Current as of: December 5, 2023 - 06:20
1 out of 7 - Leisurely
Bengal tigers are a highly seductive class-A predator; they are also desperately endangered. Seeing one in the wild is intoxicating, which is why this comprehensive safari visits three of the best tiger parks in India. Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks are all ideal for viewing both predator and prey, and with 15 game drives included the chances of seeing the magnificent Bengal tiger are greatly increased. There are many other animals to see, too, but tigers remain top of the agenda throughout.
This trip has been rated Activity Level 1 (Leisurely).
This tour is not physically demanding; however, days can be long (up to 9 hours) and busy on occasion, especially when taking the overnight train and driving from park to park. The roads are generally pretty good, but local traffic and/or road damage after the monsoon can slow us down. We travel on comparatively quiet roads for at least half the journey but the road between Pench and Kanha is known to be bad.
Please be aware, there are very early morning starts (4:30 am for example) on consecutive days at each national park as this is the best time to get out and spot tigers which, can make for much longer days. We do expect you to have several tiger sightings across this trip however, the wildlife is free-roaming and unpredictable and we, unfortunately, cannot guarantee you will see tigers or other animals on every game drive. Some days may feel long and uneventful on your search for the elusive tiger but the sightings you do have, are always an exhilarating reward for the wait!
The jeeps throughout the national parks are simple and will often require you to step up into them and have a noticeable step down from them. On the game drives, you will be navigating bumpy tracks for most of the day and this can be uncomfortable for some after a long day in the jeep.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal. Very occasionally, this means work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI schedule is never published, so it is impossible to predict when work will take place.
Game drive regulations – book early!
The management of national parks by the Indian authorities and the system for booking game drives have changed significantly in the last 18 months. As a result, the number of 4x4s that can now enter national parks has been reduced, and all game drives need to be booked and paid for much further in advance.
In addition, we must provide a list of client names and passport details at the time of booking each game drive. Once game drives are booked, they are non‐refundable and name changes are not permitted. If you renew your passport after the game drives are booked, you must travel with both your old and new passports so the authorities can ascertain the authenticity of the previous passport mentioned in the booking.
You cannot change or swap 4x4s during the trip. It is four people per vehicle, so please let us know at the time of booking if you are a group of five or more travelling together with separate bookings to ensure you are seated appropriately.
Due to ongoing changes in the system, the following guidelines and conditions now apply to all bookings:
1) We cannot guarantee the operation of any departure until we have the necessary game drives secured. We aim to secure game drives from a variety of gates/zones as per the itinerary, but please be aware that this is subject to availability. The date at which we book the game drives will vary depending on when the booking system allows us to do so for your departure, usually will be around 120 days before travel but this is subject to change.
2) Within 120 days prior to travel it may be possible to book passengers onto a departure after the game drives have been confirmed but additional supplement costs are likely to be incurred. If we have made initial game drive bookings for a departure, we may need to wait until we have a further three or four clients ready to book before we can secure an additional vehicle and spread the cost of any supplement.
3) At the time of booking, we will ask you for the standard Exodus deposit plus £400 towards the game drives as once these are booked, they are non‐refundable. If for any reason we are unable to secure the game drives and we must cancel the trip, you receive a full refund.
4) We want to encourage you to book this trip as far in advance as possible; we are confident we can secure the game drives needed if passengers are book four to five months in advance of the departure date.
5) It is important we have your correct passport details at the time of booking. If you end up travelling on a different passport, you must carry your old passport, or a photocopy of it, with you. If this isn’t possible, you will need a letter from the passport agency regarding the change of passport, specifying the details of the old passport and the details of the new passport issued.
We regret that these measures are necessary, but we are keen to ensure we secure the game drives as early as possible.
Our Indian team has proved very popular with clients with their incredible knowledge, passion and hospitality adding greatly to the experience. There is no better way to experience Indian culture than having a local guide show you around their country.
