Wildlife Tour of East India’s Forests
March 24, 2022 - April 5, 2022£1035 – £3058
East India is one of the most biodiverse areas of the world, we many endemic birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants as well as hundreds of endangered and vulnerable species. This tour explores iconic locations such as the vast Sunderbans, lush Kaziranga, wonderful Manas and seldom visited Hoolongopar Gibbon Sanctuary. For anyone interested in exploring some of India’s wildest and most remote national this is the tour for you.
Watch the largest mammals in India
Spotlighting available for Slow Loris
See rare endemics of North East India
Look for Tigers in Kaziranga & Sunderbans
Boat safaris of the Sunderbans
Elephant back safaris of Manas NP
Top Animals on Tour
Indian One Horned Rhino
Western Hoolock Gibbon
Bengal Slow Loris
Asiatic Hog Badger
Tour Dates: 24/3/2022 – 5/4/2022
Duration: 14 nights
Type / Focus: Rare Mammals & Birds
After arriving in Kolkata you will be met by your local guide and zoologist escort (where available) and driven to your accommodation, level -4* hotel (Tollygunge Club) (1 hour from the airport) and after some rest a short trip to Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary. Here attractions include birds like Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Orange-headed Thrush, Lineated Barbet, Tickell’s Thrush, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Slaty-legged Crake, Little Spiderhunter and Blue-throated Flycatcher. The recently rediscovered Large-billed Reed Warbler was found at the edges of the Sanctuary. In addition, the sanctuary also hosts some small wildlife; namely Jungle cat, Indian Civet, Asiatic Jackal and a few other mammal species. You will return to the hotel in the evening. Dinner at the hotel.
Early morning, you will be driven Sunderbans and reach the jetty in time for your afternoon cruise into the Sunderbans. Whilst we travel to the camp, located on an island in the mangroves we will be birding and watching for crocodiles and mammals throughout. On reaching the accommodation, level – eco-resort (Sunderbans Tiger Camp) we will check in and relax for the rest of the day.
Whilst in the Sunderbans you will have morning and afternoon boat safaris with a lunch break back at the accommodation, level – eco-lodge (Sunderbans Tiger Camp). The Sunderbans are a part of the worlds largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal, it is also the world’s largest estuarine forest. 70% of the area is under saline/brackish water and the area is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sunderbans is a vast series of islands covering 4,264 square km in India alone, with a larger portion in Bangladesh. 2,585 sq. km of the Indian Sunderbans forms the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India. In a landscape dominated by great tidal creeks and waterways, the only way to access and enjoy the area is on motorized boats which come in various sizes and shapes. Sunderbans is the home of tigers, estuarine crocodiles, Gangetic river dolphins, chital, langur, macaques, bull sharks and snakes. You will explore the mangroves on small boats and also watch for wildlife on the various observation platforms dotted around. You will return to the accommodation for your evening meal.
Once again you will have early morning and late afternoon boat safaris to explore the park and try catch a glimpse of the elusive Tiger and the other mammals and birds like Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Wild Boar, Irrawady Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, reptiles like Salt Water Crocodile, Water Monitor, River Terrapin, King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, many species of crabs, a very interesting fish species called the Mudskipper, a huge range of birds including eight species of kingfishers (Common, Blue Eared, Black Capped, Pied, Stork Billed, Brown Winged, Ruddy and Collared Kingfisher), Spotted Owlet, the rare Buffy Fish Owl, Eurasian Curlew, Ruddy Turnstone, Eurasian Oyster-catcher, Goliath Heron, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Mangrove Whistler, Mangrove Pitta, White Bellied Sea Eagle and many more birds. There are several species of endemic mangrove plants that would be pointed out as they are sighted while on cruise. Like day 3 you will return to the accommodation, level – eco-tour (Sunderbans Tiger Camp) for your lunch and dinner.
Early this morning you will begin your cruise out of the Sunderbans with breakfast onboard the boat. Once you arrive back at the jetty you will be transferred back to Kolkata and your accommodation, level – 4* hotel (Tollygunge Club). After reaching back at the hotel the afternoon is at leisure to relax and re-pack. If anyone wants to do a birdwalk – the tolly lawns have a good number of species and a walk can be arranged with a private guide.
