and where Starlings are Spotless, then stunning Spain is waiting for you!

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