Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Long-billed Vulture © K Claydon
Sarus Crane © L SikarwarWoolly-necked Stork © K ClaydonYellow-footed Green Pigeon © K ClaydonSunset, Ken River, near Panna © K Claydon

Cranes, Storks, Vultures and Tigers Tour (13 days) BT165

Tour ref. no. BT165
Duration: 11 nights (13 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Delhi – Bharatpur – Chambal – Agra/Jhansi – Panna – Bandhavgarh – Katni – Delhi
  • Fabulous Black-necked and Painted Storks with unforgettable Sarus Cranes at Bharatpur
  • Obscure-looking Indian Skimmers grace the Chambal River along with Indian River Terns
  • Fabulous photo opportunities – you may see Indian Eagle Owl on Ken River’s island refuges and Brown Fish Owl in the forests
  • Panna Tiger Reserve – home to Tiger, Leopard and even Tree Shrews and more!
  • Experience Tiger euphoria at Bandhavgarh – one of the best places to see Tiger in India

Introduction

Bharatpur’s wealth of birdlife is sure to impress – probably one of the best compact wetlands in the world!  Charismatic wetland species are plentiful – Sarus Cranes, Open-billed and Woolly-necked Storks, Black Bitterns, Ibises and a wide range of wildfowl and it seems like new surprises around every corner.

After all this excitement, take a day’s break at the National Chambal Sanctuary and there’s a good chance of watching Ganges River Dolphins breaking the river’s surface while bizarre Indian Skimmers grace the skies, Indian Black Ibis patrol the river banks  and Small Pratincoles rest on sandy shores.

The Taj Mahal can be easily included as it’s on the journey to Central India’s Tiger Reserves. First to the lesser known, but very diverse Panna Tiger Reserve, home to Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear and other lesser known mammals.  There is a place here where it is possible to look down on vultures breeding below, so you should have very good views of these helpful scavengers.

Then to Bandhavgarh, one of India’s famous Tiger Reserves.   You have a very good chance of seeing the king of the jungle here, though you can never guarantee. Bird sightings may include Malabar Pied Hornbill and many others.

Previously named Stately Cranes, Storks and Tigers Tour (same code of BT165)

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 local hotel. We have included the transfer to your hotel only today.

Day 3: Delhi – Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast in Delhi, lunch and dinner at Bharatpur

After breakfast (served from 0700 hours) your driver will take you to Bharatpur (approx. 5 hrs). Ideally leave just after breakfast around 0730 – 0800 hours to avoid some of the rush hour traffic.  Check in to your hotel, close to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary entrance.  Explore Sanctuary on foot in the afternoon with an experienced guide. Night at hotel.

Day 4: Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner 

Explore Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for the whole day on foot with an experienced guide for nightjars, owls, Black Bittern, Black-necked and several other species of stork and even Siberian Rubythroat is possible.  You can accrue an impressive raptor list here too!  Have packed lunch inside the Sanctuary. 

Day 5: Bharatpur – Chambal – Bharatpur

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Leave for a full day birding at the Chambal river (Dholpur) after an early breakfast (the time can be decided by you), with bird guide accompanying.  The journey will take approx. 1¾ hours.  Enjoy a one hour boat safari on the Chambal River. Note: We can provide a supplement for a longer safari on the river.  Species here might include Indian Skimmer, Gharial, Marsh Crocodile, various turtles, many species of bird and a glimpse of the rare Ganges River Dolphin if you are lucky.  Spend a few hours birdwatching along the banks of the Chambal river with your guide and enjoy a packed lunch while you are there.  Return in the afternoon to your hotel at Bharatpur and relax for the evening. 

Day 6: Bharatpur - Agra/Jhansi - Khajuraho - Panna

Meals: Breakfast at Bharatpur, lunch or packed lunch and dinner at Panna 

Today you can either have a very early morning brief visit to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with a guide, or alternatively leave earlier to drive (1 ½ – 2 hours depending on traffic) to Agra to see the Taj Mahal with a monument guide.  Just let us know which option you would prefer at the time of booking.  Please note, the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.  With either option the entrance fee and cost of guide is included.  We have included the transfer to the railway station to catch the UDZ KURJ Express (second class air-conditioned) train departing Agra at 1105 hrs and arriving in Jhansi at 1930 hrsYour driver will meet you on the station platform and the journey to Panna will take approx. 1 hour.  On arrival ask if the resident naturalist is there and ask if possible they accompany you on the jeep safari drives or during free time in the middle of the day.  Note:  This is at the discretion of the lodge management for mid budget and standard options, but confirmed for the deluxe categoryTo guarantee a skilled bird guide it is best for us to call in their services and a supplement for this can be supplied.  Night at resort. 

