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15 DAY WILDLIFE EXPLORER SAFARI

If there ever was an ultimate 15-day wildlife trip in India, this would be it.

Our trip visits 4 of the best parks in India - Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, Bandhavgarh and Kanha. You get to spend enough time in each park to take in its unique ambience and eco-system, without having to continously rush from one destination to another.

The emphasis of the trip is on wildlife photography - tigers, certainly, but also the myriad other species that are found exclusively in Indian forests. We will do our best to get you in the best game-viewing regions of the park at the time of the trip, in order to maximize your chances for getting great photographs.

March and April are excellent game-viewing months, as the water supply has started to dry up by then, resulting in greater game concentrations around the remaining waterholes. This in turn attracts the predators.

Scheduled departures are co-led by Vandit Kalia and Aditya Singh, both of whom are experienced wildlife photographers with years of experience shooting wildlife in India and Africa. Each group is limited to only 10 photographers, so you are assured of an intimate game viewing and shooting experience. Private itineraries are led by Vandit Kalia


TRIP OBJECTIVES & DATES

The objective of this trip is to explore some of the best national parks in India, and obtain top-quality wildlife photos. As such, this itinerary maximizes the number of game drives possible in these 15 days, with all traveling, sightseeing, etc. slotted in around the primary goal of spending a lot of time inside the parks.

Group trips are scheduled for May 14-27, 2006 and November 5-18, 2006. Private itineraries can be scheduled at any time except between July and September.


PRE-REQUISITES

The main pre-requisite for this trip is patience and a willingness to spend time observing and waiting for something exciting to happen. While this trip is geared for wildlife photography, keen wildlife watchers will also find that this trip suits their needs, as we will spend quality time observing, interpreting and documenting animal behavior. Do note that while non-photographers are welcome on the group itineraries, the needs and requirements of photographers come first.


RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT

For mammals, a fast lens reaching up to 300mm 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. For birding, you'll need your longest lens - just like anywhere else. Vandit shoots with a 100-400 IS as his primarily mammal lens, and a 500/4 as his bird lens. Aditya shoots mammals with a 120-300/2.8

A tripod is not needed - we'll be on a jeep or elephant-back for most of our game viewing, and a monopod or beanbag is a better alternative. If you need a tripod for occasional use, you can borrow one of ours (although you may want to bring your ballhead). We also stock beanbags for use during the trip.


ITINERARY

Day 1: Early AM pickup from hotel in New Delhi, and transfer to Ranthambhore NP via air-con train. Check into the hotel in time for lunch and a little rest, and then spend the afternoon exploring the Ranthambhore Fort, overlooking the National Park - lots of birdlife, monkeys, great scenery and occasional leopard sightings (L, D)

Day 2& 3: Early morning and afternoon game drives at Ranthambhore NP, where we will have a chance to spot not only tigers, but a host of other wildlife as well as birds: nilgai, chital, sambar deer, Indian jackal, crocodiles, Indian gazelle and more.

Day 4: Transfer via train (2.5 hrs) to Bharatpur, home to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary, one of the finest bird sanctuaries in Asia. Have lunch and then spend the afternoon in the park.

Day 5: Full day in the park, with the option of having a packed lunch in the park itself.

Day 6: Early AM departure for Agra,. Since we have a few hours before our train to Bandhavgarh, we will pay a short visit to see the Taj Mahal, and then catch the afternoon train to Umaria (A/C First Class). Overnight in the train.

Day 7: Early morning arrival at Umaria, and then transfer by jeep to resort at Bandhavgarh NP. Freshen up, have some lunch, and then afternoon game drive in the park.

Day 8, 9: 2 extended game drives in the park per day, spent tracking tigers either via jeep or on elephant-back.

Day 10: Drive to Kanha, stopping for some interesting sights en route. Check into resort by evening.

Day 11, 12, 13: Morning and afternoon game drives in Kanha.

Day 14: Drive to Jabalpur, and catch afternoon train to Delhi.

Day 15: Arrive in Delhi in the morning and transfer to hotel of choice


GENERAL NOTES

Accommodation is in upscale, comfortable lodges, chosen not only for their high attention to service, but also because of their track record in conservation. Most of these lodges are owner-run, and we will get a chance to get a more in-depth understanding of the key issues facing these parks by chatting with our hosts. Meals are made to meet a variety of palates and needs - so there will always be something vegetarian, and something light to eat. Special dietary needs can be accommodated - please contact us.

Do note that we need atleast 4 people to run the trip - if there are less, we may ask for a moderate surcharge.

For shooting convenience, the group will be split up into multiple vehicles, in order to ensure that everyone has ample room and to prevent vehicle shake. Occasionally, this may mean that one group is without a tour leader - if so, we will ensure that a skilled local guide (fluent in English and with experience working with professional photographers and video crews) is present in the vehicle.

Since this is a photo tour, not a workshop, so the emphasis will be on fieldwork as opposed to formalized training. However, the tour leaders will be available to help you with any questions you may have regarding techniques, and there will also be daily photo sharing sessions. If you need any special instruction, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will try to accommodate your needs.

A word on our philosophy - the trophy animal for these trips is, of course, the tiger. We will do our best to search for tigers and ensure quality photo ops with this magnificent cat; however, there are lots of other interesting animals to spot as well, and sometimes, searching for tigers means giving up opportunities to shoot them. We try to balance the two options the best that we can– however, we'll always take into account the different shooting interests of the group and try to come up wth a solution that works for everyone. In the event a compromise solution is not possible, we'll put it to a majority vote.

Lastly, please note that this is a photography-oriented trip. As such, we will be timing our trips to maximize shooting opportunities in the golden hour – all other activities are designed to fit around this. Out of courtesy to the group as a whole, we would request everybody to be ready on time for all game drives – if someone is unduly or repeatedly late, the other occupants of the vehicle have the option of deciding whether to stay or to leave.

Click here to read more about these destination and our approach, and also visit the Gallery and Article sections for photos.


PRICING

For group departures, the normal price of this trip is $4,500 per person (Rs 200,000). As an introductory special, the 2006 group trip is available at a special price of $3,000 per person.

Pricing for private trips is as follows:

  • 1 person: $6,000
  • 2-4 people: $5,000
  • 5 or more people: $4,500

Prices include accommodations, meals, game viewing in private jeep or open-top minibus, services of a top-quality tracker/guide, transfers to and from New Delhi and drinking water. 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, lenses and film, and will be responsible for the development of the same. We do have some rental gear available, if need be.

Note on hotels: We have priced this trip based on staying in a comfortable, upper-end resort offering good food, well-appointed rooms and a relaxed, personalized ambience. If you would prefer to re-live the lifestyle of the kings of the old, we would be more than happy to base the trips in top-end heritage hotels as well. Please contact us if interested.


BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS

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

Bookings are not confirmed until we receive a 20% deposit. We accept payment via wire transfers or via Paypal. The balance is due 45 days before the trip.

If cancelling before 45 days, the full sum will be refunded (minus the 3% transaction fee, if you have paid using a credit card via Paypal). For cancellations between 15-45 days from the trip date, we levy a 25% cancellation charge. For cancellations within 15 days of the trip date, the cancellation charge is up to 75%.

 

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