Though renowned for its cultural and historical treasures, India is also a world-class destination for wildlife. The country has over 441 wildlife sanctuaries to protect the fauna for which it is renowned, including awe-inspiring species ranging from elephants to leopards to the vaunted Bengal Tiger. Whether driving through the landscape that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book or merely relaxing on the veranda of your safari tent, you’ll get to know five of India’s greatest wildlife reserves—the Big Five, we’re calling them—on this wildlife tour in India.
In these richly bio-diverse regions, it may seem like every turn of your head offers a different, spectacular menagerie. Travel to Bandhavgarh, originally the private hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and now a world-famous tiger sanctuary. Explore the forested lands of Gir National Park, the last bastion of the mighty Asiatic Lion. See the imposing (and very rare) one-horned rhino in Kazirangaa National Park, along with dozens of other exotic animals and hundreds of bird species. You’ll also get the chance to interact with indigenous communities like the Maldhari and the Gond, seeing what life is like for these tribes that still live by ancient traditions.
Planning to visit India? Looking for things to do in India? Discover some of the Subcontinent’s varied wildlife on our Big Five itinerary, one of the best wildlife tours to India imaginable.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India!
An amalgamation of cities created from the 11th to 20th centuries, Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many emperors who have left behind striking monuments and riveting tales. You will experience the many facets of this captivating capital—both the modern and the ancient—during your stay here.
Day 2: Delhi
Experience Old Delhi, from the opulent Red Fort and massive Jama Masjid mosque to the narrow bustling lanes ofChandni Chowk. New Delhi’s Gateway to India and the Presidential Palace showcase modern history, yet the 12th century Qutub Minar and Humayun’s tomb show that even these parts of Delhi have an ancient past.
Day 3: Delhi – Jabalpur – Bandavgarh
Board your flight for Jabalpur, where you’ll check into your lodge. Time permitting, enjoy an afternoon safari with your naturalist in Bandhavgarh, one of India’s greatest wildlife destinations.
Day 4: Bandhavgarh
In the morning and the afternoon, explore Bandhavgarh National Park, a wilderness known to have the highest density of tigers in the world. Keep an eye out for this magnificent striped cat, which has made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction.
Day 5: Bandhavgarh
Discover more wildlife in the park on morning and afternoon game drives today. In between, take a walk through the humble dwellings of Tala Village, allowing you a glimpse at a day in the life of an Indian village.
Day 6: Bandhavgarh – Kanha
It’s off to another remarkable setting for Indian wildlife: Kanha National Park. After checking into your lodge, get to know the culture of an indigenous forest community on an orientation tour. Your naturalist will illuminate the community’s social structure and timeless connection with the forest.
Day 7: Kanha
Feel the thrill of exploration in Kanha National Park, the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s unforgettable classicThe Jungle Book. Kanha is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Asia, and is home to a vast array of species including tiger, bison, sloth bear, jungle cat, python, monkey, mongoose, leopard and more.
Day 8: Kanha
While discovering more of the park on morning and afternoon game drives, keep an eye out for exotic birds—there are 200 different species here—as well as for a diverse collection of mammals.
Day 9: Kanha – Pench
Experience what life is like for the Gond tribe near Pench, gaining insight into the customs and traditions of this forest-dwelling people. The Gond have great respect for the animals that roam their land, and many are actually worshipped.
Day 10: Pench
In the morning and the afternoon, roam the deciduous forests of Pench National Park, home to a variety of wild animals. Picturesque Pench River winds through the park and is a magnet for birds, particularly during the winter migration when the area teems with species like Brahmini ducks and bat-headed geese.
Day 11: Pench – Nagpur – Mumbai – Diu – Gir
From Nagpur airport, we fly to for Mumbai and onward to Diu—a city right near Gir National Park. Your home here will be Lion Safari Camp, an eco-friendly luxury camp located in a private mango orchard overlooking the Hiran River.
Day 12: Gir
Continue your wildlife tour in India as you discover famous Gir National Park, the only place you can see the majesticAsiatic lion in its natural habitat. The park is also home to leopards and an impressive variety of colorful birds, as well as being a great place to interact with local tribes like the Maldhari.
Day 13: Gir
In between morning and afternoon game drives in Gir, you’ll be introduced to the Maldharis. The fascinating, semi-nomadic tribe lives in traditional settlements called “nesses” and tends to their herds of Jafrabadi buffalos, Gir cows and other livestock (in fact, the name Maldhari means “owner of animal stock”).
Day 14: Gir – Diu – Mumbai
After spending the morning exploring more of Gir’s natural treasures, you’ll transfer to the Diu airport for your flight to Mumbai—where can relax and dream of your upcoming adventures in Kaziranga National Park.
Day 15: Mumbai – Guwahati – Kaziranga
On arrival at Guwahati airport, transfer to the newest and best lodge in Kaziranga National Park: Diphlu River Lodge. Carefully created to blend into the natural environment, the lodge’s spacious, en-suite cottages feature delightful touches like cane furniture, a writing desk, mini-bar and a small fridge. This is true comfort in exotic wilds.
Day 16: Kaziranga
With an experienced naturalist by your side, set off to explore Kaziranga, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is an enchanting blend of swamps, grasslands and mixed forest, and open vistas make it relatively easy to spot wildlife. In addition to the rare one-horned rhinoceros, the park is home to 35 major mammals, including wild elephant, tiger, leopard, wild boar, water buffalo and gaur.
Day 17: Kaziranga
More of Kaziranga comes alive for you on morning and afternoon game drives. Scan the landscape for some of the resident birdlife here, including the rare greater adjutant stork, Bengal florican, black-necked stork and Pallas’s fish eagle.
Day 18: Kaziranga – Guwahati – Delhi
Transfer to the Guwahati airport and fly to Delhi, where you’ll catch your international flight home.
Planning to visit India? Looking for things to do in India? Try the Big Five India wildlife tour! This is a suggested India Wildlife itinerary—we’d be happy to customize an itinerary to fit your needs. Whether you prefer a shorter or longer journey, would like to include other parts of India or simply need something to fit your budget, please contact us at 877-255-7438 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can create a personalized India tour for you.