Big Cats of India (West and Central India) (15 Day; # 104)
India is the only country in the world that can claim both Lion and Tiger among its native fauna. While many tours take you to see tigers, this wildlife tour of Gujarat & central India is unique in its focus on Asiatic Lions in the Gir Forest & Tigers in Tadoba and Satpura. The beautiful Blackbuck in the Velavadar Reserve and endangered Asiatic Wild Ass at Dasada Sanctuary are the other two main highlights of this trip.
We’ll arrive in Delhi in the afternoon/evening. Next day, the main trip starts as we fly to Rajkot and drive to Gir National Park.
The next three days are spent with morning and afternoon drives in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. The Asiatic Lions are usually inactive during the heat of the day, but if we are lucky, we can hope to see them out hunting their prey during our visit. With a rugged terrain of low hills and tracts of deciduous forest interspersed with areas of grassland, the national park supports a great diversity of mammals like Chital or Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Blue Bull Antelope, Chinkara Gazelle, Chousingha (the world’s only four-horned antelope), Wild Boar etc. With such an abundance of prey, Gir also has a thriving Leopard population and Striped Hyenas who try to scavenge any leftovers from the lion’s meals. A number of attractive birds can usually be seen on the trail too.
For those more culturally inclined, a local village visit or a visit to a house of a tribal family to get a glimpse of rural tribal life can also be arranged. Right with buffaloes tied outside their modest homes, small living areas with joint families staying together, seeing how they live can be quite a wonderful experience. For the more adventurous we can even suggest a place to try out fresh homemade traditional cuisine at a lovely roadside dhabha (simple eatery) run by Maldhari tribal women.
From Gir, we’ll travel to Little Rann of Kutch.
Dasada is a desert wildlife sanctuary, known for the last abode of the Asiatic wild ass in the Indian peninsula. During the exciting safari, you must watch out for other endangered wildlife like the Wolf, Indian and Desert Fox, Indian Gazelle, McQueen’s Bustard, etc. which can be spotted there too.
Another treat in store is the sunset at Bajana Lake, where Flamingos, Pelicans, Demoiselle and Common Cranes, and other water birds gather in numbers beyond comprehension. The sight of these birds in the sunset light will be an unforgettable memory for sure.
Back from the thrilling safari, you will enjoy your meal and overnight stay at Rann Riders. We have specially chosen these imaginatively designed safari resorts with structures built from local materials to resemble a local village featuring long wicker beds, work table, dressing area and a tiled bath with hot-and-cold water. This will surely give you a feel of traditional Indian hospitality and comfort.
From Dasada, we’ll travel to Ahmedabad airport for your onward journey to Nagpur via Mumbai. We’ll reach Nagpur in the early evening and will travel to Tadoba National Park. One of the finest tiger habitats, Tadoba is home to many other mammals, reptiles, and insects. The complex web of life is interlinked inseparable from the floral elements. Bison, wolf, hyena, jackal, wild dogs and fox are secondary carnivores. Among the Central Indian deer species, one can see the sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, chinkara, Nilgai and the four-horned deer. Common elements are the wild boar, langur monkeys, rhesus macaque and the peacock. Spotted deer are also found in wild abundance and constitute the prey base of the tertiary and secondary consumers. Other charismatic animals are the leopard, rusty spotted cat, jungle, cat, leopard cat and the sloth bear.
From Tadoba, we’ll leave for Pench National Park where we’ll spend 02 nights and do a few safaris there.
From Pench, get ready for the drive to Kanha National Park. Nestled in Maikal range amidst the sylvan settings is located the largest park of Central India, Kanha National Park. Sprawling across an area of 2059.7 sq km it comprises of 940 sq km core, 1009 sq km buffer zone and 110.79 sq km of Kanha and neighboring Phen Sanctuary. Falling in the districts of Mandla and Balaghat, the park encompasses Banjaar and Hallon valley
Mammals and birds, we expect in Kanha are Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Chital, Barking Deer, Gaur, Indian Jackal, Chousingha, Jungle Cat, Sambar, Langur are some of the mammals that inhabit the park. Hard-ground Barasingha or Swamp Deer, the state animal of Madhya Pradesh is found only in Kanha National Park in India. Kanha is home to around 300 species of birds both resident and migratory birds such as Indian Roller, Indian Grey Hornbill, Cattle Egrets, Bee-eaters, Drongos, Black Ibis, Common Teal, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Peafowl, White-eyed Buzzard, Kingfishers, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Steppe Eagle, Little Grebes and many more. Apart from these, birds of prey like Osprey and Shikra are also found in the park.
From Kanha, we’ll travel to Nagpur airport to connect flight back to Delhi from where we’ll connect International flight back to home.