THE ULTIMATE YEAR OF THE TIGER SAFARI 18 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH 2011
A Visit To Two Of India’s Finest Tiger Reserves, Escorted By Expert Wildlife And Conservation Activists Dr Raghu Chundawat And Mr Dhruv Singh.
An Introduction To The Year of the Tiger
In line with the Year of the Tiger, World Big Cat Safaris is hosting a specialist led safari to see tigers in the wilds of India and to raise funds for their future protection and conservation. Visiting the renowned tiger parks of Kanha and Bandhavgarh, this safari educates and enthralls as you explore what really goes on in tiger conservation and the trials these endangered Cats face on a daily basis. This safari will be led by two renowned resident experts, Dr Raghu Chundawat and Mr Dhruv Singh.
The Year of the Tiger is in fact being celebrated by the Chinese whom are widely thought to be responsible for the poaching and extinction of these beautiful Cats. It is specifically for this reason that we feel we should celebrate this Year in order to fight against this threat and to generate awareness of the every day dangers that Tigers face. This Safari as well as increasing awareness for tiger conservation will also raise funds for their protection as a donation of ÂŁ100 is made from each place sold on the trip.
We are truly privileged to be working with some of the leading professionals in this arena and we are eternally grateful for their expertise. Both Raghu and Dhruv are excited to be working in combination with World Big Cat Safaris and are looking forward to hosting you in their home country and in particular, regions and parks that they have spent years working in with the common goal of saving the Bengal Tiger.
We thank you as ever for your support and look forward to taking you on safari with us.
World Big Cat Safaris www.worldbigcatsafaris.com
A Short Biography of Your Accompanying Tiger Specialists DR RAGHU CHUNDAWAT: Raghunandan Singh Chundawat studied botany at university but did his PHD in wildlife science, pioneering the first study on snow leopards in India. After fourteen years of work on high altitude mammals, he is a recognised expert on the Himalayan and trans-Himalayan regions. He completed his PHD in 1992 on the Ecology of snow leopards and their prey species in the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh, India. For over a decade, Dr Chundawat was a faculty member of India’s premier institute, the Wildlife Institute of India where he trained wildlife managers from India and South-East Asia and taught Conservation Biology and Mammalogy from 19922002. While there he also supervised several research projects on the Big Cats of India. Dr. Raghu Chundawat has been very intensively involved with tiger conservation since 1996 when he started the only study of the ecology of tigers in Tropical Dry Forest. During this nine year study, he monitored several generations of radio-collared tigers and documented why tigers are more vulnerable in Dry forest than in other habitats of the subcontinent. In recognition of his research and conservation work, he was awarded the ESSO Honour for Tiger Conservation for special effort in 2001, the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award for excellence in the science of tiger Conservation in 2002 and in 2003 he received the Tiger Gold award for outstanding scientific work with wild tigers. A member of the Cat Specialist Group of IUCN, Dr. Chundawat was also a member of the Wildlife Advisory Board for Madhya Pradesh for many years. He is currently working for the International Snow Leopard Trust as Regional Science and Conservation Director. In this capacity, he supervises conservation and research programmes in central Asian countries, such as Mongolia, Xinxiang China, Kirgyzstan, Bhutan, Afghanistan and India. He has also held several positions as Research Associate for National Zoo, the Smithsonian Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Society and has worked extensively in Kanha National Park. He has published extensively in scientific journals and books and in popular magazines. He had also worked with the BBC and Natural History Unit New Zealand as scientific consultant for their films series – Land of the Tiger and Wild Asia- At the Edge. BBC Natural World produced an award winning films, “Tigers of the Emerald Forest”, based on his research work in Panna Tiger Reserve and Dr Chundawat features as an authoritative spokesperson in the several films (such as BBC films “Battle to Save the Tiger” and “Tiger Zero” made on the crises that threatens the future of tigers in India.