Days 7 and 8: Panna National Park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Panna

Today enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Panna National Park. You can ask if a  resident lodge naturalist is available to accompany you for walks in the middle of the day local around the resort.  This is confirmed for deluxe category and subject to availability for other categories.

Covering almost 550 square kilometres, Panna Tiger Reserve is a picturesque landscape of undulating hills, plateaux and gorges alongside the lovely Ken river.  Rich in wildlife, there is a chance of seeing Tiger (although a better chance will be at Bandhavgarh), Sloth Bear and Leopard.  The dainty Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) is often seen in more open areas and Grey-headed Fish Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Brown Fish Owl, Painted Francolin, Painted Spurfowl, White-naped Woodpecker and Orange-headed Thrush can all be seen and many more.

Between safaris you can relax back at your resort on the banks of the Ken river.  There may be an option to take a boat trip on the river where sometimes Indian Eagle Owls stand as sentries on the islands.  Speak with the resort manager to ask if this excursion is possible and confirm the price.

Relax at your resort in the evenings.

Day 9: Panna – Bandhavgarh

Meals: Breakfast at Panna, lunch and dinner at Bandhavgarh 

After breakfast drive (approx. 5 hours) to Bandhavgarh.  Check in at your lodge/resort (rooms available from 12 noon), relax and have lunch.  For the deluxe category a lodge naturalist will accompany you for jeep safaris, but for mid budget and standard prices the availability of the lodge naturalist is at the discretion of the lodge management.   This afternoon, enjoy your first jeep safari inside Bandhavgarh National Park (Maghdi Zone) and we will put in a request for the lodge naturalist to accompany you (guaranteed for deluxe category and subject to availability for mid budget and standard) in addition to the mandatory Forest Department guide.  Note: Some lodge naturalists are better than others at identifying the more difficult bird species and most are good on mammal identification.  To guarantee a skilled bird guide it is best for us to call in their services and a supplement for this can be supplied. 

Days 10 and 11: Bandhavgarh

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Bandhavgarh

Morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Bandhavgarh National Park each day (four in total – two in Maghdi Zone and two in Tala Zone).  These are guaranteed with a Forest Department mandatory guide and we will request the services of one of the lodge naturalists (guaranteed for deluxe category and subject to availability for mid budget and standard).

Nights at lodge/resort.

Day 12: Bandhavgarh – overnight train to Delhi

Meals: Breakfast, lunch or packed lunch and packed dinner to have on the train

Enjoy your final morning jeep safari in Maghdi Zone.  Lunch will be supplied and you’ll be advised of the time to depart for the train station at Katni.  The driver will collect you from your lodge/resort and the journey to Katni will take approx. two hours.  You’ll arrive in good time to board the Mahakaushal Express departing at 1925 hours (price is for second class air-conditioned sleeper and we can supply a supplement for 1st class if you prefer).  Night on the train (pillow, sheet and blanket provided).

Day 13: Delhi

Meals: Payable directly today 

Your train is expected to arrive in Delhi at 1140 hours.  We have included day use of a room at a Delhi hotel and transfer to the hotel.  If you’d like to explore and need a guide please enquire and we can supply a supplement for this.  A transfer to Delhi International Airport is included (flights to be booked by you directly).  

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 including adding a night in Khajuraho with a visit to Khajuraho Temples if you enjoy cultural places. Please ask for details.

Price per person for mid budget hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1435
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1205
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1055
Single room supplement £220

Mid 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 3
Panna Panna Tiger Resort, Standard Room  3
Bandhavgarh Nature Heritage Resort, Deluxe Room  3
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Standard Room (day use)

Price per person for standard hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1475
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1245
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1095
Single room supplement £270

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 3
Panna Panna Tiger Resort, River Facing Room  3
Bandhavgarh Nature Heritage Resort, Deluxe Room/Cottage  3
Katni – Delhi 2nd AC overnight sleeper train  1
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room for day use

Price per person for deluxe hotels option:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1755
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1510
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1350
Single room supplement £460

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 3
Panna Ken River Lodge, Deluxe Cottage  3
Bandhavgarh Kings Lodge, Deluxe Cottage  3
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
  • 1 full day and 1 half day birding inside Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary with local bird guide and entrance fee paid once a day
  • A 1-hour boat safari on the Chambal river followed by birdwatching with guide accompanying and inclusive of entrance fee and packed lunch – we can supply a supplement if you’d prefer a longer boat experience
  • Entry ticket for the Taj Mahal in Agra with English speaking guide
  • 2nd class air-conditioned train from Agra to Khajuraho and the return from Jabalpur to Delhi on 2nd class air-conditioned sleeper train – we can supply a supplement for 1st class
  • 4 jeep safaris inside Panna National Park on an exclusive basis with mandatory Forest Department guide inclusive of entrance fee
  • 6 jeep safaris inside Bandhavgarh National Park (4 in Maghdi Zone and 2 in Tala 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
  • 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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