Wednesday 28th January - Sunday 15th February 2015
OUR FIFTH INDIA WILDLIFE SPECTACULAR WAS HAPPILY A SUCCESS as we enjoyed a procession of fascinating photographic encounters on our journey across the north of this special country. As usual we started our journey in the west in Gujarat, where in the dusty and dry deciduous teak forest of Sasan Gir, the last of the Asiatic Lions eventually put on a great show and we also met with India’s silent assassin, Leopard. The ancient grasslands of Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and their herds of Blackbuck antelopes and impressive Nilgai (or Blue Bull), as well as Grey Wolf, followed before we headed northwest to the Little Rann of Kutch and its delightful Wild Asses. The enigmatic Pallid Scops Owl, a winter wanderer from central Asia, was to be found again in the garden of our lodge at the Little Rann and a night drive here brought us face to face with the delightful Sykes’s Nightjar, another very sought after bird, before we drove further north into the colourful state of Rajasthan. We paused on our pilgrimage to the small town of Khichan and its unique gathering of Demoiselle Cranes, to admire the golden city of Jaisalmer. After a long drive from Jodhpur, east across the northern plains and past the marble city of Kishangarh, we finally arrived in the nation’s capital, Delhi from where we caught the Shatabdi Express to Agra, the site of the incomparable Taj Mahal. A little further south in Uttar Pradesh we visited the delightful National Chambal Sanctuary, the last unpolluted major river in all of northern India, where we enjoyed our most productive sessions of the whole tour with encounters with numerous Gharial and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, Great Thick-knees, Indian Skimmers, River Lapwings, pelicans and much more. The grand finale to our tour came in India’s famous Kipling Country, where we visited the tiger reserves of Bandhavgarh and Kanha. Several encounters with their main attraction, Bengal Tiger, lit up these scenically beautiful forests as well as numerous stunning close encounters with Gaur (or Indian Bison), whose numbers seem to be on the increase. India remains in my opinion the most incredible country on earth to travel in. There are so many different aspects of this tour that make it my favourite, from the varied wildlife to the wonderful scenery and architecture not to mention India’s colourful array of humanity and delicious spicy food!
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