Jump to content

A dream of wild India, finally realized: February 2016


janzin

Recommended Posts

janzin

Thanks all for the kind comments. Writing this got me all excited to return and so I have just now contacted Wild World India to start planning trip #2 (but it unfortunately won't be for over a year from now--looks like February 2018!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 117
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • janzin

    46

  • Galana

    17

  • Atravelynn

    10

  • michael-ibk

    9

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The next morning we got our first taste of dealing with domestic India air travel. Luckily, Abishek had procured our boarding passes in advance, because the lines for check-in were astronomically long

I'm sure you're wondering--did we see more tigers??   On our first morning in the park--the drive following our initial drive with Maya--we weren't driving too long when Rajen said--"tiger in the ro

I'm sure we saw other animals and many birds on that first afternoon, but it was eclipsed by seeing our first tiger. In fact, given that I really don't have day-by-day notes, I'm just going to give a

michael-ibk

Thanks for an outstanding report, @@janzin . It really was a pleasure to "return" to India with you. Magnificent photos all around. Good to see Tarun again, and I´m glad you were happy with his services.

 

Certainly get your points about Wild Grass Lodge. I probably liked it a bit more than you did, but unsafe cars are absolutely unacceptable - especially in a park like Kaziranga where Elephants and Rhinos can get quite cranky.

 

Oh, that He-Man 3000 beer - some of these days I will have to import some bottles, the most incredible "beer" I´ve ever "enjoyed. Drunk now just from looking at it. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

What a great report and a nice chance to meet up with Tarun again. I had complete forgotten about He-Man 3000.

 

Your photos during the registration process are impressive and show the kind of rhino action that Kaziranga can deliver.

 

I hope tiger sightings in Kaziranga become more common. Good job, you saw one.

 

What a magnificent elephant crossing the road with giant tusks and a floral background.

 

Nice job with the Great Hornbill. I'm sure your bushwhacking to get to it frightened away the snakes.

 

 

How did your backs do with the ele ride in pursuit of rhino? I know how the rhino sightings turned out--excellent and lots of them. During the ele ride, I "heard" crackling paper in my ears. Obviously my ele-mates were not wadding up paper balls. I think it had to do with my spine. Never had that before or since.

 

Our vehicles were not dangerous in my recollection. That's not good and cannot be laughed off like some of the other shortfalls at Wild Grass. And I really don't remember a circuit board in the room like you photographed.

 

Nice to see you are going back.

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
janzin

@@Atravelynn thanks for reading through! And your comments! How could you forget He-Man 9000! So disappointed that its not exported (NOT!)

 

I don't recall that we had any problems with our backs after the elephant ride--surprisingly so! I fully expected to be hunched over and incapacitated, and we had about 24 hours of travel to look forward to (as our journey looked like this: 6:30 a.m. elephant ride directly to-->five hour drive back to Gwahati-->plane to Delhi-->six hours in Delhi airport-->8 hr plane to AMS-->five hours in Schipol-->8 hours back to JFK :o Start the day on elephant and end it in NYC taxi, as it were.

 

But we survived more or less intact!

 

Oh that circuit board was a riot. Another guest we talked with had the same thing (he had also taken a photo!) Perhaps you were in a different building?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Was it 9000 or 3000? I don't like or drink beer so I don't recall. But the He-Man part had me laughing.

 

I may have been in a different building without a crazy circuit board or maybe I was just too tired at the end of each day to notice. I might have just worn my headlamp and to heck with the light switch. Yikes!

 

The ele ride was quite the start to a marathon day. Hope you can sleep on the plane. You wouldn't have wanted to sleep on the ele! Anyway, it is all worth it for such a grand adventure!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Galana

I had difficulty standing at the dismount place after my ellie ride. My legs had gone to sleep (my eyes had not!!) Not sure if it was 'sea legs' or the extra wide "straddling" required that was to blame.

I liked Wildgrass and had no real complaints. @@janzin. Yes it was my phrase 'designer dilapidated' that you found so apt. Our light switch by the bathroom looked pretty much like the one in your photo. It gave me no qualms. However there was an 'extra' junction box unit on the cupboard top for power plugs etc., that was perhaps below standard.

Comfort was superb. I had the best night's sleep there of the trip. It was really hard to get the old frame moving again each morning.

No problems with the staff or the food during our four night stay. Our vehicle was fine and never missed a beat. My only observation was the anti roll bar was set at exactly the wrong height and could have been lethal to a forehead coming into sharp contact. We wrapped a rug around it.

Given all the plus factors on our trip I wonder if it is something to do with the TO on allocation?

