This exciting tour explores three of India’s most productive areas. Beginning in the western state of Gujarat, we explore the tropical savanna grasslands of Velavadar National Park and the rich deciduous woodlands of Gir National Park, before ending up in the saline desert landscape of the Little Rann of Kutch with its vast seasonal wetlands. Moving on, we journey through the Central Indian Highlands and the Deccan Plateau in the heart of India. From the rugged dry teak forests and bamboo of Tadoba National Park, we move northwards into the rich mosaic of forest types in Pench National Park, and finally to the woodlands and meadows of Kanha National Park. Next, we experience a complete change of landscape, habitat and species as we travel to the Brahmaputra River floodplain in India’s northeast corner, where we explore the vast grasslands and wetlands of Kaziranga National Park, with visits to neighbouring tea estates and to the evergreen forest of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.
Birding on foot and from open-topped jeeps we shall encounter a wide selection of birds on all parts of the tour, including top birds like Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Black-necked Stork, Greater Adjutant, Red-naped Ibis, Demoiselle and Sarus Cranes, Macqueen’s Bustard, Indian Courser, Painted and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Swamp Francolin, Finn’s Weaver, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Abbott’s Babbler, Chinese Rubythroat, Red-headed Trogon, Spot-winged Starling, Jerdon’s and Black Bazas, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Dusky Eagle Owl, Mottled Wood Owl and Pallid Scops Owl. There will also be a spectacular diversity of mammals throughout the tour, including some of Asia’s most iconic species, with very good chances to see Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Leopard, Striped Hyena, Indian Wolf, Blackbuck, Asiatic Wild Ass, Indian Wild Dog (Ussuri Dhole), Asian Elephant, Indian Rhinoceros, Sloth Bear, Indian Bison (Gaur), Assam Macaque and Western Hoolock Gibbon. With so much to see, even non-birding partners will love it.
We shall be accompanied throughout the tour by an English-speaking India Nature tour guide.

Day 1 We recommend you depart Heathrow at 1pm on a flight with Air India, via Mumbai, to Ahmedabad (to be confirmed). Dinner and overnight in flight.
Day 2 The recommended flight arrives in Mumbai early this morning, where we transfer to an onward flight to Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat, landing at 7.25am. From here, we have a 3.5 hour drive southwest to Velavadar National Park for a three night stay, looking out for birds and mammals as we get closer to our lodge. Dinner and overnight at Blackbuck Safari Lodge, a comfortable wildlife lodge just a few minutes from the national park.
Days 3 & 4 We have two full days to explore the tropical grassland of Velavadar National Park, with morning and afternoon drives in open-topped jeeps. The extensive savanna, sprinkled with patches of acacia thorn scrub is home to the country’s highest concentration of the endemic Blackbuck. Large herds of these striking antelopes will be the most conspicuous mammal as we drive through the park, and we should see them perform their characteristic jumps as they hurry across the jeep tracks. Velavadar is also one of the best places in India to see the elusive Indian Wolf, the primary predator of the park. It occurs here alongside several other mammals, most notably the crepuscular and secretive Striped Hyena, which will require early morning starts, the elusive Jungle Cat, and the stately Blue Bull (Nilgai), Asia’s largest antelope. The grasslands here host one of the largest harrier roosts in the world during the winter months, when up to 2000 Montagu’s, Pallid, Western Marsh and Hen Harriers settle within the long grass each evening. Other birds of note here include Chestnut-bellied and Painted Sandgrouse, Egyptian Vulture, White-eyed and Long-legged Buzzards, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Greater Spotted, Indian Spotted, Bonelli’s and Tawny Eagles, Laggar and Red-necked Falcons, Shikra, Black-shouldered Kite, Rufous-tailed, Crested and Sykes’s Larks, Long-billed and Tawny Pipits, Indian Silverbill, White-eared Bulbul, Sirkeer Malkoha, Bay-backed and Long-tailed Shrikes, Desert and Variable Wheatears, Booted and Sykes’s Warblers, Pied Bushchat and the rare Lesser Florican, which is endemic to the subcontinent. The Rivers Alang and Paravalio provide seasonal wetlands which host a variety of wintering waterbirds, offering an interesting contrast in this otherwise arid land. Possibilities include Common and Demoiselle Cranes, Painted, Black and Asian Woolly-necked Storks, Asian Openbill, Red-naped Ibis, Marsh Sandpiper, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Indian Thick-knee, Oriental Darter, Indian Spot-billed and Knob-billed Ducks, Ruddy Shelduck, Grey-headed Swamphen, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns and Pied Kingfisher. There is also often a Pallid Scops Owl roosting in the grounds of our lodge. Dinners and overnights at Blackbuck Safari Lodge.


