The unforgettable thrill of spotting tiger in the jungle beneath the ruins of an ancient hill fort. Tracking leopards over rolling hills and rock kopjes guided by pioneering conservationists. A camel safari amid pristine desert dunes in the company of traditional crimson turbaned Rabari herdsmen.
This 12 day journey, staying in highly personalised and exceptionally comfortable tented camps, takes you through the changing wild landscapes of India’s Rajasthan to discover some of India's most iconic big cats.
Wildlife enthusiasts wanting a taste of India's culture will love this combination of safari and exploring Rajasthan off the beaten track. One of India’s first and prime Project Tiger reserves, Ranthambore is the obvious place to look for tiger. This former private royal hunting ground is quickly and comfortably reached by car or train from Delhi.
Travelling west, after bird watching on the lakes at Shahpura, the plains of Jawai studded with gigantic smooth granite hills provide the perfect habitat for leopard. Staying in a luxurious tented camp you track them by jeep and on foot aided by tribal Rabari herders.
Finally, making a camel safari and crossing the wilderness of the vast Thar Desert the trip ends in the fabled golden city and frontier town of Jaisalmer.
DAY 1 -2
ARRIVAL IN RANTHAMBHORE
Following a short stop in Delhi you quickly leave the chaos of the capital behind and head for the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges and Ranthambhore national park in eastern Rajasthan. After lunch in camp you'll begin your private safari by jeepwith expert guide in search of tiger. Other animals commonly seen are wild boar, deer, antelope and monkey.
DAY 3 - 4
TRACKING THE TIGER
Rising early, after a steaming cup of chai brought to your tent, head out again from Sher Bagh into the dry tropical forests dotted with banyan trees and flame of the forest, splashing the canopy with their bright orange blooms. Jackal, mongoose, striped hyena, sloth bear and leopard also roam the forests and in winter, thousands of birds migrate from Europe and Siberia making Ranthambhore an ornithologist’s paradise.
DAY 3 - 4
EAT OUT UNDER THE STARS
After breakfast explore the ruins of the 8th century fort atop a ridge in the heart of Ranthambhore's tiger territory. There are superb views of the reserve from the battlements. Make a final afternoon game drive before dinner under the stars.
OASIS AT SHAHPURA BAGH
Take the road less travelled through rural Rajasthan and stop for a couple of nights at Shahpura Bagh. Surrounded by lakes, orchards and pasture land, relax at this oasis retreat or explore the traditional farm, nearby village or local temple with your charming hosts. With dozens of lakes, Shahpura is a bird watching paradise with over 180 species of birds. Activities include boating, photography, walks and sundowners adjacent to the numerous lakes.
DAY 6 - 8
TRACKING LEOPARD AT JAWAI
Return to the wilderness and Jawai, amid scrub and granite hills where Rabari shepherds lead their flocks, respecting and living in harmony with the leopard. In the late afternoon explore the rocky landscape by open jeep and on foot in search of leopard. Their camouflage is superb so the keen eye of your expert guide and binoculars are essential but a mother and cubs may reveal themselves as they enjoy the last of the day’s sun.
DAY 6 - 8
LUXURY TENTED CAMP
Start out by dawn in the hope of a sunrise sighting – pugmarks in the night dampened soil may indicate where a leopard may spend the rest of the day. By late morning you’ll be relaxing in the comfort of camp, followed by lunch made from ingredients picked fresh from the organic garden. Explore the surrounding area with the Rabari, head to Jawai Bandh, one of one of Rajasthan's largest reservoirs, for bird watching or make a further game drive by jeep.
Begin your journey to the desert via the 'blue city' of Jodhpur where the mighty Meherangarh Fort towers over the painted houses below. Visit the massive cliff top fort and explore its intricately decorated red sandstone palace with a museum packed with fascinating royal treasures belonging to the former maharajas.
DAY 10 - 12
INTO THE DESERT
Drive to the most westerly part of Rajasthan and over the next couple of days explore the medieval fortified city of Jaisalmer, a former trade town on the camel caravan routes between India and Central Asia that rises from the sands of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage and spend the evenings with sundowners among the pristine dunes.
Finally, return to Delhi for your flight home.
A NOTE FROM ANDREA
HISTORY & CONSERVATION FAMILY STORY
The family at the heart of these SUJAN camps and lodges in Rajasthan has been actively involved in Indian wildlife conservation for more than 40 years. The great-grandson of Sardar Sobha Singh, the man who built New Delhi along with Edwin Lutyens, Jaisal Singh first came to Ranthambhore tiger reserve in 1974 when he was just eight years old. His conservationist parents filmed and documented the diversity of wildlife at the reserve, and helped to raise awareness of the plight of tigers. Jaisal grew up among the big cats, knowing each one by its face and name and listening to stories told by the world’s greatest authorities on wild tigers. SUJAN continues to research and document species behaviour, provide physical practical support to the local Forest Department, work with anti-poaching teams, provide local employment, education and medical camps as well as actively engage with experts, scientists and government officials in relation to wildlife conservation.
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It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.
All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.
"They were incredibly helpful with choosing which camps we should go to and they took extra time to learn about us as a family so that they could be most able to advise us...I found them extremely willing to answer any questions and always responded in an extremely quick manner. Our itinerary went exactly as outlined and was very comforting to have someone every step of the way who was there to facilitate our moves between camps. We felt very lucky to have seen the parts of Kenya that we did and we would have never been able to research enough to affect the same things on our own."
"Natural High provides great personalized service - they have incredible knowledge of Africa, and work with you to focus your interests and match you with an amazing experience. We have always had unbelievable trips with Natural High!"
Best holiday and a true "once in a lifetime" experience
"I've been on many lovely holidays, but have never before had the ultimate luxury of such a personalised itinerary. Natural High Safari's attention to detail and total consideration of our particular requirements was quite simply brilliant! Our guide Joseph taught us more than we could ever have hoped, and my sons are looking forward to taking him on an English Safari, though we'll be sorely challenged to make it remotely as exciting and wonderful as the trip we had with him."
10 reasons to visit Rajasthan