- Visit Gir National Park - the only place in the world to see Asiatic Lions
- Photograph blackbuck and nilgai against the savannah landscapes of Velavadar
- Witness the largest gathering of demoiselle cranes on the planet at Khichan
- See the leopards of Bera and the flamingos in the Little Rann of Kutch
A journey from the thriving city of Mumbai to historical Jodhpur, exploring the colourful western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan along the way. With wildlife as the key focus, visit national parks and reserves such as those at Sasan Gir and the Rann of Kutch, in search of the rare Asiatic Lion and the elusive Ghudkhur (Indian wild ass).
The lions of Gir national park are the only remaining wild Asiatic lions on earth, something not to be missed. Discover Gujarat’s thriving populations of leopard, sloth bear, wolf, and blackbuck, and the wetlands of this state support huge congregations of birds, making the bird watching here excellent. For birders, there are several regional endemics and globally threatened species to seek out.
After exploring Gujarat, cross the border into the northeast state of Rajasthan. From here explore the remote region surrounding Bera, one of the best places to see leopard, who make their homes in the caves of the Aravalli hills. Phalodi, near Jodhpur, brings the wildlife experience to a close with the spectacular show of the migratory demoiselle cranes.
Engage in cultural experiences, visiting the famous blue city of Jodhpur and villages, home to the Rabari tribes. Learn about the Maldharis of Gujarat and the Rabaris of Rajasthan who have lived for many years amongst the predators of lion and leopard respectively.
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 we have found just that. With over 300 days filming under his belt with the BBC, and over a decade of field research specific to Gujarat, monitoring the ecology of both Gir National Park and Little Rann of Kutch, Kartikeya is a confirmed expert for this tour.
WHY DOES THIS TOUR OFFER VALUE FOR MONEY?
Aside from our expert Kartikeya, the major draw of this tour is the excellent chance of seeing lion, leopard, nilgai, blackbuck, wolf, striped hyena, flamingo, and Ghudkhur, plus large gatherings of marsh harrier and demoiselle cranes in an unrushed manner. There are successful conservation programmes running and many of the local lodge owners are key to their success with their conservation efforts. Shantrunjay Pratap, the owner of Bera Safari Lodge, is a passionate conservationist and a major reason why leopards have survived and thrived in Bera. There will always be opportunities to explore issues with the hosts.
Where possible we have secured accommodation offering a high standard of comfort, including the Raas in Jodhpur, Taj Gateway in Sasan Gir, and the Lalit in Mumbai with all meals included. There are wonderful dining opportunities to be had, including the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace at Jodhpur, lunch with a backdrop of the Mehrangarh Fort whilst dining at Raas, and al fresco bush style evenings arranged whilst on safari.
WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN WEST INDIA?
During this tour, you will stay in a carefully selected range of small lodges in Gujarat and five-star properties in Mumbai and Jodhpur. The comfort of both the Taj and the Lalit will ensure the tour starts with a soft landing. Generally, Gujarat hotel standards are lower than the more visited areas of India with limited choice and availability. We believe we have confirmed the best available and we are confident the owners have a commitment to conservation tourism.
HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO ENJOY THIS TOUR?
General overall fitness is required. The tour covers a lot of ground and there are two longer road journeys, which are unavoidable. During the jeep safaris both in Gir National Park and Little Rann of Kutch you need to be comfortable getting in and out of high clearance vehicles.
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.
Due to the remoteness of certain elements of this tour the accommodation whilst in Bera is a small lodge with only five rooms and three tents, therefore, we must cap our single supplement to a maximum of three places. 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 WEST INDIA IN DECEMBER?
Warm sunny days with cooler nights. December has average temperatures sitting at around 30 degrees, dropping to 14 degrees at night. December is a good time to see the wild Asiatic lions of Gir and the migratory birds of Khichan.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN GUJARAT AND RAJASTHAN?
Both regions have a distinctive cuisine. Gujarat cuisine offers a wide selection of vegetarian dishes and often served on a lovely silver platter. A combination of different spices is used in cooking and this is what makes Gujarati food truly exotic with sweet notes dominating many dishes, such as Gujarati Kadhi (curry). Another traditional dish is the Gujarati thali, consisting of roti, dal, rice, and Shaak (a dish made up of several different combinations of vegetable and spices).
Most of Rajasthani cuisine came to fruition because of the arid conditions. It comprises food and recipes which can last for days and even years. Dal baati churma is the state’s classic signature dishm, a hard unleavened bread cooked in the desert areas. Rajasthani traditional sweets are delicious with Malupa being a must-try before leaving this region.
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 travelling from Jodhpur allows a short extension to visit the Taj Mahal and Jaipur.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.