Chambal Birding Holiday

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Chambal Birding Holiday

January 14, 2025 - January 24, 2025

£642 – £2756

Chambal Birding Holiday

India is home to an impressive 1300 plus species of birds and is one of the top bird watching destinations in the world. But even in this huge country full of great extremes in ecosystems there are a couple of great birding locations where hundreds of bird species be recorded. This tour is specifically set up for bird watchers and visits two of the best bird watching locations in all of India. Firstly to Kaladeo Ghana National Park (also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary), this is one of the largest and most important wetland areas in all of the Indian Subcontinent and during winter plays host to a vast amount of resident and migratory species and then on to the amazing National Chambal Sanctuary. This river sanctuary has had over 330 species of birds recorded and is also the last stronghold for the enormous fish eating crocodilian the gharial as well as the Gangetic river dolphin. In addition to these two great birding destinations we will also take in the historical and cultural sites of Delhi and Agra, including the Taj Mahal.

Holiday Features

TigerOver 200 bird species possible

Visit Bharatpur & Chambal River

Boat safaris of the Chambal River

Indias best birding locations

Expert birding guides

Chance of Gangetic River Dolphins

Top Animals on Tour

Indian Skimmer

Sarus Crane

Bar-Headed Goose

Pallas Gull

Striated Babbler

Imperial Eagle

Itineraries Details

Destination:  India

Tour Dates:  14/1/2025 – 24/1/2025

Duration:  10 nights

Type / Focus:  Indian Birding

Tour Difficulty:  

Pricing & Costs

Price: £2,650 per person

Deposit: £620 per person

Single Supplement: £450

Min. Passengers: 4 persons before tour runs

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Holiday Breakdown

Day 1


On arrival in Delhi you will meet your local guide and birding guide for the trip. After being transferred to your accommodation, level 3* hotel (Hotel Almondz) you will have a choice of what to do today. If your flight was early and you are not tired then you may enjoy a short birding trip to the best birding site in Delhi, this is the Yamuna River. Here the mudflats are home to red-wattled lapwings, white-breasted kingfishers, black-bellied terns and many other species. Alongside the more typical riverside birds the sky will be full of the opportunistic and very successful black kites. This afternoon excursion will provide a great overview of the birds here as well as possibly showcasing a couple of very special species such as the striated babbler and white-tailed stonechat. If you flight was a little late or you just want to rest today you are welcome to stay at the hotel or enjoy some leisurely sightseeing of this historic town. Old Delhi boasts some of the best preserved monuments dating back to the powerful Mughal empire such as Red Fort, Humayun Tomb and the Qutub Minar.

Day 2

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

This morning you will be transferred in your own private air conditioned vehicle south to the great state of Rajasthan and the wonderful wetland park of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (2-3 hours). This small (29km sq) reserve is home to an impressive 230 plus species of birds as well as some populations of rare mammals. On arrival you will be transferred straight to your accommodation, level 3* guest house; for the next couple of nights and after lunch you will be taken into the reserve for an afternoon birding. This floodplain forms part of the Gangetic plain and is the breeding site for many species of herons, cormorants and storks including painted storks, great cormorants, white spoonbills, great egret and Indian pond heron. But the sanctuary is also home to lots of terrestrial birds such as chats, falcons, parakeets, partridges, eagles including the grey hornbill, Marshells iroa and imperial eagles. There are also 27 recorded species of mammals here and as the sun fades away in the evening it can be possible (although not common) to see Indian crested porcupines, jungle cats, golden jackals and possibly the very elusive fishing cat. At sunset you will return to your accommodation for your evening meal.

Day 3

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Today will be a full day spent birding inside the sanctuary. We can bring a packed lunch so that we can maximise the time spent here. Of course bird are the major attraction and focus for us here and as you will be taken around the many canals and sluices you will be amazed at the wealth of birdlife here. It is entirely possible to record over 100 species in one day here, to get close to this number of species we will focus not just on the waterways and marshes but also the deciduous woodlands and scrub lands around here. So along with Asian open-billed storks, little cormorants, oriental ibis, green sandpipers and other water dependant species we will also be looking for Egyptian vultures, greater & lesser spotted eagles, ospreys and dozens of other birds. Also commonly seen here are chital (spotted deer), nilgai (the largest antelope outside of Africa), wild boars and two species of mongoose. After a full day birding here you will be well on your way to a being able to recognise the majority of Indian water birds. Afterwards you will be taken to your accommodation, level 3* guest house for your evening meal.

