Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Bengal Tiger © J Thomas
Greater Painted-snipe © C BradshawRuddy Shelduck and Bar-headed Geese © T LawsonPainted Stork © P ClarkeWild Boar © P ClarkeLesser Whistling-duck © C BradshawBharatpur on a family wildlife holiday © J Thomas

Amazing Rajasthan’s Birds & Tigers Tour (14 days) BT172

Tour ref. no. BT172
Duration: 12 nights (14 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Delhi – Chambal – Bharatpur – Ranthambhor – Delhi
  • Stunning bird diversity at Bharatpur’s world-famous wetland
  • Ranthambhor’s spectacular scenery and very good chance of Bengal Tiger
  • Marsh Crocodile, Spotted Deer and Wild Boar around Ranthambhor’s tranquil lakes
  • Indian Skimmer and Gharial – very special inhabitants of Chambal river
  • Owl extravaganza – good chance of 4 or 5 species including impressive Dusky Eagle Owl
  • A wildlife photographer’s heaven– you won’t know what to focus on first!

Introduction

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, also known as Keoladeo National Park, is a dream location for anyone interested in wildlife.  The Sanctuary is famous for its very impressive wetland bird populations and the number of species easily seen in just one day is quite staggering.  Everyone appreciates close-up views of the Painted Stork colony as well as Sarus Cranes, Black-necked and Open-billed Storks and very tame Purple Swamphens.  Iridescent Bronze-winged and graceful Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, two very pretty species of Lilly-trotter, are fun to watch.

Serious birders will enjoy searching for more challenging species – Black and Cinnamon Bitterns and Siberian Rubythroat among them and with the help of experienced guides who know where to look, and with a little patience, these species should be seen during the winter months. Greater Painted-snipe are sometimes seen inside and outside the Sanctuary.

This tour is not all about birds, as there are plenty of mammals and a few reptiles to see too.  Still at Bharatpur your guide will take you to look for Indian Rock Python if you wish. As you scan the marsh you cannot miss the strange-shaped Nilgai (antelope) as they graze.  From a distance this largest of India’s antelope looks like a cross between a horse and a cow!

Alongside the bizarre-looking Indian Skimmers, Great Thick-knee and Red-naped Ibis you should see both Gharial (a fish-eating crocodilian) and Mugger Crocodile on the Chambal river and, with luck, get a glimpse of the rare Ganges River Dolphin.  Around your lodge you may encounter Indian Palm Civet and a colony of large Fruit Bats.

Bounded to the north by the Banas river and to the south by the Chambal river, Ranthambhor National Park and Tiger Reserve is named after the historic and imposing Ranthambhor Fortress which is located about 5km inside the Park.  Not only is this a beautiful, scenic area, it offers an excellent chance of seeing the crème-de-la-crème of this tour’s array of mammals, Bengal Tiger, either in the dry jungle or around attractive lakes.  Although Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena and Caracal occur, they are very secretive and mainly nocturnal so the chance of crossing paths with one is slim; Leopards, however, are occasionally seen

In summary this is a tour rich in wildlife and full of surprises

 

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Day 2: Delhi

Meals: Payable directly today

Arrive at Delhi International Airport where you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel.  Note: Depending on flight times, if you wish to visit a birdwatching location or include some sightseeing please let us know and we’ll provide a supplement for this. Relax for the remainder of the day.

Night in Delhi.

Day 3: Delhi - Chambal

Meals: Breakfast in Delhi, lunch and dinner at Chambal

After an early breakfast you will be driven to Chambal.  Expect the journey to take approx. 5 ½ hours, depending on traffic. You’ll arrive around lunch time to check in to your cottage.

This afternoon enjoy a two to three hour boat safari on the Chambal river with one of the lodge naturalists. There are so many wonderful things to see with one of the targets being Indian Skimmer; with luck you should see several of them patrolling up and down the National Chambal Sanctuary along with Black-bellied Tern.   Look for Red-naped, Black-headed and Glossy Ibises, Small Pratincoles, waders, larks and pipits on the banks although the focus here doesn’t have to be just birds, as Gharial, a rare fish-eating crocodile, and Marsh Crocodile occur in good numbers along with several species of turtle and often it is possible to glimpse Ganges River Dolphin, another rare inhabitant here.  Overhead you are likely to see several species of birds of prey.

Arriving back at your lodge do remember to ask your naturalist guide if it’s possible to look for Indian Palm Civet.  In the past they have been found within the grounds, along with Indian Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) and some great birds including Brown Hawk Owl, Plum-headed Parakeet.  Sometimes Brooks’s Leaf Warbler can be found and Sarus Cranes are seen locally, although you should easily see the latter at your next destination, Bharatpur.