DHRUV SINGH: Dhruv was born into a family that had been involved with conservation well before the inception of Tiger reserves, a time when wildlife was abundant and forests covered most of Central India. Born in 1973, his childhood was spent in Bandhavgarh and the surrounding forests, walking for days through forests with old shikari's turned forest guards, learning to track animals and spending time with the villagers deep in the jungles. After studying art in America, Dhruv returned to India to work with the BBC on the first comprehensive wildlife film on the Indian sub continent ‘Land of the Tiger’, at the end of 3 years of working on the documentary Dhruv had visited and spent long periods working in most of the Tiger Reserves of Northern India. With a sound understanding of the forests and Tiger tracking he worked with wildlife film crews and professional photographers as a naturalist and field advisor. Dhruv moved back to Bandhavgarh in 2003 and set up Churhat Kothi, a milestone in wildlife lodges. Churhat Kothi was a lodge that worked with the highly trained naturalists and reinvented the level of hospitality in wildlife safaris in India. In 2006 he moved onto his next project ‘Anant Van’ meaning infinite forest; this Lodge was established in a far end of The Tiger Reserve, it bordered a village that barely had any contact with the main road, visitors, tourism and the rest of the world was well off its radar. Anant Van was built and run on the lines of a village based reforestation centre, the idea was to grow forest trees of Central India and create a bank of native trees, a small tented camp was also established to encourage visitors to participate in this project. Dhruv joined hands with Pradip Krishen (author of ‘Trees of Delhi’) and began work on publishing a book on the ‘Jungle Trees of Central India’. With this project Dhruv traveled with Pradip to many parts of the Central Indian jungles learning about the forests and educating himself on types of forests. In 2009 Dhruv started a new project and Monsoon Forest was set up and the first flush of reforestation planting was done in the monsoon of 2009. A small camp of six tents was established and the reforestation project was set up as the core focus. Dhruv is now working on making a sustainable model for involving the local communities and gearing up to make the planting of Indigenous forest trees as a mission. ‘Forests for Tigers’ is the main objective of the Monsoon Forest reforestation project and Dhruv is currently working on this.
THE ULTIMATE YEAR OF THE TIGER SAFARI
18 February 2011 Met upon arrival into Delhi and transfer to your hotel. This evening there will be an early evening Wildlife Lecture from a tiger conservation expert. Overnight: Home style Guest House 19 February After breakfast you will be taken on a private tour around the sights and sounds of Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi pulses with energy and colour, the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars laced by a maze of narrow lanes which twist and turn between tall, leaning houses full of the sights, sounds and aromas of the Indian sub-continent. You will see the famous Red Fort surrounded by shops, and bazaars, the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes and the Chandni Chowk. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to enjoy a local rickshaw ride. In the afternoon you will be taken on a tour of New Delhi. It is a city of wide boulevards which offers ever changing perspectives of Lutyen's landscaped city. It is a city known for its formal parks, magnificent Parliament Building, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India designed by Sir Edwin Lutyen) and India Gate. In New Delhi you will also visit Qutab Minar, the 72.5 m high tower dating back to 13th century and Humayun's Tomb (built in the 16th century and architecturally the fore runner of the Taj Mahal). In the early evening, the group will meet Dr Raghu Chundawat â€“ the expert wildlife escort for the Kanha section of your trip. Dr Chundawat will spend an informal evening with you, do a short introduction talk (with images), in order to introduce you to the wildlife of India, and get you ready and excited for entering wildlife areas the following day. Overnight: Home style Guest House (B) 20 February This morning you will be escorted to the airport in time for your Kingfisher Red flight to Jabalpur (IT 4375; Departing Delhi at 0710 hrs; Arriving Jabalpur at 0900 hours). You will be met upon arrival and driven to Kanha National Park (approximately 4 hour 30 minutes).
