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10 DAY TIGER TRAILS PHOTOGRAPHY SAFARI

india is famous for being the home of the tiger, and this trip is geared towards getting you great tiger photos. To that end, we will visit Bandhavgarh and Kanha NPs.

Bandhavgarh, with 35 tigers, has the highest density of tigers among all the national parks and sanctuaries in India. Moreover, the local park rangers track tigers daily and even if the tiger is away from the jeep trails, an ability to go off-road in nature's own 4WD, the elephant, means that you have a great chance of seeing and shooting this awe-inspiring cat. Kanha has long enjoyed a reputation among serious wildlife enthusiasts of being one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, with an amazing range of terrains and wildlife species (including big, orange striped ones).

This trip is led by professional wildlife photographer and founder of Photo Safari India, Vandit Kalia. Depending on the final group size, we may add a second photo leader as well.


TRIP OBJECTIVES AND DATES

Trip dates: May 9 - 18, 2009

The emphasis of the trip is on wildlife photography, and we will be covering two of the best national parks in India - Bandhavgarh, famous for its tigers, and Kanha, known not only for tigers but also the variety of other game (and, of course, as the inpiration for Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book).

We realize that the tiger is the trophy animal for most photographers, and will do our best to get you some great tiger photographs, using a combination of jeep and elephant-back excursions. However, we will also spend time seeking out some of the lesser known, but no less interesting, species that are found in these parks: chital, sambar, gaur, hyenas, bears, jackals and more.

Our guides, who are experts in animal behavior and know the best places in the park for sightings, will help you anticipate and capture action as it happens.

Yes, it is going to hot - peak summer temperatures can go into the 40s at this time of the year. But don't let that put you off. For starters, we will be in the park during the early and late parts of the day, when it is quite a bit cooler. And durinmid-day, when it is hottest, we will be indoors, sipping cool drinks with umbrellas on them. So the heat is quite manageable, and more so when you consider the payoffs. As the waterholes dry out, all the animals congregate around the few remaining sources of water. Forest cover is also at its thinnest. This equates to the best viewing & photo opportunities. The parks are mostly empty of casual tourists, with only a handful of photographers and film crews here - so not only are the sightings better, but you are more likely to have the sightings to yourself.

The trip is scheduled from May 5-15, 2008, departing out of New Delhi. The trip is led by professional wildlife photographer and founder of Photo Safari India, Vandit Kalia.


PRE-REQUISITES

None -just a keen interest in wildlife and willingess to spend time waiting for the perfect shot.


RECOMMENDED GEAR

For tigers, a fast lens reaching up to atleast 300mm is recommended - 400mm would be ideal. Also, a zoom is very handy in Indian conditions, where subject proximity can vary (thus necessitating a wide variety of focal lengths) and the dust factor makes it preferable to minimize lens swapping. The 100-400/80-400 lenses, or the Sigma 120-300/2.8, or the 50-500 Bigma are excellent lenses for this trip. A 500 prime is very nice to have for shots of birds, etc., but for mammals, you'll want a zoom.

The open-top jeeps (called Gypsies) that are used in the parks provide a great view for photography, but do not have lots of storage room. So we recommend leaving your camera bag behind and carrying everything that you need in a photo vest - that ensures quick access and still leaves you and the others in the vehicle with ample space to shoot.

Also, while this is summer, it can get a bit chilly in the morning, so don't forget to pack a light fleece or sweater.


