Tiger Photographic Safari 2020
18th – 29th March 2020 – Fully Booked
Group Size: 6
Tour Leaders: Tom Way On Behalf Of Natures Images
There is something magical about the experience when it comes to the early morning alarm calls of Spotted Deer and Langur monkeys in the sub-continental forests and then the languid appearance of one of the planet’s most powerful and breath-taking predators. With an itinerary that offers over a week’s photography allowing for travel time before and after, our chances of enjoying those elusive but awesome encounters is maximised, alongside our top local guides and our own photographic experiences of working at this particular reserve.
At this time of year, the habitat is turning brown as the heat of the post-monsoon months takes its toll. Tigers will head for favourite waterholes and this makes them just that little bit more predictable in terms of sightings and therefore photographic opportunities. With the vegetation a little bit more open as leaves die and fall from the bushes, spotting them becomes that little bit easier too and so if you do not mind the heat (and it can be hot as we stake out a drinking location) then the rewards can be well worth it and that is what this trip is all about. Add in the fact that this is just one of those species that will be high on any nature photographer’s wish-list and we know it’ll be full of experiences that will stay with you as long as the images.
Day 1: Leave UK on an overnight flight to Delhi. (we will advise you on the flight recommendations).
Day 2: We are due to arrive in Delhi via our connecting flights by mid-morning. We will transfer to our Delhi Hotel for a day getting accustomed to the time differences and an evening’s rest. Over dinner we will discuss the plans of the forthcoming trip.
Day 3: In the early morning we will connect with our internal flight to Jabalpur. From Jabalpur airport we are met by our transfer driver and it is then a 4-hour drive to our destination which will take us to Bandhavgarh National Park. From then on, we will be based in a comfortable and remarkably tranquil lodge in the small village of Tala near Bandhavgarh National Park owned and run by our resident expert guide Satyendra Tiwari and his family whose knowledge and tracking skills we will have to aid us throughout the trip. All meals are freshly prepared at our lodge and please note that it is strictly a vegetarian diet throughout. Once we have arrived at our destination, we will only have short time to get ready for our first game drive that afternoon.
Day 4: It is an early morning start for our first encounter with the tigers and we need to be at the park entrance by 6.00 am. We will have three vehicles for our group and there will only be two guests per jeep, so we will have a good amount of space. There will be plenty of opportunities to photograph lots of different wildlife species like spotted deer, majestic samba, and wild boar and of course the ever-playful langur monkey but our main priority throughout this trip is to photograph the beautiful Bengal tiger. Throughout our trip we will make morning and afternoon game drives, the morning’s drives will last from 6.00 am to 11.00 am and we will then go back to the accommodation to have a late breakfast and rest and we will also use this time to download our images from the morning session. We rest during the middle part of the day as it can be extremely hot then and the light is too harsh for photography. After a light lunch we are back out in the afternoon for our afternoon game drive which will be from 2.30 pm until dusk. We then go back to our accommodation for the evening.
Days 5-10: These days are a repeat of Day 4 as we follow the same pattern throughout our stay; our aim will be the Bengal tiger as Bandhavgarh has got a healthy viable population of this beautiful mammal. The Bengal tiger can turn up literally anywhere whilst we are in the park, we might encounter one walking down the track but usually the best chance of seeing and photographing the tiger is when one is spotted by our guides or the park rangers, we will have a park ranger with us at all times and these guides are very knowledgeable for looking for signs and tracks but also listening for the tell-tale signs of the jungle which the alarm calls of the monkeys and more importantly the spotted deer give the game away of this illusive cat. Please note that the park is closed on Wednesday afternoons so we will have one afternoon off from this routine.
Day 11: After a final morning drive we will begin the journey home, returning to Delhi via Jabalpur (where we will catch our return flight to Delhi) and where we will stay overnight.
Day 12: We will leave Delhi for our return flights which, because of the time difference, will arrive back later the same day.
During the early mornings it can be cold driving around in an open top jeep in the Indian jungle, so you must remember to pack some warm clothing for this period. A good fleece, warm woolly hat and gloves are important. Once the sun comes up and warms the jungle then it can be very hot, so it is best to dress in layers. I would suggest you bring along with you a high factor sun cream and sun hat and good solid outdoor shoes are perfect for being in the jeep. Camera support in the jeep is a diffcult one to predict, you don’t need to take a tripod, but a monopod can be a good idea (although it does not suit everyone as space is reasonably restricted) and we can fill up an empty beanbag at the accommodation should you wish too use one. Please make sure that you have the appropriate tourist Visa for the trip, that all your inoculations are up to date as recommended by your doctor and if you do have any medication that you need on an occasional or regular basis that you bring it with you: we are staying in a fairly isolated and remote area.
As we are driving around the roads looking for tigers and other wildlife it can be very dusty although your camera will be fine in the camera bag. We would suggest an extra cover to go over your lenses and camera equipment; this can be any sort of cloth cover from a pillow case or a cloth bag, it is very important to protect your equipment as it is a very dusty place. We advise taking a range of lenses between the focal lengths of 24mm to 500mm. The Tigers can come quite close at times so a mid range zoom can also be useful. Take plenty of memory cards with you and batteries.
During the evenings we will have a chance to critique and look at individuals work if you so wish so feel free to bring anything, you would like to share on either a laptop or USB stick/CD.
Sometimes we will be driving round the tracks in the park at a gentle pace looking for other subjects as well, but then all of sudden we have contact that a tiger has been spotted and so we make a dash towards the last sighting. It is an amazing experience seeing our first tiger and the adrenaline rush takes over and you can lose the ability to concentrate so we must always be prepared with our equipment.
India is a poor country especially in the rural parts and tipping makes up a lot of their wages especially for the guides in the park and our drivers. It is not a huge sum of money, but it helps them, and we will advise on how much is needed prior to the trip.
Cost includes: Transfers from the airport, accommodation, local transportation, game drives and permits, all meals.
Cost excludes: All flights, sundry items, tips and alcohol.
Please can you note that we will not be able to go into the core area of the park on Wednesday afternoon for our game drive, this is a rule that has been brought in by the Indian authorities recently. We will utilise this time to photograph species around the buffer zone because it can be very good for Langur Monkeys and birdlife.
The food is of a vegetarian diet because of the difficulty obtaining meat and from a religious point. The food is excellent though with plenty of variety and protein. In the evenings the power goes off at around 11pm. Mosquitos are not at peak season at this time of the year but there are still a few. Make sure you get the right advice for Malaria medication.
If you have any questions at all about this trip please do not hesitate to get in contact with either Tom (07876 333787) or the team at Natures Images (01952 411436). You are able to book this trip directly through this link: http://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/tigers-india-2020/