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  • Reviewed May 2019
    Ann Dowson

    We saw tigers!

    We travelled to India solely to see tigers in their natural habitat and we were not disappointed. We saw tigers in each of the three national parks we visited as well as many other animals, most notably three sightings of a leopard. The accommodation used on the trip was, we felt, of a good standard. We appreciated the pool at each of the hotels and went to the pool every day after the morning game drive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Kanha National Park our jeep drew up to a crossroads to see a tiger walking along the road on the right. The driver turned the jeep so we were facing this big, male tiger. The tiger continued to walk along the road towards us and the driver reversed the jeep a short way, the tiger continued his walk towards us and we reversed again. This went on for 1km! We saw the tiger scent mark and casually stroll along. This was just an incredible encounter with only our jeep present. It was beyond our greatest expectation and when we saw how excited the driver and guide were after this experience we knew just how special it had been.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very well organised and efficient. He was always approachable and we were happy with the manner in which he organised the group briefings. He was friendly and easy to get along with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Even when travelling in April I still required a thin fleece for the early morning game drives. You do not need to pack a lot as clothes dry so quickly in the heat. Remember to take a small bag for your camera, tissues etc on the game drives.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We should have been informed before the start of the trip that the arrangements in Nagpur were changed. We did not receive the notification and it was only by luck that we returned to the hotel for the rescheduled transfer to Pench. In Agra we would have preferred more time at the Taj Mahal. The trip prior to this to the marble shop did not interest us. Although the hotels in the National Park were of a good standard the hotel we stayed in on the last night in Delhi fell short. Initially we had planned to stay on in that hotel as our return flight was not until the following morning. We were so glad they could not accommodate us and we found a much better hotel at a very reasonable price near to the airport. We think that Exodus should use a higher standard hotel for the last night.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    D Gray

    Fabulous Experience

    The overall trip experience was superb and the opportunity to see the tigers at three different National Parks was incredible. The inclusion of a visit to Agra (and its attractions) was a great way to finish a wildlife holiday. The overall itinerary was well thought out, the accommodation and transport were good, all local staff were always friendly, helpful and efficient. Himanshu’s knowledge, manner and professional leadership were particularly outstanding.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments: seeing the tigers at close range; seeing so many tigers (our group saw 25 different tigers, at 28 sightings); visiting the Taj Mahal and the opportunity to experience a little of the Indian culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Himanshu is an outstanding tour leader. He is friendly, professional, efficient, calm, caring and really went “the extra mile” to meet the individual needs of everyone in our group. All of this he successfully did in a calm, professional and positive manner, nothing was too much trouble. His extensive knowledge of the tigers (their names, family history, behaviours etc.) was exceptional. His genuine enthusiasm and passion for the tigers and their preservation, inspired us and added greatly to the whole wildlife experience. Himanshu’s additional understanding of what makes for good wildlife photography was a real bonus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good things come to those who wait and to those who get up early! Collectively our group had 28 tiger sightings, the tigers when we encountered them were a sight to behold. Sometimes we had no tiger sightings for a few days, other times a few well camouflaged stripes sleeping in the grass, then we were treated to fabulous displays of a tigers walking on the road past the jeeps, going to the water hole, drinking and taking a bath … awesome!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Usually we had 2 game drives a day, a 5 hr safari in the morning (departing at 5am) and a 3 hr safari before sunset (departing around 3.30pm). In the mornings we were served tea/coffee before departure, then searched for tigers until around 9am. Tiger depending, the jeeps then went to a fenced-in area, for breakfast and a bathroom-stop. Breakfast was a ‘packed-lunch format’ served on a table cloth on the bonnet of the jeep. It was a mixture of western and Indian foods, great. The game drive then continued, after which we returned to the Safari Lodge. We were greeted by hotel staff with face cloths and a cool drink. Afternoons were then free to sit by the pool, sleep, purchase lunch or do whatever folk chose. After the evening safari dinner was usually served between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. The food at all of the Safari Lodges was varied and delicious. We used a number of different modes of transport. We travelled by taxis between the three National Parks, the taxis were comfortable and air-conditioned. The jeeps at the parks were great, bring a scarf or neck gaiter for the dust. The Sleeper Train was fun – just don’t expect to get much sleep! The standard of cleanliness and comfort on the train was better than we had expected, one night was perfect. The minibus was comfortable and air conditioned. All drivers were friendly and welcoming. Our local guides in Agra and Delhi were knowledgeable with good English. All in all this India Tiger Safari trip was an excellent experience, to be recommended.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    JANICE DUNCAN

    Taj and Tigers= terrific.

