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TonyQ

The Inn is about 200m from the entrance gate of the National Park. We were picked up by our guide (Dillip) and taken to meet the cycle rickshaws that are the means of transport in the park.

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There is a long straight track down the centre of the park, with many pools at either side. There are also a number of side tracks where you walk rather than use the cycle rickshaw.

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The main track with cycle rickshaw

 

We were slightly late in the year for peak numbers of migrating birds, but there were still very large numbers of birds present, and many of them could be approached closely.

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Grey Francolin

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Spotted Owlet

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Green Bee-eater

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Spot-billed Duck

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One of the pools showing landscape

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Brahminy Starling

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Darter

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As we were leaving as it was getting dark, we were delighted to glimpse a Golden Jackal on a side track

 

We benefited from having a guide, but it is possible to do it without one – the Rickshaw Drivers know where a lot of the birds are and can recognise many of them.

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We then headed into the forest. We picked up a Forest Guide at the gate, checked a few areas and then headed to a waterhole. We sat very quietly and waited for quite a while. Two other jeeps were also

Delhi (1) After an overnight flight, we had a few hours in Delhi, so visited Hauz Khas – a large park area – for a little birding and relaxation. We didn't go sightseeing as we had been in Delhi

@janzin @offshorebirder @xelas  thank you for following. It is a fascinating destination.   Twilight/Night Drive Number 2   This drive headed off in a different direction to the fi

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TonyQ

Some more wildlife from the next morning

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Egyptian Vulture

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Indian Grey Hornbill

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Purple Sunbird

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Macaque grooming

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Scene with Pelicans

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Bronze-winged Jacana

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TonyQ

Bharatpur-21.jpg.54e787676240548d2a4c584525446f2a.jpg

There were many Grey-headed Swamphen in the park

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Scene with Pelicans

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Painted Stork

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Boa constrictor - the guides know where to find these. They come out of the burrow and sit in the morning sun to warm up

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A return for lunch and then we were collected for the return drive to Delhi. The stay in Bharatpur worked really well for us, the Inn was good and the guide was very good. We would consider going again if we are around Delhi again. All of the arrangements made with The Birder's Inn worked very well and it was very straightforward.

 

The drive back was interesting - a slightly different route in the early part because of a closed road, but the towns were interesting. As we got close to Delhi, the scale of building work was astonishing, with many hundreds, if not thousands of apartment blocks being built in new towns near the highway.

 

We had arranged to have a meal in Delhi, and then be taken to the airport by our driver of a late flight (03.20). When we arrived at the airport we found our flight delayed because of the conflict between India and Pakistan. Pakistan airspace was closed, so we took a longer route home.

 

For us the whole trip worked out very well. We loved Satpura and Forsyth Lodge, and also really enjoyed Kaziranga and Diphlu River Lodge. The Bharatpur addition is very good for birders. We saw a good selection of wildlife and enjoyed the range of activities available.

 

We enjoyed being back in India again and suspect it won't be as long until we revisit.

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Towlersonsafari

What a fine report @TonyQ

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I've just caught up with this report having somehow managed to miss it when it first appeared. I've read it in one go and really enjoyed it. You have some fabulous photographs and you were also so lucky with your sightings. Satpura is such a nice park, isn't it? The fact that the limit is 12 vehicles makes such a difference. I too saw tiger there, just a fleeting shot as it ran through the forest, obviously very disgruntled and growling. The walking sounds great and clearly it's better to go alittle earlier in the year for that. I was there early April (2015) and it was too hot for walking then. One day I'll make it to Kaziranga!

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johnweir

@TonyQ, a wonderful trip report and highly informative. Your images are great too. As I mentioned when you started,  your report came at just the right time for me as I was planning an extended trip to India for February - March 2020. Both parks and lodges are included in my itinerary but as a result of your report I have decided and managed to slightly adjust our activity packages. For example we will now stay overnight at the Churna Forest Rest House in Satpura and do some twilight drives outside the park, which I wasn't aware they did until I read your report. I was aware they are available in the buffer zone at Kanha and had booked those already. 

Would it be possible for you to add a few comments on your tipping experiences in India as I have not visited India before and am not sure of the appropriate protocol or amounts that would be expected. Is it just similar to Africa? Most of our drives are private, will we get a driver and a guide, would we give both the same? $10 per person per day or is that a bit tight? Your comments would be appreciated.

Not being rude but your big snakes are Indian Pythons, nicely marked as well.

Thank you again for a superb report.

Edited by johnweir
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@Towlersonsafari @xelas @Galago Thank you for your comments.

@johnweir thank you for your comments- I am glad you found it useful.

Snake - our guide told us it was a python, and I wrote it down and then didn’t bother to look:D so thank you for the correction.

 

All of our activities were private.

Tipping- our naturalist guide at Satpura and Kaziranga we gave about Rs1000 per day (about 15US dollars) For the driver in Kaziranga who we had for all of our stay we gave about half that.

 

For the forest guides and drivers (at Satpura) who joined one trip at a time, we gave Rs200 for each of them for the half day activity, except for the lead walking guides when we gave Rs300. Forsyth Lodge suggested Rs100 or 200. But stressed that it was optional. We didn’t tip the guide who fell asleep

The naturalist guides from the lodge worked hard for us.

