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India Photo Tour
(Please read our 2019 trip report for the best info on
what you can expect on our trips!)


India's Wildlife: Tigers and so much more
Dates: March 24-April 9, 2024
Price: $12995
Single Supplement $1700

Main tiger safari: Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench National Parks
10 days in the field: 2 photographers per jeep
including 2 full-day permits in Bandhavgarh National Park
Indian Wildlife including Tigers, Wild Dogs, Sloth Bear and more

Check out our 2019 Trip Report

For more great information on all our past Tiger trips, read
our past Trip Reports.

We highly recommend this new field guide
Wildlife of Central India: Photographic Field Guide
It is incredibly comprehensive and the species accounts for
75 mammals, 433 birds, invertebrates and herptiles
is like no other guide, and should be THE model
for how all field guides should be written.
You not only get identifications, you get
interesting facts and behavioral tips that
make your interactions with wildlife meaningful.
A great text!

It's a beautiful morning in Bandhavgarh National Park. The call of a peacock echoes through the forest. Chital, spotted deer, are quietly grazing in the meadow in front of you. Suddenly the alarm call of a langur monkey draws every head of the deer up and to attention. You look at your guide and he says what you are hoping to hear, the word "Tiger"! As you drive toward the area where the calls are coming from, the excitement is palpable and then there it is, the most beautiful Big Cat that you have ever seen just sitting in the middle of the track. As you catch your breath, and steady your camera, it gets up and moves to the side of the track and in to the high grass. But it only walks a few steps and stops, turning to stare at you with the most nonchalant expression. Several hundred frames later, you are high-fiving your guide, the jeep driver and your photo partner. The past 10 minutes just made your trip and it's only 7:30 in the morning.

India is one of our favorite places to photograph and this past example only begins to describe the many experiences that you can enjoy on a photo tour to India. The diversity of shooting subjects from mammals to birds, predators to prey, is phenomenal. There are tigers, sloth bears, Indian wild dogs, gaur (Indian bison), spotted deer, barasingha, sambar, langur monkeys, macaques, jungle cats and jackals, and those are just some of the mammals. Add to that kingfishers, storks, birds of prey, lapwings, bee-eaters, peafowl, jungle owlets, hornbills - well, you get the picture. We have designed a great two-week photo safari that will take you to three of the top wildlife parks. Plus we have built in one full-day permit per person in Bandhavgarh National Park, one of the premier tiger parks in India.

This was our itinerary for 2022:

Day 1: 22 March, 2022
Arrive into Delhi. Transfer to Radisson Blu Plaza for overnight.

Day 2: 23 March, 2022
After breakfast, transfer to Delhi airport for a flight to Jabalpur. Transfer via private car hire to Bandhavgarh National Park passing through the villages and countryside of Madhya Pradesh. Arrive in time for tea at our lodge. Dinner and overnight, Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge.

Bandhavgarh: This park is known for its tigers but with the varied terrain, you have a good chance to see sloth bears, wild boar, gaur, spotted deer, sambar, langur monkeys, macaques and the occasional leopard. Malabar pied hornbills, crested serpent eagles, peafowl, red-wattled lapwings and Indian rollers are just a few of the bird species in this park.

Days 3-7: 24-28 March, 2022
Each day we will go out for a morning and afternoon game drive in one of the three zones of Bandhavgarh. In each zone there are designated routes that we must follow. We will eat a picnic breakfast during the drive at a check-in point. This is a great way for the drivers and guides to find out what is happening throughout the different routes. On one of the days you will have a full-day permit where you get to enter the park early and can stay in for the entire day. While on your full-day permit you are not restricted to a particular zone or route so you have the freedom of exploring and photographing at your wim.

PLEASE NOTE: Three-hour elephant safaris are available to those people with the full-day permit. It is an extra expense and is not guaranteed (if the park needs the elephants to do a special patrol, or if a VIP shows up, the elephant is not available). We have not included this extra expense. On the day of your permit, you can decide if you want to do it or not.

Wednesday, 23 March: the park is closed on Wednesday afternoons. On this afternoon, or during the midday on other days, you can photograph on the grounds or explore the surrounding area. For those who would like to do some people photography, that can be arranged at any time.
Overnights, Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge.

Day 8: 29 March, 2022
We will do one last morning game drive in Bandhavgarh. After an early lunch we will drive to Kanha National Park. We arrive late afternoon, in time for tea and an orientation of the lodge and area. Overnight, Kanha Jungle Lodge.

Kanha: With the open meadows, banyon trees, ponds close to the road and forest tracks, Kanha is one of our favorite parks for photography. The endangered barasingha is found here (after a very successful breeding program). Tigers, gaur, wild dogs, spotted deer, sloth bears, leopards, langur monkeys, jackals and jungle cats can be found throughout. Kanha is a great bird park with species such as shikra, jungle owlets, several different kingfishers, green bee-eaters, Indian rollers, peafowl and junglefowl just waiting to be photographed.

