Northern India provides some of the world’s most impressive wildlife and cultural spectacles. Corbett National Park is for so many reasons the flagship amongst India’s impressive panoply of national parks. Its importance is such that way back in 1936 it became India’s very first national park. In 1973 it was the scene of the launch of one of the great conservation movements – Project Tiger. Corbett’s beguiling mix of open grasslands, wide rocky rivers, Himalayan foothills and beautiful Sal forests is home to a tremendous biodiversity. Wild herds of Asian Elephants roam the grasslands by our hotel and Jungle Cats, Leopards and Tigers are all likely. The supporting cast includes Hog Deer, Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar, Terai Grey Langur and Smooth-coated Otter.
An amazing 460 species of bird have been recorded here. We’ll see the gorgeous Green Magpie, elegant Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl and the rapacious Collared Falconet, no bigger than a Chaffinch. By the unspoilt banks of the Ramganga River we can watch the Gharial, a prehistoric-looking fish-eating croc, whilst strident Himalayan Crested Kingfishers patrol the banks. Corbett also benefits from a large buffer zone itself full of wildlife. Here fabulous White-crested Laughing Thrushes will wake us with their maniacal laughter whilst Pallas’s Fish Eagles and Mountain Hawk Eagles patrol the skies above our hotel. Both Tawny and Brown Fish Owls roost in trees down by the Kosi River where beautiful White-crowned Water-Redstarts and Spotted Forktail live. Wintering Wallcreepers are not uncommon!
We’ll head 6000 feet up into the Himalayan foothills to Manila where we can enjoy a completely new set of birds and animals. Once a hill station beloved of Delhi’s inhabitants, Manila’s elegance has faded somewhat but the picturesque town still retains a charm not least from its magnificent position around six thousand feet up with a panorama of great Himalayan peaks (including 26,000 foot Nanda Devi). The birdwatching is excellent with Lammergeiers and Himalayan Griffon Vultures soaring over the convoluted landscape. Various laughingthrushes and accentors are on the agenda and in woodlands are some of the glorious jewels of these hills such as Golden Bush Robin, Fire-capped Tit, Orange-flanked Bush-Robin and the immaculate Red-billed Blue Magpie. In Manila’s parks, gardens, meadows and pine forests we can see Black-headed Jay and the stunning Great Barbet whilst brilliantly-coloured Slaty-headed Parakeets are abundant. The rare Cheer Pheasant is possible here and we’ll look for Nepal Wren Babbler,and Pink-browed Rosefinch, whilst down in the river we’ll encounter Ibisbill. Yellow-throated Martens cross our path from time to time and Muntjac are common. Leopard Cat is a possibility at night and we’ll certainly come across Himalayan Goral on rocky hillsides. Sattal is another hill station set and pine and oak clad hillsides above seven interconnected lakes where we’ll find Siberian Rubythroat, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Fire-tailed Sunbird, and the lovely Chestnut-tailed Minla amongst so many others.
We’ve two pre-tours on offer on this trip, both worthy of whole tours themselves!
The first is to Bharatpur renowned amongst birdwatchers and wildlife photographers worldwide. A fabulous array of herons, storks, cranes and wildfowl awaits us. Imperial and Spotted Eagles hunt over jheels inhabited by Purple Gallinules, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and improbably tall Sarus Cranes. Woodlands are home to Long-tailed Nightjars, Dusky Eagle Owls and Siberian Rubythroats and other attractions in this remarkable wetland include Porcupines, Jackals, magnificent Rock Pythons and the graceful Jungle Cat. Only a short distance from Bharatpur lies one of the most beautiful works of man, Shah Jahan’s love immortalised in marble, the incomparable Taj Mahal.
The second takes us to Rajastan’s beautiful Ranthambhor National Park which will keep us enthralled with its rich and abundant mammal fauna including that ultimate predator – the Tiger! A magnificent eleventh century fort overlooks forests, lakes and grasslands inhabited by Blackbuck, Blue Bull, Jungle Cat, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Sambar, Sloth Bear and a rich variety of birds.
Dates and Prices
28th February - 12th March 2024 (14 days)
Optional Tour Extensions
19th February - 24th February 2024 (6 days)
24th February - 28th February 2024 (5 days)
* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Birds, Mammals and superb Landscapes. The Taj Mahal.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 12. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.
All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals inIndia. All national park entrance fees. Services of the leaders. Please note: Drinks, tips, visas and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
Mammal and Bird checklists are available.
We’ll start and finish at the excellent Atrio Hotel close to the airport in Delhi. We start our stay in Corbett with two nights in the buffer zone and the wonderful Den Resort. The very comfortable rooms are in beautiful wildlife-filled grounds and the river is just below. In the heart of Corbett National Park we have three nights at the Forest Rest House in the Dhikala compound. This guesthouse is much improved and the comfortable rooms look out directly into the national park. Set almost 6000 feet up in the Uttarakhand hills we’ve 3 nights at the lovely Vatsyayana Resort close to Manila. The hotel is set amidst forests of White Oak and Chir Pine and has wonderful views and a fine restaurant. Next we’ve a three night stay in the bird-filled forests of Sattal at the Tag Resort Lavanya. We start the extensions with four nights at the lavish Ranthambhore Kothi. Very nice rooms surround a swimming pool with elephants (not real ones!). This resort has an excellent restaurant too. At Bharatur The Bagh offer visitors quiet luxury, exceptional food, and luxuriant orchards to wander in – ‘Bagh’ means ‘garden’. Rooms are tastefully furnished, and like all rooms on this tour, have en suite showers and WCs.
Very easy. No more than two or three miles in any one day, and always at a relaxed pace ideally suited to photographers.
UK direct return flights are from London Heathrow to Delhi. Indirect routes from regional UK Airports* and direct flights from various European Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Dry and sunny virtually every day with low humidity. Temperatures are very pleasant in the mornings and afternoons, warm to hot in the middle of the day, and cool during the night and early morning, especially at Ranthambhor. Manila and Sattal are much cooler with the possibility of quite cold weather.
Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back 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.