Painted Stork

Oriental Darter

Pallid Scops Owl

Day 5 We have a five hour drive to the southern corner of the Kathiawar Peninsula, for a two night stay in Gir National Park. The journey becomes gradually greener as we pass through flat drylands with sparse acacia scrub and fields of cotton. Gir National Park protects one of the largest tracts of dry deciduous woodland anywhere in the world. Dominated by Teak, the forest forms an intricate mosaic with large expanses of grassland and patches of thorny acacia scrub, all drained by seven perennial rivers. This landscape is the only refuge of the majestic Asiatic Lion and we arrive in time to spend the afternoon exploring the undulating forested hills of Gir on an afternoon safari in open-topped jeeps. Our primary target here is of course the Asiatic Lion, distinguishable from its African counterpart by its smaller size and shorter, darker mane. Despite their rarity, the lions are thriving in this corner of Gujarat and are relatively easy to see. Dinner and overnight at Gir Serai, a modern wildlife resort in extensive grounds overlooking the Hiran River.

Asiatic Lion

Day 6 We spend a full day exploring Gir on morning and afternoon safaris in open-topped jeeps. As well as the Lions, we are likely to encounter several other mammals as we drive along the sandy tracks, such as Leopard, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer (Chital), Sambar Deer, Indian Gazelle (Chinkara) and the elusive Four-horned Antelope (Chousingha), as well as a large population of Marsh Crocodiles in the Kamleshwar reservoir. Birds of note here include Painted Sandgrouse, Grey and Painted Francolins, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Marshall’s Iora, Zitting Cisticola, Rufous-fronted and Delicate Prinias, Tickell’s Blue and Asian Brown Flycatchers, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Black-hooded Oriole, White-bellied Drongo, White-bellied Minivet, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Orphean and Booted Warblers, Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Brown Fish Owl and Mottled Wood Owl, many of which are unlikely to be seen elsewhere in Gujarat. Dinner and overnight at Gir Serai.

Marsh Crocodile

Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

Day 7 After a final morning safari within Gir National Park, we drive northeast to Dasada, for a two-night stay at the edge of the Little Rann of Kutch. The eight hour drive will take most of the day, with time to pause along the way for lunch, comfort stops and some roadside birding. Dinner and overnight at Rann Riders, a renowned wildlife lodge with modern traditionally styled cottages amid shady gardens.
Day 8 We spend today exploring the Little Rann of Kutch, focusing on the Wild Ass Sanctuary which we visit on morning and afternoon safaris in open-topped jeeps. The Little Rann of Kutch was once a shallow extension of the Arabian Sea. Transformed by geological uplift and silting, it is now a vast saline mudflat averaging just 50 feet above sea level. The secretive Macqueen’s Bustard winters here, while Indian Courser, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Great Grey and Isabelline Shrikes, Bimaculated and Greater Short-toed Larks, Oriental Skylark and Greater Hoopoe Lark are all possible. Sizeable groups of Sociable Lapwings also overwinter in this western extremity of India, and we will make a special effort to look for this rare species. Other noteworthy birds include Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Oriental White-eye, Asian Desert Warbler, Eurasian Wryneck, Brown Rock Chat, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Small, Yellow-legged and Barred Buttonquails, White-eyed Buzzard, Indian Vulture, Short-eared Owl and Sykes’s Nightjar. Waterbirds gather in the seasonal wetlands in astonishing numbers creating an unusual spectacle in the desert landscape. The diverse selection of waterbirds includes Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Great White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Black-necked and White Storks, White-tailed Plover, Small, Oriental and Collared Pratincoles, Lesser Whistling Duck and various egrets, while skeins of Common, Demoiselle and Sarus Cranes returning to the wetlands after foraging in surrounding farmland is always a highlight. The mammals here are equally impressive, including Striped Hyena, Indian Wolf, Jungle Cat, Indian Desert Cat, Desert Fox, the small Asiatic form of Red Fox and herds of Asiatic Wild Ass which roam freely across the landscape. Dinner and overnight at Rann Riders.