Days 9-12: 30 March - 02 April, 2022
As in Bandhavgarh we will go out each morning and afternoon for game drives in Kanha. Unlike Bandhavgarh we do not have to follow any designated routes so you can spend as much time as you want in any one area, or with any one animal. We will eat a picnic breakfast during the morning drive at a central point. During the midday you can explore the grounds and surrounding trails for photo subjects.

Wednesday, 30 March: the park is closed on Wednesday afternoons. You can opt to rest on this day or we can venture out to do some people photography on this afternoon or visit an area with roosting Indian fruit bats. Overnights, Kanha Jungle Lodge.

Day 13: 03 April, 2022
We will go out for one final morning game drive in Kanha followed by an early lunch. Afterwards we will transfer to Pench National Park arriving in time for afternoon tea. Our orientation will be held by candlelight under the spreading branches of a banyon tree (a magical location). Overnight, Jamtara Wilderness Camp. (This camp is a luxury tented camp that is better than many camps we stay at in Africa. Very special!)

Days 14-15: 04-05 April, 2022
As in the other two parks, we will go out each day for a morning and an afternoon game drive. Our lodge is located outside two of the more remote gates of Pench. What does this mean? We have very few vehicles that go in from our side and that gives us some special access to areas that others have trouble reaching. We enter at a side of the park famous for its leopards, wild dogs and of course, tigers. We have a picnic breakfast at a central meeting point during the morning game drive. Overnights, Jamtara Wilderness Camp

Pench: This park is completely different than the other two parks that we visit earlier in the trip. Bandhavgarh and Kanha are sal forests while Pench has both sal and teak trees. With rocky hills, a large lake and open forests, we have a great opportunity for leopards, wild dogs and good bird photography.

Day 16: 06 April, 2022
After breakfast we will transfer to the Nagpur airport for a flight back to Delhi. We have included this night as an overnight at the Radisson Blu Plaza so that you can stay in your room until time to depart for your international flight.

Day 17: 07 April, 2022
Departure to your home country (Most flights depart in the wee hours of the morning - like 0330 - so we have afforded you the comfort of keeping your room as long as possible.)

The tour includes:
Lodging, double occupancy
All meals starting from Day 2
Round trip airfare Delhi/Jabalpur and Nagpur/Delhi
One full-day permit in Bandhavgarh
Park fees/2 photographers per jeep
Most gratuities

Trip is based on a maximum of 8 photographers
Please note: there will be a surcharge for less than 6 photographers
For 5 photographers: $1250, for 4 photographers: $1000

Satpura NP extension itinerary:

Day 1: 06 April, 2022
After breakfast, we will drive to Satpura National Park arriving for late afternoon tea. All lodges are located across a lake that has been formed by a dam to create a natural barrier to the park. Our lodge, Forsyth Lodge, is located just a few miles from the boat transfer dock.
Overnight, Forsyth Lodge

Days 2-4: 07-09 April, 2022
Our days will be a mix of morning and afternoon game drives or a canoe adventure on the lake for bird photography.

Satpura: This park is one of the prettiest parks that we visit. It is more mountainous and is the perfect habitat to find sloth bears. The park is known for its 'blonde' gaur, a genetic anamoly that gives these Indian bison a 'light' coloration. It's also a great park to see wild dogs and leopards.

Day 5: 10 April, 2022
After breakfast we will transfer to the Bhopal airport for an afternoon flight back to Delhi. This overnight is included so that you can stay in your rooms until time for your international flight. Overnight: Radisson Blu Plaza

Day 6: 11 April, 2022
Departure to your home country (Most flights depart in the wee hours of the morning - like 0330 - so we have afforded you the comfort of keeping your room as long as possible.)

The tour includes:
Lodging, double occupancy
All meals through day 6
Round trip airfare Delhi/Jabalpur and Bhopal/Delhi
Park fees/2 photographers per jeep
Most gratuities

Trip is based on a maximum of 4 photographers

Please read the Note From Joe that follows the portfolio below. Our contact information is at the end of the brochure.

We hope that you choose to join us on this incredible wildlife adventure!

A small portfolio of India's diverse wildlife
from past trips:










Please Read this MOST IMPORTANT Notice

Tigers are the rarest of the big cats. Less than 1,500 survive in India where one has the best chance of seeing this cat across its geographic range. Tigers are jungle cats, not conspicuous grassland species like lions or cheetahs, nor do they linger in trees like African leopards which can be seen from afar.
Although we have never had anyone strike out and not seen or photograped a tiger on the five trips we’ve made in the last three years, it is entirely possible that you might not see or might not photograph a tiger to your satisfaction. In 2018 we had close to 30 sightings, and most of these provided photo opportunities. In contrast, in 2012 one of our tours had a total of 55 tiger sightings, and one lucky participant had 34 sightings alone.