During the game drives each vehicle will be accompanied by a local Forest Guard (mandatory by the local authorities). The Forest Guards are part of a initiative by the national park authorities to generate employment opportunities for the local villages surrounding the area. They have excellent awareness of the local wildlife and skilled in tracking however, many have very limited English skills so will often communicate through hand signals rather than conversation. Your local Leader however, will rotate around the safari jeeps to ensure you all have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the wildlife through his translation.
Adult min age: 16
Min group size: 4
Max group size: 16
The adventure begins at the hotel in Delhi. You can normally check in around midday. Lookout for the information in reception, which will let you know when your leader will be hosting the welcome briefing with the group.
Accommodation: Hotel Amrapali Grand (or similar) – Changing to Hotel Deventure for all 2024 departures
The group will transfer to Delhi Domestic Airport for a flight (around 1hr 40min) to Nagpur. The drive to Pench National Park, where your safari adventures begin, will take approximately three hours.
Accommodation: Pench Jungle Camp (or similar)
Spend two days exploring Pench National Park in the lower southern reaches of the Satpuda hills. It provided inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and marks our first chance to see our very own Shere Khan.
This designated tiger reserve is home to around 45 Bengal tigers, plus leopards, wolves, monkeys, deer, and nilgai (the largest antelope in Asia). Our two days include four game drives, in which we’ll keep our eyes peeled for the incredible creatures that live here.
Accommodation: Pench Jungle Camp (or similar)
We depart in the morning and drive to Kanha National Park. Although the distance is not far, the journey usually takes approximately four hours. On arrival, there is time to relax by the pool and share wildlife stories with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation: Celebration Van Vilas (or similar)
Created in 1974, Kanha National Park is often described as the greatest wildlife reserve in India – during our time here, we go on five game drives to explore it.
The park is vast, encompassing expansive grasslands, plateaus and dramatic rocky escarpments that house hundreds of wildlife species. The tiger population – which currently numbers around 500 – has been affected by poaching in recent years but the huge abundance of animals makes the game drives a memorable experience.
Accommodation: Celebration Van Vilas (or similar)
We leave Kanha National Park after breakfast and drive to Bandhavgarh, stopping en route for refreshments. This journey will take approximately six to seven hours. On arrival there is free time to settle in.
Accommodation: Nature Heritage Resort (or similar)
Bandhavgarh is one of the smaller national parks and enjoys an impressive setting with a cliff-top fort overlooking grasslands, birch forests and bamboo.
It is home to a wide variety of game, including leopards, sloth bears, jungle cats, wild pigs and, of course, tigers. The healthy tiger population of approximately 60-70 means this park has the highest tiger density of any reserve in India. The park also hosts up to 150 bird species including many on the migratory trail, such as the steppe eagle. During our stay, we embark on six games drives.
Accommodation: Nature Heritage Resort (or similar)
This morning, we drive for approximately three hours to Katni Railway Station. We stop for refreshments, conveniences and photo opportunities along the way. In the evening, we catch the overnight train to Agra.
Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train
Arriving in Agra in the morning, we transfer to our hotel. No stay in Agra would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, built by the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first-time visitor – the white marble exterior changing colour according to the position of the sun. Nearby is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar, whose mighty sandstone walls enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque, palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains.
Accommodation: Royal Regent Hotel (or similar)
We leave for Delhi after breakfast, stopping en route for lunch and arriving at our hotel in the afternoon. You are then free to relax or explore the sites of New and Old Delhi. Your Tour Leader can organise an optional sightseeing trip if you prefer.
Accommodation: Hotel Amrapali Grand (or similar) – Changing to Hotel Deventure for all 2024 departures
Our adventure draws to a close after breakfast. Catch your free transfer to the airport to begin your journey home. Alternatively, if you’d like a little more time in Delhi, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.
Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.
