Gujarat & Tadoba Safari
March 12, 2022 - March 26, 2022£828 – £3778
Gujarat & Tadoba Safari
This tour explores two very different parts of India, firstly we visit the desert state of Gujarat and then the wonderful tiger reserve of Tadoba. Gujarat is dominated by a salt pan and home to sparse (yet dense) dry teak forest. But despite the harsh appearance of the region there is a wealth of wildlife to be seen here including Asiatic lions, striped hyenas and blackbucks. All of these animals and many more should be seen when in Gujarat exploring the various parks of this region.
The second half of this trip leave Gujarat and heads to one of the best tiger reserves in India for sightings of tigers, sloth bears and dhole; Tadoba National Park. Of course there are never any guarantees but we believe Tadoba gives both great chances of wildlife sightings as well as a wilderness experience and seeing a wide range of the wonderful and diverse wildlife that India has to offer.
Top Animals on Tour
Ahmedabad / Gir National Park
This morning you will be collected from Ahmedabad airport early (to make a safari this afternoon you need to arrive very early this morning) and then you will be driven in your private vehicle towards the last stronghold of Asiatic lions in the world (~7-8 hrs). Gir is the last stronghold of the Asiatic lion which was once widespread from Italy in the west to the eastern side of India in the east. Once we arrive here we will check into the accommodation and head into the park in the afternoon. When we have our first jeep safari into the park we will be looking for lions and they are not particularly difficult to find, with over 400 lions in a small area we should see them without too much difficulty (although they are not always seen on every trip into the park).
Gir National Park
For the next two days you will be taken into the heart of Sasan Gir forest during the morning and afternoon (once again returning to the lodge for meals and a short rest in between). When exploring the park there are three main sections, firstly the dense scrub and forests that make up the majority of the park and it is here that the lions, leopards, sambar, nilgai, chital and langurs are commonly seen. This is where we will spend the majority of our time as the more popular species are seen here more often than elsewhere in the park. The second section or ecosystem are the more open areas scattered around the park, these meadows and open grassy areas are very different from the dense teak forests and provide a home to some of the parks rarer species such as the four-horned antelope, jungle cats and possibly the tiny rusty-spotted cat. These animals are present throughout the park but are much harder to see in the forests and only if we have had great lion sightings early on will we head off in search of these rarer species. Although the rusty-spotted cat is still exceptionally hard to see anywhere in the park and has actually only recently been recorded from the park. After years of speculation and possible sightings (although they can be readily confused with domestic cats) one was caught on camera traps. The third area or section of the park is the very popular artificial dam, this man-made feature has proved very successful for the reintroduction of the once critically endangered mugger crocodiles as well as providing habitat and food for many migratory birds and the vast water offers a great respite from the browns and yellows of the dry deciduous forest that covers most of the park. After the first full day here and depending on what we see we can tailor the last full day here to try and find a specific animal if you wish.
Velavadar National Park
This morning after breakfast you will leave the lodge and travel to your next national park, Velavadar. This is one of the best national parks in India, home to large populations of beautiful blackbuck and probably the best places in the world to see the striped hyena. This is one of the most elusive species of mammal in the world and here there are a couple of den sites that the local guides know of. Today will be your first chance to see this incredible animal after checking into the lodge and we enter the park. The park was initially set up for the protection of blackbuck which are now doing very well. It is also the best place to see nilgai but during the evenings we will be focused on striped hyena, Indian wolves, Indian foxes and jungle cats; before returning to the lodge for your evening meal. Despite these elusive and wonderful predators the true star of the park are the many blackbuck; despite being popular in animal collections on private estates in both Europe and North America, the wild population in India decreased drastically over the last century and fragmented into various pockets from a former position of abundance throughout the plains.
Velavadar Reserve now probably has the highest concentration of Blackbuck in the world with the very regal dark males with their long spiraled horns strutting their stuff for the females they are very fun to watch.
Velavadar National Park
Today you will be taken on jeep safaris into Velavadar during the morning and afternoon. All the meals will be served back at the lodge in between safaris. During the mornings we will try and get some good close up encounters with the many blackbuck, Indian gazelles and nilgai that live here and then when we return in the afternoon we will switch our focus towards the rarer predators here. The afternoons are much better for trying to find the striped hyena, Indian wolves and possibly desert cats as they are all mostly nocturnal and begin their daily routines in the later afternoon / early evening.
Hopefully we can see the beautiful striped hyena on this trip along with some of India’s rare desert carnivores like Asiatic lions, leopards, Indian wolves, striped hyenas, jungle cats, golden jackals, Indian foxes and desert red foxes.
Velavadar National Park / Little Rann of Kutch
Today you will leave Velavadar in the morning and drive to the edge of the desert. The Little Rann of Kutch is a vast desert encrusted with salt left when the Arabian Sea dried and left the land here exposed and after checking into the accommodation you will have some time to rest and relax and then later in the day you will have your first trip into the desert.
