Wildlife Group Tour

India Group Tour - Tiger Conservation and Walking Safari

Hike, Canoe and Jeep through Tadoba, Pench and Satpura National Parks

13 days

from £4,595pp
  • Escorted by an award winning naturalist Kartikeya Singh
  • Hike, Canoe and Jeep through Tadoba, Pench and Satpura National Parks
  • Hands on experiences; setting camera traps and learning tracking skills
  • Meet conservation experts in the field and visit ongoing projects

During this India Wildlife Conservation and Walking Safari, visit the tiger reserves of Tadoba, Pench, and Satpura and walk the two-day Panchmari Trail, with the hilly backdrop of the range setting the scene.

Escorted by award-winning naturalist, Kartikeya Singh, search for the iconic tiger as well as discovering the region's rich history and culture at Sanchi and Bhimbetka. Explore the parks by jeep, canoe and on foot, see camera traps in action, camp out in secret hides and learn to identify tracks and signs of tigers. Encounter India's wildlife and gain an insight into the challenges they face in today’s modern India. Hear from guest lecturers regarding ongoing conservation issues and related projects including village relocation and tiger translocation programmes, and ways to ease tension between human and animal conflict. 

Why Travel with  Kartikeya Singh?

Exceptional guides are the first essential component of a successful wildlife holiday and in Kartikeya Singh, Steppes Travel is confident to have found just that. With over 300 days filming with the BBC, and over a decade of field research including the development and implementation of translocation and conservation projects, he is a confirmed expert for this tour. His outstanding knowledge of the habitat and behaviour of tigers gives an undeniable edge to this experience.  With his senses in tune with the environment, there will be little missed in his presence.

What are the differences between Tadoba, Pench and Satpura?

Each park offers something a little different. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is one of India’s most exciting and best-protected tiger reserves, undiscovered, and with excellent tiger sightings regularly reported. Dominated by teak forest and bamboo, it’s a rugged landscape comprising cliffs, caves, marshes, perennial lakes and boulder strewn streambeds catering to a host of biodiversity, not least the tiger. Tadoba has a series of camera traps around camps continually monitoring local wildlife. This area is also frequented by six tigers including the dominant male tiger Crooked Tail and the newest entrant, the Halleghat male tiger. Tadoba park management is proactive in offering new experiences and includes walking trails in the buffer area and kayaking on the Irai Lake. 

Pench has a wonderfully rich flora and fauna and is home to the Asiatic leopard with the dam in the park being a favourite spot for bird watching. Other wildlife spotted here are chinkara, wild dog, sloth bear and jackal. Pench has a good reputation for tiger sightings and is less crowded so the overall safari experience is more personal.

Satpura, one of Indias best-kept secrets, is cradled in the Satpura Range of the Mahadeo Hills, uncharted and unspoiled, Satpura represents wilderness at its very best. This reserve is part of one of the largest contiguous blocks of forest left in India and is connected to other reserves by forest 'corridors'. This region, therefore, represents the largest block of tiger habitat left in the world and the bird watching is considered among the best. The magnificent deep valleys, high mountains, rivulets, waterfalls and vast reservoir combine to give this park a unique beauty. The terrain is extremely rugged and consists of sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, ravines and dense forests. The Denwa River runs through Satpura's gorges enabling exploration by canoe as well as the jeep. This is the only park that allows walking safaris in India. 

What is a typical day like on safari in Central India?

Mornings begin with tea in bed, usually, before 6 am and park entry times vary depending on summer or winter season, but the gates normally open at 6 am – closing again between 9.30am/ 10.30am. All vehicles need to be out of the park before the gate closes after the morning game drive unless you have gained special permission. Breakfast will normally be taken in the park, heading back to the lodge around mid-morning for lunch. Some lodges serve a light breakfast in the park and return for a more substantial brunch around 11 am.
The afternoon is free to make use of the facilities available at your lodge, take time over a leisurely lunch, have an afternoon sleep, or a walk in the grounds. Often situated in the buffer zone, and regularly recording good wildlife sightings, the lodges are worth exploring. During the tour there may be unique experiences during this time of the day. The second game drive, in the afternoon, the park opens around  2pm with a return to the lodge in time for a pre-dinner sundowner. Meals are served back at the lodge – often al fresco around a fire pit, with classic cooking methods.

What is the accommodation like on this tour?

Stay in lodges which offer total emersion into tiger conservation and meet the in-house passionate naturalists. Where possible we have secured accommodation offering a high standard of comfort, including The Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge in Tadoba and Reni Pani Cottage in Satpura. There are wonderful dining opportunities to be had, including Village Farm to Table experiences. We believe we have confirmed the best available and we are confident the owners have a commitment to conservation tourism. 