    26 encounters with tigers,(I lost track of how many different ones - think it was 17) one sloth bear and a leopard. That’s a safari. Loved the landscape and all the animals from Langurs to Deer to the beautiful Indian Rollers.Tiger moments from 3 brothers in a water hole to single sightings were wonderful. Taj Mahal took my breath away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the Sloth Bear appearing just before we left the park for the evening. A late and lovely surprise. Did the whole tree scratch just in front of us. Much to all our delight,3 out of four of our jeeps were there and able to enjoy the encounter. Loved the excitement after a tiger walked just behind our jeep and I realised I was shaking with the adrenaline buzz.. I had too big a lens on my camera but boy will I remember the moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kryshna was helpful, knowledgeable and entertaining. He was very organised. Jet Airways folded whilst we were In India but there was no stress for us as the back up team had alternatives for us all in a couple of days. Kryshna liased with the office and all was sorted out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is all in the lap of the gods when it comes to sightings. We were very lucky although we were helped by the heat as they were all at the water holes. The jeep system has been criticised by others but I think it is good that the Park Authorities are trying to control numbers and tourist behaviour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy. The sheer arrogance and power of a tiger is a sight to behold
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Steve and Tracey Chivers

    Good trip which could be great

    We thought we should start by explaining why we would score this trip a 4 rather than a 5; 1. On the game drives seating is allocated so you have no say on who you share a drive with (other than your partner) or what zone you visit. As a result, the groups often go to different zones and there didn’t seem to be any rationale as to who was doing what and when. 2. There is some seat rotation however we found this to be extremely limited, therefore out of our 10 fellow travellers we didn’t spend any game drive time with 6 of them. 3. Because of point 1 and 2 we had the understandable issue of some people experiencing better spotting (especially tigers) than others. Our group seemed to have the least sightings and were happy for the others but a tad jealous. That said we had a great group, who were very respectful and with our encouragement were happy to share their experiences and photos, which we loved. 4. Vijay joins a jeep on each game drive and due to the need for a local guide, regardless of whether Vijay is with you or not, when he joins your drive the 3 in the back tend to have an uncomfortable time (this seemed to be the overall view of the group). Although Vijay rotates which Jeep he joins, for us, we had a group of 3 jeeps meaning that for a 1/3rd of the time we had 5 in the jeep not the advertised 4. 5. As with all of these trips there are a few travel days, which was absolutely fine, however the opportunity to mix up the groups up wasn’t taken. 6. As a consequence of the above points we had limited quality time with 6 of our 10 fellow travellers, which was a shame. Putting the above points aside, we wouldn’t want to give the impression that we didn’t have a great time because we did. In the end we saw 16 tigers which was far more than we thought we would. The majority of these came in the last few drives and we were really pleased we took the option of the additional drive, during which we saw 3 tigers, 2 of which were mating. We also saw a huge array of other wildlife although we didn’t see a leopard. The hotels were perfectly fine, although we would agree the food option as a tad repetitive. Loved the train journey and what really adds to this trip is the visit the Taj Mahal which is a true wonder of the modern world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Has to be the 90 minutes we spent with a young male tiger, on game drive 15, it was incredible!! We were lucky enough to be first on the scene and because of this and due to it being in one of the smaller zones we didn’t have to go through the “jeep scum” that takes place in the bigger zones.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It seemed to us this is a pretty tricky trip to lead, given the pressure to ensure everyone has the “once in a life time” tiger experience they are hoping for and the added stress of the train journey. During our trip it was Tracey’s birthday and without asking Vijay organised a birthday cake and even bought her a present, which was very much appreciated. We thought he managed the subject of tips well and gave the group the option of allowing him to manage this which everyone agreed was the best option. Vijay provided the group a summary towards the end of the trip detailing how the tip money had been spent which was a little unnecessary but a nice touch. We both loved how excited he got when a tiger was spotted and he waited at the lodge entrance for all the jeeps to return and was always keen to hear how successful the drives had been. Overall, we would say Vijay was an excellent group leader and we both enjoyed his company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read Jackie’s review “its not all about the tigers” with interest as in reality its really difficult to avoid the trip from not being so. We can only suggest you remain patient and enjoy the wildlife that you do see. Out of 16 tigers we saw, our first sighting was on drive 8, with 4 being on drive 15 and 3 on the additional drive. The trip notes are pretty decent and offer any additional info you may need.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We are sure some of the fellow travellers would give the trip a 5, and with some fairly basic changes we would agree that the trip should rate a 5. This was the second time we have visited India with the aim of seeing tigers in the wild and this trip offers an excellent opportunity to do so at a very reasonable price. Compared with our previous experience, we came away with the opinion that everything was being done, that can be, to help tigers survive and we got the impression that numbers are on the rise which is fab news!! This was certainly reflected in the fact we our many more tigers this time than the last time we visited (should add this wasn’t with Exodus). In summary, we would certainly recommend the trip to others.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Jackey Phillips

    It wasn't all about the tigers

    A well organised and interesting trip but we had disappointing tiger sightings. All the hotels and lodges were of a very good standard for India and the staff helpful and pleasant. The food was good and not too spicy, though a bit repetetive. The lodge at Bandhavgarh was very good with an excellent swimming pool and beautiful gardens.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Giving my bananas to the elephants. Seeing the Taj Mahal Seeing the 2 tiger cubs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay organised everything very well and ensured we were all at the right place at the right time, though at times it was not easy to understand all he said. He took care of all the tipping, which made life much easier.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plastic is not allowed in the parks, so take something else to protect your camera from the dust, which is worst in Bandhavgarh. You need the smaller 3 round pin plugs, but the European 2 round pin works everywhere. The lunches were all served buffet style at 500 rupees and were very similar to the evening meals. It was possible at Pench to order from the a la carte menu but the order took a long time, at Kanha it was buffet only, but at Bandhavgarh it was possible to get omelette and delicious chips. Take mosquito spray and anti histamine and hairdryer if needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We saw 3 glimpses of tigers in Pench and Kanha but it was not until the last day at Bandhavgarh (game drive 14) that we had a good sighting of 2 year old cubs. We did see other birds and animals but between the hours of 6-8am and 4.30-6.30pm the emphasis is all in the tigers as they sleep during the day. The trouble with this is that the drivers in Bandhavgarh are under so much pressure in the 3 days you are with them to get you a tiger sighting that they definitely do not keep to the 20kph speed limit and race around the park like rally drivers when they hear of a sighting. We reached nearly 80kph one evening in a terrifying 10 minute race to try and see a tiger! Also, elephants are used to flush out tigers and one time elephants were sent into an area of high grass where it was known there were 4 very young cubs. At Bandhavgarh the jeep allocations were not done evenly in the 3 zones. They had been booked months before, but we nearly ended up in the same zone 4 times.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    stephen roberts

    Worth every penny

    Its difficult to write this review without repeating what everybody else has all ready said. We had some fantastic tiger sightings that frankly left me breathless, we also saw sloth bears, leopard and fantastic bird life. Some people saw more some saw less, but that's always going to be the case on these types of holidays. The quality of the guides and drivers is hit and miss, but Exodus has little control over this as they work for the park. Hadn't appreciate that the jeep allocation was so tightly regulated. Who is what jeep, is decided when the jeeps are booked, and passports are checked on each drive to ensure that's the case.. but you are moved around so your not sat with the same people all the time. The accommodation on the whole was better than expected, although some people seemed to have problems getting hot water a few times. Being welcomed back of every drive with a warm flannel and cold drink was very welcome. Everybody gets a bit stressed just before the overnight train, but once we were on and settled it was okay, and I slept okay, and the bedding was clean, and didn't feel the need for a sleeping bag liner. There was a western and Indian style toilet in every carriage, been in worse on UK trains. Make sure you stock up on snacks before you get on the train as the packed lunch taken with you was uninspiring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was being eye ball to eyeball with a wild tiger walking towards me. Still get the shivers now, just thinking about it. For my wife, getting to touch and feed the working elephants as they passed our jeeps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna has great, fed us loads on info on Indian culture, and the wildlife. Kept our spirits up when the tigers wern't playing ball. and took care of the minor problems quickly. My wife is Type 1 diabetic and found the brunches a bit late for her sugar levels. Once we had mentioned this , Krishna sorted out some extras to eat before we left in the mornings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its cold on the first few hours of the morning. Take hats, gloves and a warm jackets. The one afternoon we didn't take waterproofs, we had a storm. So pack them every day. Yes its as dusty as they say, so be prepared for that. Getting small bank notes was an issue, buy some small items(sweets or water) in Delhi airport to try an get some smaller notes. Card machines at resorts not always working. Take cash. In two weeks we spent about £750, mainly on lunches, beers, snack and tips (and a couple of souviners). For info a beer was 350 rupees. We also tipped some of drivers and guides a bit more than suggested

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As the group had bonded well, we had hoped for a few goodbye drinks on our last night. But being a Friday the hotel was dry. If we had been warned we would have brought a couple of beers earlier and put them in the fridge in our rooms.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Maureen Mansfield