Night at your lodge.

Day 4: Chambal - Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast and lunch at Chambal and dinner at Bharatpur

After breakfast spend a few hours birdwatching with your lodge naturalist in neighbouring rural habitats where you might come across White-capped Bunting, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Greater Coucal, Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Desert Wheatear, drongos, larks including the more distinctive Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark and many others.

After lunch your driver will take you to Bharatpur (approx. 3 hours). Note: If you prefer, you could leave the Chambal area earlier to allow time for a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, then continue on to Bharatpur.  If you would like to do this please let us know at the time of booking and we can supply a supplement which will cover the cost of the entrance tickets, a monument guide should you require their services and the extra travel costs associated with the slight detour to Agra.

On arrival at Bharatpur check in at your hotel and relax for the remainder of the day.  Note: Your driver will leave you today, as you don’t require a car on standby for Bharatpur and Ranthambhor.

Days 5, 6 and 7: Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner at Bharatpur

Enjoy full days inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with an experienced birding guide.  One entry per day is included in the price.  Each day you’ll explore the sanctuary on foot and very quickly you’ll realise Bharatpur is a birdwatcher’s and photographer’s paradise!  You’ll be amazed at how close you can get to many of the birds including Bluethroats, Indian Robins, bulbuls and even orioles which can all be seen near the tracks.

Three full days will offer plenty of time to explore wetland, woodland and dry grassland with scattered scrub habitats.

The wetland is alive with the calls of Bar-headed and Greylag Geese.  This race of Greylags have pink legs!  Of course, you can expect many other wetland species too, from the gorgeous Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen and many species of duck including Lesser Whistling-duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Spot-billed Duck, Comb Duck, Cotton Pygmy-goose as well as the more familiar Wigeon, Pintail, Garganey and Teal. A scan of the wetland will also reveal Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer and the strange shape of Nilgai, the largest member of the antelope family you’ll see in India.

It is not uncommon for a group of Wild Boar, Monitor Lizard or a Golden Jackal to cross a track in front of you!

At the end of the afternoon a visit to the heronries will awaken your senses as you listen to the raucous squabbling of juvenile Painted Storks, jostling Eurasian Spoonbills and elegant Egrets before they all settle for the night.  You may also hear the calls of Dusky Eagle Owl, Spotted Owlet and Indian Scops Owl and once you know where to look it is quite easy to find your own Black Bittern.  Guides will take you to see nightjars in the area locals refer to as the plantation.

On the far side of the sanctuary there are extensive grassland areas with scattered trees and shrubs and in this more open habitat you are likely to see Baya Weaver and their characteristic nests, Indian Silverbill, various shrikes and, if you are lucky, perhaps a Barred Buttonquail, Jungle Bush Quail or a spectacular male Red Avadavat.  Many harriers, mostly Marsh, Montagu’s and Hen, quarter the sanctuary looking for prey and they use the grasslands here as a roost.  Eagles are frequently seen and include Greater Spotted, Tawny, Steppe and Crested Serpent Eagles. A long bank here offers views beyond the Park boundary across a reservoir.

Note: If on future days you’d find it helpful to either hire a bike or be dropped at the far end of the sanctuary by cycle rickshaw please mention this to staff at Hotel Sunbird or to your guide and they should be able to arrange this; you will need to pay for the bike hire or rickshaw services directly.   Extra note: We have included the cost of a packed lunch for you to take inside the park; however, if you would prefer to return to your hotel for a hot lunch speak with hotel staff the night before, but this may mean you have to pay a second entrance fee directly to re-enter the park. Night at hotel.

Day 8: Bharatpur – Ranthambhor

Meals: Breakfast and packed lunch from Bharatpur and dinner at Ranthambhor

After breakfast the staff at Hotel Sunbird will arrange the transfer to Bharatpur train station and you will be helped onto the train (train times to be supplied).  The cost of a second class train ticket is included in the price. Our representative will be waiting on the platform at Sawai Madhopur station with your name on a placard.  From here you will be transferred to your hotel/resort near Ranthambhor National Park and Tiger Reserve, where the staff will explain about meal times and safari times.

This afternoon enjoy the first of ten canter safaris inside Ranthambhor National Park and Tiger Reserve with a mandatory Forest Department guide.  A canter is a type of open-sided and open-topped lorry with most seating approx. 20 people and this is the cheapest safari option to see Bengal Tiger, especially if only one or two of you are travelling.   Note: If you would prefer to explore by jeep (maximum of 4 people in a jeep plus Forest Department guide) please enquire and we can supply you with the supplement.