I don't recall any HeMan 9000. I think we had another brand. Assam has strange licensing laws from the rest of India.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

 

oops, can't delete.
Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

The rug is a brilliant idea, @@Galana

 

 


. My only observation was the anti roll bar was set at exactly the wrong height and could have been lethal to a forehead coming into sharp contact. We wrapped a rug around it.
Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
janzin

Was it 9000 or 3000? I don't like or drink beer so I don't recall. But the He-Man part had me laughing. As the photo indicates it was definitely "9000" although I don't really think the number has any significance! Maybe there is also a 3000 and the 9000 is even stronger? I actually didn't drink it but Alan didn't think it was particularly strong--or particularly good!

 

I may have been in a different building without a crazy circuit board or maybe I was just too tired at the end of each day to notice. I might have just worn my headlamp and to heck with the light switch. Yikes!

 

The ele ride was quite the start to a marathon day. Hope you can sleep on the plane. You wouldn't have wanted to sleep on the ele! Anyway, it is all worth it for such a grand adventure! Indeed well worth it! I'm not sure if we slept on the plane but we sure slept for a few days when we got home :)

 

 

Given all the plus factors on our trip I wonder if it is something to do with the TO on allocation? I highly doubt it as Wild World India uses Wild Grass a lot and in fact the owner is friends with Vikram (owner of WWI.) Perhaps we were just unlucky with the vehicle but as I noted, another guest had similar issues; and even if some of the vehicles might be fine, the fact that they let one (or more) go out in such disrepair is rather negligent.

 

I don't recall any HeMan 9000. I think we had another brand. Assam has strange licensing laws from the rest of India. Ah, your loss, as it made quite the conversation piece :)

 

I'm glad you had no issues at Wild Grass, and I know Lynn and her group enjoyed it as well, but I felt it was only fair to report what we experienced. We are generally not critical nor do we need a lot of amenities or comforts but when it comes to safety, I do take issue!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

If you drink 3 He-Man 3000s that is equal to a He-Man 9000, which would make you sleep on the plane for sure. Any thoughts on what you might like to include in your 2018 trip?

Link to post
Share on other sites
janzin

@@Atravelynn we are already talking to Vikram re: 2018, it will likely be Gujarat (for Gir and some other parks, not sure which yet) and Rajasthan (Bera, Ranthambore.) I need to go somewhere for more tigers!! It will have to be February as it seems that's the best time--I wish it could be earlier in 2017 but India's best travel season, for wildlife anyway, is short! Vikram said don't go later than mid-March, so February works best. I'm sure I'll be posting queries once we get more into detailed planning, we first just wanted to figure out the approximate dates so that we could then figure out the rest of our travel plans for 2017. Unfortunately (well, not really) Feb 2017 is already scheduled for birding in Cuba!

 

Of course since it can't be until Feb 2018 I need to find something for July or August '17...thinking seriously about Zambia, and maybe Mana pools...but that's another discussion!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

He is right for Gujarat--not too late. You need to get on that planning for 2017 thread.

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
Galana

Why not March - April 2017? My first two trips were 27th March - 16th April and 7th April-28th.

I saw plenty tigers both times. Still dry and the wildlife comes to the water.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Botswanadreams

I would like to say very much thank you @ janzin for your nice trip report and your beautiful pics. You brought India the first time really in my mind. Now I'm a bit fascinated that India could be our first destination outside Africa. The good thing is that my husband agreed with this. A guide book is ordered. Other trip reports and others trip planing I have to read to get an idea what we want to see. Mid January to mid March 2018 could be our time for a first visit to India.

 

ST is a great forum to get ideas around the world. Thanks to all members.

Link to post
Share on other sites
xelas

First rate report, and photos, as expected! After just concluding the Sri Lanka trip ourselves, I have found quite many similarities between the two countries (apart of the tigers and rhinos, obviously!) but my only comment (before posting a TR) is that the jeeps were in much better condition, mostly Mahindra and Tata brand. @@janzin slow down with your 2018 plans as they might change :-))

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Why not March - April 2017? My first two trips were 27th March - 16th April and 7th April-28th.

I saw plenty tigers both times. Still dry and the wildlife comes to the water.

That is perfect timing for tigers in the "tiger parks." But for Gujarat, you don't want it too dry for the species many hope to see there, such as wild asses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Atravelynn....Is there a better time you think for Gujarat for birding? (Since I am new here I hope is ok to ask this question...if not please let me know where it would be appropriate...)

Edited by jilm
Link to post
Share on other sites

India was only a vague thought in my mind--"someday"! I knew I wanted to see tigers, and the myriad of new birds, but it all seemed so foreign and daunting to plan; even more daunting to try to navigate it on our own. I figured that when we finally did go to India, we'd have to go with a group tour, which is really not our style. I'd researched group birding tours, and even inquired about some. But then one day I read the wonderful trip report "Stripes of Wild India" from @@Atravelynn and @@michael-ibk. Maybe, just maybe, it was more feasible and easier than I thought to do India privately?

