Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Indian Skimmer, Chambal © M Addis
Bengal Tiger © M AddisCommon Iora © T LawsonBrahminy Starling © T LawsonNilgai male and female Blackbuck National Park © T Lawson

Birdwatching, Taj Mahal & Tiger Tour (13 days) BT3

Tour ref. no. BT3
Duration: 11 nights (13 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Delhi – Bharatpur – Chambal (day trip) – Agra – Bandhavgarh – Delhi
  • Bharatpur – watch Jacanas, Storks, Cranes – wetland birding at its very best
  • Stunning forest birds – Malabar Pied Hornbill, Black-hooded Oriole, Golden-fronted Leafbird
  • Amazing Bandhavgarh National Park – mighty Bengal Tigers to tiny Tree Shrews
  • Sharing the Tiger’s home – Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Sloth Bear and Leopard
  • Chambal river – see Gharial, Small Pratincole, Red-naped Ibis and Indian Skimmer
  • Taj Mahal at dawn or sunset

Introduction

Seek out the beautiful and endangered Bengal Tiger, still king of the jungle in Bandhavgarh National Park.  Here you may also come across a Sloth Bear or, if you are very lucky, a Striped Hyena which would be an exhilarating experience.  Relax on a boat safari along the calm waters of the Chambal river and photograph prehistoric-looking Marsh Crocodiles and rare fish-eating Gharials, then be thrilled by an encounter with Gangetic River Dolphins.   Marvel at the vast array of stunning birdlife throughout the tour including wonderful days at one of India’s premier wetland and woodland birdwatching sites, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, where you’ll look for the often-vocal Sarus Crane, up to three species of Bittern including Black Bittern, wintering Bar-headed Geese, Pelicans, Ibises, Cormorants and Darters… and the list continues.  See one of the modern wonders of the world on a late afternoon visit to the majestic Taj Mahal and watch the marble turn from white to pale peach in the changing light.

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.  You will be welcomed by our representative and taken to check in at a local hotel. Spend remainder of day exploring Delhi sites with your driver.

Day 3: Delhi - Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast your driver will take you to Bharatpur. The journey usually takes approx. 5 hours, sometimes more, depending on traffic. We recommend leaving early if you can (breakfast served from 0700 hours), to avoid the worst of the rush hour. Check in to your hotel, just a few hundred metres from the entrance to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Spend the remainder of the day exploring the sanctuary with an experienced guide.

Bharatpur is a tremendous wetland, not just for birds, but other animals too.  Nilgai, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Golden Jackal are almost guaranteed to be seen.  Although primarily known as a wetland, there are large areas of grassland within the sanctuary that are excellent for Weavers and roosting Harriers.  Woodlands provide an inviting home for two or more species of Nightjar, Dusky Eagle Owl, Thrushes, Tailorbirds, Woodpeckers, Indian Grey Hornbill and more.

The many aerial predators often provide a spectacular show as they flush a host of birds from the lagoons and marshes.  Crested Serpent Eagles perch in full view and Painted, Woolly-necked, Asian Open-billed and Black-necked Storks as well as Ibises, Egrets and Bitterns all feed beside the main track.  Bharatpur’s wildlife is so tame and accommodating, it has become a paradise for photographers.  Guides will know where to look for Greater Painted Snipe in adjacent arable land and sometimes it’s possible to see Indian Courser and Yellow-wattled Lapwing in fields next to your hotel.

Return to your hotel to relax  for the evening.

Day 4: Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Explore Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for the whole day with an experienced guide. Bluethroats hop around in wet woodland, extensive grasslands attract brightly coloured Red Avadavats and a whole range of other species including Indian Silverbill, Larks, Pipits and Prinias.  On prominent perches along main tracks and narrower trails you’ll see Pied Bushchats, Shrikes, Drongos, Fantails and Bulbuls.  Siberian Rubythroat can be found with a bit of time and perseverance.  If you wish, your guide can take you to see an Indian Python basking beside its burrow in dry acacia scrub.

Late afternoon is a wonderful time to sit by a stork colony and watch the setting sun.  As you head out of the sanctuary a Golden Jackal, a mongoose or perhaps some Nilgai and Sambar Deer will cross the track infront of you.

Relax for the evening at your hotel and pack your bags tonight, as you’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning.

Day 5: Bharatpur - Chambal - Agra

Meals: Breakfast and packed lunch

After an early breakfast you will leave for the Chambal River at Dholpur with your bird guide accompanying for the day. The journey, in part through typical Uttar Pradesh countryside, will take approximately 1¾ hours. You will see people at work in the fields and rural businesses such as brick furnaces.  Enjoy a relaxing one-hour boat safari on the Chambal river where there is so much to see (if you’d like longer we can provide a supplement).  Indian Skimmer could be one of today’s star attractions or a glimpse of a rare Ganges Fresh Water River Dolphin, a really thrilling experience.  Gharial (an uncommon fish-eating crocodile), Marsh Crocodile and various Turtles hauled out on the sandy islands alongside Black-bellied and Indian River Terns are all easy to see.  Your sharp-eyed guide may well spot the attractive Black Francolin along the river banks where Red-naped Ibis and Small Pratincole also feed. The latter is a delight to watch as it hawks for insects.  If time permits, it may be possible to explore the dunes and dry areas where White-capped Bunting, Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Desert Wheatear and Ashy-crowned Finch-Lark occur.  You’ll have your packed lunch here then return to Agra in the afternoon where you will say goodbye to your bird guide. Check in at your hotel and relax for the remainder of the day.

Night in Agra.

Day 6: Agra - overnight train to Katni (near Bandhavgarh)

Meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll visit not only the Taj Mahal but also one of the finest Mughal forts in India, both being World Heritage Sites . You could either visit the Taj Mahal at dawn returning to your hotel for breakfast, or we recommend a mid-afternoon visit when the colour of the marble often seems to change from brilliant white to a beautiful shade of pale peach.  Just let us know in advance which time you’d prefer to visit and we’ll arrange this for you.  Please note, the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.  Don’t forget to appreciate the wildlife, too.  There’s Five-striped Palm Squirrels in the grounds, River Lapwings on the banks of the Yamuna behind the Taj Mahal and Black Kites soaring overhead.

Lunch and dinner are payable directly today and we recommend you eat in Agra where there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, or take snacks with you to eat on the train.

You will be transferred to the railway station to catch the Mahakoshal Express departing Agra at 1930 hours. Overnight on the air-conditioned sleeper train (pillow, sheet and blanket provided).

Day 7: Katni - Bandhavgarh

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your train is expected to arrive early in Katni at 0755 hours, though sometimes it can run late, so you should ask other passengers or the ticket checker and they will advise accordingly. Your driver will be waiting for you on the station platform, so look for your name on a placard. From here the journey to your safari lodge at Bandhavgarh will take approximately three hours. Check-in is usually from 12 noon, earlier if rooms are available but if not, you can relax in the communal areas of the lodge. In the afternoon you can explore around the lodge environs.  The lodges have resident naturalists so please ask if one may be available to accompany you, but this isn’t guaranteed and is at the discretion of the lodge management for all categories except deluxe where the services of the resident lodge naturalist is included in the price.  Please enquire at your lodge on arrival. Please contact us if you’d prefer to add in an extra jeep safari this afternoon and we’ll supply you with a supplement.

Days 8, 9 and 10: Bandhavgarh

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Bandhavgarh National Park. Whilst you may wish to focus on Tiger, Bandhavgarh has a diverse bird and mammal list. If you are lucky you might see Indian Gazelle (Chinkara) or Jungle Cat as well as the more common Spotted Deer (Chital), Wild Boar and Sambar. You’ll see Common Langur monkeys, but Sloth Bear, Leopard and Striped Hyena require much more luck athough they are seen occasionally.  Birds are in abundance and you might see Golden-fronted Leafbird, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Alexandrine Parakeet, White-backed, Slender-billed and Egyptian Vultures, White-bellied Drongo, Brown Fish-owl, Tickell’s Blue and Verditer Flycatchers. Back at the lodge you will have a few hours in the middle of the day to relax and have lunch before setting off on your afternoon jeep safari. Nights at your safari lodge.

Day 11: Bandhavgarh – Katni - overnight train to Delhi

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and packed dinner

Explore for a few hours around your lodge (on foot) – the availability of the resident lodge naturalist is the same as on previous days. Alternatively you can take it easy and relax, or we can add in another jeep safari and confirm the supplement for this. Then in the afternoon you will be transferred to Katni station to connect with the 1625 hours JBP NZM Express train to Delhi. Overnight on the air-conditioned sleeper train (pillow, sheet and blanket provided).

Day 12: Delhi

Meals: Payable directly today

Your train will arrive in Delhi at 0515 hours. Your driver will meet you at the station platform (scan the placards for your name).  You will have the car and driver at your disposal for the remainder of the day for local sightseeing in Delhi (monument/guide fees to be paid directly).  Check in at hotel is after 12 noon. Night at hotel.

Day 13: Delhi

Meals: Breakfast (served from 0700 hours)

On this day we have included a departure transfer to the airport to connect with your international flight home (to be booked by you directly).

Tour ends

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) £1220
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1055
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £950
Single room supplement £185

Low budget price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Standard Room 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Standard Room 2
Agra Hotel Crystal Inn, Deluxe Room  1
Agra – Katni 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Bandhavgarh Nature Heritage Resort, AC Cottage  4
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Standard Room  1

Price per person for mid budget hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1225
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1065
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £960
Single room supplement £200

Mid budget price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Standard Room 2
Agra Seven Hills Tower, Deluxe Room  1
Agra – Katni 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Bandhavgarh Nature Heritage Resort, AC Cottage  4
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room  1

Price per person for standard hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1260
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1085
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £970
Single room supplement £200

Standard price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Deluxe Room 2
Agra The Retreat, Superior Room  1
Agra – Katni 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Bandhavgarh Nature Heritage Resort, AC Cottage  4
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room  1

Price per person for deluxe hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1475
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1295
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1180
Single room supplement £385

Deluxe price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Justa The Residence, Gurgaon,  Superior Room 1
Bharatpur Hotel Sunbird, Super Deluxe Room 2
Agra Four Point by Sheraton, Superior Taj View Room  1
Agra – Katni 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Bandhavgarh Kings Lodge, AC Cottage  4
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Justa The Residence, Panchsheel, Superior Room  1

Price includes

  • Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle
  • Car at disposal on Day 2 and Day 12 in Delhi
  • 6 jeep safaris inside Bandhavgarh National Park (3 in Tala Zone and 3 in Maghdi Zone) on an exclusive basis with mandatory park guide (and lodge naturalist confirmed for deluxe category but subject to availability for other categories) inclusive of entrance fee
  • Within the deluxe price only one afternoon exploring around the lodge with the lodge naturalist is included
  • 1 1/2 days birding at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with local guide and entrance fee paid once each day
  • A 1-hour boat safari on the Chambal river with entrance fee and two hours birding in the vicinity of the Chambal river with guide accompanying from Bharatpur – supplements available for longer boating experiences
  • Entrance to Taj Mahal and Red Fort in Agra with English speaking local guide
  • 2nd class air-conditioned train from Agra to Katni and the return from Katni to Delhi – see supplement for 1st class.
  • Extra lunch and packed dinner from Bandhavgarh
  • 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
  • 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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