This program is aptly named. We start in Sasan Gir National Park, the only place in Asia where lions still exist. But Gir is also home to India’s other big cats such as leopards and lesser cats such as jungle cat, rusty spotted cat etc. All targets on our morning and evening safari drives through this park. And let’s not forget the birds—250 species of birds can be found here.
Next up is Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, a sanctuary famous for its large variety of antelope species, in particular the blackbuck, which is characterized by elegant spiraling horns that can be two-feet long in mature males. Birding is good here, too—over 265 species of birds are listed here.
Once the former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, our next national park, Ranthambore, is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in India. It’s the best place to see tigers and, if we’re lucky, we might see sloth bears also. eBird reports 330 bird species at Ranthambore.
Our last national park is Keoladeo. Because of its varied ecosystems, India is home to 1300 bird species, including over 60 endemics. It’s a birder’s paradise, particularly in its sanctuaries where critical habitat has been preserved. The jewel of these sanctuaries is Keoladeo National Park which we’ll visit toward the tour’s end. Nearly 400 species of birds have made the National Park their home. Declared a protected sanctuary in 1971, UNESCO designated the park a World Heritage Site in 1985.
In addition to searching for these birds and mammals, we’ll also enjoy cultural excursions to local markets and some of Rajasthan’s most famous sites: the Amber Fort in Jaipur, the world’s largest and deepest step well at Chand Baori, and, of course, the Taj Mahal.
Check out the itinerary below. For questions or to sign up, contact Cris Heins at TRAVELPROGRAM@