Kanha is one of the largest national parks in India extending over 1945 sq. km. of undulating country, which includes a core area of 940 sq km. Kanha has some 22 species of mammals. The most easily spotted are the striped palm squirrel, common langur, jackal, wild pig, chital or spotted deer, barasingha or swamp deer, sambhar and black buck. Tigers, Indian hare, Indian wild dog, barking deer and Indian bison are also present but harder to spot. Other animals found in the park include Indian fox, sloth bear, striped hyena, jungle cat, leopard, mouse deer, fourhorned antelope, porcupine and wolf. Kanha has some 200 species of birds. The commonly seen species of birds include cattle egret, pond heron, black ibis, common peafowl, crested serpent eagle, racket-tailed drongo, and hawk eagle, various species of fly-catcher, woodpecker, pigeon, dove, parakeet, babbler, mynah, Indian roller, white-breasted kingfisher and grey hornbill. This evening you will be given an introduction to the park along with a slide show of Kanha Tiger Reserve with a focus on the mammals of Central India by Dr Raghu Chandawat followed by your welcome dinner. Overnight: Shergarh Tented Camp (Exclusive Use) â€“ the camp is booked on an exclusive basis for the Year of the Tiger Group and is set within easy access of Kanha NP. Cosy ensuite tents with private verandahs provide the ideal location to relax at during the evening hours (B/L/D) 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 February During your 6 nights in Kanha, a detailed program will be followed in order to introduce you to as many different facets of Kanha NP as possible â€“ primarily the focus will be on gaining a better understanding of the Tiger and its habitat, as well as its behavioral traits and the conservation efforts active today to help save this majestic animal. A selection of activities that you may undertake during your stay at Kanha National Park: â€˘
One jeep safari drive into the park per day, sometimes two per day: Game drives provide the best opportunity for all types of wildlife viewing, from bird and butterfly watching, to sighting the major prey species and chancing an encounter with one of the Big Cats! Over the week, morning drives would incorporate different regions of the park, showcasing its huge bio-diversity. The major mammals include gaur, dhole, barasingha, sambar, chital, muntjac, leopard and tiger. Afternoon drives are
predominantly experienced in the Mukki region, often parked quietly aside water holes, waiting and watching for the late evening activity. Whilst on the morning game drives on occasions there is the chance of a “Sher Darsan”: This is when each morning the elephants travel the forest interiors in search of tiger locations. If they are successful, the opportunity opens for guests to view the tiger from elephant back. While the activity lasts for approx 10 minutes, guests are able to view the tiger from close range, which can offer a reasonable photographic opportunity. Tiger: Revisit the areas from where Dr George Schaller undertook his research. George Schaller was the author of the famous book ‘The Deer and the Tiger’ which was one of the first detailed studies of tiger behavior and its prey species, from the meadows of Kanha National Park. Tiger: One day will be spent looking at new knowledge that has been acquired on Tigers and the conservation issues that we face from a National and International perspective. This will possibly include a meeting with some of the researchers that are undertaking this work. Swamp Deer (Barasingha): The rare hard hoofed swamp deer are one of Kanha’s success stories, as the park authorities have been instrumental in rescuing the species from imminent extinction. A visit to the original habitats of swamp deer. Conservation issues and problems: A look at the Kanha Park management initiatives, a visit to Supkhar (an new area of the park to show the increasing wildlife populations and an original Viceroy Rest House). Prey: Spend some time looking at the chital (spotted deer) and its effect on tiger, other co-predators in Kanha, and the relationship of prey/predator. There will also be a detailed look into the relationships between wild dogs, leopards and tigers. One afternoon will be spent looking at the buffer zone (periphery to the core zone), of Kanha, including a trip to Phen Sanctuary. This afternoon will also include a visit to nearby villages, some of which have been relocated from the core area. Full day visiting the Sarhi zone of Kanha NP: A newly opened area of the park with stunning scenery. This area is not strong on game viewing however it is seldom frequented by other vehicles, making it an exclusive experience. Exit for a riverside picnic lunch at the Sarhi gate. Re-enter the park through the Sarhi gate, and take an afternoon drive up to Bahmni Dadar for sunset and to the viewpoint over the reserve. Exit the park at Bhaisanghat gate and drive back to Shergarh as night falls (approx 25 minutes), presenting opportunities for sightings of nocturnal creatures.
