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Eric007

Hello,

 

My wife and I went on safari in India this April and wanted to share a little about our trip in case it helps someone else.  We were there from April 7 to April 23 2018.

Our trip went as follows:

2 nights Oberoi - Delhi

4 nights Kings Lodge - Bandhavgarh

4 nights Flame of the Forest - Kanha

3 nights Bamboo Forest - Tadoba

1 night Trident - Agra

2 nights Oberoi - Delhi

 

The trip was booked through Legends and Palaces.

 

All photos were shot on a 7Dii and a Tamron 150-600 G2, no post.

 

We started out in Delhi after a long flight.  The Oberoi was fantastic for relaxing and catching up on sleep.  The service was great, as was the food, though expensive.  The room was one of the best we have stayed in.  We did a city tour of Delhi on the first day.  The sights of Delhi we were not overly impressed with.  Most of them had been destroyed by past generations (Humayan's tomb).  Our favorite part of Delhi was driving around "old city" in a rickshaw.  It was a pretty wild drive in Delhi.  No one cares about traffic lights, lanes or anything else, and there will be honking, lots of it.  We had a good time just taking in the vibes in Delhi while riding around in the rickshaw, even though we thought we might get run over multiple times.

 

We then flew to from Delhi to Jabalpur, then drove to Bandhavgarh.  We did 6 drives in Bandhavgarh.  We stayed at Kings Lodge which we enjoyed.  The rooms were comfortable and the food was very good.  We found the atmosphere at Kings to be a little "rigid".  We prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, but it wasn't uncomfortable.  The lodge didn't used bottled water, which we were a little concerned about, but we had no issue with the water from their filling stations.

 

The guides in Bandhavgarh were a bit aggressive when a tiger was on the road.  They drove like madmen and scared the tiger.  We did not agree with this and left the area.  We did see tigers on every drive and many other animals.  We enjoyed the Tala zone, as it was more green, but we saw tigers in all three zones.  Our first wild tiger was the Patiha female (T5).  She was in the high grass and didn't stay long, but she will always be special to us. She had a limp when we saw her that was believed to have come from one of her adult daughters.  We then saw Spotty's cubs (T41).  They were super lazy and just laid around and played in the water.  On the bridge from the Magadhi zone to the lodge, we saw the Mahaman female (T24) with 3 cubs.  They were near the villages in the marshland and had taken down a cow right next to the road.  On the last day we saw the Tara Pond Female and then Spotty (T41). 

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Next we drove to Kanha and stayed at Flame of the Forest for 6 drives.  Flame had a great, laid back atmosphere and was very small.  Staff and guests would sit around and tell about sights and travels before dinner.  Normally, we stick to ourselves, but we really enjoyed the pre-dinner chats.  The rooms weren't luxurious but had everything we needed and were very comfortable.  Unfortunately, we had uncharacteristically rainy weather during our 5 days, but such is safari.  We saw one tiger during our stay at great distance.  We searched more for other wildlife and birds, but still had a bit of a difficult time.  However, the park is stunning.  Kanha was the most beautiful park we visited: large, green Sal forests and huge meadows.

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Our last safari stop was Tadoba.  Tadoba was our favorite park.  We stayed at Bamboo Forest, which was pretty luxurious for a safari lodge, and did 5 drives.  Our naturalist, Raj, was fantastic.  He was always able to find tigers, but would take us to try find other wildlife that we wanted to see.  Tadoba was very hot, 115f (46c).  It was very dry and there was no tree cover.  There was also a lot of dust, a whole lot of dust.  That being said, the sightings were outstanding and the guiding was the best we had in India.  We saw the famous Maya (T12) and her two cubs on our first drive.  We watched as her cubs played and then she tried to kill  a sambar that was at the water hole, but wasn't able to catch it.  The cubs were funny to watch as one would take high ground and jump on top of the other, then they would slap each other.  We also saw Matkasur (T54), who was the only male we saw.  He was massive, made the females look like cubs.  He was at a waterhole where there were some workers expanding the waterhole.  They had a look out that would alert them if Matkasur moved, then they would all run into the elevated tiger stand.  Pretty funny to watch, especially because he was pretty far from where they were working, safety first.  We saw the two male cubs of Choti Tara (T7) as they tried to stalk a Guar.  They were a little young to try and attack an adult male Guar.  The Guar stood his ground and stared at the cubs, then charged them.  That was enough for the cubs, as they walked off and laid down to go to sleep.  Lastly we saw Junabai and her three cubs.  This was my favorite sighting for the whole trip.  We were the only ones there and the cubs were being really ornery, especially with their mother.  They kept jumping on her and swatting her.  She would push them down and swat them, but they didn't stop.  It reminded me of lions in Africa and how they play all of the time.

