Big Cats of India

India

Wildlife

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

14 days £3,495 pp This is the price per person for a private tour (based on 2 people travelling) excluding international flights. Contact us for pricing for other group sizes including individuals.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Experience the rich and varied wildlife of India in some of its best national parks. Head down to Central India`s prime tiger territory - Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks and then on to Satpura, one of India`s best-kept wildlife secrets where leopards roam freely. Finally, we head west to Gujarat`s Gir National Park, home to India`s only lions. With excellent jungle lodges throughout, this is a wildlife adventure like no other. This tour is typically run as a private tour. Contact us if you would like to join a group tour.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Game drives in Kanha
  • Leopards in Satpura
  • Stay in rustic jungle lodges
  • Spotting tigers in the wild
  • Gujarat`s rare Asiatic lions

Places Visited

Delhi - Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve - Kanha Tiger Reserve - Satpura National Park - Bhopal - Gir National Park

What's Included

Airport transfers
Domestic flights
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Game drives as per itinerary with local naturalist
Breakfasts and full-board in national parks
English-speaking guides
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Delhi

On arrival, you will be greeted at the airport by your Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. Rest of day free to relax. Overnight in Delhi.

Overnight in Amarya Villa, Delhi

Meal plan: n/a

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

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Day 2 : Delhi - Bandhavgarh

Early morning flight from Delhi to Jabalpur. Our representative will greet you at the airport for transfer to Bandhavgarh. Afternoon at leisure, optional walking trails around lodge. Evening at the lodge. Overnight in Bandhavgarh. Overnight in Bandgavgarh. 

Overnight in Monsoon Forest, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

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Day 3 : Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Morning and afternoon game drives. Evening at lodge. Overnight in Bandhavgarh.

Overnight in Monsoon Forest, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Once a hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa, the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve sprawls over a 450 sq km area with varying terrain of undulating hills and open meadows to forests and steep ridges.  In the Vindhya hills of Umaria distract, the reserve is most well-known for housing Royal Bengal Tigers and offers the best chance of glimpsing tigers in the wild over any other national park in India. Thanks to the mixed vegetation of Sal and Savannahs, the reserve also attracts: tigers, wild elephants, langur monkeys, sambar, spotted deer, hyenas and bears, among others.  You may spot these species at one of 12 natural water holes throughout the area. 

NOTE: Bandhavgarh National Park is closed on Wednesday afternoon.


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Day 4 : Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Morning and afternoon game drives. Evening at the lodge. Overnight in Bandhavgarh. 

Overnight in Monsoon Forest, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 5 : Bandhavgarh - Kanha

Morning safari in Bandhavgarh and drive to Kanha. Arrival and check in at the lodge. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Kanha National Park.  

Overnight in Tuli Tiger Resort, Kanha Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Kanha National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives. Evening at the lodge. Overnight in Kanha National Park.

Overnight in Tuli Tiger Resort, Kanha Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The tiger reserve in Kanha Tiger Reserve is a stunning natural area filled with dense forests, scenic mountain areas and crystal-clear streams and situated in the Madhya Pradesh central-highland area of India. Preserved as a ‘reserve forest’ as early as 1879, the beauty of the natural landscape and wealth of animal life inspired Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’. Overlooking the luxurious landscape of meadows, streams and forest areas is ‘Bomm Dader’ or Sunset Point – the most scenic area of the park. The reserve has one of the largest populations of Indian tigers across the country, and is also home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. As well as tigers, the park is home to many bird, reptile and mammal species, including spotted deer, antelopes, flying squirrels and buffaloes. The ‘jewel’ of the park however is the ‘Barasingha’ or swamp deer, which have become endangered and feed on the park’s rich grass-land areas.

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Day 7 : Kanha National Park

Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives* in the park, on the look-out again for Kanha's diverse wildlife. Rest of evening to relax and dinner at lodge. Overnight in Kanha National Park.

* Note: the elephant safari is typically for 1 hour as part of your standard jeep safari. However, due to a limited number of elephants and priority given to trackers/photographers, elephant safaris cannot be guaranteed as reservations can only be made 1 day in advance.    

Overnight in Tuli Tiger Resort, Kanha Tiger Reserve

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 8 : Kanha - Satpura

After breakfast drive to Satpura National Park, stopping en-route for lunch. Dinner at jungle lodge.  Enjoy the thrill of a night jeep safari in the heart of Satpura. Not only will you hear the sound of the jungle alive at night, but you just might catch the eyes of a leopard with torchlight. Return to lodge and overnight in Satpura.

Overnight in Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, Satpura National Park

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Satpura National Park is rightly believed to be one of India’s best kept secrets.  Admire the rugged scenery of deep valleys, sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, waterfalls and Sal forest in this vast reservoir.  Satpura is the only park of its kind in Central India that offers walking safaris, giving you a ‘one-of-a-kind’ opportunity to explore tiger country on foot amidst over 1300 species of plants.  Notice teak trees, bamboo and grasses and medicinal plants as you journey.  Here, you are likely to spot a wide variety of animals due to this regions incredible biodiversity.  Be on the lookout for: leopards, sloth bears, Indian wild dogs, hordes of Indian gaur, sambhar plus other herbivores.  And perhaps you’ll even spot a tiger here, too. 

