The remote and haunting beautiful desertic landscapes of India’s ‘wild west’ will be the backdrop for our quest to see some of India’s more elusive mammals. The arid tracts of ancient Rajputana and Balabhi are of course home to Lions and Leopards but our primary focus will be somewhat smaller. In particular we’ll seek the smaller cats such as the Caracal, Jungle Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat and the little Desert Wild Cat. The latter is reasonably common and we might have day time sightings as well as night time. No doubt we’ll have to work harder for Rusty-spotted Cat and especially the Caracal but we’ll certainly try our best!
Indian Fox is a pretty little canid and we’ll also seek Indian Wolf, tolerably common in the dry grasslands of Velavadhar where we’ll also enjoy herds of splendid Blackbuck. Striped Hyenas are on the agenda and we’ll hope to see Porcupine and Golden Jackals. Honey Badger might be spotted and more certainly we’ll come across Common Palm Civet, Ruddy Mongoose and Indian Gray Mongoose. Hares are common and we’ll look for a variety of rodents including Indian Bush Rat, Bandicoot Rat, and various Gerbils and Jirds.
The salt steppes and arid plains of the Little Rann of Kutch are one of the best areas to see Indian Wolf, as well the highly endangered Asiatic Wild Ass which ekes sustenance from dry grasslands inhabited by Sandgrouse, Indian Coursers, MacQueen’s Bustards and both Indian Hedgehog and Desert Hedgehog.
Of course, we’ll not ignore the bigger cats too! Almost extinct at the turn of the 20th century, the Nawab of Junagadh protected the twenty remaining Asiatic Lions in what is now the Gir National Park in southern Gujurat. Numbers have since increased to over six hundred and Gir hosts a similar number of Leopards. Wild Boar are abundant and so too a range of other herbivores, notably the Chousingha, or Four-horned Antelope. Chinkara, Spotted Deer and Nilgai will all be seen too.
The tour starts with two lodges well known for their proximity to viable Leopard populations, the Bera Serai Lodge, and Siana, indeed it is even possible to see Leopard from your rooms at Bera Serai!
Phil Benstead, and local guides.
Easy for the most part, though on uneven rocky or sandy ground. Note that we do spend quite a bit of time driving the tracks at night (and daytime) and so we don’t expect to walk much. It is the timing of the excursions that you need to be aware of – we’ll be spending quite a part of the hours of darkness in the field and so sleep may be at less than usual times!
Included in the Price
All flights. Accommodation, transport and meals in India. Services of your leaders. Please note; items of a personal nature including travel insurance, visas, drinks and tips are not included.
Minimum group size is 3 and the maximum is 6.
Nestled in the hills of the Aravalli Range halfway between Udaipur and Jodhpur the Bera Sarai Lodge is in the midst of fine Leopard country. In the ten acre property there are five spacious and elegantly decorated cottages with private balconies. The location of the property is such that leopards are often seen on the Liloda hill from cottage windows. These cottages have been designed with big windows with plenty of natural light to enjoy the scene. After two nights here we move to the Sianna Garden rooms for a three night stay. Sianna’s pleasant rooms are set amid fine habitat with rocky hills around us and some very arid areas nearby. After two nights in the fine air-conditioned cottages of the Blackbuck Lodge in the Velavadar Grasslands we move to Rann Riders in Gujarat for a two night stay. Rann Riders is set amongst wetlands and agricultural fields close to Dasada village and close by some fabulous wildlife areas. The resort has imaginatively designed cottages each with twin-beds and air-conditioning, comfortable beds and tiled bathrooms. Next we’ve four nights at the Birder’s Lodge, its comfortably furnished rooms and cottages are spread through a private mango orchard right by the entrance to Gir National Park. The final night of the tour will be in Mumbai where we’ll stay at a four-star hotel close to the airport. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities and air-conditioning or a roof fan.
UK flights are from London Heathrow to Udaipur via Mumbai, returning from Rajkot, via Mumbai, to London Heathrow. Other indirect routes from regional UK and European Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Warm to sometimes hot and sunny. Daytime maxima are often in the mid-thirties °C in most areas on the tour. Nights are significantly cooler with minima around 20°C. Rain is unlikely!
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Mammal, bird and odonata(!) checklists are available.