We spend 14 nights in en suite hotels and one night on an air-conditioned sleeper train. In Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks, we stay in forest lodges with modern facilities and attached bathrooms (standards between the three lodges vary). If our lodge/hotel is overbooked, the accommodation will be in comfortable tents fitted with electric lights and attached toilet with shower with hot and cold water readily available.
The overnight train from Katni to Agra will be booked in two-tier air-conditioned sleepers (or three-tier if unavailable). There are many excellent trains in India; however, the standard of seating and sleeping is not in line with European/North American standards.
If you are a solo traveller, we’ll room you with another person of the same sex (excludes sleeper train) on this trip. However, you can book private accommodation through your sales representative at an additional cost. See price below.
Single supplement from £ 590
Breakfast and 11 dinners are included.
Allow around 1,400 – 2,400 rupees (US$20-US$35) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants, you will spend more than the suggested amount. In Agra and Delhi, there is a good choice of restaurants and a selection of Indian and Western food. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to with a wide range of dishes on offer. Please note, there are usually some non-spicy curries while we’re at the national parks, but these are in limited supply. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large) bottle of beer is approximately 600 rupees (US$7). Mineral water is widely available. Please note, service in restaurants can be quite slow.
We use a combination of private minibus, SUVs and a train for our journey, and 4x4s in the national parks. The 4x4s are exclusive to Exodus guests with only four clients allocated to each. All vehicles except the 4x4s will be air-conditioned. Please note that seat belts are not always available on the national park 4×4 jeeps.
Train journeys: The overnight train from Katni to Agra will be booked in second-class (two-tier) air-conditioned sleeper (occasionally we may have to use three-tier if this is unavailable). See accommodation section for further information.
Game drives: At Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh, we use 4x4s (we only put four group members in each vehicle allowing you extra space and comfort). During the game drives, each vehicle will be accompanied by a local forest guard; they are not local guides and their English and wildlife knowledge may not reach the same level as your Exodus leader. The Exodus leader will rotate between vehicles throughout the trip.
Domestic Flights: Please note the domestic flight from Delhi to Nagpur has the following baggage allowance (this may be lower than your international flight allowance).
September to April is the ideal time to visit these areas of northern India. Days are normally warm to hot and nights cool or mild. Humidity is very low with little or no rain. In March/April and September/October, it can get very hot during the day. Evenings in Delhi and at the game parks can be surprisingly cool. It gets very cold in the early mornings and evenings between December and February.
2023 departures Start hotel: Hotel Amrapali Grand, 2, 16, W Patel Nagar Rd, Block 4, Near, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi 110008
Phone: +91 11 2572 5700
2024 departures Start hotel: Hotel Deventure, BP -11, near Shadipur Metro Station, Opposite Metro Pillar No 221, West Patel Nagar, New Delhi,110008
Phone: +91-99962 17770
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Delhi Airport (DEL)
The start hotel is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers. Check in is usually around midday. Your leader will be meeting up with the whole group sometime later in the day and there will be information at the hotel reception about this meeting time. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.
Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Delhi Airport (DEL) from the end hotel.
Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.
Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.
Location start: Delhi
Location end: Delhi
Exodus offers free airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance.
Clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee. Women especially should always dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention and not to cause offence; vests, tight-fitting trousers, short skirts and shorts are not recommended.
It gets very cold in the early mornings and evenings, particularly between November and February, and you should be prepared for this. You should bring additional warm clothing such as good fleece jackets, gloves and a scarf as it can drop to near freezing.
It doesn’t matter what type of bag or case you use on this trip although it is preferable to use a soft holdall (with wheels if necessary) or rucksack/travelsack as they tend to be easier to manage on the overnight trains. You should also bring a small day bag for your valuable items.
Please note, electronic devices, power packs and batteries should be packed in hand luggage as these are not permitted in your hold/main luggage.
Please note: The Indian government has banned e-cigarettes and related products. You can’t buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country. Please ensure you do not pack these in your luggage.
