Big Cats of India – Wildlife & Heritage Tour April 2019

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Aravali Leopard

 

Maximum Group Size: 10

Tour Length 20 days/19 nights

Starts in Mumbai on Sunday 31st March 2019

Finishes in Delhi on Friday 19th April 2019

Fully Escorted by Deb Kindness, who has been travelling and leading tours through the Indian Subcontinent since 1993.

Wildlife Naturalist: Mike Luck of Mike Luck Wildlife and Safari Now Consulting

Cost From USD5490 per person twin share (USD6430 including Optional Single Supplement)

 

 

“A magic trip in a fascinating country. Thanks Debbie for introducing us to India’s beauty, complexity and contradictions. Your comprehensive itinerary is enhanced by many special experiences eg the moonlit concert on the Ganges – never to be forgotten!”

Suzanne & Robyn, Australia

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Wildlife Group Tour

 

Overview  Highlights  Itinerary  Trip Notes  Downloads  Bookings  Gallery     

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Accommodation Transport Meals
19 nights 4 star or Heritage Hotels 2 day Train journeys 19 Breakfasts
1 Domestic Flight 7 Lunches
  Air Con Private Vehicle (Minibus) 8 Dinners
  Jeeps for wildlife safaris  

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Welcome to our Big Cats of India Tour. Although famous for the endangered Bengal Tiger, India is also home to Leopard and is the last remaining home of the rare Asiatic Lion. On this unique tour, we provide you with exceptional opportunities to spot all three of these beautiful cats over 14 wildlife safaris across two states of North India.

Our focus is on the cats and wildlife of India visiting National parks and wildlife rich regions, however on this trip we also introduce you so some remarkable British, Portuguese, Rajput & Moghul heritage as well with time in cities and towns along the way. This is an incredible and truly original tour of India, one you do not want to miss. From Mumbai, we head north to the western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Land of Kings, before we visit the wondrous Taj Mahal and Agra’s Moghul monuments and the fascinating capital Delhi.

Experience Incredible India’s Wildlife on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western tour leader, a South African Naturalist  and with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing.

 

Highlights
• live it up in glitzy and glamorous Mumbai
• explore the traditional Portuguese heritage of Diu
• search for the last remaining Asiatic Lions in Gir
• explore the rich heritage of the old town of Ahmedabad
• wander the charming streets of Udaipur
• uncover the leopards of rural Rajasthan
• be left breathless by the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
• be amazed at the Rajput heritage of Jaipur
• be enthralled by the Tigers of Rajasthan
• discover there’s more to Agra than the Taj Mahal
• discover the many layers of the eight cities of Delhi

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Mumbai
Arrival Day. No group activities today. In the evening there will be a welcome meeting before dinner.

Hotel: The Fariyas

 

Day 2 Mumbai
A day of sightseeing in Mumbai: The Taj Mahal Hotel, Dhobighats, VT Station, markets and Chowpatty beach.

Hotel: The Fariyas

 

Day 3 Diu
We fly to Diu and spend the afternoon exploring the surreal Portuguese architecture, fort and laidback town.

Hotel: Radhika Beach Resort or similar

 

Days 4-5 Sasan Gir
Sasan Gir is the only place left in the world to see the Asiatic Lion. With four safari’s here, we are likely to have some good sightings of this beautiful animal, who’s numbers have doubled in recent years.

Hotel: The Fern or similar

 

Day 6 Ahmedabad
We have another morning safari before taking an afternoon drive to fascinating Ahmedabad.

Hotel: House of MG or similar

 

Days 7-8 Udaipur
After a morning in Ahmedabad where we undertake the unique Heritage Walk in the old city, currently under consideration to become a World Heritage city by UNESCO, we drive 4 hours to Udaipur. On day 8 we have a full day to explore this jewel of a town, the Lake City, named the No. 1 tourist destination in the world in recent years.

Hotel: Udai Kothi or similar

 

Days 9-10 Pali
After our relaxing stay in Udaipur, we head north west into rural Rajasthan. You will have the opportunity to take four safaris in the Aravali Hills where leopards are commonly spotted. Although the most elusive of the big cats, leopards are often seen in this district and chances are very good for some quality sightings.

Hotel: Leopards Lair Resort or similar

 

Day 11 Jodhpur
Heading on into the heart of the Thar Desert, we explore the remarkable Mehrangarh Fort and Blue City of Jodhpur.

Hotel: Haveli Inn Pal or similar

 

Days 12-13 Jaipur
We travel eastwards to Jaipur, the colourful Pink City, and capital of Rajasthan, you will have the opportunity to see the stunning heritage of the Maharajahs of Amer and the beautiful planned city of Jaipur.

Hotel: Diggi Palace or similar

 

Days 14-16 Ranthambore
More than the other big cats, the Tiger is the symbol of India and Ranthambore National Park is arguably the best reserve to see Tigers. Six safaris here will provide plenty of chances for tiger sightings.

Hotel: Ranthambore Regency or similar

 

Day 17 Agra
After a morning safari, our last chance for tiger sightings, we take an afternoon train to Bharatpur, visiting the Keoladeo National Park bird sanctuary before transferring the 60km to Agra, which we reach by early evening.

Hotel: The Retreat or similar

 

Day 18 Agra/ Delhi
No trip to North India is complete without visiting the truly wondrous Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders and arguably the most beautiful building ever built by man. After a dawn visit to the Taj, we visit the stunning Agra Fort, built over a one hundred years by four successive Moghul Emperors. Later in the day, we drive to Delhi.

Hotel: The Hans

 

Day 19 Delhi
We have a full day sightseeing of the fascinating city of Delhi.

Hotel: The Hans

 

Day 20 Departure Day
There are no organised activities today. You may leave at any time.

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Register your place by paying your $500 deposit now
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Downloads
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 Download Big Cats of India Tour Registration Form

Download Itinerary

 Download Trip Notes

 

Read the full tour dossier here on Issuu

 

 

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Trip Notes  

 

Group Size
Minimum 4, Maximum 10

Days
20 days / 19 nights

Starts in
Mumbai

Finishes in
Delhi

Tour inclusions
Arrival and departure transfers
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
All accommodation as specified

All Safari park entrance and guide fees
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tips & Gratuities
Meals as specified

Tour exclusions
Visa costs
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
International flights

Accommodation
Hotels (19 nights)
This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From guesthouses to heritage hotels, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets. Although most rooms will be air-conditioned, some may be fan-cooled. 

Optional single supplement
If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travelers. However if you do not wish to share accommodation, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USD940 will be payable. Note that a single room may not be available on the houseboat and will not be available on the overnight train.

Transport
Flight, Day Train, Private Air Conditioned Mini Bus, Boat ride on Lake Pichola, Auto rickshaw, and Cycle rickshaw for city sightseeing.
Train travel in India is essential considering it is such an efficient and extensive network, and is also such a part of India’s culture and heritage.  Train journeys by day give us an opportunity to experience Indian life by rubbing shoulders with the locals. Travelling locally is always exciting and fascinating – you never know who you will meet.
We will be taking a domestic flight and private vehicles for our other journeys.

Activities included
The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Gateway of India, Dhobi Ghats, Crawford Market, Chowpatty Beach (Mumbai)
Walking tour of Diu Fort and old town (Diu)
4 jeep safaris (Sasan Gir)
City Palace, Lake cruise, Old market walk (Udaipur)
4 jeep safaris (Pali district)
Mehrangarh Fort, Old Town walk (Jodhpur)
Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar, Galta, Market Walk (Jaipur)
6 jeep safaris (Ranthambore)
Visit to Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur)
Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Baby Taj (Agra)
Old Delhi visit, Humayans Tomb, Rajpath, Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, (Delhi)

Meals included
19 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
Meals
Traveling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in India. Generally, meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group. Your leader will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.

Money Matters
Money exchange As at October 2017
AUD1 = 49 INR
CAD1 = 50 INR
EUR1 = 76 INR
GBP1 = 85 INR
NZD1 = 44 INR
USD1 = 64 INR

There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout India. This is a safe and convenient way to access money in India, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (suggested $300) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.

Spending money

Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit. Many sites levy camera fees.

Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities.

It is recommended you allow enough money for the following:

Meals – USD350 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities – USD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.

Tipping
Tipping is an integral part of Indian life and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport we use. We do NOT cover restaurant tips. You will need to allow approximately 10-15% on top of your restaurant bill.

Physical rating 2/5
You may need to carry your bag/pack up and down railway station and hotel stairs. There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the warm to hot weather in India at this time of year will make general sightseeing a little more strenuous.

Culture shock rating 3/5
Conditions in India are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure.

Travel insurance
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours.

Visas
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Tourist visa. The Indian Government is in the process of extending this e-Tourist facility to more countries so check this website to find out the latest eligibility details.

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

For the e-Tourist visa, you need to apply within 120 days of travel 60 days validity. The visa is issued online and takes up to 3 days.

Regular tourist visas (issued by the Indian Embassy or Consulate) for those nationalities who do not yet have availability of the e-Tourist facility, or for those who require a visa longer than 60 days, are usually issued for 6 or 12 months and are either Single, Double or Multiple Entry. As the validity begins from date of issue, be sure you do not apply for your visa too early. For information, or assistance with obtaining a visa, check out the following websites.

Australia http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/visa_services/index.html
New Zealand https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration

USA https://www.in.ckgs.us/visa/
UK https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration
Canada http://www.blsindia-canada.com/touristvisa.php

Health
We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements .

The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.

Australia https://www.travelvax.com.au/
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
USA https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

UK http://www.travelhealth.co.uk/
Canada https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines

Communications / Keeping in touch
Most of our hotels have Wifi, as do many restaurants and cafes. You can also purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) and data sticks (for mobile internet on your laptop) easily and inexpensively in India. Recommended are Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance. You will need extra passport photos for this as well as photocopies of your photo and visa page from your passport.

Your tour manager
Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. They will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of India, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom. At some sites, local guides may be hired where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.

Your wildlife naturalist
Mike Luck of Mike Luck Wildlife, a South African born naturalist who now calls India home will be your Big Cat guide on this trip. Mike is an avid naturalist with a passion for big cats, his greatest love being the leopard. Along with Incredible Indian Tours, Mike has set up a trust to minimize the animal-human conflict arising from the encroaching of man upon the leopards traditional http://www.mikeluckwildlife.com

Responsible travel
We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do’s and don’ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.

Joining hotel & arrival instructions
Fariyas Hotel
25, Off Arthur Bunder Road,
Colaba, Mumbai 400025
Ph: +91 22 6141 6141

Transfer/joining instructions
Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.

Arriving early
Situated in South Mumbai, our joining hotel is just minutes away from the city’s bustling center. Close to the financial and business district, Colaba is the tourist, shopping and entertainment centre of Mumbai. The Hotel is just minutes away from historical sites like the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel, as well as the Jehangir Art Gallery and Prince of Wales Museum.

Early arrival information
If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Mumbai is available at US$170 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as hotels in Mumbai tend to be heavily booked up well in advance.

Finishing hotel
The Hans
15 Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place
ew Delhi 110001
Ph: +91 11 6615 0000

Staying on
If you are staying on in Delhi after the tour, extra accommodation at Hans is available at USD130 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Again, if you will require extra accommodation in Delhi, please advise us as early as possible as rooms tend to get booked out quickly at peak season times.

What to take
We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible. The smaller your bag in India the better, as the various modes of transport we use tend to have limited storage space. In addition, you will find that your bag probably needs space to expand for all that shopping!

India is very conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool. Singlets, tank tops and shorts are not suitable attire for India.

Note that some Indian domestic airlines have recently reduced their check-in baggage allowance to 15kg. If you have heavier luggage, you may need to pay the excess at the airport for your internal flights. Excess luggage charges are around Rs300 (USD 5) per kilo.

Laundry
Inexpensive laundry facilities are offered by most hotels we use and are generally available wherever we have a two night stop.

Weather
The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm to hot, in the range 25-35oc. Night time temperatures will be comfortable. Rain is not very likely at this time of year, but sun is, so sunblock and a hat are essentials.

Checklist
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don’t forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
Day pack
Health vaccinations/medication
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash and travellers cheques (for emergencies)
Money pouch
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your bag or suitcase
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes. A lock and chain are useful for securing your luggage on overnight train journeys.

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If you have any questions or would like more information please contact us:

 

Mike Luck

Phone: +91 95490 22876

Web: www.mikeluckwildlife.com

 

 

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