 

With dreams of tigers and dhole I contacted Wild World India, who had planned Lynn and Michael's trip as well as those of several other SafariTalkers. I did not even bother contacting any other agency as it all fell together so quickly and easily with Vikram of WWI. The price was surprisingly reasonable, much less per day than an Africa trip. At first I had only planned on the central tiger reserves: Tadoba, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh. But after much (well not that much!) deliberating we decided to do Kaziranga as well; which meant cutting out one tiger reserve. In the end, I was a complete copycat :P and essentially booked the same trip as Lynn and Michael with just a couple of less days! And I arranged to have the same highly recommended guides that Lynn and Michael had used: Rajan in Central India, and Tarun at Kaziranga. Within just a couple of weeks it was all settled!

 

Our itinerary was:

 

Day 01/17 Feb 2016/Wed: Arrive Delhi (City tour) (we arrive at 1 in the morning) : Sheraton 4 Points

Day 02/18 Feb 2016/Thu: Fly Delhi to Nagpur, drive to Tadoba : Svasara Jungle Lodge

Day 03 to 05/19 to 21 Feb 2016/Fri to Sun: Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Day 06/22 Feb 2016/Mon: Drive Tadoba to Pench: Tuli Tiger Corridor

Day 07/23 Feb 2016/Tue: Pench Tiger Reserve

Day 08/24 Feb 2016/Wed: Drive Pench to Kanha: Tuli Tiger Corridor

Day 09 to 11/25 to 27 Feb 2016/Thu to Sat: Kanha Tiger Reserve

Day 12/28 Feb 2016/Sun: Drive Kanha to Jabalpur, Fly Delhi: Sheraton 4 Points

Day 13/29 Feb 2016/Mon: Fly Delhi to Guwahati, Drive to Kaziranga: Wild Grass Lodge

Day 14 & 15/1 & 2 Mar 2016/Tue & Wed: Kaziranga

Day 16/3 Mar 2016/Thu: Drive Kaziranga to Guwahati, Fly Delhi & Departure

 

It was all arranged so that we would not miss any game drives during the weekly park closings; we would be traveling during those periods. Perfect!

 

Our arrival via JFK-->Amsterdam-->Delhi on Delta/KLM went smoothly and more or less on time, and we were met cheerfully at the airport by Wild World India's representative, Abishek. By the time we arrived at the Sheraton 4 Points, it was close to 3 a.m. and needless to say we were ready to fall into bed. But, alas, that was not to be because apparently the Sheraton did not have our reservation, and no rooms available! After much argument by Abishek (who assured us it had been booked and paid for and reconfirmed earlier that day--and I believed him 100%) they still could not come up with a room, and so we were shuttled off to the Ibis Hotel. This would not have been a big deal except that it was now past 4 a.m. :(

 

We were due to be picked up at 9:30 for the Delhi tour, but we moved it up to 10:30 so we could get at least a little much needed rest. An inauspicious start, but honestly that was the only minor "hitch" on the entire trip, and the Sheraton made up for it later...

 

After breakfast at the Ibis, were picked up by our guide for our Delhi tour. First stop was the Qutub Minar complex, a 13th century World Heritage site of . I'll spare you the history lesson but for those interested you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb_complex

 

A very picturesque archeological site of minarets and mosques. The Qutub Minar itself is the tallest brick minaret in the world.

 

qutub_minar_8043a%20.jpg

 

 

qutub_minar_8041a%20.jpg

 

 

qutub_minar_8038-1a%20.jpg

 

The carvings on the columns are intricate and beautiful.

 

qutub_minar_8052a%20.jpg

 

 

qutub_minar_8031a%20.jpg

 

Love the layers of colors

 

qutub_minar_8045a%20.jpg

 

The famous Iron pillar of Delhi supposedly never rusts, due to its composition. Its origin is somewhat in debate. http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/incredible-rust-resistant-iron-pillar-delhi-001503

 

qutub_minar_8046a%20.jpg

For those of you waiting for wildlife, we saw our first Indian mammal here, the Three-striped Palm Squirrel

 

three_striped_palm_squirrel_8025a%20.jpg

 

as well as our first Indian life-bird, the Rose-ringed Parakeet. Little did we know how ubiquitous they would be!

 

rose_ringed_parakeet_8074b%20.jpg

I too will get there one day, but I can't seem to get past Africa. It sounds like you have had a wonderful time. I look forward to hearing more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy