Photographing a wild red panda until a few years back was a distant dream. Nature Wanderers pioneered red panda photo expeditions in the India-Nepal border and the first consecutive successful red panda expeditions were done under our supervision with photographers from across the world joining these programs. Do you wish to photograph the elusive Firefox of the Himalayas? Just check out the information below and write to us!
Singalila National park is one of the most exotic Himalayan forests located in the Darjeeling District in the West Bengal, Sikkim and the Nepal tri-junction. It is a mystical forest located on the Singalila range and at an altitude ranging between 7,000 ft to 12,000 ft above sea level. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it and also famously known for its ageless vintage Land Rovers.
Singalila is one of the best places in India to see red panda in the wild. Apart from this iconic specie, Singalila is home to a diverse array of mammals including Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, leopard cat, serow, barking deer, yellow throated marten, wild boar, pangolin and pika, among others.
Singalila is a birding paradise as well, with more than 300 species of birds found here. It has a huge list of exotic birds with many rare species. The park is also well known for its stunning and rugged Eastern Himalayan landscape and on clear days both Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga can be seen.
The red panda is also known as the ‘Firefox’. It is a mammal native to Eastern Himalayas and Southwest China. It has reddish brown fur, a long shaggy tail and a waddling gait due to shorter length of front legs. Measuring not more than 2 feet in length and weighing not more than 10 Kg, the red panda is truly adorable and an extremely photogenic animal. It is arboreal, feeding mainly on bamboo, but also eats eggs, birds & insects. It is a solitary animal mainly active during dusk and dawn and is largely sedentary during the day.
The red panda has been classified as endangered by the IUCN because its wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals and it continues to decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and inbreeding. Singalila is one of its last strongholds and it is also the best place in India to see this elusive and rare mammals.
Not sure if you can trek? Don’t worry; there will be safari cars that you can hop onto any time you want. The safari cars used here are the historic Land Rovers and the only place in the country where they are operated as safari vehicles.
The accommodation would be in pristine locations amidst magical sunrise and sunsets. The location being remote, accommodation and facilities will be basic, clean and hygienic.
To summarize, there are many options and activities that are possible during your 5 nights visit to Singalila. Since this a species-specific plan, the focus will be to maximize the chances of seeing the red panda, and to that effect we will keep the plan flexible and based on the discretion of the tour leader and the consensus of the group.
Upon arrival at Bagdogra airport by early morning flight you will be met at the airport by your driver and traveling naturalist. The group will immediately leave for Manebhanjen, which is the entry point for Singalila National Park. At Manebhanjen, guests will be transferred to the vintage land rover and move towards Chawang Lodge, Kalapokhri, your home for 6 nights. Lunch will be served en-route to Kalapokhri. Guests will reach their destination in the afternoon. Evening will be at leisure, with some orientation about the activities planned for the next few days. Dinner and overnight at Chawang Lodge.
Note: Tourists are allowed entry into Singalila no later than 2:00 PM. Guests must ensure that their flight into Bagdogra is the first flight in, reaching Bagdogra no later than 9:00 AM. If such a flight is not available, then we would recommend reaching Bagdogra a day before and spending the night at Siliguri. This can be arranged at an extra cost.
Guests will wake up and have breakfast at the lodge. Our team of expert trackers would have gone out searching for red panda early in the morning itself. As the trackers find the animal, guests will be taken to the spot. You can opt to walk to the sighting spot or choose to go by land rover, if the sighting is close to a motor-able road. Along with our expert naturalists, guests can also participate in tracking using established trails. Singalila is home to several species of birds and guests can also engage themselves with bird watching. Lunch will be served on the field or at the lodge, depending on the wildlife movement. Dinner and overnight at Chawang Lodge.
Each day the trackers will go out searching for red panda both on the Nepal and India side and the group leader will identify suitable trails for other species. For those guests who have difficulty walking, the land rovers will be there for support and drive you to various sightings spots.
Apart from wildlife, Singalila National Park is also quite popular for the scenic vistas that one can see. At the discretion of the tour leader and the sighting situation, the guest can visit Tumling to see the mighty peaks of the Himalayas and to explore the areas around. The famous Sandakphu is just 6 KM from Kalalpokhri is the highest point in West Bengal and famously a spot where you can see both the Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga. Depending on the sightings, guests can opt to trek up or use the land rovers to explore. Dobate, in Nepal, is also a beautiful village situated at a lower altitude to Kalapokhri and a day visit with picnic lunch can be arranged. The forest around Dobate is also a hotspot for red panda. There are also some interesting villages to be seen close to your lodge.
On your last day, you will be leaving for Bagdogra post breakfast and will be dropped wither at the airport or your hotel, as per your preference.
A team of highly committed professionals who live their lives out there on the field, the NW team has the hands on knowledge from a wildlife and photography perspective to make the most of your wildlife trip. As an amateur photographer, you come back with a better understanding on camera handling and on-field shooting tips as our team constantly keeps an eye on your shooting techniques and gives you the necessary onfield guidance to mature to the next level. Even if you have been shooting in the field regularly, the group interactions around photography and wildlife are an enriching experience.
Equipments can't restrict you from participating in our photo tour. You can touch base with the NW team for possible equipment rental options and we would try to equip you adequately based on the nature of the program you are enrolling for.
NW programs are backed by strong field analysis and locations surveys. Our team spends maximum time in the wilderness and is up-to-date with sighting reports because which we are able to plan out the photo tour effectively. In addition to this, you can bug our experienced photography escorts and trainers with your photography queries - be it field tips, basic or advanced photography queries, post processing of images etc.
In case of established national parks, NW ensures the best of facilities in the form of comfortable rooms and the best in class safari experience. However whenever infrastructure is an issue, we try to give the best of what is avaialble. Photography is our key focus and we do not compromise on that part. Our endeavor has always been to give our participants the maximum productive field time.
Cancellation for an event will be considered via a written mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The date of the mail would be considered for calculation of the cancellation fee. Refund policy:
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