NOTE: Satpura National Park is closed on Wednesday afternoon. 


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Day 9 : Satpura National Park

Enjoy a jeep safari and another outdoor or cultural activity in Satpura, such as a boat safari, walking safari, village visit or elephant ride.  Satpura National Park is the only national park in India to offer such a wide variety of safari options (these activities are dependent on availability).  Rest of evening to relax. Dinner at lodge. Overnight in Satpura. 

Overnight in Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, Satpura National Park

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 10 : Satpura - Bhopal

Enjoy a morning safari in Satpura and return to the lodge for breakfast. Then drive to Bhopal in the afternoon. En-route you can take a short detour to the impressive Bhimbetka caves (a UNESCO site) renown for their ancient cave paintings. You will often see long-tailed langurs 'guarding' these caves. Rest of day at leisure. Overnight in Bhopal. 

Overnight in Jehan Numa Retreat, Bhopal

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Known as the 'City of Lakes', Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh state. Said to have been founded by King Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty some one thousand years ago, it is home to many institutions of national importance including the National Institute of Fashion Technology and the Indian Institute of Forest Management. It is also the site of a large number of places of interest, including Jama Masjid, the ancient fort of Raisen and the Mosque of Pearls which was built by Sikander Begum, who was an unconventional Muslim woman for her time.

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Day 11 : Bhopal - Mumbai - Gir National Park

Transfer to airport to catch flight to Mumbai, then onward connecting flight to Diu. Our representative will greet you at Diu airport for transfer to Gir National Park. Evening free with dinner at lodge. Overnight in Gir.

Overnight in Lion Safari Camp, Gir National Park

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

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Day 12 : Gir National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives in the forest of Gir, looking out for Asiatic lions and leopards. Dinner at the lodge. Overnight in Gir.

Overnight in Lion Safari Camp, Gir National Park

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Home to the rare Asiatic lion, Gir National Park is comprised of 1412 square kilometres of deciduous forest interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands and rocky hills.  Outside of Africa, Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place in the world where you can spot lions roaming free in the wild.  While there were approximately only 20 lions in the park during 1913, the 2015 census indicates there are now 523 of these magnificent creatures.  Gir Forest also provides homes to the chousingha – the world’s only 4-horned antelope, jackal, striped hyena and India fox.  The park, home to 200 species such as white-backed and long-billed vultures, has also been declared an important area by the Indian Bird Conservation Network.  Keep an eye out for more than 40 species of reptiles and amphibians near Kamleshwar, a large reservoir where you may spot a Marsh crocodile or snakes. 

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Day 13 : Gir National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives. Between the drives, visit Somnath to see the 'Shore Temple' (one of the 12 holy abodes of Shiva), Sun Temple, Ahilya Temple and other monuments. Evening and dinner at lodge. Overnight in Gir. 

Overnight in Lion Safari Camp, Gir National Park

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 14 : Departure

After breakfast, depart for Rajkot airport to catch flight to Mumbai (packed lunch will be provided). 

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Amarya Villa

Delhi (1 night)

The two 3-storey villas of Amarya Villa provide an idyllic home-away-from-home in the very heart of the bustling capital.  Large bay windows allow sun to spill in the guestrooms and suites, which have been decorated based on the theme of India’s nine auspicious gemstones. Spend free time in the atrium, on your private veranda or in the open-air terrace garden.  

Visit hotel's site
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Monsoon Forest

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (3 nights)

For guests wanting a real wildlife experience, Monsoon Forest offers beautifully crafted luxury tents set under the shade of glorious Mahua trees.  Each unit has air conditioning, but you can also let in fresh air via rope-drawn windows.  Step out on the veranda to convene with nature, ideal for birdwatchers, and enjoy the convenience of an en suite bathroom.

Visit hotel's site
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Tuli Tiger Resort

Kanha Tiger Reserve (3 nights)

Gracing the bank of Banjar River, Tuli Tiger Resort in Kanha represents the rich, vibrant heritage of rural India. The resort offers 26 ornate, air-conditioned cottages with twin beds, internal and external sitting areas and soothing interiors that ensure space and privacy. The surrounding is covered with big green buffer zone of 22 acres and home to several species of birds. Watch the wildlife through large windows of your private cottage, traditionally designed with a canopy roof.

Visit hotel's site
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Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Satpura National Park (2 nights)

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge is an exquisitely designed conservation and wildlife focused lodge located close to Satpura Tiger Reserve. It features 12 luxury cottages encompassing 3 distinct structural designs, a cosy central meeting place called the 'Gol Ghar' & a jungle pool located along its seasonal nullah. It's spread over 30 acres of striking forest cover typical of the Satpuras. 

