This is an epic trip that will really blow any nature lover's senses. Although we will focus on the birds, there is so much more to see. Any trip to Rajasthan would not be complete without seeing the world famous Taj Mahal, the beautiful pink city of Jaipur and fantastic chances of seeing a Tiger at Ranthambore. This trip even coincides with the Holi festival, so you will really see India at her most vibrant.
India’s intensity can be overwhelming, so we introduce you gently with lots of comfortable accommodation and a dedicated guide and driver. This trip is ideal for first timers to India, but also offers more for those who have previously visited.
13 days / 12 nights - £4,500
includes all accommodation, ground transport, dedicated local guide, half board
29 February - 12 March 2020
Maximum group size 10
Feb 29: Arrive Delhi - Our English speaking guide will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to a luxurious hotel for your first night in India.
March 1: Delhi - Our guide will meet us after breakfast to introduce the trip and then take you on a tour of the city, inducing the Jama Masjid and a fun cycle rickshaw ride around the Chandni Chowk bazaar and the famous Red Fort. After lunch we will visit Humayun’s Tomb - with Mughul, Hindu and Persian influences around a beautiful garden.
March 2 to 5: Agra and Chambal Sanctuary - Now acclimatised we will take a leisurely transfer to the Chambal Sanctury; breaking the journey at Agra and the magnificent Taj Mahal. We then have two full days to explore the extensive Chambal Sanctuary. The sanctuary is made up of many ravines, mud flats and arid scrub. With a wide variety of habitats, over 320 species of bird have been recorded here and it is one of the few places you can reliably see the Indian Skimmer in action. Other interesting animals include the long-snouted Gharials crocodile and rare Gangetic River Dolphin. The trip includes morning and afternoon safaris both days.
March 5: Bharatpur via Fatehpur Sikri - Bharatpur is home to Keoladeo National Park. Once the royal hunting preserve of the princes of Bharatpur it is now a vast sanctuary with over 230 species of birds. including exotic migratory birds such as Siberian cranes, grey leg geese from the Arctic and barheaded geese from China. En-route we shall stop at the UNESCO World Heritage former Mughal capital Fatehpur Sikri.
March 6 to 9: Ranthambore - After a morning birding in Keoladeo we shall transfer to the spectacular Ranthambore by train - a great way to watch the country go by. Ranthambhore is one of the most picturesque game reserves in the world with the entire forest being dominated by the ruins of Ranthambore Fort. Birdlife is abundant and tigers can frequently be seen during the day. We will have three jeep safaris and a bird watching tour on Surwal lake. It is here we will learn more about the Indian vulture crisis as we search for the nine different species.
March 9 to 11: Jaipur - The 'Pink City' is a beautiful and vibrant city, we will be visiting for the colourful festival of Holi; a truly special experience. We will also organise visits to the main sites including the Amber fort.
March 12 - Fly home via Delhi
Accommodation - 12 nights All the accommodation is very spacious and comfortable. We start with the luxurious Shangri-la in Delhi and move onto more family run heritage hotels and luxury tents in Ranthmbore. All accommodation shares our commitment to sustainability.
All Ground Transportation - is provided by private, air conditioned, comfortable minibuses.
Dining - Bed and breakfast is provided at all hotels with all meals at Chambal River Lodge and Khem Villas. Please note that Khem Villas is vegetarian.
Full time bi-lingual guide and driver will accompany us throughout
Tours and entrance fees - for all national parks and programmed safaris / tours. Holi party.
All current taxes
Some of the bird species we will be looking for: Ruddy Shelduck, Lesser Whistling Teal, Comb Duck, Spot-billed Duck, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, River Lapwing, Pacific Golden Plover, Long-billed Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Small Pratincole, Pallas’s Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Brown-headed Gull, Black-bellied Tern, Western Reef Egret, Little Heron, Great White Pelican, Spot-billed Pelican, Black Stork, Blue Rock Thrush, Coppersmith Barbet, Indian Grey Hornbill, Black Redstart, Brown Hawk Owl, Collared Scops owl, Sarus Crane, Demoiselle Crane, Osprey, Red-headed Vulture, Indian Vulture, White-rumped Vulture, Long Billed Vulture, Crested serpent Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Small Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Lesser Coucal, Brown Crake, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Painted Sandgrouse, Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Thick-knee, Great Thick-knee, Greater Painted-Snipe, Indian Skimmer, Little Tern, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Desert Wheatear.
Other animals - Tiger, leopard, panther, sloth bear, crocodile, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, smooth coated otter and many deer.
Jatayu Vulture Breeding Centre, Pinjore - Vulture populations in India have dropped by over 99% due to the use of Diclofenac, a common anti-inflammatory administered to livestock and poisonous to vultures. This has resulted in an increase in over 7 million feral dogs, 38 million dog bites and 48,000 human deaths from rabies. This trip supports the rehabilitation efforts of the Jatayu Vulture Breeding Center who are working to reduce risks to vultures whilst breeding slender-billed, white-rumped, Indian and Himalayan vultures for release.
This is probably the best time to take a bird watching holiday to Rajasthan. It is dry and the temperatures are rising but not too hot. It will get up to the mid 30s during the hottest part of the day, but mornings and evenings are pleasant.
Flight tickets - Flights are not included in this package. You will need to fly into Delhi and out of Jaipur. We can help you arrange this.
Visas - You will need to get a visa for India prior to arrival. You can get an e-Visa here https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html. Be aware of fake sites.
Travel Insurance - Please make sure you have suitable insurance. This is part of our booking terms.
Vaccinations - make sure your travel jabs are up to date, you are likely to need Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. There is no malaria.
Tipping - Tipping is expected and appreciated. We can advise on appropriate levels. so keep spare change.
Difficulty - This trip only requires a base level of fitness as most of the safaris will be in vehicles. Walks/hikes can be tailored to meet individual needs.
Prices - Are per person based on two sharing (double / twin). They include all currently applicable taxes currently. Any additional taxes levied by the government will be extra.