Asiatic Wild Asses

Desert Fox

Day 9 We have a final morning on safari in the sanctuary, with time to linger for more birding in the lodge grounds, before a two hour drive to Ahmedabad this afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Fortune Hotel Landmark, a modern hotel in Ahmedabad, within easy reach of the airport.
Day 10 We have an early morning flight from Ahmedabad to the central Indian city of Nagpur, and then drive south into the Deccan Plateau in the state of Maharashtra for a three night stay in Tadoba National Park, which is arguably one of India’s most interesting reserves, offering some of the country’s most reliable sightings of Tigers. Off the beaten track, with comparatively few tourist lodges, Tadoba offers wonderful wildlife encounters in a quieter setting than in the more famous reserves. We begin our exploration of the area with an afternoon safari drive in open-topped jeeps. Dinner and overnight at Svasara Jungle Lodge, a renowned wildlife lodge just outside the reserve’s Kolara gate.
Days 11 & 12 We have the luxury of two full days to explore the varied habitats of Tadoba on twice-daily safaris in open-topped jeeps, amid rugged ridges and escarpments covered by dry deciduous forests of mostly Teak and Silk Cotton in our search for Tigers, which have a relatively high density here. The park is known for its charismatic and confident individuals which often provide incredible photo-opportunities. As in all the parks we visit, we plan our safari schedule according to the latest information on Tiger movements, to provide us with the best possible opportunities to encounter this iconic species. Tadoba’s woodlands are peppered with bamboo thickets, open meadows, marshes, perennial lakes and boulder-strewn stream beds, home to an impressive array of other mammals including Leopard, Indian Bison (Gaur), Nilgai, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Mouse Deer, Honey Badger, Wild Boar and Rhesus Macaque. Tadoba is well known for its packs of Indian Wild Dog, as well as reliable year-round sightings of Sloth Bear. Alongside the impressive array of mammals around 200 species of bird have been recorded at Tadoba including Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Red and Painted Spurfowls, Grey Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Jungle Bush Quail, Crested Treeswift, Orange-headed Thrush, Black, White-bellied and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Common Hawk Cuckoo, White-rumped Shama, Indian Golden Oriole, Plum-headed and Alexandrine Parakeets, White-browed Bulbul, Brown-headed and Coppersmith Barbets, Indian Bushlark, Brahminy Starling, Common and Jungle Babblers, Ashy Prinia, Indian Robin, Purple and Purple-rumped Sunbirds, Pale-billed Flowerpecker and Scaly-breasted Munia. Dinners and overnights at Svasara Jungle Lodge.

Indian Bison

Sloth Bear

Grey Junglefowl

Coppersmith Barbet

Day 13 After some morning birding within the extensive grounds of our lodge in Tadoba, we have a four hour journey north to Pench National Park for a two-night stay. We begin our exploration of the reserve this evening with a night safari into the park in open-topped jeeps. While sightings on night safaris are unpredictable, they do offer the chance to see Tiger, Leopard, Indian Wolf and Golden Jackal as well as nocturnal birds. Dinner and overnight at Pench Jungle Camp, an established wildlife lodge near the national park.
Day 14 We continue to explore Pench National Park on morning and afternoon safaris in open-topped jeeps. This region gave Rudyard Kipling the inspiration for the ‘Jungle Book’ and many of the book’s locations are true to life. Pench straddles the border between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, marked by the Pench River which meanders through the reserve from north to south. As we drive through the open deciduous forests, we will encounter a higher diversity of herbivores than anywhere else in India. The most abundant mammal is the attractive Chital, accompanied by Sambar, Indian Muntjac, and the impressive Indian Bison, all prey for Tigers, as well as Leopards, Indian Wild Dogs and Indian Wolves. Other possible mammals here include Northern Plains Grey Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Sloth Bear, Common Palm and Small Indian Civets, Bengal Fox, Jungle and Leopard Cats and Indian Porcupine. We can also expect a good selection of birds such as Indian Grey and Malabar Pied Hornbills, Indian Peafowl, Emerald Dove, Pied Cuckoo, Hoopoe, Hair-crested Drongo, Asian Pied and Chestnut-tailed Starlings, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Verditer Flycatcher, Common Iora, Black Redstart, Yellow-throated Sparrow and Red Avadavat. There are also four species of Vulture; White-rumped, Indian, Red-headed and Egyptian, and we will make a special effort to track down some of the park’s roosting night birds like Spotted and Jungle Owlets and Collared Scops Owl. Dinner and overnight at Pench Jungle Camp.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

Chestnut-tailed Starling

Day 15 We leave Pench this morning on a five hour drive northeast to Kanha National Park for a three-night stay. Arriving by mid-afternoon, there will be time for some birding within the 11 acre grounds of our lodge where the extensive Sal forests are home to birds like Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Rufous Treepie, Black-hooded Oriole, Scarlet Minivet and Asian Koel, not to mention several attractive butterflies like the striking Blue Mormon, and mammals like Chital, Northern Plains Grey Langur, and Indian Giant Flying Squirrel after dark. This evening, we have a night safari in open-topped jeeps. Dinner and overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge, a renowned wildlife lodge close to the park’s Mukki zone.
Days 16 & 17 We have two full days to explore Kanha National Park on morning and afternoon safaris in open-topped jeeps. As central India’s largest reserve, Kanha has over 400 miles of tracks to explore, and we stay on the quieter side of the reserve at Mukki. Kanha’s landscape is dominated by grasslands, with scattered woodland, and as we drive through the reserve, the meadows and waterholes will be busy converging points for herbivores and their predators, and so Kanha is one of the best places in the world to see Tigers. We can also hope to see a good variety of other mammals here including Indian Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Indian Porcupine, Indian Bison, Spotted Deer and the rare Swamp Deer (Barasingha). Over 300 species of birds have also been recorded here including Red Junglefowl, Yellow-wattled and Red-wattled Lapwings, Red Collared Dove, Rufous, White-naped and Heart-spotted Woodpeckers, Lesser Yellownape, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Long-tailed and Small Minivets, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Bluethroat, Indian Yellow Tit, Sulphur-bellied Warbler and Yellow-eyed and Tawny-bellied Babblers, plus twelve species of owl and a selection of raptors such as Black and Rufous-bellied Eagles, Crested Hawk Eagle and Pied Harrier. Dinners and overnights at Kanha Jungle Lodge.

Red-wattled Lapwing

Blue-bearded Bee-eater

Day 18 After some final birding in our lodge grounds, we have a six hour drive back to Nagpur airport to check in for an evening flight to Delhi. Dinner and overnight at the Ibis Aerocity Hotel, a modern hotel within easy reach of Delhi airport.
Day 19 We have an early morning flight from Delhi to Guwahati in India’s northeastern state of Assam. After arriving in Guwahati by mid-morning, we have a five hour drive to Kaziranga National Park for a four-night stay. Along the way we can look out for birds like Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Blue-throated Barbet, Indochinese Roller, White-vented Myna and the range-restricted Greater Adjutant. We arrive at Kaziranga by mid-afternoon, perhaps in time for some birding in the grounds of our next lodge. Dinner and overnight at Wild Grass, an established wildlife resort close to the central range of Kaziranga National Park.

