Arrival in Delhi & transfer to Hotel Radisson.
In the morning we will have a cultural tour of Old Delhi, whilst in the afternoon, there will be sight-seeing including visits to Humayun’s Tomb and Quttub Minar.
After breakfast we have a five hour drive to Jarar, where we check-in to the Chambal Safari Lodge on arrival. In the afternoon, we have a boat ride on the Chambal River; a delightfully relaxing way to enjoy some fantastic birds. We will be particularly keen to locate the sought-after Indian Skimmer which is regularly seen during these trips. We also have excellent chances to see elegant Black-bellied and River Terns, Great Thicknee, Small Pratincoles and a variety of wildfowl and shorebirds. We should also find Marsh Mugger and Gharial Crocodiles and with luck we may perhaps also catch a sighting of the rare Ganges River Dolphin.
After breakfast at Chambal Safari Lodge we drive to Agra, where we will visit the Agra Fort. After our visit we transfer to Hotel JP Palace or similar and in the afternoon we have a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal.
After breakfast we drive to Bharatpur. On the way we will pause for a cultural visit to the Fatehpur Sikri. Once at Bharatpur we will check-in at The Bagh hotel, situated in a quiet corner of the town. In the afternoon there will be an opportunity for our first exploration of the world famous Keoladeo National Park.
We have the whole day to explore the Keoladeo National Park. The abundance of birdlife in this oasis amongst a sea of surrounding agricultural lands, is simply breathtaking and by the end of the day we are likely to have a large number of species on our bird list. The extensive flooded areas support huge flocks of wildfowl many of which are visitors from further north and with more interesting species including Cotton Pygmy-goose and Bar-headed Goose. Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Grey-headed Swamphens paddle in the shallow waters along with the much larger Black-necked, Woolly-necked and Painted Storks and magnificent Sarus Cranes. Dusky Eagle-owl is a particular speciality here, but other owl species may include Spotted Owlet and Indian Scops-owl. The area is a magnet for birds of prey, and eagles are particularly well represented, with Steppe, Eastern Imperial and Greater Spotted all present. In the more wooded parts of the park we may find woodpeckers, Indian Golden Oriole, and perhaps thrushes such as Tickell’s or the stunning Orange-headed. In summary, there will be a lot to see!
After breakfast we have a five hour drive to Ranthambore. On arrival we transfer to Ranthambore Kothi hotel. In the afternoon we have our first opportunity to explore the park as we go in search of a Tiger sighting!
We have morning and afternoon safaris into the heart of Ranthambore park. Our priority will be to have a sighting of a Tiger, but there are many other animals present with Spotted and Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Nilgai, Leopard, Sloth Bear and Hyena all possible. Ranthambore is excellent for birds with Painted Spurfowl, Jungle Bush Quail, Brown Crake, Brown Fish Owl, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-naped Woodpecker and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher among a wide range of mouth-watering possibilities. Outside the park we have the chance to spend some time exploring arid areas in search of Painted Sandgrouse, Variable Wheatear, Southern Grey Shrike among other species.
We have a final opportunity for a safari into Ranthambore. Afterwards we drive to Jaipur, where we transfer to Hotel Country Inn on arrival.
In the morning we have a visit to the Amber Fort, whilst in the afternoon there is an opportunity for sightseeing around the city.
After breakfast we transfer to the airport in time for a flight at 0855hrs to Bengaluru. We should arrive at 1130hrs, and we then drive to Mysore. En-route we have a visit to the delightful Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary where we can enjoy a short boat ride on the Kaveri River. The sanctuary harbours numbers of Oriental Darters, Purple Herons, Little Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Asian Openbills and Eurasian Spoonbills, and is a reliable location for Great Thick-knee and Indian River Tern. There is a huge roost of Indian Flying Foxes. Many of the birds can be closely approached and afford some wonderful photographic opportunities. After our visit to Ranganathittu we continue to Mysore where we will stay in the Radisson hotel.
The day begins with a visit to the magnificent City Palace in Mysore. We will then proceed to Nagarhole, and on arrival transfer to Kabini River Lodge. Nagarhole has extensive forests which are home to a wonderful variety of wildlife. In the afternoon we have an opportunity to have a safari in the park. South Indian endemic bird species to be found here are Grey Junglefowl, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Parakeet and Malabar Lark. Further species we may see also include Common Peafowl, Plum-headed Parakeet, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Coppersmith Barbet, Blue-faced Malkoha, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malabar Trogon and others. The mammals in the park are represented by Grey Langur, Gaur, Chital and Sambar, which of course may fall victim to one of the Tigers that the park is home to and which, with some luck we may catch a sighting of.
We have another opportunity to experience a safari in Nagarhole. After breakfast we drive to Mudumalai and on arrival transfer to hotel Jungle Retreat.
Mudumalai (and the adjacent Bandipur sanctuary) comprises a huge area of mainly dry deciduous forest and scrub that is situated in the lowlands at the foot of the Nilgiris. We have a full day to explore this area in search of wildlife. Amongst the species we may see are Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Blue-faced Malkoha, Crested Treeswift, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-naped and Streak-throated Woodpeckers, Black-hooded Oriole, Gold-fronted Leafbird and others. If we are lucky we may find the highly localized White-bellied Minivet.
We leave Mudumalai and drive to Ooty, a drive of 4-5 hours. We can make stops for wildlife on the way. On arrival we check-in to the Hotel Highland. There will be opportunities for birdwatching here. Most of the natural forest in the area has been replaced with tea plantations, but some ravines with remaining natural forest are home to Nilgiri specialities such as Nilgiri Laughingthrush, Black-and-orange Flycatcher and the elusive Nilgiri Blue Robin.
Today we drive to Munnar, passing through the Chinnar Sanctuary en-route and making ad-hoc stops for birds and wildlife as we go. On arrival in Munnar we check-in to the hotel T& U, and we can have an afternoon at leisure.
Today we have an opportunity to visit the magnificent high altitude grassland habitats of Rajamalai National Park. Here we expect to find the rare and endangered Nilgiri Tahr. A number of special birds may also be found here, as we look for Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush-quail, Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, White-bellied Blue Robin and Malabar Whistling Thrush.
After breakfast we drive to Thekkady, situated at Periyar National Park. On arrival we check-in at the Hotel Elephant Court. In the afternoon we have a visit to the local spice gardens.
We have a full day to explore the wonders of Periyar National Park, both on foot and on a boat ride. Among the many birds that can be found here are Malabar Trogon, Wynaad Laughingthrush, White-bellied Treepie, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Crimson-backed and Loten’s Sunbirds, Black Baza, Jungle Owlet, Little Spiderhunter and more besides.
Today we drive to Alleppey, where we board a houseboat and conclude our tour with a relaxing trip through the backwaters of Kerala. Overnight on the house boat.
After breakfast we disembark at Alleppey and then drive to Kochi. On arrival we transfer to the Hotel Radisson. In the afternoon we have a sightseeing tour of Kochi.
Fly to home