Sarekha Village Friday Afternoon Market: Sarekha is a charming dusty village of traditional mud and straw blue-painted houses, located approx 45 minutes from Shergarh. Each Friday, it bursts into a bustling marketplace of cattle, fresh farm produce, spices, bamboo wares, earthen pots and ethnic jewellery, flocked to by hundreds of surrounding villagers, exchanging and bartering in ways unchanged in centuries. The market has a friendly and easy atmosphere, where one can witness (and even participate in) rural activities, such as the local barber under the village Banyan tree, and the chai and pan stalls. The drive to the village winds through scenic forest tracks and small tribal hamlets, and on the way back to Shergarh, stop for a sundowner or afternoon tea on the banks of the Banjar river. Morning or Afternoon Safari Walks: Walks take place in the buffer forest that skirts the river Banjar – the natural boundary between core and buffer areas. The focus of the activity is bird watching, although mammal sightings can include chital, langur, sambar, muntjac, gaur, dhole and reptile species. Length of walks can be tailored but typically last a couple of hours, stopping en-route for refreshments/ picnics. There are currently 2-3 hides being constructed along the banks of the river, strategically placed to offer sweeping views of the river where animals are likely to come down to drink. We advise a max of 4 persons per escorted walk. Bahmni Dadar: One morning safari will include a trip to this plateau – the highest point in the park. In addition to the stunning views provided over the reserve, the geology and habitat here is very different to the Sal forest predominant in the lower plains. Several rare bird species and the shy Chowsingha (four horned antelope) can be seen in the open savannahs that mark this landscape.
Overnight: Shergarh Tented (Exclusive Use) – Tents (B/L/D)
26 February Today you will be departing for Bandhavgarh National Park (approximately 5/6 hour drive). Set amidst the Vindhyanchal ranges, the park covers an area of 437 sq. km. and has a series of ridges running through it. About half the park is covered with fine stands of Sal while mixed forests are found in the higher reaches of the hills. Stretches of bamboo and grasslands are found throughout. The main view area is still in the core of the park with its 32 picturesque wooded hills.
There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds. Common langurs and rhesus macaque represent the primate group. Carnivores include the Asiatic Jackal, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Grey Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard and of course the most famous of all the Royal Bengal Tiger. The other animals spotted in the park are Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Nilgai, Chinkara and Gaur. The vegetation along streams and marshes is rich in bird-life. The common ones are little Grebe, Egret, Lesser Adjutant, Sarus Crane, Black Ibis, Lesser Whistling Teal, White-eyed Buzzard, Black Kite, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Common Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Dove, Parakeet, Kingfisher and Indian Roller. Reptilian fauna include Cobra, Krait, Viper, Rat snake, Python, Turtle and a number of lizard species. Arriving at approximately 1500hrs you will have a welcome drink and orientation at Monsoon Forest. Once the guests are settled to their rooms, there will be an introductory talk on Bandavgarh (slide show) with Mr Dhruv Singh – your specialist escort for the 4 nights in Bandavgarh. This will be followed by drinks/dinner at the Baithak dining room Overnight: Monsoon Forest Lodge – six safari tents set in the shade of Mahua trees. Ensuite bathrooms and wrap around verandahs decorated with safari furniture. The lodge is also located with views of Bandhavgarh Fort (B/L/D) 27 - 01 March During the 4 nights you stay in Kanha, a detailed program will be followed in order to introduce you to the wonders of Bandavgarh National Park. You will enjoy safaris into the park on jeep drives, together with participation in the ‘Forests for Tigers’ program – this involves reforestation of Tiger habitat, an insight into the various projects, visit to villages surrounding the park, interaction with a wildlife artist from the region and also the possibility (not confirmed) of a visit to the elephant camp together with a very special visit to the famous Bandhavgarh Fort. Overnight: Monsoon Forest Lodge (B/L/D) 27 February • Morning game drive in Tala Zone (with potential tiger viewing from elephant back) • Breakfast at Monsoon Forest, under the Mahua tree. • Walk through the nursery at Monsoon Forest of plants and gain an understanding to the reforestation project. • Introductory talk by Nishikant Jadhav (retired Senior forestry service officer. Mr Jadhav is Director of the reforestation project) • Lunch, followed by a visit to Rancha Village. Dhruv will give a talk here at the