    Amazing experience

    Absolutely brilliant holiday. Have waited so long to see Tigers in the wild and this trip did not disappoint. Would definitely go again. We were so lucky as had good , even exceptional signings in all three reserves. All of our group had sightings some more and better than others , but no one was disappointed. We also saw a leopard , and sloth bears , jungle cats, and so much more wildlife. The lodges were all good, the food in Penchants being the best, although all were a bit the the same. Breakfasts were on the drive and were a bit uninspired I have never eaten so many boiled eggs. The one day we had samosas was great. Hotel in Agra good the one in Delhi not so . The overnight train trip was an experience! enough said!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my first tiger in the wild of course, but also seeing a leopard albeit at a distance.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna was great, very caring and went out his way to help if anyone had a problem.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some protein bars for the breakfasts, the morning drives are cold so take layers , also all the drives are dusty so take covers for cameras and something to cover your mouth and nose especially if you have any respiratory issues. Be prepared for long bumpy drives, and lots of sitting around just listening for any alarm calls and waiting , and be prepared to be disappointed, as you will not see Tigers on every drive, they are elusive, and you may only see glimpses of them through the jungle . Enjoy the rest of the wildlife especially some of the beautiful birds. Take plenty of tissues , and be prepared for the Indian style toilets . Also remember to just watch the tigers not always through a lenses.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Evelyn Alpert

    Nothing short of amazing

    So first, I need to state unequivocally that if you love wildlife, and in particular tigers, then you need to do this trip. The tigers are exquisitely beautiful and the thrill of tracking them is fun in and of itself. I am already dying to repeat this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My first tiger sighting of course!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Vijay and he was great. He worked so hard to get everyone to see a tiger, and he clearly loves his country and is eager to share his knowledge with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think anyone doing this tour needs to understand clearly how it works to avoid disappointment and frustration. So tiger safaris are not at all like African safaris - the tigers are solitary animals ( not like the lions that gather in prides) and while their numbers are increasing, most of them reside in what is called the core area of these reserves. The tourists (you and me) are not allowed in the core, so the truth is you are looking for a very finite number of tigers that are residing in the tourist area of the parks. Finding them is no easy task, but your drivers and guides in the parks will (if they are good, and not all of them are) work hard to find them for you. Secondly, your tour group will be broken up into groups of 4 for the game drives, and each group does not necessarily go to the same place. The jeeps are given proscribed zones and routes, so it is entirely possible that part of your tour group will see tigers and some may not. In our group, we had 2 people that didn’t see any tigers till about 2 days before the tour ended, and there were 6 that went about 2/3 of the way through the trip with no sightings. Needless to say, for those not seeing the tigers, it is hard to enjoy the time when the others are seeing them. But if you understand how this works in advance (and I did not think this was at all clearly spelled out in the tour literature) then you will be better prepared for it. No one can control the appearance of the tigers, so to some extent it is the luck of the draw, but it’s best to fully understand how the game drives work. And PS since most days you have breakfast in the reserves, you will get tired of hard boiled eggs and cheese sandwiches, so think about packing some protein bars to take along instead!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Remember to put your cameras down and just look at the tigers. They are magnificent but if you only see them through a lens then you’ve missed the point. It’s hard to do, and one of the reasons I want to do the tour again.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Hugh Price

    First Class Trip

    Excellent opportunities to see not just Tigers but many other mammals and birds as well. Helpful staff and good lodges and time just flies by. Others have rated this trip highly and deservedly so.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Viewing a tiger fairly closely over a period of about 90 minutes

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and his knowledge and experience was invaluable, even to the extent of finding a suitable battery charger in rural India.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes warn you it can be cold early am and late pm but it can also be cold during the day in February. Take layers, take a buff for the dust, possibly a bag to keep the dust off cameras. A head torch is quite useful too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Paul Tunnah

    India Tiger Safari

    I agree with all of the previous tiger trip review comments so I am not going to rehash them.. I saw 10 * Tigers, 3 * Leopard, 4 * Sloth Bears, 1 * Jungle cat & lots of other wildlife, deer, birds etc. I didn't see a tiger until 8/15 game drives so don't panic as everybody on my trip eventually got a great tiger experience. The morning game drives in February are cold so definitely bring Jumpers, hats, gloves etc. I would finally like to tell you the best months to see tigers according to the drivers which are April / May when the Tigers cool down at the water holes. Of course the temperature then is 45 degrees Celsius.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing your first tiger in the wild is amazing. I still don't know how our driver spotted him driving at 20 kmh & seeing him through the brush. The Tiger was 30 foot in the brush & just watched us as we took photographs. My digital camera struggled to auto focus (Did eventually & great photos) so I would advise anybody else to have knowledge of focusing methods for there camera. I certainly had to read the manual.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Vijay Chansoria & he war brilliant. Honestly he couldn't do enough for the whole party. His knowledge of wildlife was amazing, especially birds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go on this trip in February then wrap up warm for the morning game drives as it is very cold for the first 2 hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just enjoy the 3 NP's & all of the wildlife in them. NOBODY is guaranteed to see a Tiger ( 2 people in my group only had there tiger experience on the optional extra game drive) although in my tour party we all good sighting of a tiger.