How fit do I need to be to enjoy this tour?

General overall fitness is required. The tour covers a lot of ground and there are three longer road journeys of approximately five hours, which are unavoidable. During the jeep safaris in the National Parks, you need to be comfortable getting in and out of high clearance vehicles. The vehicles may cross bumpy ground at times, so please make us aware of any back problems you may have. The two-day Satpura walking safari involves a descent on the first day of seven kilometres, with a comfortable stop for lunch, continuing with a six kilometre picturesque walk along the Denwa River to camp. The second day is a leisurely walk of 16 kilometres along the banks of the Denwa and pristine woodland habitat, again broken up with a relaxing lunch stop.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of our tour experts. If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so so you do not have to pay for a single room.

Do I need a visa for India?

All visitors need a visa to travel to India. There is now a provision for an online e-visa for citizens of certain countries, including the UK and the visa must be obtained before arrival in all circumstances. Tourist visas issued in the UK have six months’ validity from date of issue.

What will the weather be like in Central India in March?

March welcomes the beginning of summer, bringing hot and sunny days with cooler nights so do bring light clothing and adequate hats for shade. March has average temperatures sitting around 35 degrees, dropping to 20 degrees at night. March is a good time to visit as the foliage starts to thin out, making wildlife easier to spot. The water sources dry up drawing animals from the jungle to the larger lakes.

What is the food like in Central India?

Meals at the lodges are a highlight - delicious and filling, with most of the fresh vegetables coming directly from the large organic gardens on site.  The lodges have a strong eco ethos, including small offerings such as providing water to discourage plastic bottles. Breakfast is often taken in the wild, providing an interesting and memorable backdrop. Please note Tadoba is located in a dry state, so no alcohol can be officially served at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge. Perhaps an advance trip to duty-free free might not go amiss.

Can I extend my stay in India after the tour?

Yes, this can easily be arranged at the end of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing. From Mumbai, you can easily reach the beaches of Southern India. If the Golden Triangle is on your wish list then we can arrange a short domestic flight from Mumbai.



Departing on:
  • 3rd March 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
3rd Mar 2019 15th Mar 2019 £ 4,595 £ 700 £ 1,645 Kartikeya Singh Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation on twin share basis in all mentioned lodges and hotels.
  • Domestic Flights
  • Full Board throughout apart from the final evening in Mumbai.
  • Game Drive Permits in Tadoba, Pench and Satpura National Parks.
  • Local Tipping of Guides and Drivers
  • Sightseeing, Game Drives and Activities with your Expert Leader.

what is excluded

  • Cost of any optional activities
  • Excess Luggage Charges
  • Indian Visa
  • International Flights
  • Single Room Supplement Cost
  • Travel Insurance

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

We advise booking a Jet Airways flight from London on the 2 March overnight arriving into Mumbai .


Please meet at Mumbai airport today at 06:00. Meeting Place to be arranged.

Fly Mumbai to Nagpur


Tadoba National Park
On arrival at Nagpur you will be met by your escort and expert guide, Kartikeya Singh. The drive to the National Park is approximately two and a half hours. Arrive in time for a leisurely lunch and some down time. Being mindful you may be tired there are some optional activities planned this afternoon to include

- A walk in and around the grounds of Tiger Trails with great bird spotting opportunities.

-Set camera traps in the designated areas.

Later this evening there will be a hosted talk on Tadoba Park followed by a welcome dinner.



Since April 1, 2015 the state government of Maharashtra, India, has declared Chandrapur District as a ‘dry district’ (Tadoba and all the properties at every gate are located within this district). This implies a ban on the sale, purchase, production and consumption of liquor at this destination. Visitors/guests are not allowed to carry their own liquor as well, although we are not aware of strict checks on this.


Please note that Tadoba is situated in a dry state and no alcohol will be served at the lodges.


You will be staying at Bamboo Forest Lodge, full board

Day 2

Morning Game Drive
Early this morning meet your guide Anant and the rest of the group for a biscuit and a cup of tea or coffee before sunrise. Set off in an open jeep with Anant to accompany you. You will also collect a local park guide at the gate on entry to the park. Entry into the core of Tadoba is from the Khutwanda gate which lies adjacent to the lodge and is connected to the centre of the park.

Spend the morning exploring Tadoba by jeep, listening to the sounds of the forest and seeking out the elusive tiger. There is also plenty of other wildlife to view during your game drive. A picnic style breakfast and drinks will be available during the drive.

