Forests of India are a wildlife photographer’s delight due to the sheer abundance of varying habitats and landscapes. From dry, rocky and sparse vegetation, to thick tropical forests, to swamplands and grasslands- Indian jungles offer you a wide variety of flora and fauna giving you the scope to photograph wildlife in its full natural glory. The Royal Bengal Tiger may be the most sought after wild animal to be photographed in these jungles, but India is also well known for its Leopards, Asiatic Elephants, Asiatic Water Buffalo and the Great One Horned Rhinoceros. The Big Five tour of India focuses on habitats which will give you the chance to create images of these five majestic animals in pristine locations. This tour involves 3 National Parks- Two in the Northwest of the country and one in the beautiful North East. Traveling to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, you will get the opportunity to photograph tigers in one of the most diverse forests, while Bera will provide you with ample images of Leopards against beautiful rocky backgrounds and ruins. On the other extreme, Kaziranga National Park with its majestic and lush grasslands and swamps will be the backdrop for your Asiatic Elephant, Asiatic Water Buffalo and the Great One Horned Rhinoceros images.
Tour Itinerary - Ranthambhore + Bera + Kaziranga
DAY 1 (Travel): Arrival at Delhi/ Mumbai airport and departure for Ranthambhore by road/ train. You reach your hotel by evening and rest for the night post checking in and dinner.
DAY 2: You can choose to either do regular safaris or do a full day safari. Regular safaris have fixed timings in the mornings and afternoons, while a full day safari lets you be in the forest for the whole day with the option of driving from one zone to the other and also leaving the park and coming back in. On the contrary, regular safaris are assigned fixed zones.
If you choose the regular safari, once you are out of the park after your morning drive, you come back to the hotel, freshen up, have breakfast and rest. Post lunch, you gear up for the afternoon safari.
If you are on a full day safari, there will be packed breakfast and lunch provided which you can enjoy inside the forest itself.
After exiting the park in the evening, you come back to the hotel and relax for the rest of the evening and night.
DAY 3 - DAY 4: The 3rd and 4th days of your tour follows the routine of the first day. Depending on your preference, you go out for either regular or full day safaris.
DAY 5 (Travel): You leave for Bera early morning by road/ train and arrive in time for dinner at your hotel in the new location.
DAY 6 - DAY 8: As the best times to spot leopards are early mornings and early evenings in these landscapes, you will be leaving just before sunrise for your first safari in the morning. After returning back to the hotel you have breakfast and then you can either rest in the hotel or explore the surrounding village area. The afternoon safari starts a little late and lasts till sunset. Upon your return, you will be spending the evening relaxing and resting in your hotel.
DAY 9 (Travel): Your day begins early as you travel back to Delhi and spend the night here.
DAY 10 (Travel): Departure for Guwahati in an early morning flight and then transiting to Kaziranga by road. (250 kms, 5 hrs). Upon reaching your hotel in Kaziranga, you rest for the night post checking in.
DAY 11 - DAY 14: Kaziranga offers both Jeep and Elephant safaris depending on your preference. Since the forest has tall elephant grass in large parts, it is advisable to be on the elephant for some of the safaris.
After a steaming cup of coffee or tea, you leave for your morning safari. Once you are back at the hotel and post breakfast, you get to rest till your afternoon safari. Post lunch you will leave for the forest again till evening. Upon your return, evenings will be spent in the hotel.
DAY 15 (Travel): Leave early morning by road to Guwahati. From Guwahati, you get on to a flight for Delhi. Your tour ends once you arrive at the Delhi airport.
Nearest Railway Station: Sawai Madhopur (11 kms/ 10 minutes by car)
Nearest Airport: Jaipur (152 kms/ 3hrs 40 mins by car)
Option 1: Overnight Train directly from Mumbai to Sawai Madhopur (transport from the station to the hotel will be provided)
Option 2: Direct flight from Mumbai to Jaipur. By road from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur
Option 1: There are many trains available with various travel times directly from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur (transport from the station to the hotel will be provided)
Option 2: Direct flight from Delhi to Jaipur. By road from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur
Option 3: Delhi to Sawai Madhopur by road (381 kms/ 7 hrs 40 mins)
The forests of Ranthambhore National Park in north India provide ample opportunities to shoot tigers in a variety of landscapes. The reserve is situated with the backdrop of the Ranthambhore Fortress and is the rare location where you can photograph wild tigers sitting inside ancient ruins or with the fort as a background. The forest is divided into various zones and the tigers in the tourist zones are vehicle friendly and one can get the opportunity to spend a whole day with just one tiger family. The park offers full day safaris, which means that once the regular tourist gyspys leave the park, you can spend the remainder of the time tracking tigers and photographing them at your leisure.
Safari Timings in Ranthambhore
- 1st April – 30th June- 6 am to 9:30 am (should this be in hrs?)
- 1st October – 31st January- 7 am to 10:30 am
- 1st February – 31st March- 6:30 am to 10 am.
- 1st April – 15th May- 3 pm - 6:30 pm
- 15th May – 30th June- 3:30 pm – 7 pm.
- 1st October – 31st October- 2:30 pm – 6 pm
- 1st November – 31st January- 2 pm – 5:30 pm
- 1st February – 31st March- 2:30 pm – 6 pm
By Train: Jawai Band is the nearest train station (28 kms)
By road: 517 kms (10 hrs)
Gaining recent popularity, Bera is a small hamlet in the heart of Rajasthan as a classic destination for leopard sightings. With its classic landscape of the Aravalli Hills speckled with cacti and scrub vegetation, these hillocks have become a great habitat for leopards to thrive and photograph in. While visiting Bera, you will hear wonderful stories of harmony between the villagers and the leopards of the area.
Safari Timing in Bera
Morning: 5:30 am onwards
Afternoon: 4:30 pm onwards
From Bera to Delhi by road/ train, overnight in Delhi, fly to Guwahati from Delhi and reach by road.
Home to the famous One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga is a stunning landscape on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river. Dotted with swampy lagoons, elephant grass meadows and thick forest cover, Kaziranga is also known for its Asiatic Elephant population as well as the Asiatic Water Buffalo. Located in a hotspot of biodiversity at the edge of the Eastern Himalayas, the largest population of the One Horned Rhinoceros in the world can be found here. The Asiatic Elephants roam around in the meadows and if you are lucky, you can get a tiger in the frame as well. The robust Water Buffalos with their huge horns are found in and around the marshy lagoons and water bodies which are plenty in these forests. The park has also been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is divided into four major ranges. Kaziranga offers both jeep and elephant safaris.
Safari Timing in Kaziranga
Morning: 7 am - 10 am
Afternoon: 1:30 pm - 3 pm
Morning: 5:30 am – 7:30 am (one hour shift each)
Afternoon: 3pm – 4 pm