Tigress with young cubs @ Nanak Dhingra
Snow Leopard exhibit perfect camouflage in their habitat @ Aditya Singh
Winter light is ideal for photography @ Aditya Singh
Asiatic Lion at dawn in Gir @ Aditya Singh
Jungle cat at Ranthambhore @ Aditya Singh
Leopards are the second largest predators at Gir @ Aditya Singh
Hemis in undoubtedly the best place to see Snow Leopards @ Dhritiman Mukherjee
Big Cats of India
Highlights: The best big cat tour showcasing Snow Leopard in the Himalayan tracts of Ladakh, tigers and leopards in Rajasthan, Asiatic Lion in Gir besides lesser cats like Rusty Spotted Cat, Jungle Cat, Caracal, Pallas’s Cat and Eurasian Lynx.
This epic Big Cat Safari takes you from the icy domain of the Snow Leopard in the trans Himalayas to the largest tract of dry deciduous forest in Rajasthan home to the Bengal Tiger and finally to the forests of Gir, the last bastion of the Asiatic Lion and one of the finest reserves in India to see the Leopard. For all big cat aficionados, this is undoubtedly the best possible adventure since it offers such a diverse spectrum of wild cats with very realistic chances of sighting each one of these magnificent felines. With some luck we may have a chance to see some lesser cats as well such as the Rusty Spotted and Jungle Cat, Caracal, Pallas’s Cat as well as the Eurasian Lynx!
We meet in Delhi and fly to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, situated at a height of 3500m with the stunning 16th century palace as its backdrop. This sudden altitudinal gain requires mandatory acclimatization for two nights to allow us to adapt to the new height. We will however make the best use of this time before heading out to Hemis National Park in search of the Snow Leopard. Given the recent spate of sightings in the past few years, the area around the Rumbak catchment has proved to be the best place in the world to sight these ‘near mythical’ cats, which very few people have set their eyes upon.
Returning to Delhi for a night’s rest in the comfort of our hotel, we take a short train journey to Ranthambhore the following morning. The sparse landscape of the reserve with well laid out tracks and the uninhibited nature of its Tigers make Ranthambhore one of the finest places to observe Tigers, often seen hunting their prey in broad daylight. Leopards are present here in good numbers too and we have fairly good chances of sighting them along with the Jungle Cat and the very elusive Caracal.
Tracing our way back to Delhi once again we fly the next morning to Ahemdabad, in the ‘dry state’ of Gujarat (besides being an arid country, alcohol is prohibited here) and drive onwards to Gir, the last bastion of the Asiatic Lion. From 20 lions at the turn of the century there are now over 300 lions that co-exist here. Though our main target here is the Astaic Lion, we hope to see other mammals as well, including Leopard, Jungle Cat and perhaps the rare Rusty Spotted Cat.
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- Region: Ladakh, Rajasthan & Gujarat
- Duration: 21 Days/20 Nights by road & air
- Parks Covered: Hemis, Ranthambhore & Sasan Gir
- Departures: Nov to mid March
Day 11 – Hemis to Leh Late morning we trek back to Zingchen where our vehicles will be waiting for us to drive back to Leh. Arrive at Leh and check in to the hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore on your own. Overnight at Mahey Retreat
Day 12 –Fly Leh to Delhi We fly Leh to Delhi and transfer to the hotel. We have the option to explore New & Old Delhi, visiting prominent monuments and local restaurants. Overnight at the Clarion Collection
Day 13 – Delhi to Ranthambhore Early morning transfer to the railway station to board the train for Sawai Madhopur. Arrive Sawai Madhopur and transfer to the lodge. After game drive to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in open 4WD accompanied by our local guide. Overnight at Dev Vilas
Day 14 & 15 – Ranthambhore National Park
The next two days we will explore Ranthambhore’s diverse habitat availing morning and afternoon game drives in open 4 WD accompanied by our local guide to track Tigers and other wildlife.
Overnight at Dev Vilas
Day 16 – Ranthambhore to Delhi
Morning game drive at Ranthambhore accompanied by our local guide. Later, transfer to the railway station to board the train for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and check in at the hotel
Overnight at Clarion Collection