Tailor-Made Holiday

India Tiger Safari - Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh

Private game drives in Central Indian Tiger Reserves

16 days

from £3,850pp (excluding flights)

For anyone with a passion for Indian wildlife spend 14 days visiting three tiger parks; Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh, all of which are exceptional national parks in their own right.

  • Experience up to 14 game drives, accompanied by lodge naturalists
  • Explore the reserves by boat and jeep - private permits available
  • Take game drives in Pench, famous for its leopard sightings
  • Track tigers in India's most beautiful park - Kanha
  • Spend four days at Bandhavgarh - India's most prolific tiger reserve

The tiger experts at Steppes Travel have years of experience in planning private safaris in India and know how to deal with frustrating bureaucracy to ensure everything runs smoothly. Planning your itinerary to avoid weekends and public holidays where possible, but most importantly, creating an Indian wildlife holiday that suits your individual requirements. To ensure the best game drive allocations book early and Steppes Travel will advise you where private vehicles are possible, thus maximising the enjoyment via access to an exclusive naturalist. For true tiger enthusiasts short on time, there is a permit available, which allows a full day's access to the park with relaxed restrictions from dusk till dawn. Although it has a rather steep government price tag attached, it is the best way of increasing your odds of exceptional, unrushed tiger sightings, without the distraction of other vehicles.

On this trip, game drives are accompanied by your lodge naturalist, with the option to visit local community projects and witness village life in all three locations. When moving between parks there will be a personal driver on hand to ensure a comfortable and safe road journey. Accommodation on this trip ranges from small simple lodges to luxury African style camps, offering a range of dining options and spa facilities. The naturalists are lodge based, and all have been trained to a high standard - many have taken the 'Taj & Beyond' training programme, originating from Africa.

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

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3850 £ 650
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Mumbai overnight

Day 2

Half day city tour
Visit the Gateway of India, The Prince of Wales Museum, the Victoria Terminus and Dhobi ghats. Mumbai’s most famous landmark, The Gateway of India, was designed by George Wikket and built to commemorate the visit of King George V in 1911. Through this magnificent monument, numerous viceroys and governors were welcomed to India as they disembarked from their steamers, hence the name.
The Prince of Wales museum stands not too far from the Gateway of India. It has a priceless collection of art, sculpture, china and other antics. Carefully preserved, this mid-Victorian Gothic style building built in 1904 with beautiful gardens surrounding it, is worth visiting in Mumbai. The Victoria Terminus, or VT as it is known, is the railway station and considered the most beautiful edifice in Mumbai.

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.

You will be staying at Oberoi Mumbai, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Fly Mumbai to Nagpur

Travel from Nagpur to Pench

The drive to Pench is approximately 1.5 hours. If traffic allows, you arrive in time for an afternoon game drive today.

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.

You will be staying at Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Full board

Day 4

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives in Pench National Park
Whilst at Pench, wildlife viewing into the National Park will be by Jeep. Nature walks are also an option in the buffer zone.

You will be staying at Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Full board

Day 5

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives in Pench National Park
Whilst at Pench, wildlife viewing into the National Park will be by Jeep. Nature walks are also an option in the buffer zone.

You will be staying at Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Full board

Day 6

Travel between Pench and Kanha

Depart early morning for the three to four hour drive to Kanha National Park. Arrive in time for lunch and afternoon game drives.

Kanha is considered by some, as India’s greatest park and provides a diverse habitat to support many mammal and bird species. The densely forested hills of sal and bamboo combined with grassy plateaus and extensive meadows in the valleys make an attractive setting for a safari. The sheer size and remoteness also means that Kanha is often less busy than other parks and now that vehicle numbers are limited and advance booking is recommended, it offers a superior safari experience. Kanha is home to barasingha, chital, wild boar, sloth bears, jungle cats, wild dogs, leopards and the Bengal tiger.

Under Project Tiger, Kanha was divided into two major zones; the inner core and surrounding buffer. Approximately 25% of the reserve is accessible for tourism. Three entry gates service the reserve: Kisli on the western side received the most attention in the 1990's and has witnessed a boom of hotels and lodges; Mukki in the south, is a quieter gate with a handful of lodges, and Sarhi in the north has just opened to encourage vehicle dispersal.

It is estimated that the reserve is home to 114 tigers, which given the size of the area, is a reasonably healthy population.

Morning and afternoon safaris are undertaken by jeep and you are accompanied by an English speaking naturalist (usually employed by the camp you are staying in) and an official park guide who you collect at the entrance to the park. Their English generally isn’t very good but they have the sharpest eyes and a very tuned ear.

Afternoon Game Drive
After a buffet lunch at your lodge, take your first game drive in Kanha national park . The jeeps leave around 3pm. Again your naturalist will accompany you.

You will be staying at Shergarh Tented Camp, Full board

Day 7

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
Each day enjoy morning and evening jeep drives inside Kanha National Park. Leave the lodge after early morning tea/coffee at around 5:45 am with a picnic breakfast. Mornings are often cold inside the forest and slowly warm up as the sun rises. Blankets will be provided from the lodge to keep your legs warm. You will stay in the reserve until midday, when it closes during the hottest part of the day.Time for lunch and a swim before returning to the reserve when it opens again mid afternoon and stay there until dusk.