To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
Travellers from the UK, US, CA and EU normally need a visa to enter India. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/india
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/india
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements
• USA: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/India.html
Travellers eligible for an e-visa, which includes those from the UK, US, CA and EU, can apply at www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html.
For more information on applying for your Indian Visa, including details required for your start hotel and local reference contacts, please click on this link: Indian Visa Information
There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your doctor or travel clinic for further advice.
You will also require a yellow fever vaccination certificate if arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Proof of a polio vaccination may also be required by some travellers. Please confirm all requirements and recommendations with your doctor or travel clinic.
Additionally, dengue, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, is a known risk in India. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so we strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approximately 6,560ft (2,000m), there is little risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips above 9,840ft (3,000m), there is a risk of being affected by acute mountain sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the Trip Notes for further information.
The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.
Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
India's time zone: Asia/Kolkata (UTC +05:30)
India's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins), D (three round pins) and M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz
India's currency: Indian rupee (INR). Please note, it is illegal to import or export rupees. Do not accept torn or very dirty Indian banknotes from banks or in change as they will almost certainly not be accepted as legal tender in India. You can normally change money back from rupees into US dollars or British pounds at the departure airport, but you must produce an exchange receipt showing that you changed money in India.
ATMs are widely available in the main towns (Visa and MasterCard are best) though you should not rely on these 100 percent of the time, so please take some cash with you. Please inform your bank before departure that you are travelling to India and carry the relevant telephone number with you in case they block your card. You can pay with credit cards in bigger shops all over India. As this trip spends a lot of time in more remote areas where ATMs will not be available, please make sure you carry enough cash with you. You can bring British pounds or US dollars.
Money change facilities are available at the hotel in Nagpur and they offer a better rate than the airport. Change most of your money here as there will be few opportunities to do so as we travel between the national parks. You can change money back from rupees into British pounds or US dollars at Delhi Airport; this has to be done before you go through security and please note that only one or two small outlets accept rupees in the departure lounge (the Duty Free shop does not accept rupees), you must produce an exchange receipt showing you changed money in India.
We recommend you allow at least 650 rupees (US$8) per day for minor purchases, such as soft drinks and small souvenirs.
There is now very little opportunity for optional extra game drives but if there is a chance they will cost approximately 10,000 – 14,000 rupees (US$120-US$170) per 4×4 depending upon the zones/gates you will access in the park (based on one to four people per vehicle). The park charges have recently been revised and some zones declared ‘premium zones’ with higher entrance fees. This has been done to regulate game drives and reduce pressure on the park. All optional game drives should be booked and paid for locally. The cost of game drives can change without our knowledge: the prices are correct at the time of publication.
Tipping is part of the culture in India and is usually expected. Your tour leader will offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty, which will be used to tip hotel staff, drivers and any other support staff used throughout your trip. Your leader will suggest how much to contribute, depending on group size, but it is usually around 4,000 rupees (US$48) per person. At any time during the trip, your leader will happily show you an account of how the kitty is being distributed. For smaller groups, the leader may have to collect more than the above amount.
Tipping of leaders is not included in the kitty and is at your own discretion. If you wish to show your appreciation, a tip of 350-430 rupees (US$4-US$5) per person per day would be appreciated.
People, Places & Planet
We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.
Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country, please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions
Although every effort is made to ensure any non-refundable fees are minimised, there are occasions where we must commit to non-refundable costs, for example international and domestic flights, international train travel, accommodation, permits and other services to support the running of our holidays.
For this trip the irrecoverable costs per person related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.
Internal flight: £114 / US$ 139
Internal Train: £21 / US$ 26
Game Drives*: £505 – 2,010/ US$ 610 – 2,441
*These rates are examples of previous cancellation cost (as of October 2023) but can vary depending on when the cancellation is made (prior to travel). Please contact your salesperson for accurate Safari cancellation costs when considering potential cancellation.
Your safe participation
When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.
Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.
By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.
When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.
You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.
Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.
Trip Note validity
These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.
The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.