village about the human/animal conflicts of the area. • Introduction to traditional farming methods, and a private visit to a village home and meeting of a local family. • Back at Monsoon Forest Lodge, the evening will begin with a tribal dance and traditional drumming, followed by a candlelit dinner around the campfire. Overnight: Monsoon Forest Lodge (B/L/D) 28 February • Morning game drive to Bandavgarh Fort, in the Tala Zone. Picnic breakfast at the fort overlooking the Tiger Reserve with a guided walk around the monuments and forests. Brief talk on the vultures of the fort, and the problems of their diminishing population. • Return to Monsoon Forest Lodge • Meeting with Ms Kay – a wildlife artist and tiger conservationist • Followed by lunch with Ms Kay at the camp. • Evening game drive to Ghori Zone in search of tigers • Evening will be spent with Ms Kay, viewing her stunning tiger paintings of the past 18 years, and learning from her experiences. • Candlelit dinner on the terrace with few lessons in the star gazing of Bandavgarh. Overnight: Monsoon Forest Lodge (B/L/D) 01 March • Morning game drive in Tala Zone in search of tigers followed by a visit to 9th century Vishnu statue and Caves to see the Bats. • Breakfast at Monsoon Forest Lodge, under the Mahua tree. Rest of the morning relaxing around the camp. • After lunch at the camp, the afternoon safari drive will be to Khitauli Zone – which will include a visit to Garphuri Lake for bird spotting, and explore the more quiet and tranquil areas of the park. • Evening at Monsoon Forest, with a farewell dinner. Overnight: Monsoon Forest Lodge (B/L/D) 02 March After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Khajuraho airport (approx 5hrs) to board flight to Delhi (ETD 1335/ETA1600). On arrival you will be met and transferred to an airport hotel where you will have a day room for use prior to your flight. Later you will be met and transferred to the international airport to board your flight back home. Day use room: Home style Guest House (B/L)
COST: Per Person Sharing: £3,395 Single Room Supplement: £650 (we will make an effort to find a suitable room partner for you if this is of interest – which will in turn keep the cost lower. Please note this is not guaranteed). A Maximum of 12 Clients Will Travel Prices Include: - Accommodation for (12) nights and one day use room on twin-sharing basis in the mentioned hotels and similar - Meals as mentioned above - Transport in air-conditioned Mini Coach in Delhi and Toyota Innovas in Kanha & Bandhavgarh area (approx 3 pax in one vehicle). - Porters' fee at the airports and railway stations only - Services of English Speaking Local naturalist for the game drives - Shared Safaris in the Park in Jeep with 4 clients per vehicle - Tiger Show at Kanha & Bandhavgarh National Park (subject to successful tiger tracking) is included in the cost - All currently applicable taxes - A Per Person Donation to the Conservation of Tigers of £100 - Exclusive Use of Shergah Tented Camp - Interactions and Meetings with Experts, wildlife artists and tiger conservationists mentioned Prices DO NOT Include: - International air-fare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover - Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc - Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary - Liability for change in the itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedules; cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc -Any other item not specifically mentioned above as 'INCLUDED' General Conditions: - Domestic air-fare is based on Economy Class Fare and is subject to revision by airlines - All flight timings are based on current schedule and are strictly subject to change. - The price are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure. Operational Restrictions: Red Fort, Delhi is closed on Mondays
In line with the Year of the Tiger, World Big Cat Safaris is hosting a specialist led safari to see tigers in the wilds of India and to rais...