Early this morning, you will be taken to a new birding location nearby Kolkata, here some range restricted species. From there you will be driven to the airport to connect to your flight to Assam (~2 hours). Upon arrival at Jorhat, you will be met by the drivers and be driven to the nearby accommodation, level – tea estate (Burra Bungalow), this is a beautiful tea estate bungalow located 35 minutes from the airport. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the sylvan surrounds and a possible short walk in the estate. The estate has its share of wilderness; leopard, Asiatic elephant and jungle cat have been sighted here. Afterwards you will have your evening meal at the bungalow.
Hoolongapor Gibbon Sanctuary
Early this morning you will be driven to the only dedicated primate sanctuary in the Indian Subcontinent for a walk with a local guide looking for the endangered Western Hoolock Gibbon, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Capped Langur, Stump Tailed Macaque, Pig Tailed Macaque and other animals and birds. The place is full of thick forests with creepers and undergrowth and here one might see the Red Headed Trogon, Snowy Browed Flycatcher, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Lesser Shortwing, Grey Bellied Tesia, Slaty Headed Tesia and many other species of birds. After the morning gibbon watching and birding you will be stopping at a place inside the sanctuary for the packed lunch. After lunch you will continue searching forest for wildlife, including one of the only ape known from the Subcontinent. We have a choice of accommodation whilst exploring the Hoolongapor Gibbon Sanctuary, firstly for anyone interested in seeing the rare and elusive Bengal slow loris there is a single accommodation, level – government run guest house (Forest Rest House) in fairly livable condition inside the forest – those interested to see the Slow Loris will need to spend the night inside the sanctuary – where after dinner a short walk for about an hour might reveal a Loris. However the decision regarding the stay has to be done prior to coming at Gibbon and the permission for the night walk has to be secured from the authorities – so we would need to know at the time of booking. The best time for the Loris is February – though it is sighted in other months too. For anyone not wanting to stay here we will leave the sanctuary towards sundown and drive back to other accommodation, levle – 5* hotel (Thengal Manor).
Hoolongapor Gibbon Sanctuary – Kaziranga National Park
Early in the morning (with a picnic breakfast) we will leave for the sanctuary and again explore it on foot, once again our main targets are the Stump Tailed and Pig Tailed Macaques and the Western Hoolock Gibbon. Other species are Malayan Giant Squirrel, Hoary Bellied Squirrel, Slow Loris, Capped Langur, Asiatic Elephant, Wild Boar and with luck a Leopard Cat. There are a no of rare and colourful bird species that might be seen including more than one species of Tesia, Longtailed Broadbill, Silver Eared Mesia, Speckled and Rufous Piculet and several species of hornbills and with a bit of luck even the Hooded Pitta. The Asiatic Elephant herds start moving around this section of the sanctuary by the afternoon; so to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter in the dense forest we will be leaving the sanctuary by lunch time and then drive to the Kaziranga National Park (2.5 hours) in time for an afternoon jungle safari. On arrival – check in at the accommodation, level – safari lodge (Wild Grass Lodge) and with a quick turn-around time hop on to your jeeps for the safari. Kaziranga is one of the most popular national parks in the whole of India, there are more large mammal species found here than anywhere else in the Indian Subcontinent including huge numbers of Indian one-horned rhinos, Asiatic elephants and healthy populations of tigers, water buffalo and other rare species such as Gangetic river dolphins. After this afternoons safari you will return to the lodge for your evening meal.
