Rarities of the East

Rarities of the East

A wildlife experience like none other, this itinerary goes beyond the routine, seeking rare experiences and endangered species.

Begin with a unique nocturnal quest of the rare and elusive Fishing Cats and Jungle Cats in rural Bengal. The Fishing Cat is the state animal of West Bengal and is locally known as baghrol or machbagha (fish tiger) in Bengali.

Seek the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in the saline mangrove swamps of Sundarbans, the only major tiger stronghold in Bengal, the state that gives the Bengal Tiger its name. Sighting a tiger here from a boat is a completely different experience from a jeep safari in Central India.

The adventure continues across three of India’s most beautiful National Parks – Manas, Orang and Kaziranga in Assam where the tiger shares the jungle with Rhinos, Elephants, Wild Buffalo, Swamp Deer and the Pygmy Hog, one of the most endangered species in the world. These are unique, bountiful and stunningly beautiful habitats that will thrill all wildlife lovers and wildlife photographers.

The haunting calls of the Hoolock Gibbon, India’s only ape, and a support cast of no less than 6 primate species makes walking through the Gibbon Sanctuary a truly memorable experience.

Throughout the trip, encounters with diverse birdlife at every location will continue to excite, with Critically Endangered species like the Bengal Florican and the threatened Greater Adjutant Stork. The latter is a heart-warming success story of community conservation reminding us that conservation isn’t just for the cute and cuddly, and is a fitting finale to a fortnight of wildlife adventures that will remain etched in memory forever.

16 DAYS
FROM £4295
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Mildly Challenging
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Rural Bengal’s Wetlands

Arrive this morning in Kolkata, where you’ll be received at the airport & transfer to a rural location where a team of dedicated conservationists have worked tirelessly to support the population of rare small cats including the Fishing Cat and the Jungle Cat across the farmlands and wetlands in the region.

Check in to the accommodation. A while later, you’ll meet the members of the conservation team over a welcome drink and will be briefed on the nocturnal expedition by the expert naturalist.

After lunch, drive to the observation area in a village. On arrival, you’ll be provided evening snacks & tea.

Our excellent local trackers will help choose the most promising site for our stakeout, and help with spotting and photographing the species. Apart from the rare Fishing Cat and Jungle Cat, it is often possible to sight Golden Jackals, Palm Civet and Small Indian civets as well.

After a country style simple dinner, continue looking for the species.

Later at night, drive back to the hotel.

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Rural Bengal’s Wetlands

Enjoy a relaxed morning to catch up on sleep after the previous night’s adventures. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the hotel.

After lunch, you may wish to go for a serene boat ride on the local river.

Later, drive back to the observation area for another evening stakeout. The routine will be similar as on Day 1, but the location may change slightly depending on information from the trackers.

Did you know that Fishing cats have partially webbed front toes, making them adept swimmers?

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Kolkata - Sundarbans National Park

After breakfast, drive south to Sundarbans National Park. At the Park gateway, catch the ferry and sail for 2 hours to arrive at the lodge.

The rest of the day is free to enjoy birding around your lodge or relax.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 4 & 5: Sundarbans National Park

Spend two full days traversing the magnificent waterways of Sundarbans on your boat. Looking for the elusive Bengal Tiger in this strange tidal mangrove landscape is a totally different experience to Jeep safaris. No matter how many tigers one has seen on dry land, seeing a Tiger in the Sundarbans will be an exhilarating moment.

Apart from the tiger, Sundarbans is abundant in birdlife, aquatic and amphibious marvels, and animals like the Macaques and Spotted Deer who have adapted their life and diet to suit these saline mangrove forests.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Sundarbans – Calcutta - Guwahati
After breakfast, depart from the Sundarbans to Kolkata Airport to catch the flight to Guwahati, the capital city of the state of Assam. You’ll be received at the Guwahati airport and transferred to your hotel.
Breakfast
Day 7: Guwahati - Manas

An early morning drive (4 hrs) to Manas National Park. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Manas National Park is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled wildlife habitats in India, located at the foothills of the Bhutan-Himalayas in Assam. Within its 500 sq. kms area over 20 endangered species including the Tiger, Elephant and Rhino, and rare endemic wildlife like the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and the wild water buffalo are thriving. The world’s last population of pygmy hogs survives in Manas.