Visit hotel's site
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Jehan Numa Retreat

Bhopal (1 night)

The Jehan Numa Retreat features stylish and comfortable rooms with private decks that overlook green fields.

Visit hotel's site
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Lion Safari Camp

Gir National Park (3 nights)

The Lion Safari Camp is a luxury jungle safari camp in Gir National Park – the last remaining bastion of the Asiatic Lion. It is located in a private mango orchard overlooking the Hiran river. The location presently has around 900 mango trees with only 2% of the entire land area being built on. The accommodation consists of twenty luxury tents, with large en-suite bathrooms. There is also an open-air river-facing restaurant.

Extensions

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Hill Stations & Mountains

Escape the city and unwind among some of the most breathtaking mountain and hill scapes the world has to offer.

City Extensions (1-4 days)

Visit the must-see sights and the hidden depths of India's most vibrant cities.

Beaches (1-7 days)

After exploring the busy cities, there's no better place to relax than one of India's paradisiacal beaches

Treks & Walks (1-12 days)

Himalayan treks, village walks and more

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir (5 days)

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

Kolkata & Darjeeling Snapshot (7 days)

Ideal extension to Bhutan

Wildlife of Madagascar, India & Borneo (29 days)

Spot lemurs, tigers & orangutans

Indian Odyssey (29 days)

Experience the best of North and South India

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Wildlife of India & Borneo (21 days)

Get under the skin of Asia's two best wildlife spots.

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Hill stations to the Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills via Shimla & Amritsar to Ladakh

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Essential India & Sri Lanka (16 days)

India's Golden Triangle & the best of Sri Lanka.

Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan (16 days)

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

Nagaland: Festival of the Headhunters (15 days)

Aoling Festival, wildlife in Assam & natural beauty of Manipur

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Rajasthan Explorer & Pushkar Camel Fair (15 days)

Fort cities, rural villages & camel fair

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Tribal Orissa & Chhattisgarh (14 days)

Distinct tribal cultures, unique temples & traditional textiles

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

Hampi and Beyond (14 days)

Discover Karnataka's stone temples, wildlife and coffee farms

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Sacred India (14 days)

Uncover the religious diversity of India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Heart of India (14 days)

Lucknow, Varanasi & the wonders of Madhya Pradesh

Kashmir, Ladakh & The Hemis Festival (14 days)

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Islamic & Buddhist cultures

Kerala - Trekking the Western Ghats (13 days)

Explore this UNESCO biodiversity hotspot on foot

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Treasures of Gujarat (12 days)

Villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Glimpse of India (11 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Goa

Classic Kerala (10 days)

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Reviews

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

I thought I missed the name of this tour when I was looking for wildlife trips, lions in India! Not only was I lucky to see a tigress and her cubs in Kanha, Satpura was also magical, particularly the walking safari. I saw a leopard dragging its kill away. Gir was so different, and yes, I can confirm lions do live in India! Thank you Travel The Unknown for a very different wildlife trip.

Danny , Tigers, Lions & Rhinos of India, India

This trip was very well put together and ticked all the boxes that we had requested. The accommodation throughout the tour was of a high standard and our experiences in the national parks was wonderful spotting many different animals including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, lions, jungle cat plus countless number of birds. Thank you Rahul for tailoring this trip to our requirements.

Nigel & Margaret Turner , Tailormade India Wildlife & Birding tour

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

Thank you for organising our holiday in Kerala. I certainly wouldn`t have had the time or the knowledge to put together such a trip. Munnar was my favourite and the accommodation throughout was excellent.

Vik , Kerala Calling, India

A really well planned trip. We experienced life in Northeast India in just the way we wanted to. We loved the game reserves and saw a rock python which thrilled our guides as it is even rarer than the tiger! We visited villages and were able to interact with local people and loved the busy markets in Delhi and Calcutta. A special highlight was the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland; shown to us by our very own Naga guide Kezo. Kezo accompanied us for 15 days of our trip and ensured that we had many very special experiences - even taking us to the home of one of his Aunts where we spent a couple of hours sitting by the bonfire chatting.

Ann Holgate , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

The tour was an amazing experience for our first visit to India. The country, its people and its cuisine were friendly,delightful, colourful and exceeded all our expectations. Travel the Unknown have put together a superb unique package that we have no hesitation in recommending to anyone with an interest in food and culture.

Elaine & Neil Smith , Delicacies of North India, India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

This was a very varied and interesting trip to a forgotten part of India. If you like off the beaten track travel it is definitely worth the effort but go with an open mind and keep a smile on your face.

Richard Williams , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

We went on the Spirit of South India Tour and had a great time on our honeymoon. There was a good variety of places visited and the hotels, drivers and guides were all very good. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Rachel , Spirit of South India, India

I`m sure I could not have found a better operator for the type of complicated Indian tour I wanted to undertake on a limited budget. India is an intimidating country to visit, and I suspect that some operators look down on the first time visitor, or disparage their requirements. Travel the Unknown, by contrast, helped me all the way, and their local guides were superb.

Andrew Martin , Tailormade North East India
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