A tiger safari perhaps embodies the real meaning of wildlife photography and all that this truly implies. In contrast to a photo trip to Antarctica, where one practically stumbles over the photographic subjects like penguins and seals, or East Africa, with multiple charismatic mega fauna – rhinos, elephants, big cats and nearly two dozen other species reasonably easy to see and photograph - one has to work for tigers, and have luck at the same time.

Our trip goes to the three best tiger parks for quality photography. But I cannot stress enough that even in being in the best parks, and scheduling our time allocation in such a way to maximize our chances, ultimately, photographing the world’s rarest big cat in its jungle habitat is a matter of luck. That said, by our itinerary and use of skilled driver/guides we’ve done everything possible to stack the deck in our favor.
I’m not trying to discourage the right people from joining us, and I sincerely believe we offer the best tiger shoot available (our past numbers and images should confirm that). However, I do want to discourage the wrong people from joining us. The people we’d love to join us are those who can accept the possibility of failure, of not getting their dream shot. Those people are the ones who can appreciate all of India’s wildlife and will take the time to photograph the peacocks and langur monkeys and gaurs and various species of deer and birds that can make any excursion into a park a rewarding experience. People who truly realize that India is not Africa or the Pantanal or some other wildlife rich area, and that for tigers, one is dealing with their habitat of forest and jungles and sometimes the inane or incomprehensible (to us) rules that are implemented in various parks.
For example, in many wildlife rich countries radios are used to notify everyone when a desired animal is seen, or in some private parks trackers follow rare species continuously. Radios are not used in India, and so one might pass by a tiger that just stepped on to the road a minute after you drove by. Drivers share information when they meet, but the standard East African practice of everyone getting a radio call and racing to a location does not occur in India.
Another contrast with many African locales is the prohibition of off-road driving. Game drives are restricted to established tracks, and so a tiger in clear view in an open field may be too far away for good shooting. This can be frustrating, but it also saves this dry environment and it does provide peace for the tigers from harassment. If a cat wants to be by the road it will be, but it makes the choice; not you or your driver. People comparing Africa with India on these two points, off-road driving and radios, are frustrated, but the best, and really only, wild tiger photography in the world occurs in the Indian parks, and these are their rules.

PLEASE NOTE: Participants have suggested that I'm too discouraging in this notice, as trips have always been successful. But India is not like East Africa, or Brazil's Pantanal, and I do not want to mislead anyone on the reality of India photography. So perhaps I'll scare some off, but our track record is as good or better than anyone's, and I'm being honest in the process.

We love photographing in India and although we’d love to have easier tiger photography it is what it is. Luck, a good attitude, good karma and a desire to shoot a complete portfolio of Indian wildlife are the qualities required to really appreciate this experience; this endeavor to photograph the world’s rarest big cat. It is not always easy, and immediate gratification is quite rare, but we are talking about the trophy cat, the rarest cat, the most beautiful and charismatic cat, and we certainly believe that the prize is worth it.
If you can’t accept any of the points I've just discussed, don’t visit India or book a trip with someone who is not telling the facts to you honestly.

About Your Leaders

jMy wife Mary Ann and I strive to provide the most comfortable and thorough safari you will experience. Both Mary and I are professional photographers, and I'd hope you've seen our credits. These included
National Geographic, National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, Natural History, Living Bird, Birder's World, and most nature/wildlife calendars.

As a husband/wife team, Mary Ann and I have won more times in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition than any
one. To date we have had 15 firsts, seconds, or thirds -- and we have not entered every year. Our trips are not about us, however, they are all for you, but credentials seem to matter, and we have them.

Mary has written twenty-nine (29) children's books, including Leopards, Grizzly Bears, Woodpeckers,
Flying Squirrels, Sunflowers, Cobras, Jupiter, Boas, Garter Snakes, Pythons, Rattlesnakes, Ducks, Chickens, Horses, and Cows, and a coffee table book, Out of the Past, Amish Tradition and Faith.

I've written several how-to wildlife photography books -- A Practical Guide to Photographing American Wildlife, The Wildlife Photographer's Field Manual, The Complete Guide to Wildlife Photography, Designing Wildlife Photographs, Photographing on Safari, A Field Guide to Photographing in East Africa, and the New Complete Guide to Wildlife Photography.
Natural history books include Big Cats in the Wild, Gorillas in the Wild, Penguins in the Wild, Polar Bears in the Wild, African Wildlife, Creatures of the Night, The World's Deadliest, and several
ebooks. We have produced an instructional video, A Video Guide to Photographing on Safari with
Joe and Mary Ann McDonald.

We are both editors for Nature Photographer magazine.

In addition to leading our trips to Tanzania, Mary and I personally lead photo safaris to Kenya,
Brazil's Pantanal, Chile, Galapagos, Svalbard, India, Rwanda, Ecuador, Costa Rica,
the Falklands, South Texas and some other spots, too!

As with any International trip, we strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation Insuurance is MANDATORY.

Contact us by

Phone us at 717-543-6423

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