Deep in the wilderness of the Gujarat and Rajputana of Western India, discover the last refuge of the Asiatic Lion on this two-week tour that is ideal for the wildlife enthusiast. While concentrating primarily on searching for Gujarat’s pride, the Asiatic Lion, we will also look for the Wild Asses at Little Rann of Kutchh and Indian Leopards in the Siana /Jawai region of the Rajasthan, not to mention spotting many other animals along the way. What a thrill it will be to have a close encounter with these rare prides of lions or watch galloping herds of Asiatic Wild Asses. One of the highlights of the trip will certainly be spending time with colourful flocks of Greater Flamingos and Demoiselle Cranes near Kheechan. Plus, to round out your experience in India, you’ll also discover the exciting vitality of Mumbai, see some of the holy sites at Mt. Abu and marvel at the historic splendours of Jodhpur.
Arriving at Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, you are greeted by our staff who will transfer you to your hotel. Situated on India’s west coast of the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is not only the capital of the state of Maharashtra, it is also the commercial and entertainment capital of India. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Accommodation: At your selected hotel – 2 nights
This morning we will take a ferry boat to visit Elephanta Caves, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and contains exceptional Hindu and Buddhist rock cut-stone sculptures.
This afternoon, our tour of Mumbai city includes visits to the Gateway of India, the Victoria Terminus, the Dhobi Ghat (an open air ”Laundromat”) and Crawford market.
After leisurely breakfast, transfer to airport for flight to Diu, where upon arrival in Diu you will be transferred to Gir National Park (90 km/2 hrs).
Gujarat’s Gir National Park is the last abode of endangered Asiatic Lions. Though lions predominate the park, it is also home to many other animals including a healthy population of leopards and other animals such as Four-horned Antelope, Indian gazelle (Chinkara), Spotted Deer, Blue Bull, Wild Boar, Wolf, Hyena, Jackal, Jungle Cat and many reptiles that support the fragile ecosystem of the park. There are also over 400 species of birds. Upon arrival at Gir, check into the hotel.
Overnight at your selected hotel – 3 nights
Enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris in search of king of the jungle, the lions. While spotting a lion or a pride will be our focus during the safaris, experience the park in its totality with its diverse range of flora and fauna. Also during the day, you have an option to visit nearby Maldhari villages and Siddhis.
This morning, we set off to Velavadar National Park (225 km/4-5 hrs) with several stops en route to maximize our bird check-list count.
One of the smallest national parks of India, Velavadar is famous for Blackbuck and as the largest roosting place of Marsh Harriers. The park also offers great chance to see the Indian-grey Wolf and Striped Hyenas, Indian Fox, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cats and many other mammals besides birds of prey such as falcons and eagles.
Overnight at The Blackbuck Lodge – 2 nights
After breakfast today, we leave for Dasada (190 km/4-5 hrs) located on the Western edge of Little Rann of Kutchh and en route we visit Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary to see thousands of Lesser & Greater Flamingos besides other birds.
Spread in an area over 4953 sq km, the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) is the only home to Indian Wild Ass (Khur). Its barren desert with salt marshes provide perfect habitat for other wild animals such as Blue Bull (Nilgai), Indian Wolf, Striped Hyena, White-footed Desert Fox, Golden Jackal and Jungle and Fishing Cats, Hares, Hedgehog. This sanctuary is a birder’s delight with many rare species of birds making it their winter home. Great Indian Bustard, Macqueen Bustard, Cranes, Larks, Coursers, Warblers, Pelicans, Flamingos, Wheatear, Bush Chats, Sand Grouse are some of the birds to watch out for. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Overnight at Rann Riders – 2 nights
Our drive today takes us to Mt Abu (220 km/6-7 hrs) visiting famous Sun temple at Modhera and Rani ki Vav (Stepwell) and Patola Saree, the famous and very beautiful saris of Patan.
Upon arrival in Mt. Abu, check into your hotel.
Mt. Abu, the only hill station in the Rajasthan, is surrounded by thick forest, making it the perfect home for Leopards and Sloth Bears as well as many other small animals and birds. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Overnight at your selected hotel.
This morning we will visit some of the interesting places of Mt. Abu including the Dilwara Jain Temple, known as one of the best and most intricately carved Jain temples of India. There will also be a quick visit to Nakki Lake, Toad Rock and Gaumukh before starting off to your next destination either Siana or Jawai (approx 135 km/2½ hrs), depending on your choice of accommodation.
Upon arrival check into your camp or hotel
Both Siana and Jawai lie in same kind of terrain, each offering some of the best opportunities to see leopards around the rocky hillocks of the area. Both the places offer almost identical activities but difference is mainly in the style of lodging. The remainder of the day is at leisure for exploring the nearby areas on your own.
Overnight at your selected destination / hotel – 2 nights
Enjoy early morning jeep safari in search of leopards, and occasionally sighting Sloth Bears and other small animals like Desert Fox, and some birds.
In the afternoon enjoy another jeep safari to maximize your chance of a leopard sighting.
At night you can take an optional night safari to look for more of leopards as well as other nocturnal animals.
Following breakfast this morning we drive off to Phalodi (approx 300 km/6 hrs), and upon arrival, check into the hotel.
Phalodi is hub for exploring a small but well-known place among bird lovers called Kheechan. Every year between November and March, hundreds of thousands of Demoiselle Cranes arrive here and make it one of the largest concentrations of these gorgeous birds on the earth.
This afternoon we visit Kheechan to see these beautiful birds.
Overnight at Lal Niwas Palace
This morning we will have yet another visit of Kheechan to take some good pictures in the morning light.
Later in the day, we drive to Jodhpur (125 km/2½ hrs). Arriving in Jodhpur, often called the Blue City, enjoy a free afternoon with time for independent activities or a stroll through the local market.
Overnight at your selected hotel
After a morning visit to the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort that towers over Jodhpur and Jaswant Thada, a stunning white marble memorial honouring a former Maharaja of the State of Jodhpur, we are transferred from hotel to airport for a short flight to Delhi for onward flight back home.
This tour can be further fine tuned with an additional night at Jodhpur or Mihirgarh, an oasis in the middle of the desert and for those wanting to visit more little known national parks, we can combine this tour with Desert National Park near Jaisalmer, famous for Great Indian Bustard.
Explore your TRAVEL DESTINATION like never before.