Breakfast
Day 8: Manas National Park
Explore Manas National Park on a morning and afternoon exclusive jeep safaris.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Manas – Orang

After a morning safari at Manas National Park, drive to Orang National Park (5 hrs) to check in to your lodge.

Orang’s wildlife includes the Rhino, Elephant, wild water buffalo and the Tiger. It is the only stronghold of the rhino on the north bank of the Brahmaputra. The park is formed of alluvial flood plains of several small rivers and is a bio-diversity hotspot.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Orang National Park

Explore Orang National Park on a morning and afternoon exclusive jeep safaris.

Due to its rich birdlife, including some endangered and rare species, the park is listed as one of Birdlife International’s “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas” (IBAs); considered to be the most important bird wet-grassland site on the Indo-Gangetic plain, and one of three “outstanding” IBAs in Assam. It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers and game birds.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Kaziranga National Park

After breakfast, drive (3.5 hrs) to Kaziranga National Park.

Kaziranga is one of our favourite National Parks in the Indian sub-continent, with almost every single safari here yielding memorable moments.

This afternoon, enjoy your first jeep safari in Kaziranga.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 & 13: Kaziranga National Park

Continue searching for the abundant wildlife and birdlife across the different zones of Kaziranga National Park.

Every day, you’ll enjoy a morning and evening jeep safaris.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Hoolock Gibbon Sanctuary

Enjoy a day trip to the Hollong Gibbon Sanctuary to look for India’s only ape, the Hoolock Gibbon. It is the only sanctuary in India with seven primate species, including rare primates like Stump-tailed Macaque, Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Eastern Assamese Macaque along with the common Rhesus Macaque and Capped Langur.

The sanctuary also hosts Elephants, Leopards, Jungle Cats, Wild Boar, three types of civet, four types of squirrels and at least 219 species of birds and 211 species of butterflies.

The sanctuary is explored on foot, with the sanctuary’s naturalist and armed guard leading all visitors through the dense forests.

The loud call of the Hoolock Gibbon is a memorable (if not exactly melodious) sound limited to very few forests of North-East India.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: Kaziranga - Guwahati

After breakfast drive to Guwahati (3.5 hrs).

The wildlife tour comes to end with a feelgood and heartwarming story in the most unlikely surrounds of a city garbage dump where you’ll meet one of the rarest birds of India, the Greater Adjutant, a huge scavenging stork.

Once widely distributed across India, but now classified as Endangered by the IUCN with a rapidly declining population of around 1,200 individuals, the majority of them live around Guwahati and rely on a single garbage dump for food and the nearby villages for nesting.

This is a huge community conservation success story, led by the efforts of a remarkable conservation leader, Dr. Purnima Devi Barman.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16: Departure
This morning, catch your connecting return flights from Guwahati
Breakfast
Day 1: Rural Bengal’s Wetlands

Arrive this morning in Kolkata, where you’ll be received at the airport & transfer to a rural location where a team of dedicated conservationists have worked tirelessly to support the population of rare small cats including the Fishing Cat and the Jungle Cat across the farmlands and wetlands in the region.

Check in to the accommodation. A while later, you’ll meet the members of the conservation team over a welcome drink and will be briefed on the nocturnal expedition by the expert naturalist.

After lunch, drive to the observation area in a village. On arrival, you’ll be provided evening snacks & tea.

Our excellent local trackers will help choose the most promising site for our stakeout, and help with spotting and photographing the species. Apart from the rare Fishing Cat and Jungle Cat, it is often possible to sight Golden Jackals, Palm Civet and Small Indian civets as well.

After a country style simple dinner, continue looking for the species.

Later at night, drive back to the hotel.

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Rural Bengal’s Wetlands

Enjoy a relaxed morning to catch up on sleep after the previous night’s adventures. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the hotel.

After lunch, you may wish to go for a serene boat ride on the local river.

Later, drive back to the observation area for another evening stakeout. The routine will be similar as on Day 1, but the location may change slightly depending on information from the trackers.

Did you know that Fishing cats have partially webbed front toes, making them adept swimmers?

