Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Modhva Beach, near Bhuj © T Lawson
Green Avadavat © D BryanMarshall's Iora © G SinghGrey Hypocolius © D BryanCrab Plover © N Sant

Western Rajasthan & Gujarat Birding (14 days) B125

Tour ref. no. B125
Duration: 12 nights (14 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Delhi – Bikaner – Desert National Park – Sardar Samand – Kumbhalgarh – Mount Abu – Little Rann of Kutch – Great Rann of Kutch (Nakhatrana/Banni Grasslands) – Bhuj – Mumbai

  • Encounter the majestic Great Indian Bustard in Desert National Park
  • Revel in the spectacle of thousands of Demoiselle Cranes at Kheechan
  • Look for the rare Stoliczka’s Bushchat at Desert National Park
  • Enjoy the peace of Kumbhalgarh Wildlife SanctuaryMarshall’s Iora occurs but difficult
  • You have to see it, just for the name – we know where to look for the rare Green Avadavat
  • Fabulous raptor photo opportunities and Yellow-eyed Pigeons at Bikaner Carcass Dump

Introduction

A tour for keen birders with a focus on several sought-after species. With the help of an experienced bird guide you’ll look for Great Indian Bustard and Stoliczka’s Bushchat in the Desert National Park and Yellow-eyed Pigeon around Bikaner.

Mount Abu is the best place to look for Green Avadavat and at Kumbhalgarh it is possible to see White-capped Bunting and several other species.

In Gujarat, India’s most westerly State, you will spend time exploring the Little Rann of Kutch. Species here can include Pallid Scops Owl, Sykes’s Nightjar and Macqueen’s Bustard. Sociable Lapwing can sometimes be seen in agricultural areas. Other local avian delights include Indian Courser, both Oriental and Small Pratincoles and large flocks of Common and Demoiselle Cranes sharing their arid home with the attractive and range-restricted Asiatic Wild Ass as an added bonus.

Your journey will continue to the Great Rann to see Grey Hypocolius, Marshall’s Iora and White-naped Tit. White-bellied Minivet, Indian Eagle Owl, Yellow-eyed Babbler and many species of raptor, larks and wheatears are all likely. Time spent by the coast should add Crab Plover, Greater and Lesser Sand Plover, several species of gulls and terns and perhaps even Great Knot.

Note: This fast-pace tour offers a very good chance of seeing the key species. However, some people may wish to add extra days or split the tour into two trips – one to focus on Western Rajasthan and the other to focus on Gujarat. You can extend this tour to include Gir and Velavadar, so do contact us if you are interested in an extended option.

 

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

Arrive at New Delhi airport where you will be welcomed by your guide and driver who will stay with you for the duration of the tour. Depending on your arrival time you could visit Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary for a few hours to search for Brooks’s Leaf Warbler, Indian Courser and a wealth of waterbirds. Sind Sparrow is recorded here and occurs locally. Night at hotel in Delhi.

Day 3: Delhi – night on the train to Bikaner

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and packed dinner for on the train

This morning we recommend a visit to Okhla wetland. Target species include White-tailed Stonechat, Striated Babbler and Yellow-bellied Prinia. After eating your packed lunch at Okhla you’ll drive to Old Delhi train station in plenty of time to board the Awadh Assam Express to Bikaner, departing at 1625 hours. Night in 2nd class air-conditioned sleeper (blanket, sheet and pillow provided).

Day 4: Bikaner – Kheechan – Jaisalmer and Desert National Park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your train is due to arrive in Bikaner at 0545 hours and from here you’ll be taken to a local hotel for breakfast. You’ll spend some time birding around Bikaner with the option to visit Bikaner Carcass Dump which is currently one of the best locations to look for Yellow-eyed Pigeon. Birds of prey congregate here in large numbers where you can expect to see Cinereous Vulture, Imperial, Tawny, Steppe and Greater Spotted Eagles.
By mid morning it will be time to leave for the 7 hour journey to Jaisalmer, stopping at Kheechan en-route. This is the village where locals feed up to 5,000 Demoiselle Cranes each morning and evening during the winter months. You will miss feeding time, but it is worth stopping to have good views of Demoiselle Cranes around some local lakes, where other species might include Green Bee-eater, Southern Grey Shrike, Dusky Crag-martin and perhaps the first of many Common Babbler and Rosy Starlings.