Kaziranga National Park
Explorations of this wonderful grassland park will be in the traditional 4×4 open top jeeps during the morning and the afternoon. Kaziranga has three ranges; 1) western (Baguri), 2) central (Kohora) & 3) eastern (Agoratoli). Of these you will explore the western and the central range which are the ranges open for tourism. Your accommodation, level – safari lodge (Wild Grass Lodge) is situated in Kaziranga proper, amidst a setting of a traditional rural Assamese landscape comprising of village houses, bamboo groves, paddy fields and tea gardens. It is an attractive rural-style hotel with its extensive grounds having more than 40 species of full-grown trees and over 200 species of tropical climbers, creepers and shrubs. The lodge has 18 twin-bedded rooms situated in two colonial style buildings. Each room is an individual wing, with large windows built in vogue with the climatic conditions and architectural traditions of the region. One can look out into the gardens or into the countryside with the Dirring River that flows along our compound. The rooms are airy and spacious with wooden floors and private baths that have running hot and cold water. Kaziranga is in Assam state in northeastern India on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The park occupies approximately 470 square kilometres, and is home to the “Indian Big Five”. These include 70% of the population of the world’s Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, herds of Asiatic Wild Elephant, Asiatic Wild Buffalo, Eastern Swamp Deer (Barasingha) and of course the Tiger. The other herbivores include the Wild Boar, Barking Deer (Muntjac), and the Hog Deer as well as a number of smaller and infrequently sighted mammals such as the very rare Hispid Hare, Common and Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civet, Bengal Fox, Jackal, Indian Pangolin, Hog Badger, Jungle Cat and the shy Fishing Cat. 4 species of primates are found in the park including the Assamese Macaque, the beautiful Capped Langur, and India’s only ape the Western Hoolock Gibbon. The river Brahmaputra is home to the endangered Indo-Gangetic Dolphin, while Smooth Coated Otters are seen often in its tributary the river Diphlu. A splendour of birds including the Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican, Wreathed Hornbill, Greater Adjutant Stork, Pale Capped Pigeon, Sultan Tit, Jerdon’s Baza, Fairy Bluebird, Black-Breasted Parrot bill, and the Goliath Heron to name a few can be seen here. All in all the range of variety of species known from Kaziranga make it one of the greatest national parks in the world and we will explore as much of the park as possible over these two full days.
Manas National Park
After breakfast you will depart from Kaziranga National Park and drive to Manas National Park. On arrival at your accommodation, level – safari lodge (Bansbari Lodge) you will check in and then in the afternoon enjoy a safari to the park. The ecosystem of Manas is spread between Bhutan and India with protected national parks on both sides of the border. The lush green national park was butchered by the separatist militants in 2005-2007 and it took a lot of effort to revive it. Now the forest is back and so are its denizens. The targets include some of Indias most elusive and endangered mammals, birds and reptiles. These include Crab-eating Mongoose, Hog Badger, Fishing Cat, Himalayan Crestless Porcupine, Leopard Cat, , Wild Buffalo, Assamese Macaque, other mammals include the Malayan Giant Squirrel, Hoary Bellied Squirrel, Smooth Coated Otter and the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and the Asiatic Elephant. Birds include Rufous Necked Hornbill, Swamp Francolin, Black Tailed Crake, Hodgson’s Bushchat and Bengal Florican and the reptiles include the rare Assam Roofed Turtle. You will return to the lodge for your evening meal in the evening.
Manas National Park
During the next couple of days you will explore the park in the morning and evening, we will try to arrange an elephant back safari during the morning and a jeep safari in the evening. The elephant back safaris are subject to the availability of the elephants and are also an excellent way of getting close to animals such as rhinos and buffalo that tend to ignore the present of an elephant more than they do a jeep. This is mostly due to the fact that elephants are a naturally occurring part of the ecosystem here and so the animals pay them very little attention. As well as the huge variety of rare and elusive mammal species known from here on in particular is top of our list to try and catch a glimpse of. This is the pygmy hog, this species was declared extinct in the wild not long ago and since has received much international and Indian support to breed back the animal in captivity and they are now doing well in the wild again. We will also look to arrange spotlighting drives into the park in the after dinner, however this is dependent on the movements of the local wild elephant populations as it is too dangerous to go into the park after dark when the elephants are nearby. In between the safari activities you will return to the accommodation, level – safari lodge (Bansbari Lodge) for your meals.
After a final morning safari into Manas National Park you will have breakfast before driving to Guwahati to catch your flight to Kolkata (2 hours) you will then be taken to your accommodation, level – 4* hotel (The Tollygunge Club), the rest of the afternoon will be free at your leisure before your final evening meal of the tour.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the international 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 February and March the weather in Eastern India is hot and dry with plenty of blue skies during the day but sometimes chilly nights. The temperatures are warm to hot (not oppressive) but not too humid at this time of year. At night the temperature can drop down and it may be chilly during the early morning elephant safaris and jeep safaris. There should be no rain during this time of year.
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 birding guides at each location.
All our excursions including camel safaris, guided walks, jeep safaris, all excursions, temple visits, sightseeing and park entrance fees are also included.
Also included are the internal domestic flights from Kolkata to Johat and Guhawati to Kolkata.
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. 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 souvenirs 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 as a good airline for flights to Kolkata. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.ticketstoindia.co.uk. This is 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 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.
Reviews of this Holiday
Brian Cliff, New Jersery
Nancy Cliff, New Jersey
Ruth Lawrence, UK