ITINERARY

May 9: Pickup from the hotel in New Delhi in the morning for some local sightseeing. After lunch, we will transfer to the train station for the overnight train to Katni (L, D)

May 10: Arrive in Katni and transfer to resort at Tala, minutes away from the gates of Bandhavgarh NP. Check in and then head to the Interpretation Center, where you are introduced to the wildlife of the park. Then after lunch, we head out for an evening game drives(B, L, D)

May 11: Early morning wake-up call,with tea and biscuits to help you leave the snug confines of your bed. The tigers are waiting! The morning game drive also includes an elephant-back excursion (subject to it being offered that day) to get closed to the tiger. Depending on the situation, we will then continue on jeep or try for another elephant safari. Return to the resort in the late morning once the park closes for the morning to have some breakfast & get some rest (or do some birding in the area around the resort). After lunch, we head out for the evening game drive as soon as the park re-opens, returning once the gates close. (B, L, D)

May 12: Early morning wake-up call,with tea and biscuits to help you leave the snug confines of your bed. The tigers are waiting! The morning game drive also includes an elephant-back excursion (subject to it being offered that day) to get closed to the tiger. Depending on the situation, we will then continue on jeep or try for another elephant safari. Return to the resort in the late morning once the park closes for the morning to have some breakfast & get some rest (or do some birding in the area around the resort). After lunch, we head out for the evening game drive as soon as the park re-opens, returning once the gates close. (B, L, D)

May 13: Early morning wake-up call,with tea and biscuits to help you leave the snug confines of your bed. The tigers are waiting! The morning game drive also includes an elephant-back excursion (subject to it being offered that day) to get closed to the tiger. Depending on the situation, we will then continue on jeep or try for another elephant safari. Return to the resort in the late morning once the park closes for the morning to have some breakfast & get some rest (or do some birding in the area around the resort). After lunch, we head out for the evening game drive as soon as the park re-opens, returning once the gates close. (B, L, D)

May 14: Transfer to Kanha early in the morning by jeep. Depending on the condition of the roads at the time, we will try to do an afternoon game drive in Kanha upon arrival.

May 15: Similar schedule to Bandhavgarh: early morning wake-up, followed by game drive (elephant safari optional). Breakfast upon return, followed by some rest. After lunch, head back into the park as soon as it re-opens for the afternoon, returning when it closes for the night. (B, L, D)

May 16: As before: early morning wake-up, followed by game drive (elephant safari optional). Breakfast upon return, followed by some rest. After lunch, head back into the park as soon as it re-opens for the afternoon, returning when it closes for the night. (B, L, D)

May 17: Morning game drive as before. In the afternoon, we transfer by the railway station in time to catch the night train back to Delhi. (B, L, D)

May 18: Arrive in Delhi and transfer to hotel of choice


GENERAL NOTES

This is a wildlife photography trip, focused on getting great shots of Indian wildlife. Because of that, we will plan to depart early in the morining for our game drives and returning only when the park closes in the late morning. The early start means that we will leave after a very light snack (tea or coffee, and some cookies). We will ensure a supply of cookies and fruit in the vehicle, however, to ensure that no one goes hungry.

Guests are reminded that all foreign visitors to India need to apply for a visa in advance - this takes anywhere from 1-3 days and is a fairly quick and painless process. Visas are NOT granted on arrival. We also suggest that you contact your medical practitioner for advice on vaccinations. Health and trip insurance are strongly recommended.

All game drives are done from open jeeps (Gypsies) with 3 guests per jeep. This gives you ample room to shoot without getting in each others way. However, there will be no room for large camera bags. So please plan your gear needs accordingly.


PRICES

Cost of the trip is $3500 per person. The trip is limited to 6 photographers, maximum. In the event that there are less than 4 photographers, a surcharge may apply.

The price includes all accommodations in a high-end eco-resorts, meals and game viewing as listed above and all local transfers. It also includes a private jeep for game viewing and the services of top-notch trackers and guides.

Not included are beverages, laundry, tips, travel costs to Delhi, cost of film or developing and personal expenses. Participants are expected to provide their own camera equipment and related accessories.

The trip price includes 1 elephant safar per day i in Bandhavgarh - additional elephant safaris can be done, both in Bandhavgarh and in Kanha, subject to availability and at an extra charge.


BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS

To make a booking, please email us at info@photosafariindia.com

 

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