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After safari we went to the Taj Mahal.  The Taj Mahal was great, very intricate.  We were a little worried after visiting some of the sights in Delhi because they had all pretty much been destroyed.  We also really enjoyed the Agra Fort because there were many different rooms that were made of different materials.  The Fort was more historic than the Taj, and had more to see, which made it more interesting to us.  Other than the Taj and Fort, Agra is an absolute dump, but we were glad we saw those two sights.

 

Hope you guys enjoyed and/or can use it for a trip.  I can answer/clarify anything.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

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Zubbie15

Wow the tigers really came out for you. I’m hoping we’ll have similar luck when we visit next year!  Thanks for sharing.

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penolva

Well done great sightings. Hope for the same next February. Pen

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AKR1

Thanks for taking the time to do this trip report. You had very nice sightings and the details on the different parks with your photography made for a concise, useful report. This will be quite helpful to others planning a similar tiger- centric Indian safari. 

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Botswanadreams

Thanks @Eric007 for your report. We had in February the same experience in Bandhavgarh. It looks like Tigers a guarantee on every safari. In Kanha we also saw only one tiger during five safaris.    

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janzin

Nice report and looks like Tadoba really came out for you! So many cubs! And Matkusur, we also saw him on our first India trip and in fact that's him in my avatar :) Do you have any photos of him?

 

Interesting about Kanha because we also only saw one tiger briefly in six safaris, it also was very quiet generally...but yes its a beautiful park.

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xelas

@Eric007excellent photography, specially as they are SOOC. Would you be willing to tell a bit more about logistics: the company used, the transfers, and above all I have heard Taj Mahal is covered with scaffolding?! I am planning a similar trip similar time next year so interested in those details. Thanks for this report, and any future posts.

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Botswanadreams
1 hour ago, xelas said:

all I have heard Taj Mahal is covered with scaffolding

They are cleaning the Taj Mahal in 2018 step by step the second time after it was build. It should be finished in the next weeks. You shouldn't be affected in 2019.  

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xelas
10 minutes ago, Botswanadreams said:

They are cleaning the Taj Mahal in 2018 step by step the second time after it was build. It should be finished in the next weeks. You shouldn't be affected in 2019.  

 

Tha is a great info! It means that in 2019 it will be as white as possible?! So perfect time to visit and photograph.

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Botswanadreams
10 minutes ago, xelas said:

in 2019 it will be as white as possible?!

It is very white too before the cleaning. Our guide showed us the different between cleaned and uncleaned parts. Without knowing you wouldn't see and especially on a pic from distance for the whole building. I'm still not through with my pics from Agra to explain which part was already cleaned in March 2018. 

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Eric007
1 hour ago, xelas said:

@Eric007excellent photography, specially as they are SOOC. Would you be willing to tell a bit more about logistics: the company used, the transfers, and above all I have heard Taj Mahal is covered with scaffolding?! I am planning a similar trip similar time next year so interested in those details. Thanks for this report, and any future posts.

@xelas we used legends&palaces run by VP Singh, they are an Indian TO.  We had no issues and would use them again.  As far as transfers..

flew from Delhi to Jabalpur and drove to Bandhavgarh, 2-3 hour drive.  Then drove to Kanha from Bandhavgarh, a 4-5 hour drive.  Then from Kanha to Tadoba, a 5-6 hour drive.  We then flew from Nagpur back to Delhi, Tadoba to Nagpur was about an hour and a half.  We drove from Delhi to Agra, 3-4 hours.  The distances aren’t very far but the tourist vehicles drive VERY slowly...they dont go over 80km.  Plus, the roads are bad in parts.  As far as the Taj, I would say it was very white when we went.  The only scaffolding we saw was at the main gate where people love to take photos in the archway...a bit of a bummer...but there was no scaffolding on the Taj itself.  Hope this helps.  Feel free to ask anything.

cheers

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Eric007
20 hours ago, janzin said:

Nice report and looks like Tadoba really came out for you! So many cubs! And Matkusur, we also saw him on our first India trip and in fact that's him in my avatar :) Do you have any photos of him?

 

Interesting about Kanha because we also only saw one tiger briefly in six safaris, it also was very quiet generally...but yes its a beautiful park.

I just uploaded all the decent pictures we have of Matkasur.  He was a good ways off and the rangers were clearing everyone out because the park was closing.

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janzin

Thanks, he's still a huge guy! Wow!

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monalisa

Amazing photos!!! You got some incredible sightings. 

 

May I ask, what is this?!?! Is this a snake eating a snake??? 

 

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Eric007
1 hour ago, monalisa said:

Amazing photos!!! You got some incredible sightings. 

 

May I ask, what is this?!?! Is this a snake eating a snake??? 

 

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Yes,  checkered keelback eating green keelback.  

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