 

(Context -information we saw shows that personal drivers in Delhi get paid about Rs17000 per month, you can hire a car and driver in Delhi for a day for aroundRs2000 or so, a teacher may earn Rs27000 per month)

 

We also left tips in a tip box for the “hotel staff” at the lodge as they asked for this approach rather than individual tips.

 

We have no idea if our guide tips are seen as generous or mean.

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Earthian
7 hours ago, johnweir said:

 Most of our drives are private, will we get a driver and a guide, would we give both the same? $10 per person per pay or is that a bit tight?

 

Normally i give Rs 500 and ask the driver and guide to split it. However, if they have been very committed, i up it to Rs 300 each. This is for the two of us.

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michael-ibk

Thank you Tony, really enjoyed revisiting Kaziranga through your report - probably my favourite Indian park. You had top sightings there, great Gibbons and Otters especially. Diphlu definitely looks nicer than the very quirky Wild Grass Lodge. Bharatpur definitely is on my list for next time.

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@Earthian thank you- local knowledge is invaluable 

@Zim Girl thank you

@michael-ibk thank you. We enjoyed Kaziranga and Diphlu. You are partly responsible for us going to Kaziranga so thank you !

Bharatpur is very easy to do, relatively cheap and really enjoyable. We will probably go again at some stage

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  • 2 weeks later...
Atravelynn

Satpura--Sloth bears in triplicate and sloth bear with babies!  Wow.  The herd of Chital in #44 is striking.  Leopard on foot--way to go.

Lodhi Gardens were productive for you.

 

Kaziranga--you got your elephants and otters OUT of the water, giant squirrel, and of course the rhino! 

 

Exquisite birds throughout!  Those grey headed swamp hens are brilliant in the sun.  The purple sunbird contrasting with the yellow flower is a painting.

 

Bharatpur, come for the birds, stay for the snakes!

 

Perfect combination of parks for a repeat trip to India.  Thanks for sharing your highly successful Indian safari.  Satpura has me very interested.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

@TonyQ Really enjoyed this report. Just read it for the second time as it's of particular interest since we are starting to plan a trip that will include Satpura and Kaziranga.

You had some great experiences, especially the leopard on the walk. Wow! Also the cats on the dusk drives and lovely to see all those otters. I haven't really thought about seeing otters so do hope they are there when we go.

Do you recommend doing the Churna overnight stay when in Satpura? It looks like you see a different part of the park.

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@Pennyanne thank you. Both parks are great.

Make sure you tell your guides what you are interested in seeing. The small cats will need a night drive at Satpura, and we saw Otters very regularly in Kaziranga.

 

Churna - it depends how long you spend in Satpura as there is a lot to see and a range of activities in the main area.

 

I think it worked well in our 5 night trip, but if I was doing a shorter stay then I probably wouldn’t do the trip. (that is just my opinion). It is a long, but interesting drive. The accommodation is basic but perfectly fine. You do see a different part of the park, but I don’t think we saw different wildlife there, with the exception of a Muntjac.

 

Edit: I have just seen your post in the planning thread. If you are going to Satpura for 7 nights, then a night at Churna would work well.

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Wow.. finally finished reading this whole thread. Amazing read @TonyQ and your luck with Otters (and also small cats) was outstanding. I have had rotten luck with otters so far. Thank you for sharing.

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  • 4 weeks later...
douglaswise

I only just came across your report.  I'm glad you liked Satpura and Forsyth Lodge as much as we did.  Your photographs are of such quality that they must give you and other viewers great pleasure.  It is unsurprising that those of us with less photographic ability are somewhat daunted by the prospect of producing our own trip reports.

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@xnegvx thank you for reading

@douglaswise thank you, we thought Forsyth was wonderful.

I have really enjoyed your new India report with lovely photos, your Kenya report and the Falkland report was very special (it even has us looking at the practicality of a trip!)

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  • 3 months later...
vikramghanekar

Just came across this report! Wonderful report and outstanding pictures.

Satpura and Forsyth's have been firm favourite of mine with 4 visits in the past. Our first visit was in 2010 or 2011 when the lodge had just opened and nobody knew about Satpura! During those times, one could start walking right from the entry point. We had the privilege of being accompanied by a pair of tame female blackbucks on our walks. The water levels used to be much higher and getting to the park meant a boat ride. Looks like on your trip the water levels were very low so that you could walk across on a temporary bridge.

There used to be Indian skimmers nesting on exposed sandbanks but then again water levels were much higher.

I am heading back to Forsyth's next month for a short visit along with my family after a gap of 5 years. 

I feel little ashamed to say that inspite of living my entire life in India and doing countless wildlife trips, I have never been to Kaziranga. Your trip report and photographs have motivated me to correct that mistake sooner than later!

Thank you again for a great TR.

Cheers

Vikram 

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Kitsafari

i'm not sure how I missed this TR, actually I think i've missed a handful, including those that I had started reading and then lost them when they were pushed further down the new content. 

 

But what great sightings of the leopard and the small cats! and all your lodges and locations you picked sound quite wonderful. Did you ask for a PV or are all guests given PVs? 

 

 

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TonyQ

@vikramghanekar  thank you for your kind comments

@Kitsafari thank you. We were very happy with our lodges.

We did ask for private vehicle. At Forsyth I think it costs about £15 per activity (total for 2 people)

I suspect that if there are 2 of you then they give you a private vehicle anyway, but we were happy to pay that little extra just in case

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