Ranthambhor is undoubtedly one of the best known and picturesque Tiger Reserves in the world.  Declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1957, it gained Project Tiger status in 1974 and the site was designated a National Park in 1981.   Rathambhor’s exquisite location includes several lakes and ornate epitaphs, regularly frequented by the king of this dry and open jungle habitat.  Often Jungle Cat are spotted slinking across trails and less likely, but occasionally observed are Sloth Bear, Leopard and even Caracal.

Days 9, 10, 11 and 12: Ranthambhor National Park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today enjoy morning and afternoon canter safaris inside Ranthambhor National Park.  You will be having early morning starts each day, with time to relax back at your hotel/resort either side of lunch.  Extra note: You can if you wish opt to visit Soorwal Lake by jeep (in between National Park Safaris) with a birding guide for a chance of seeing a wide range of species including Indian Courser, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, bushlarks, pipits, waders, ducks and terns.  If this appeals please let us know and we can supply you with a supplement for including this excursion.  Note: The mandatory Forest Department guides who accompany canters and jeeps are often not familiar with the difficult-to-identify bird species and sometimes their English can be quite limited.  So, to guarantee a skilled bird guide, it is best to pre-book the services of a more experienced bird guide and a supplement for this can be supplied.

Relax at your hotel/resort in the evenings.

Day 13: Ranthambhor - Delhi

Meals: Breakfast and lunch at Ranthambhor (or packed lunch from Ranthambhor

After a final morning canter safari inside Ranthambhor National Park you’ll return to your hotel/lodge and our representative will arrange for your transfer to the station to catch the day train to Delhi in a 2nd class air conditioned carriage. On arrival at Delhi station please look for our representative who will be holding a placard with your name on it.  You’ll be transferred to your hotel where dinner can be taken and is payable directly today.

Night at Delhi hotel.

Day 14: Delhi

Meals: Breakfast (served from 0700 hours)

Today we have included a transfer to the airport.

Tour ends

Prices for different hotel categories, the names of hotels and a list of inclusions/exclusions are shown below.

There are plenty of ways to extend this tour. Please ask for details.

Price per person for low budget hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1120
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1085
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1050
Single room supplement £245

Low budget price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Standard Room 1
Chambal Chambal Safari Lodge, Standard Cottage 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Standard Room 4
Ranthambhor Ranthambhor National Resort, Deluxe Room  5
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Standard Room  1

Price per person for mid budget hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1205
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1170
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1140
Single room supplement £320

Mid budget price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room 1
Chambal Chambal Safari Lodge, Standard Cottage 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Standard Room 4
Ranthambhor Pugmark Resort, Deluxe Cottage  5
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room  1

Price per person for standard hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1275
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1240
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1210
Single room supplement £345

Standard price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room 1
Chambal Chambal Safari Lodge, Standard Cottage 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Deluxe Room 4
Ranthambhor Pugmark Resort, Deluxe Room  5
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room  1

Price per person for deluxe hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1470
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1430
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1400
Single room supplement £535

Deluxe price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Vivanta by Taj, Dwarka,  Deluxe Room 1
Chambal Chambal Safari Lodge, Standard Cottage 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Super Deluxe Room 4
Ranthambhor Dev Vilas, Deluxe Room  5
Delhi Vivanta by Taj, Dwarka,  Deluxe Room  1

Price includes

  • Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle
  • Three full days birding inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with experienced local bird guide and entrance fee paid once a day
  • A boat safari of two to three hours duration on the Chambal river followed by birdwatching at Chambal with lodge guide and inclusive of entrance fee
  • 2nd class air-conditioned train from Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur and from Sawai Madhopur to Delhi – we can supply a supplement for 1st class which would be subject to availability
  • 10 safaris inside Ranthambhor National Park by shared canter inclusive of entrance fee and with a Forest Department guide.  Note: For a more varied and comfortable experience we would recommend jeep safaris instead of the canter and we can supply a supplement for this on request
  • All currently applicable taxes

Price excludes

  • Any international airfare to/from India including International airport tax
  • Meals not specified
  • Tourist visa and travel insurance
  • Camera fee where levied
  • Cycle rickshaw or bike hire charges at Bharatpur as the use of these services are optional
  • Cost associated with a visit to the Taj Mahal, hould you opt to include this – a supplement can be supplied
  • Any additional taxes levied by the Government of India on the tourism sector in future
  • Any expenses of personal nature such as hard/soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls, tips etc.
  • Any item not mentioned in the price includes section
  • Any increase in the entrance fee to National Parks or Sanctuaries in the future. The price is based on the current entrance fee
  • Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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