Blue-throated Barbet

Greater Adjutant

Day 20 We have a pre-dawn start on a three hour drive northeast of Kaziranga to spend the morning at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, an important area of lowland evergreen forest in the Assam Valley. Among a total of seven primate species, the sanctuary is home to Western Hoolock Gibbon, India’s only ape, along with equally good chances to see Stump-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques, as well as the more widespread Assam and Rhesus Macaques and Capped Langur (the final primate, Bengal Slow Loris, is both nocturnal and shy). This forest is also home to several birds which are absent from or difficult to find in Kaziranga, and we can expect some new species here such as Red-headed Trogon, Dollarbird, White-browed Piculet, Silver-breasted and Long-tailed Broadbills, Small Niltava, Abbott’s and Puff-throated Babblers, Pin-striped Tit Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter, White-rumped Shama and Blue-eared Kingfisher. There is also a chance of scarce and elusive forest dwellers such as Hooded Pitta and the secretive Malayan Night Heron. We return to Kaziranga in time for an afternoon safari in the park’s eastern range. Dinner and overnight at Wild Grass.
Days 21 & 22 These two days will be spent exploring Kaziranga National Park, the largest undisturbed area of the Brahmaputra floodplain, which is dominated by swampy wetlands and extensive areas of tall elephant grass and supports an incredible diversity of wildlife. Birding from open-topped jeeps on morning and afternoon safari drives, we go in search of grassland specialists like Swamp Francolin, Striated and Indian Grassbirds, Rosy Pipit, Eastern Baya and Finn’s Weavers and the rare and elusive Bengal Florican. In the wetland areas, we can expect to see numerous waders and waterfowl such as Greater Painted Snipe, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Grey-headed Lapwing, Bar-headed Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Spot-billed Pelican, Lesser Adjutant and River Tern, as well as possible rarities like Falcated and Chinese Spot-billed Ducks. These wetland species will be accompanied by a complementary selection of birds in small patches of woodland such as Kalij Pheasant, Oriental Pied and Great Hornbills, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Striated and Chestnut-capped Babblers, Green-billed and Blue-faced Malkohas, Spot-winged Starling and Common Hill Myna. Kaziranga also hosts a great diversity of raptors like Eastern Imperial and Steppe Eagles and Pallas’s Fish Eagle, as well as several owls including Asian Barred Owlet and Dusky Eagle Owl. Large mammals are present in spectacularly obvious abundance. Most importantly, the grasslands support almost three quarters of the global population of Indian Rhinoceros and Swamp Deer (Barasingha), both of which we will see as we explore the reserve. Other likely mammals include Asiatic Wild Buffalo, Asian Elephant, Capped Langur and Hog Deer, as well as a realistic chance of Tiger.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Lesser Adjutant

River Tern

Kalij Pheasant

Great Hornbill

Indian Rhinoceros

Asian Elephant

Capped Langur

Each day at Kaziranga, there will be the opportunity for early morning and late afternoon birding within the grounds of our lodge or in the adjacent tea estates, in the hour or so between sunrise and the start of the morning safari, and the end of the afternoon safari and sunset. Patches of scrub and vegetated gullies amidst the rows of tea bushes host a variety of birds such as Lineated, Great and Blue-eared Barbets, Greater and Lesser Necklaced and White-crested Laughingthrushes, Maroon Oriole and Common Green Magpie and being able to explore the plantation areas on foot can make it easier to pick up some of the more skulking species that are easily overlooked from jeeps, such as Chinese and Siberian Rubythroats or the elusive Blue-naped Pitta. Dinner and overnight at Wild Grass.

Common Green Magpie

Day 23 We have a five hour drive to Guwahati airport to check in for a flight back to Delhi, where we arrive this evening. Dinner and overnight at the Ibis Aerocity Hotel.
Day 24 We transfer to Delhi airport for a recommended late morning direct flight to Heathrow with British Airways (to be confirmed). At the end of a fabulous journey, packed with amazing highlights, we arrive at Heathrow mid-afternoon.

Cost; £5990                             Single supplement; £945                             Deposit; £1500

What the price includes:
Four domestic flights (Ahmedabad – Nagpur, Nagpur – Delhi, Delhi – Guwahati, Guwahati – Delhi), twenty-two nights’ full board en-suite accommodation, all ground transport in India including airport transfers, reserve entry fees, bottled water, field checklist and the services of your guides. International flights are not included and must be booked separately.

Additional information:
The flight time from Heathrow to Mumbai is 8 hours 35 minutes and the return flight from Delhi takes 9 hours 50 minutes.
UK citizens can apply online for an eVisa to visit India for up to thirty days, which costs about £20.
It is advisable to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Tetanus. There is a risk of Malaria in the Brahmaputra region and so prophylaxis is advisable.
January is in the cooler dry season. In Ahmedabad (Gujarat) in January, daily temperatures range from 14 – 28°C and we can expect little or no rain. In Nagpur (Maharashtra) in January, daily temperatures range from 16 – 30°C and we can expect little or no rain. In Guwahati (Assam) in January, daily temperatures range from 14 – 23°C and we can expect little or no rain.
We will be staying in seven clean and comfortable wildlife lodges, and two modern hotels. All the rooms have private bathrooms.
All road travel will be in comfortable, modern air-conditioned vehicles.
There will be very little walking each day.
We can expect to see around 300 bird species plus 35 – 40 mammals, with great photo-opportunities along the way.
Each evening, there will be a roll call of the birds and mammals seen during the day.
The itinerary may need to be revised according to weather conditions, local circumstances, sightings and the advice of our local guide.

Indian Peafowl