Arrive at Jaisalmer and check in at a desert safari camp. Night under canvas (with attached bathroom).

Day 5: Jaisalmer (Desert National Park - DNP)

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

After early breakfast, and taking a packed lunch with you, you’ll drive to the Desert National Park for a full day of birding. The target species here is Great Indian Bustard and your guide will also be looking for Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Cream-coloured Courser, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Lesser-spotted, Bonelli’s, Tawny and Short-toed Eagles. Trumpeter Finch, Rufous-fronted Prinia, Rufous-tailed Wheatear and Desert Lark are all seen locally. It is also possible to see both Desert and Red Fox as well as Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) and, if you are very lucky, Desert Cat. Return to your safari camp for dinner and spend another night here.

Day 6: Jaisalmer – Sardar Samand (near Jodhpur)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast you’ll spend some time birding around Ludarwa in habitat suitable for Sykes’s Lark, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Asian Desert Whitethroat (split from Lesser), Orphean Warbler, House Bunting, various Wheatears, Imperial Eagle and other birds of prey. From here it will be possible to visit Lake Gadisar where you may add one or two wetland species and various passerines in the thorn scrub including Sykes’s Warbler. Then you will drive (approx. 5 ½ hours) to Sardar Samand near Jodhpur. On arrival it may be possible to look for Indian Eagle Owl and various other species if time permits. Night at local hotel.

Day 7: Sardar Samand – Kumbhalgarh

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After early breakfast and perhaps an hour or two of early morning birding, drive (approx. 5 hours) to Kumbhalgarh stopping on the way in good habitat to stretch legs. Arrive at Kumbhalgarh in the Aravalli Hills and check in at your hotel. Target species include White-capped and Crested Buntings, Painted Francolin, White-naped Woodpecker and Sulphur-bellied Warbler, to name just a few. Green Avadavat, White-naped Tit and White-bellied Minivet have all been recorded locally, but are usually difficult to see here. Night at local hotel.

Day 8: Kumbhalgarh – Mount Abu

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning you will visit Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a healthy population of Leopard (though difficult to see), Grey Junglefowl, Red Spurfowl, Tawny-bellied and Yellow-eyed Babblers. After a late breakfast you’ll be driven to Mount Abu (approx. 4 hours). Lunch will be on the way and there should be time to stop and scan a large lake by the roadside. Key thing is to arrive at Mount Abu in time to look for Green Avadavat in the late afternoon. Night at local hotel.

Day 9: Mount Abu – Little Rann of Kutch

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast, spend an hour or two at Abu, then drive (approx. 5 hours) to Dasada, on the eastern edge of the Little Rann of Kutch. Life looks tough here in the heart of the Rann, a vast, desert-like salt plain which gets progressively hotter and drier until the onset of the monsoon and is then inundated by both rain and sea. It’s hard to see how animals and people alike can survive this harsh environment. Check in at your safari lodge and enjoy some local birdwatching with your guide around the resort where species might include Pallid Scops Owl (sometimes seen in the grounds), Wire-tailed Swallow and Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark. Night at lodge

Day 10: Little Rann of Kutch

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris into the Little Rann for birding and to see the rare Asiatic Wild Ass (Onager), returning to your lodge in the middle of the day for lunch. Note: The mornings are cold, so wrap up warm. You could be rewarded with views of Macqueen’s Bustard, Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Small and Oriental Pratincoles, Great White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers. Sociable Lapwing is sometimes seen in nearby fields and Stoliczka’s Bushchat can be seen locally too. Rosy Starlings congregate around the villages depending on the time of year. In the evening you’ll head out locally looking for crepuscular and nocturnal species which include Sykes’s and Savanna Nightjars. Night at your safari lodge.

Day 11: Little Rann of Kutch – Great Rann of Kutch

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast drive to Nakhatrana (7 hours). En-route you may stop at some saline lagoons if birds dictate or you fancy stretching your legs. Expect to arrive at Nakhatrana in the early afternoon and check in at your resort.

Depending on the time, your guide may take you straight to Fotmahadev to look for White-naped Tit, Marshall’s Iora and Grey-necked Bunting. There is a good chance of seeing Painted Sandgrouse locally and perhaps even Rock Bush-Quail or Indian Bushlark. Over the next couple of days you should have a chance of catching up with Stoliczka’s Bushchat, if you didn’t come across it at DNP or the Little Rann. Night at your resort.

Day 12: Nakhatrana area (Great Rann)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today will be a full day with packed breakfast and packed lunch. Depart early for Fulay (a 30 minute drive) to see some rare bird species, including Grey Hypocolius at their only regular wintering site in India. Other species may include Yellow-eyed Babbler, Sirkeer Malkoha, Sykes’s Nightjar, Steppe Grey Shrike and Indian Eagle Owl. Breakfast at Bird Rock is likely to attract a very obliging Red-tailed Wheatear. You should see at least six species of raptor today in the Banni grasslands and many wetland birds around Chhari Dhandh. Return to your resort in time for dinner.

Day 13: Nakhatrana – Naliya/Lala Bustard Sanctuary – Modhva Beach (near Mandvi) – Nakhatrana

Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Today you will drive (approx. 1 ½ hour) to Naliya grasslands and the Lala Bustard Sanctuary. It is becoming increasingly difficult to see Great Indian Bustard, in Gujarat, but you’ll be in suitable habitat which also holds Bimaculated Lark, Long-legged Buzzard, Fan-tailed Warbler and many other birds as well as Indian Gazelle (Chinkara). After exploring here, you could continue on to the coast near Mandvi, or return for more birding around Nakhatrana and visit the coast on your final morning. On the beach at Modhva, near Mandvi, it should be possible to see Crab Plover, Greater Thick-knee, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, Slender-billed, Pallas’s, Brown-headed and Heuglin’s Gulls. Other species not previously mentioned and often seen include Lesser-crested and Caspian Terns, Kentish Plover and Great Knot. Return to your resort in good time for dinner.

Day 14: Nakhatrana - Bhuj

Meals: Breakfast
If you didn’t visit Modhva near Mandvi the previous day, you could visit on your final morning. The drive to the beach will take about 2 ½ hours, stopping at roadside pools near Mandvi on the way. Arrive at Bhuj airport in good time for your internal flight (to be booked by you directly) to Mumbai – there is a morning and afternoon flight option most days. If time permits you could, if you wish stop in Bhuj to purchase local handicrafts and do, if you get the chance, enjoy a traditional Gujarati thali lunch at Hotel Price in Bhuj – you can also purchase beautiful embroidery here. From Hotel Prince, the airport is about 20 – 30 minutes drive. Here you will say goodbye to your guide.

Tour ends

Tour extensions to Gir, Velavadar and other locations are available. Please contact us for details and we can advise accordingly and give you a price.

Price per person:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1495
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1310
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1170
Single room supplement £300

The price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Delhi Hotel Lohmod, Executive Room 1
Overnight train 2nd class air-conditioned train (Delhi to Bikaner) 1
Jaisalmer Camp Naivaidyam, Luxury Tent 2
Sardar Samand Sardar Samand Lake Palace, Deluxe Room 1
Kumbhalgarh Haveli Resort, Deluxe Room 1
Mount Abu Jaipur House, Deluxe Room 1
Little Rann Royal Safari Camp, AC Deluxe Hut/Cottage 2
Nakhatrana Infinity, AC Deluxe Tent or Hut 2

Note: Supplement can be supplied should you prefer to stay at Rann Riders Resort.

Price includes

  • Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle (saloon car for up to 2 people, Innova for 3 or 4)
  • Car at disposal on Day 2 in Delhi
  • Accompanying birding naturalist from Day 2 to Day 14
  • 2nd class air-conditioned sleeper train from Delhi to Bikaner
  • One full day camel cart transport inside Desert National Park
  • National Park and Sanctuary entrance fees based on current rates
  • All currently applicable taxes

Price excludes

  • Any International airfare to/from India and any internal flights
  • Meals not specified
  • Tourist visa and travel insurance
  • Camera fee wherever levied
  • 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 presently applicable entrance fees
  • 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 our 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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