During the afternoon and tomorrow (and the morning of the day after) you will explore the salt encrusted desert driving from ‘bet’ to ‘bet’. The bets are slightly elevated ‘islands’ that have less salt and have vegetation including grasses and scrub. These bets are home to most of the wildlife found here, including the beautiful and endemic Asiatic wild ass, blackbuck, nilgai, chinkara as well as predators like the rare Indian wolf, desert fox (a subspecies of red fox), Indian fox, golden jackals, desert cats and jungle cats.
During the heat of the day when we will be back at the resort and out of the midday sun you can find out more about the resort here and the community work that they do. Being based near the village of Dasada they are surrounded by wetlands, and with an eco-friendly approach to the resort from the moment it was imaginatively designed, it is a standout eco-lodge in India. Using local materials to recreate the appearance of a village the accommodations are in cottages, resembling the kooba houses of the Bajania community of Dasada and the bhunga houses of the Rabaris of Kutch, decorated with mirrors, mud-plaster work and embroideries.
Little Rann of Kutch / Mumbai
This morning will be your last chance to find wildlife in the Little Rann of Kutch as you have your last safari into the desert. Afterwards you will have a transfer back to Ahmedabad (~3 hours) and from here catch your flight from Ahmedabad to Mumbai and then on arrival in Mumbai you will be taken to a nearby hotel for the night. There are no activities planned for the rest of the day, this is at your leisure.
Mumbai – Tadoba National Park
This morning you will depart from the hotel in Mumbai and travel to the domestic terminal and catch your flight to Nagpur (the closest city to the park). On arrival you will meet your new driver and be transferred to the lodge on the outskirts of the park (3-4 hour drive). On arrival you will have your lunch and then depart for your first safari into Tadoba National Park (if time allows – it depends on the flights available from Mumbai and any possible delays on arrival). You will also further explore Tadoba in the morning and afternoon for the next 4 days (as well as one last morning safari on the day you leave Tadoba to start your return flight home).
Tadoba National Park
The next 4 full days will follow the same patterns as you explore the park in search of the ‘striped gentleman’. Each morning you will rise early (before dawn) and after some tea or coffee you will be taken to the park’s entrance gate and be designated a local guide to work in conjunction with your professional safari driver. As you drive through this rich park you will notice that teak forest predominates in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, giving way to tracts of mixed forest at higher elevations in the hills. To the north there are expanses of grassland and bamboo. Often overlooked by tourists until recently because it was off the beaten track, it offers some wonderful wildlife experiences. It is also one of the few parks that are open all year round, offering visitors an opportunity to visit in the monsoon season – this extraordinary active time for all manner of plants and animals, yet otherwise closed to keen nature lovers in most other parks of India. Our excursions in the Tiger Reserve will by jeep, and the movements of the resident tigers are well known to the local guides and we will rely on their intimate knowledge of the terrain and territories to locate them.
As well as making early morning and afternoon excursions we will also have periods of relaxation back at our lodge, which are especially welcome during the midday heat. Although tigers are the star attraction at Tadoba, there is an impressive supporting cast of mammals and birds, the latter including species such as grey-headed fishing eagle, plum-headed parakeet, Malabar pied hornbill, greater racket-tailed drongo and Asian paradise flycatcher; nearly 200 species have been recorded in the Reserve. Tour members with an interest in ornithology will value the time between game drives as an opportunity to explore some of the habitats close to our base.
There is no shortage of prey in the Reserve for both the tigers and less frequently seen leopards and the Asian hunting dog (otherwise known as dhole). The spotted deer, or Chital, is a favourite item on the tiger menu and several thousand of these delightful deer inhabit the Reserve. Other species found here in varying abundance include chousingha, wild boar, sambar, Indian muntjac and nilgai. There are also herds of Asian bison, or gaur, in the Reserve. Mammal sightings always require a degree of luck, particularly when a species is essentially nocturnal or reclusive’ Please also note that on Tuesdays the park is not open and so all safaris on Tuesdays will be booked in the buffer zone which is a good alternative to the core area of the park when the park is not open.
Tadoba National Park / Nagpur
This morning is the last time you will be in the national park on a tiger safari, and after the safari you will leave the lodge and be transferred to Nagpur (3-4 hours), here you will check into a hotel near the airport to for your final night. No activities will be included for the rest of the day.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to 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.
During the Indian spring the weather is very dry with plenty of blue skies during the day. At night the temperatures are cooler than the day but are still hot. However the early mornings can be chilly. There should not be any rain at this time of year in Gujurat. Tabdoba is largely dry and hot at this time of year too, there can be some chill in the air during the early morning safaris, but the morning sun soon warms things up.
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 zoologist will escort you on all your excursions and we also use a very knowledgeable English speaking local guides.
All our excursions including treks, guided walks, jeep safaris and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be light and airy clothes as well as comfortable walking shoes. 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.
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.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included 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 included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Emirates or Qatar Airlways as a good airlines for flights to various cities in India. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.ticketstoindia.co.uk. It is an ATOL bonded company and this provides 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 http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/ (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.
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