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Kolkata - Sundarbans National Park

After breakfast, drive south to Sundarbans National Park. At the Park gateway, catch the ferry and sail for 2 hours to arrive at the lodge.

The rest of the day is free to enjoy birding around your lodge or relax.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 4 & 5: Sundarbans National Park

Spend two full days traversing the magnificent waterways of Sundarbans on your boat. Looking for the elusive Bengal Tiger in this strange tidal mangrove landscape is a totally different experience to Jeep safaris. No matter how many tigers one has seen on dry land, seeing a Tiger in the Sundarbans will be an exhilarating moment.

Apart from the tiger, Sundarbans is abundant in birdlife, aquatic and amphibious marvels, and animals like the Macaques and Spotted Deer who have adapted their life and diet to suit these saline mangrove forests.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Sundarbans – Calcutta - Guwahati
After breakfast, depart from the Sundarbans to Kolkata Airport to catch the flight to Guwahati, the capital city of the state of Assam. You’ll be received at the Guwahati airport and transferred to your hotel.
Breakfast
Day 7: Guwahati - Manas

An early morning drive (4 hrs) to Manas National Park. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Manas National Park is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled wildlife habitats in India, located at the foothills of the Bhutan-Himalayas in Assam. Within its 500 sq. kms area over 20 endangered species including the Tiger, Elephant and Rhino, and rare endemic wildlife like the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and the wild water buffalo are thriving. The world’s last population of pygmy hogs survives in Manas.

Breakfast
Day 8: Manas National Park
Explore Manas National Park on a morning and afternoon exclusive jeep safaris.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Manas – Orang

After a morning safari at Manas National Park, drive to Orang National Park (5 hrs) to check in to your lodge.

Orang’s wildlife includes the Rhino, Elephant, wild water buffalo and the Tiger. It is the only stronghold of the rhino on the north bank of the Brahmaputra. The park is formed of alluvial flood plains of several small rivers and is a bio-diversity hotspot.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Orang National Park

Explore Orang National Park on a morning and afternoon exclusive jeep safaris.

Due to its rich birdlife, including some endangered and rare species, the park is listed as one of Birdlife International’s “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas” (IBAs); considered to be the most important bird wet-grassland site on the Indo-Gangetic plain, and one of three “outstanding” IBAs in Assam. It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers and game birds.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Kaziranga National Park

After breakfast, drive (3.5 hrs) to Kaziranga National Park.

Kaziranga is one of our favourite National Parks in the Indian sub-continent, with almost every single safari here yielding memorable moments.

This afternoon, enjoy your first jeep safari in Kaziranga.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 & 13: Kaziranga National Park

Continue searching for the abundant wildlife and birdlife across the different zones of Kaziranga National Park.

Every day, you’ll enjoy a morning and evening jeep safaris.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Hoolock Gibbon Sanctuary

Enjoy a day trip to the Hollong Gibbon Sanctuary to look for India’s only ape, the Hoolock Gibbon. It is the only sanctuary in India with seven primate species, including rare primates like Stump-tailed Macaque, Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Eastern Assamese Macaque along with the common Rhesus Macaque and Capped Langur.

The sanctuary also hosts Elephants, Leopards, Jungle Cats, Wild Boar, three types of civet, four types of squirrels and at least 219 species of birds and 211 species of butterflies.

The sanctuary is explored on foot, with the sanctuary’s naturalist and armed guard leading all visitors through the dense forests.

The loud call of the Hoolock Gibbon is a memorable (if not exactly melodious) sound limited to very few forests of North-East India.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: Kaziranga - Guwahati

After breakfast drive to Guwahati (3.5 hrs).

The wildlife tour comes to end with a feelgood and heartwarming story in the most unlikely surrounds of a city garbage dump where you’ll meet one of the rarest birds of India, the Greater Adjutant, a huge scavenging stork.

Once widely distributed across India, but now classified as Endangered by the IUCN with a rapidly declining population of around 1,200 individuals, the majority of them live around Guwahati and rely on a single garbage dump for food and the nearby villages for nesting.

This is a huge community conservation success story, led by the efforts of a remarkable conservation leader, Dr. Purnima Devi Barman.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16: Departure
This morning, catch your connecting return flights from Guwahati
Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)