You will be staying at Shergarh Tented Camp, Full board

Day 8

Activities at Kanha National Park
Enjoy both a morning and an evening jeep drive inside the reserve. Leave the lodge at around 5:45 am with a picnic breakfast, you will stay in the reserve until midday, when it closes during the hottest part of the day. Return to the reserve when it opens again mid afternoon and stay there until dusk.

These are, of course, all optional - and there may be times when you may wish to relax - but it goes without saying that the more you do, the more you'll see.

You will be staying at Shergarh Tented Camp, Full board

Day 9

Travel from Kanha to Bandhavgarh

After lunch drive to Bandhavgarh National Park. Depending on road conditions this journey takes between 5 - 7 hours. Arrive in time for a sundowner and a hearty supper.

Situated in hill country, this scenic park was once the hunting reserve of the Maharajas of Rewa. The setting of Bandhavgarh is impressive, the park taking its name from an ancient fort perched on top of high cliffs. If the sole reason for visiting a national park in India is to sight a tiger, then the first choice for many is Bandhavgarh. Spend at least a couple of days here and tiger sightings are almost guaranteed, as the park is relatively small with a high density of tigers. As well as tigers, there is also ample prey, alongside leopards.

Early morning and afternoon game drives are by jeep, but when tigers are positively sighted in the forest, elephant-back is the best way to get as close to them as possible. If visiting Bandhavgarh under time constraints, why not organise a VIP photography permit to ensure you maximise the physical time spent in the park? Enter before the public, and have free access all day, in all zones. It is essential to book jeep safaris well in advance.

Afternoon at leisure

You will be staying at Tree House Hideaway, Full board

Day 10

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
Today take two further game drives in Bandhavgarh national park with your naturalist.

You will be staying at Tree House Hideaway, Full board

Day 11

Bandhavgarh Fort visit
The charm of this walk lies in discovering these monuments in the jungle, unspoilt and unexplored. The natural ramparts of the fort give breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the park. Vultures wheel around the precipice which also attracts blue rock thrushes and crag martins.

Morning and Afternoon Game Viewing in Bandhavgarh National Park

You will be staying at Tree House Hideaway, Full board

Day 12

Drive from Bandhavgarh National Park to Khajuraho

Leave Bandhavgarh National Park and travel to Khajuraho, which is approximately six hours away.

Often referred to as the 'Kama Sutra Temple', Khajuraho is famed for the erotic carvings that adorn its beautiful Hindu and Jain temples. Split into three distinct groups of buildings, Khajuraho contains some of the finest temple art in the world. Although only 10% of the friezes illustrate sexual acts, it is these explicit sculptures that garner most attention, perhaps for the imaginative scenarios that they depict.

Built during the 10th and 11th centuries, these exotic Chandela-era temples were lost to the jungle after the decline of the Chandela dynasty. By the time of their rediscovery in the 19th century, just 22 of the original 85 temples remained.

You will be staying at The Lalit Temple View, Bed & Breakfast

Day 13

Short Visit to the Temples
Briefly explore some of the temples that make up Khajuraho's famous temple complex. Have the chance to admire some of the site's finest carvings, including an array of deities, couples and erotic scenes.

You will be staying at The Lalit Temple View, Bed & Breakfast

Day 14

Fly Khajuraho to Delhi

You will be staying at Claridges, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Delhi may be one of the world's largest metropolises, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl. Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples. Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which - with its colonially-designed buildings, - is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.

Tour of Old and New Delhi
Take a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi and enjoy its chaotic charms. See the different ingredients that make up paan, betel leaf stimulant, and meet the pigeon fancier and experience a truly unique activity kabootar baazi.

Visit New Delhi, built as the imperial capital of India by the British and laid out according to the master plans of the great colonial architect Lutyens. In contrast to Old Delhi, it is a city of wide boulevards, formal parks, magnificent Parliament Building, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India in the 330 acres of land and designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens) and India Gate. Also visit Humayun’s Tomb, built in the 16th century and creating a precedent for subsequent Moghul architecture such as the Taj Mahal.

Freshen Up at Airport Hotel
Transfer to a nearby airport hotel for a short briefing and a chance to freshen up, before catching the connecting flight.

Day 16

Fly Delhi to London


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

Shergarh Tented Camp

Shergarh Tented Camp

Shergarh is a peaceful jungle camp nestled around a spring-fed lake on the edge of Kanha Tiger Reserve....

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Oberoi Mumbai

Oberoi Mumbai

Located in the heart of Mumbais business district, this elegant luxury hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea offers impeccable service, understated luxury and excellent facilities including an exclusive spa and fitness center by Banyan Tree....

View Accommodation

Jamtara Wilderness Camp

Jamtara Wilderness Camp

Jamtara Wilderness Camp is a 10-tented property situated in the village of Jamtara, close to Pench National Park....

View Accommodation

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

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.

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