Day 4

Agra & Chambal

This morning after a leisurely breakfast you will be transferred the short distance to Agra (1 hour) in your private air conditioned vehicle. Once here you will be taken for a guided tour of one of the wonders of the world, the majestic Taj Mahal. This marvel of human engineering took 20,000 men 22 years to complete for the emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife. But it is not just the beautiful architecture and manicured gardens that hold the attention in the Taj Mahal grounds, there are numerous bird species to be found here too. From Egyptian vultures and black kites that nest on the high turrets and minarets of the buildings to many babblers, warblers, grey hornbills and the very approachable common tailorbird that can be found in the gardens. After spending a couple of hours here you will continue onto your accommodation, level – luxury eco-lodge (Chambal Safari Lodge) close to the wonderful National Chambal Sanctuary (~2 hours). This is a huge sanctuary which protects one of the largest and most biologically valuable rivers in India, covering a 400km stretch of the river and protecting around 1.6 km on either side of the river the sanctuary is 1235km sq. The sanctuary was initially set up for the gharial, these huge fish-eating crocodile can grow to 7m long and is the most critically endangered species in the Indian subcontinent. There may be as few as 250 breeding individuals in the world and the vast majority live along the Chambal river. But as well as providing protection for this magnificent and ancient animal the sanctuary now has over 330 bird species recorded as well as other mammals, reptiles and amphibians that now rely on this protected stretch of water. After settling into the accommodation and lunch you will be taken on a river safari here to welcome you to the birdlife. You should encounter small pratincoles, numerous duck species, black-winged stlits, common & spotted redshanks, ospreys, bar-headed geese and up to 100 other water birds. You may also see both gharial and the other crocodile species here the mugger crocodile as well as up to 8 species of freshwater turtles (all of which are endangered), the unsual and endangered Gangetic river dolphin and possible a family of foraging or playing smooth-coated otters. When you arrive back to the lodge you are free to stroll the gardens as the sunsets and listen to the many Indian flying foxes that roost and feed in the trees around the lodge, before your evening meal.

Days 5-9

National Chambal Sanctuary

The next 5 full days will be spent exploring various aspects of the Chambal River sanctuary, there are a variety of activities that can be provided by the lodge and exactly what you want to do and the order of the activities will vary. But we recommend the following itinerary for your stay at this accommodation, level – luxury eco-lodge (Chambal Safari Lodge); after breakfast on the second day here we suggest visiting the sarus crane conservation area. This impressive bird is one of the tallest birds in the world and like all cranes worldwide they are threatened with habitat destruction; so this conservation area was set up for their protection. It is located around 30km from Chambal Safari Lodge, it is a large wetland area where large numbers of this beautiful crane breed annually. Then after lunch you would be taken the short distance to the ancient Bateshwar Temple compex. These Hindu temples are built on the banks of the Yamuna river and consist of over 100 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The ravines surrounding the temples and river are home to a number of Naga sadhus (snake worshiping ascetics) who have carved out little caves and temples within the mud walls. These temples are a very nice way to see how the Hindu people around here still use these ancient temples in ways that have not changes for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. The next day we suggest participating in a camel ride safari through some of the ravines that fork off from the Chambal River, here you are likely to see a different range of birdlife including plain martins, wire-tailed swallows, jungle babblers, steppe eagles, sand lark, wood sandpipers and large grey babblers. Travelling on camel back is a wonderful experience and a great way of exploring the ravines and river bank whilst on the way to another ancient building. This is Ater fort and it is a magnificent site perched on the cliff side. It is also home to many species of raptors and other bird species; once a valued stronghold and at the forefront of numerous battles between the Rajputs, the Mughals and the Marathas, the crumbling ruins bring alive the romantic glory of a bygone age but it is the breathtaking views out over the Chambal valley that are truly spectacular. From here a scan of the skies can produce many more species and hopefully some of the critically endangered vultures. Then after lunch you will have a guided birding walk along a new section of the Chambal river bank. By walking the riverbanks with the birding expert from the lodge you will be in good hands when it comes to spotting some of the harder to see birds such as Burmese spot-bellied duck, Temmincks stint, Pallas gull and the amazing Indian skimmer. The next morning will be free for you to relax and take in some of the wildlife of the lodge and its grounds, here the abundant flowers attract many sunbirds and the fruiting trees are home to commersmith and brown-headed barbets, many babblers, hornbills, koels, treepies as well as being the day roosts for flying foxes and owls. Then after lunch you will be taken in a jeep to some isolated ravines of the Chambal sanctuary to try and find one of the most beautiful animals in India, the stunning blackbuck antelope. There is a small population here protected in the sanctuary, whilst the blackbuck was once widespread throughout the Gangetic plains, hunting and habitat destruction all but wiped the antelope out. This used to be the favoured prey of the Indian cheetah and there are ongoing talks about reintroducing the cheetah to the Gangetic plains and that would be a wonderful sight. Whilst spending the afternoon here you are likely to see some species of birds that have eluded you so far such as coursers, harriers and possibly falcons. Then the next day you will head out in the jeep once again and this time travel to the confluence of Chambal and Yamuna Rivers. These are two of the most sacred and revered rivers in India and the confluence is a very holy spot for Hindus. To get there you will drive through a wild, forbidding and undulating landscape that cuts across the ravines of both rivers going deep into one of the remotest most untouched corners of the Indian heartland. All the time keeping an eye out for rollers, swallows, martins, vultures and other birds along the roadside. When you arrive at the confluence you will see it is dominated by the ruins of the majestic fortress of Bhareh, blasted by cannon in 1857 by British forces for supporting the rebellion, and an imposing Shiva Temple that is currently undergoing restoration. The temple platform rises 200 feet, providing breathtaking views of the confluence and the surrounding countryside. At the confluence you may see Pallas gulls and flocks of feeding Indian skimmers. Then after lunch you will be able to relax around the lodge again and enjoy a pleasant evening in the gardens. Then on our last day here you will have another river safari where the skimmers, terns, geese and many duck species will be waiting for you as will any of the non avian animals you may have missed so far such as Gangetic river dolphins, smooth-coated otters, turtles and the 2 crocodilians. Then in the afternoon you will be taken to one of the local villages to see how the local people live their lives. This visit will provide an interesting insight into rural India; and a place where you can still find a potter at his wheel making earthen ware kullars (cups), a cobbler using the simplest implements to fashion and repair a most interesting variety of leather items, and shops selling all manner of goods from jaggery blocks to hand-woven quilts. All of these before returning to the lodge for your last meal here before heading back to Delhi tomorrow. Also whilst here, if you are not too tired we recommend a guided evening walk around the expansive grounds of the lodge; these walks often find Indian palm civets, jungle cats, Indian foxes, black-naped hares, hedgehogs and possibly the very elusive striped hyena. Of course the skies will be full of flying foxes, owls and nightjars as well.