On your return to the lodge around 10 am you will be offered a full breakfast.


Time Spent at Tadoba National Park
During your stay you will learn how to set camera traps, how to identify signs and animal tracks. There is an opportunity to sleep in a machan overlooking a watering hole which is frequented at night by bison's, sloth bear and tigers.


Afternoon Jungle Excursion
After lunch rejoin your jeep to spend the afternoon on a jungle excursion accompanied by Anant and a local guide. Return to the lodge just after sunset. Rest and freshen up before meeting the group again around the camp fire to exchange stories from the day. Pre-dinner drinks and snacks will be offered followed by dinner.


You will be staying at Bamboo Forest Lodge, full board

Day 3

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
Rise early this morning to meet the group before joining your jeep for a morning safari in the core area of the park accompanied by Kartikeya and a local park guide, returning to the lodge for lunch. For those interested in the community projects there is an opportunity to visit the local village school before lunch. Watch and review the previous night's camera trap recordings before embarking on the afternoon safari.


You will be staying at Bamboo Forest Lodge, full board

Day 4

Tadoba to Pench
Morning game drive


You will be staying at Pench Tree Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 5

Morning Game Drive
Wake early this morning and meet the group for a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit before joining your jeep for the morning safari. The jeeps are open topped and sun protection will be needed. Anant and a member of the lodges in-house naturalist team will join you. Enter the park for the morning and explore this incredibly diverse landscape. Tune your ear to the calls of the jungle and get involved tracking the elusive tiger.

Return to the lodge at approximately 10.00 hours for a full breakfast and a rest until lunch.

Pench, on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, has been known through the ages for its rich flora and fauna. Named after the river that flows nearby, Pench was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1983, though it had been declared a notified area in 1972. In 1992 Pench was included under the umbrella of Project Tiger as the 19th Project Tiger Reserve.

Pench is home to the Asiatic leopard and is still one of the best places in India to spot this creature. The dam in the park is a favourite spot for bird watching. Other wildlife spotted here are chinkara, wild dog, sloth bear and jackal. Visitors also now have the option to visit the Maharashtra side of the Pench Reserve, which is often less crowded and is growing in its reputation for sightings of a host of animals and bird species.

Visitors view wildlife by jeep in morning and afternoon game drives much like other parks. Pench has a good reputation for tiger sightings and is less crowded so the overall safari experience is more personal.


Afternoon Jungle Excursion
After a leisurely lunch, prepare for the afternoon game drive. Accomanied by Anant and a local guide explore the park until sunset. On return to the lodge, freshen up and meet with the group to watch a film or presentation or chat around the camp fire followed by dinner.


You will be staying at Pench Tree Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 6

Morning Activities in Pench
Today why not slow things down and take to two wheels. Cycle through the buffer zone of Pench National Park. At all times you are accompanied by your guide as well as a support vehicle carrying water, snacks and anything else you wish, e.g. your camera and a day pack. Visit the local community school before returning to the lodge to freshen up for lunch.

After lunch start the drive to Satpura, approximately five hours. On arrival at Reni Pani enjoy a sundowner. For those keen to get out into the jungle take a sunset jeep excursion through the buffer zone before a hosted dinner with the owners and naturalists, Erwina and Aly of Reni Pani Lodge.


You will be staying at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 7

Activities at Satpura National Park
While staying at Reni Pani you have two activities each day from Jeep safaris, boating and a walking safari. Accompanied by a naturalist guide from Reni Pani and also your expert leader, Kartikeya, explore on foot. A great way to see the park close up. This is the only park in India where walking within the boundaries is possible.


You will be staying at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 8

Full Day Excursion to Churna
A visit to Churna village today provides a good understanding of Satpura Tiger Reserve. There is a village relocation programme, with conservation efforts and a tiger translocation programme. This is an insightful day. A packed lunch will be provided. Return to Reni Pani Lodge this evening for dinner.


You will be staying at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, full board and house beverages

Day 9

Satpura Walking Safari
Leaving Reni Pani Lodge today in expert company for a private two day trek with camping in nature. Travel overland to the picturesque hill station of Pachmari in the highest peaks of Satpura. Reaching Pachmari around 9am, start the descending trek towards Dehelia Camp. Witness the changing topography and the change from Sal to Teak forest. Stop after seven kilometres at Kanchighat for lunch aside a stream. After lunch the trail follows the banks of the Denwa River for a further six kilometres. The mobile camp set up exclusively for you will be on a sandy beach adjacent to the river. Look out for the Indian Giant Squirrel. The camp is fully catered and an evening meal under the stars will be served tonight.

