Charismatic India – March 2016 Trip Report

Close your eyes. Think of India. What images come to mind? Maybe the romantic Taj Mahal? How about your favorite curry dish? Most likely, a crowded city full of vibrant colors and majestic monuments? Chances are, you didn’t picture a tiger, or a rhino, a wild dog, or an elephant—those ‘charismatic megafauna’ instantly come to mind when thinking of Africa. After our successful India Wildlife Safari, we know that India can be a destination for both cultural aficionados and wildlife enthusiasts.

We had an excellent start to our safari on our game drives with Shree and Tarun. Our first drives focused on the general game and birdlife of Madhya Pradesh, which was much appreciated as the group got settled into their Indian safari rhythm. I was surprised to have our first tiger sighting on the first full day there…a male who had been lying in a waterhole got up and walked away, offering an excellent first view.

Kili led a group of savvy travelers to the varied ecosystems of Pench National Park, Kanha National Park, and Bandhavgarh National Park, in search of Bengal Tigers. Not only did our intrepid group find tigers, they also encountered a wide range of other mammals and birdlife that shares the jungle home of the tiger. Careful searches in the various parks yielded some outstanding sightings of tigers, including a tigress sharing a kill with her four cubs. Another top experience for the group was tracking and observing a group of wild dog for over an hour in the forests of Pench.

In Bandhavgarh, we had an excellent sighting on the second morning finding a tigress with 4 cubs of about 9 months. One vehicle spent over an hour watching them including hearing the cubs and mother kill a chital faun. The last morning was probably a favorite sighting by the whole group. We spent nearly an hour with four wild dogs, watching them move through the forest, scent-mark and play.

Travelers combined extensions with the group India Wildlife Safari. Kaziranga National Park and Satpura National Park offered more incredible wildlife—sloth bears, Indian rhinos, gibbons, and wild elephants to name a few species. Agra and Kolkata showed guests a side of India fueled by two kinds of love—romantic love at the Taj Mahal and selfless love of Mother Teresa’s work in Kolkata. As always, Next Adventure immerses travelers in the culture —with walking tours of Old Delhi, explorations of important historical monuments and glimpses of scenes of everyday life. The experiences with culture and wildlife were matched by legendary Indian hospitality and attentive service from our partners. Accommodation was chosen with care and meals surpassed expectations in quality, taste, and creativity.

We thought the local staff was superb throughout the trip. They were very reliable, and always professional and friendly. We have to say that, as promised, the food on the whole trip was spectacular. Such variety and fresh, wonderful spices. The food will absolutely be one of our finest memories.

India is a gorgeous mosaic of life pulsing out of every corner, so prepare to be embraced by it’s people and delve into the history both ancient and modern. Revel in the absolute chaos of its cities and marvel at the serenity of the wilderness areas. Seek out the elusive wildlife that call India home and be rewarded with a safari that is like no other.

We’ve simply never gone wrong with Next Adventure. Traveling with Kili and the group was fun. We enjoyed the company; there were some very experienced travelers in the group and we got a lot out of the conversations and experiences.

Here’s the full detailed itinerary and extensions. Get in touch to learn more about wildlife safaris throughout India!

Scouting India’s Best Wildlife Safaris

India_sm-23Over the last few years, Next Adventure has arranged a handful of tiger safaris in India, but it wasn’t until this March that I finally found time to do a proper scouting trip to India’s most renowned tiger safari destinations. Now, we’re excited to offer custom safari arrangements with a trusted local partner based on our personal firsthand experience: the same combination that works so well for us in Africa.

As a child, I spent a lot of time in India with my parents, so I started my trip visiting old family friends in Delhi and taking a short trip up to Rishikesh near the mythological source of the sacred Ganga (Ganges River). Brief aside: Rishikesh played a pivotal role in popular culture when The Beatles visited in 1968, and it was advertised for years as the “Home of the Beatless”. Balancing traditional Indian experiences like seeing an Aarthi ceremony from an ashram with adventure activities like white-water rafting, I found these days in Rishikesh to be an excellent beginning to my reunion with India.

The core of my time in India was spent in the national parks of the central Indian state, Madhya Pradesh. I was amazed to see nearly everything from my wish-list (4 tigers, 3 leopards, wild dogs, many kinds of deer, etc) as well as over 90 species of bird. But I was also hooked and can’t wait to get back in search of more tigers and the elusive sloth bear and just to experience again the ambiance of the Indian jungle full of the call of wild peacocks and the guttural roar of tigers.

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