Day 10


Today you will be transferred back to Delhi (4-5 hours) after breakfast in your own private air conditioned vehicle. After arriving at your accommodation, level – 3* (Hotel Almondz) you will have the rest of the afternoon free to relax and maybe purchase some souvenirs, head over to the Yamuna river for some more birding or visit some more of the many sights here.

Day 11


This morning after breakfast we will arrange for transfers to Indria Ghandi International Airport so you can catch your return flight home.

Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.

This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.

Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.

This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.

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Extra Information

Weather Conditions

During December the weather in central India is very pleasant temperature wise, with daily temperatures around 15-24 degrees C. There is always the chance of rain at this time of year but it is not the monsoon season. During the night the temperature can drop down and it may be chilly during the early morning as well.

What’s Included

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned vehicle with an excellent local driver. We have two brilliant guides; first an professional bird guide will escort you on all your excursions and we also use a very knowledgeable English speaking local guides.

All our excursions including guided walks, jeep safaris, boat safaris, birding excursions and park and monument entrance fees are also included.

Personal Equipment

We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be light and airy clothes as well as comfortable walking shoes. You will also need waterproofs as rain can occur at anytime. As the nights can be chilly we recommend you bring a fleece, long trousers, scarf and a woolly hat. Insect repellent is handy as there can be mosquitoes about during the evenings and nights. Andy medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.

Included Equipment

We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. We also provide a spot light for nocturnal viewing (this is subject to local condition when we arrive). Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.

Extra Expenses

Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not inlcuded are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souveniers and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not inlcuded (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.

Flight Information

As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport

We recommend Finnair as a good airline for flights to Delhi. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is They are an ATOL bonded company and this provide all the securities related to ATOL protection. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.

Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.

Visas and Health Information

All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for India. These are only obtainable in advance from your local embassy. The easiest way to find information is by visiting (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).

There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit India, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting India as soon as you have decided on this trip.

Reviews of this Holiday

Great birds, great location, great lodge and great guides...couldn't fault the trip

Mr & Mrs. Breegan, Norwich

Royle Safaris

Mr & Mrs. Breegan, Norwich

Great birds, great location, great lodge and great guides...couldn't fault the trip
Cruising down the river in the early morning was my highlight. The coursers in the fields was the bird of the trip for us

Andre & Sarah, Vancouver

Royle Safaris

Andre & Sarah, Vancouver

Cruising down the river in the early morning was my highlight. The coursers in the fields was the bird of the trip for us
Royle Safaris


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Full Payment (inc. handling fee)
Full Amount
£ 2,756.00
Deposit Payment (inc. handling fee)
Deposit Amount
£ 642.00


January 14, 2025
January 24, 2025
£642 – £2756
Event Categories:
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Delhi, India + Google Map


Royle Safaris
0845 226 8259


£620 per person
Single Supplement:
Minimum Passengers:
4 persons before tour runs

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