Day 10

Satpura Walking Safari (Second Day)
Breakfast will be served on the river bank at 7am. The walking today will continue along the banks of the Denwa River and through some stunning woodland. The scenery is a mixture of high sand banks and narrow waterways. There is a confluence with the Bainganga River. Depending on water levels there may be some wading required to reach the lunch camp at Jhela, nine kilometres away. There is a steep cliff that is a nesting site for the endangered Indian Vultures in this area. After lunch continue six kilometres, leaving the river bank behind and walking through deciduous woodland to reach Manakachar, home to your tented camp for the final night in nature.

Day 11

Satpura to Bhopal
After breakfast at Manakachar camp, return to the Reni Pani Lodge for a comfort stop and a leisurely lunch before driving to Bhopal. On the journey stop off at the impressive rock art cave complex at Bhimbetka.


Visit to the Bhimbetka Caves
Visit the rock shelters of Bhimbetka. Containing the Indian Subcontinent's oldest and richest collection of prehistoric artwork, Bhimbetka's caves number more than 700, with around 500 of these decorated by ancient paintings. Depicting scenes that include ceremonies, hunting, religious rites and childbirth, these colourful cave murals span a range of eras, with the oldest images dating back around 12,000 years.

Hugging the banks of Upper Lake and located right in the heart of India, Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state, Madhya Pradesh. Known as the City of Lakes, due to the number of natural and artificial lakes, Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities in India. Many people stopover here as the gateway to the wildlife parks of Central India and for those who wish to explore the extensive textiles industries that thrive here.


This evening a farewell dinner will be hosted at Jehan Numa Palace


You will be staying at Jehan Numa Palace, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Morning at leisure


Visit to Sanchi
Set out to see the site of Sanchi, which sits atop a hill, around an hour from Bhopal. Overlooking the plains below, Sanchi comprises a group of remarkable Buddhist monuments. The highlight of this ancient complex is undoubtedly the 'Great Stupa', which is the oldest stone structure in India.

Dating back more than 2,000 years, this vast domed building was constructed as a sign of repentance by Emperor Ashoka, following his conversion to Buddhism. Gradually forgotten as Hinduism replaced Buddhism as the country's major religion, it wasn't until the early 19th century that this magnificent structure was rediscovered.

Fly Bhopal to Mumbai


You will be staying at Taj Santacruz, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Suggested Flight Departure
Jet Airways operate two flights a day from Mumbai to London Heathrow. Either opt to take the early morning departure on the 15th March. Jet Airways 9W120, departing 02:25 arriving local time London 07:00. You will not require an overnight stay at Mumbai airport.

Alternatively the 9W116 departs at 09:25 the same morning, arriving home to London at 13:55. You will require an overnight stay at the Taj SantaCruz on the 14th March.

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is a city teeming with culture, architecture and people. Famous for its diversity, this vast metropolis has suffered from religious tensions during recent years, but this has done little to limit the surprisingly liberal attitudes of many 'Mumbaikars'.

Having boomed as a port during the 18th and 19th century, Mumbai is rich with colonial architecture, whilst towering contemporary structures underline the city's recent prosperity. Contrasting strongly with these are the city's slums, which make up large parts of this modern city and serve as a reminder of the mixed fortunes of its residents.


We suggest Jet Airways flight from Mumbai. Please contact us to make onward arrangements.

Fly Mumbai to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge

Reni Pani Jungle Lodge is a small but perfectly formed camp, situated in the buffer zone of Satpura National Park in Central India....

View Accommodation

Pench Tree Lodge

Pench Tree Lodge

Pench Tree Lodge is a most extraordinary bed in Pench National Park....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of India

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Kartikeya Singh

Kartikeya Singh
Kartikeya is a keen photographer and naturalist. He has worked as a consultant with award-winning BBC series- Natural World and Planet Earth - with over 300 days of filming under his belt. His guiding skills have been nationally recognised with an award given for the Best Lodge Naturalist in 2010. In the capacity as a researcher, he has written for many publications, as well as eight years of field research including the Earth watch research team. Specific to Gujarat, he has worked for many years in the field or research and education, monitoring the ecology and biodiversity of both Gir National Park and Little Rann of Kutch. This makes Kartikey a real expert for this tour.

Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 12

Tour Expert:

Kartikeya Singh

Departure Date (S):

  • 3rd March 2019

  • Active -  The pace of this tour will involve a variety of activities throughout the duration of the itinerary, expect long days and very little time at leisure.


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