The Gujarat section is pretty well worked out but we are still working on the tiger safari. It looks like we have to swap the trip around to get the availability of the best guides to work out for us. So Gujarat will be first with tigers afterwards. This gives us several options which I thought I'd put up for comment.
My friend had originally planned out the tiger trip as follows:
Bandhavgarh and Panna:
Friday 8th March: Rajkot Ė Mumbai Ė Delhi Ė overnight train
Meals: Packed dinner for on the train
You will have an early start today to check in at 0500 hours for an internal flight with Jet Airways (excluded from the price) from Rajkot to Delhi (via Mumbai) departing at 0700 hours. Here you will say goodbye to your guide. Your flight with arrive in Mumbai at 0805 hours and depart again for Delhi at 1005 hours, arriving here at 1210 hours.
Our representative will be there to meet you outside Delhi Airport (look for Wild About Travel on a placard as you leave the airport building). From here youíll be taken to Nizamuddin train station to catch the 1st a/c sleeper class train (Gondwana Express) from Delhi to Katni departing at 1535 hours.
Saturday 9th March: Katni - Bandhavgarh
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Kings Lodge
Your train will arrive early in the morning. Our representative will be there to meet you on the station platform (again look for Wild About Travel on a placard) and youíll be transferred to Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh. Expect the drive to take around 2 Ĺ hours. Check in is officially from 12 noon, but earlier if your rooms are available and ready. Here you will meet Sanjay Thakur who will explain about the lodge, meal times and how the safari drives work. After breakfast those of you who wish can have a walk around the grounds locally with Sanjay. After lunch you can prepare for your first safari drive
inside Bandhavgarh National Park with Sanjay and/or one of the other Kings Lodge naturalists(Sanjay will alternate between jeeps, if numbers dictate having more than one jeep).
Night: Kings Lodge
Sunday 10th, Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th March: Bandhavgarh
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Enjoy both morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Bandhavgarh National Park with Sanjay Thakur or one of his experienced lodge naturalists. Relax between safari drives.
Night: Kings Lodge
Wednesday 13th March: Bandhavgarh - Panna
Meals: Breakfast and lunch at Kings Lodge and dinner at Ken River Lodge
This morning youíll take your final jeep safari at Bandhavgarh, then after lunch youíll be driven to Panna for a two night stay at Ken River Lodge, sister lodge to Kings. Sanjay Thakur will accompany you on the journey which should take around 5 Ė 5 Ĺ hours. Staff will explain the activities that are in store for the next day and youíll have the chance to visit a viewing platform in the evening to look for Porcupine and Striped Hyena.
Night: Ken River Lodge
Thursday 14th March: Panna
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Today you will take two jeep safaris inside Panna National Park. In between safari drives youíll enjoy lunch and a boat trip on the Ken River, where you might be lucky enough to see Indian Eagle Owl and other species of birds.
Night: Ken River Lodge
Friday 15th March: Panna Ė Khajuraho Ė Delhi
Meals: Breakfast and packed lunch from Ken River Lodge, dinner at Hotel Justa
After breakfast youíll prepare to leave for the short drive to Khajuraho Airport to check in at 1125 hours for a Jet Airways flight departing at 1325 hours and arriving at Delhi Airport at 1620 hours. Our representative will be waiting outside the airport building (look for Wild About Travel on a placard) to transfer you to Justa Gurgaon for the evening. Enjoy dinner and relax for a final evening.
Sat 16th March: Delhi
This morning we have included a transfer to the airport. Tour ends.
But she has now come up with some other options adding on one day to the above:Tadoba/Pench/Kanha
Fri 8th March 7am flight from Rajkot landing at 0805 at Mumbai and then Indigo flight to Nagpur. Arrive Nagpur and drive (4 Ė 5 hours) to Tadoba night at Tiger Trails Tadoba.
Sat 9th March am and pm safaris in Tadoba
Sun 10th March am and pm safaris in Tadoba
Mon 11th March am and pm safaris in Tadoba
Tues 12th March. (Tadoba closed all day). Leave after early breakfast and drive to Pench. Guess 4 Ė 5 hour drive. Pm safari at Pench. Night at somewhere decent. 1
Wed 13th March. Am safari at Pench. Pm drive to Kanha. Night Earth Lodge. 1
Thurs 14th March. Am and Pm safari at Kanha
Fri 15th March. Am and Pm safari at Kanha
Sat 16th March. Later breakfast, depart for Nagpur mid/late morning. Flight from Nagpur to Delhi. Night in Delhi at Justa Gurgaon. (I'm considering if possible to fly straight back rather than spend a night in the hotel if possible, but this way breaks the journey up a bit).
Sun 17th March. Transfer to Delhi airport for flight back home.Or look again at Kanha / Bandhavgarh
Fri 8th March 7am flight from Rajkot landing at 0805 at Mumbai and then Indigo flight to Nagpur. Arrive Nagpur and drive (5 hours) to Kanha night at Earth Lodge.
Sat 9th March am and pm safaris in Kanha
Sun 10th March Am walking safari from lodge to break things up and avoid another day of two drives (this is something everyone is staying to do) and pm safari in Kanha
Mon 11th March am and pm safaris in Kanha
Tues 12th March. Am safari and pm walking safari from lodge (as tomorrow afternoon you also have long drive)
Wed 13th March. Am safari at Kanha. Pm drive to Bandhavgarh. Night Kings Lodge.
Thurs 14th March. Am and Pm safari at Bandhavgarh
Fri 15th March. Am and Pm safari at Bandhavgarh
Sat 16th March. Take early breakfast and drive to Khajuraho for early afternoon flight to Delhi. Night in Delhi at Justa Gurgaon.
Sun 17th March. Transfer to Delhi airport for flight back home.
Now, you'll probably know plenty about Bandhavgarh and it is a very reliable park for tigers. However, it gets very busy. I saw three tigers there in 2007.
Kanha is another park that is usually reliable for tigers. However, there has been a lot of burning the past couple of years in february. Not sure about March. Which has negatively impacted game viewing. That said, it has mammals not seen in Bandhavgarh such as swamp deer and Guar and also Dhole/sloth bear are more easily seen there.
Tadoba is an up and coming area. The latest news I've heard is that people have recently had phenomenal tiger sightings there as well as dhole.
Guar, sloth bear have also been seen. Check out: http://www.tripadvis...aharashtra.html
Panna is probably not great for tiger but better for striped hyena and porcupine (though we should have a good chance for hyena up in Gujarat).
Pench is basically a very quiet park, I didn;t see much there but it is a good stop off point for breaking up the jouney between Tadoba and Kanha.
To be honest, I am leaning more towards the tadoba option on the basis of what the recent sightings have been like, and I've never been there before. I'd expect it would be quieter than Bandhavgarh or Kanha. One thing we haven't considered is whether it would be better to spend the time in just one tiger park or that might get too monotonous.? In which case I think my vote would go to Tadoba based on the above.
Be good to get some further thoughts on this though.
If an experience is amazing enough to be "once in a lifetime," I want to do it every year.
Alex: "Whoa! Hold up there a second, fuzzbucket. You mean like, uh, the live in a mud hut wipe yourself with a leaf type wild?"
King Julian: “Who wipes?”