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Has anyone who has been on this Wildlife Safari any hints or tips that will help us get the most from our trip?

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Joined: 01/09/2010
Posts: 2

Hello,

I went on this trip back in November, do you have any more specific things that you want to know about? A couple of things I would recommend are that you take a scarf so you can cover your face because it is very dusty on the game drives and not that nice to breathe in. Sunglasses will stop it from getting in your eyes as well.

A good camera with a decent zoom is a must if you want to be able to take good pictures of the wildlife. The vehicles aren't allowed to go off the tracks so a lot of the time the animals can be quite far away. Binoculars help with being able to see them as well. Don't spend all your time taking photos though. Make sure you do look at the animals with your eyes rather than just through a camera lens.

If you're a woman I really would recommend that you don't bare too much flesh, I wore knee length board shorts and t shirts most of the time. You'll be stared at quite a lot anyway as the locals are just as interested in us as we are of them, but it can be a bit overwhelming and they do pay more attention to those who wear things like strappy tops.

As far as optionals go the ones that I'd really recommend if you get the opportunities are Ranthambore Fort and the elephant back tiger viewing in Kanha. Unfortunately none of us were able to do the hour long elephant safari in Banhavgarh, as when we were there they were needed to look for an injured tiger, but at Kanha the elephants go out each morning looking for tigers, so if they find one you're essentially guaranteed a sighting that day, and it's the most amazing feeling to be on top of an elephant and no more than 5 metres away. (No guarantee that they will find one though unfortunately). The additional game drives are good and it's nice to get out and see a new park each time.

Unless you are able to survive on only a few hours sleep I'd try to get to bed fairly early most nights as you will be getting up very early pretty much every morning. It's definitely worth the early starts as first thing around dawn is one of the best times to see the tigers and they like to walk on the roads as it's nicer for their feet, but it is pretty knackering. If you end up sitting on the back row of seats in the safari jeeps and you have long legs, take an extra fleece or cushion or something to protect your shins.

Mosquitos weren't really too much of a problem, although this could change depending on what time of year you go. Some of us got a couple of bites, but that was it and mosquito repellant containing deet seemed to do the trick.

Last but not least... take loads of immodium!!

Joined: 14/01/2011
Posts: 6

Hi Helen,

Many thanks for your response. The information you have provided is most useful but can we ask for further details on a couple of points you raised....did you go on an elephant ride in Kanha NP, if so how long did the ride last and how much did it cost? Also you refer to additional game drives in 'new parks', which parks did you visit, what were the durations and costs?

A few other questions you may be able to help us with:-

Would an insulated water bottle be a good idea for the drives or is bottled water readily available on the jeeps?
Did you find that the hotels supplied hairdryers?
Presumably we will need to take a plug adapter?
Did you find that the hotels offered currency exchange facilities or did you use some alternative?
Not sure how much spending money we will need to take to cover additional trips, meals not included in package and drinks etc? Any guidance?

Thanking you in advance.
Ray & Joy

Joined: 01/09/2010
Posts: 2

Hi Ray and Joy,

I did do the elephant ride at Kanha a couple of times. In this park it can literally be about 10 minutes as it depends on how far from the track the tiger is. It costs 700 Rupees (including 100 R tip for the mahout). I'd definitely recommend the ride it (though they're not guaranteed to happen every day) as if you can then you know that you will see a tiger and you can get a lot closer from the back of an elephant.

When I say additional game drives in each new park, I meant that there is the option to do an extra drive in each park visited, so one in Ranthambore, one in Bandhavgarh and one in Kanha. I think they took about 4 hours, but that includes the time it took to get from the hotel to the entrance. I only did the one in Bandhavgarh, but I think I remember leaving around 2pm and getting back around 6pm. Each extra safari costs 2200 Rupees.

Bottled water is very easily available from the hotels, so you can ask for a bottle before heading out. All bills are settled up at the end of your stay. The jeeps themselves don't carry any though. I think most places had hair dryers, the hotels in Delhi, Agra and Khajuraho certainly did. I'm not sure about the hotels at the parks though I'm afraid, I didn't use them so wasn't looking for them. Yes you will need a plug adapter, in India their sockets are mostly 2 prongs, although there were a couple of variations. This is a good website which will explain more:http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm#voltage_table.

You can change money in some of the hotels. I would recommend changing a bit at the airport when you arrive as the foreign exchange desk there is more likely to have smaller denominations and the exchange rate is very similar to what you get in the hotels. Alternatively you can change money at the hotels in Delhi and Agra. Agra will be the last place you'll be able to change money though so you'll need to make sure you have enough of the local currency before you leave there. Your group leader (most likely Kamaal) is very good though and he'll be able to give you plenty of advice about changing money and where to do it. For spending money, I only spent about £190 during the whole trip, but it really depends on how many of the optional excursions you want to do, how many souvenirs you're likely to buy and how many drinks you're likely to consume. I was fairly restrained in my spending and others in my group did spend a fair bit more than me, either because they did more of the optionals or drank a lot more alcohol in the evenings or both!

Let me know if you have any other questions :-)

Helen

Joined: 11/10/2010
Posts: 2

Hi Helen,

thanks for all the info; that's really helpful! And Ray and Joy, are you also on the trip which leaves on 11th Feb?

I have a question on warmth of jacket needed; should I take my summer-style outdoor jacket (plus the usual fleece) or will my thin rain jacket be enough? In case of doubt I'd rather be too warm than too cold, but I don't want to lug anything unnecessary either. I did find the summer jacket useful in Namibia for early mornings, so I'm not tending towards that, but I'm not sure how well it'll do in more damp heat.

thanks in advance,

Joolz

Joined: 14/01/2011
Posts: 6

Hi Joolz,

No, our trip leaves on 15th April.

Enjoy your safari, be great to hear your adventures once you return.

Joy

Joined: 14/01/2011
Posts: 6

Hi again Helen,

Thank you so much for giving your time to provide us with some really useful information, you have covered all our questions so thoroughly. Many thanks.

Regards
Ray & Joy

Joined: 14/01/2011
Posts: 6

Hi Helen,

Have come up with a few more questions for you if you don't mind:-

The optional excursions mention the bird park at Bharatpur, did you visit this park?
We are aware that a charge is likely to be made for camera use at the Taj Mahal, are there any other places which also make this charge?
With regards to the overnight train journey on the Jabalpur Nizamuddin Gondwana Express to Delhi, we believe that the sleeping arrangements are 2X2 bunk beds. Can you give us an idea of the arrangements/privacy offered.
You mention that bottled water is available from the hotels, can you remember the cost and do you recommend taking water purification tablets with us?
Finally you indicated that you only spent an additional £190, can you clarify if this included all extras at the hotels as well as water, food etc. as this appears very reasonable!

Thank you so much Helen.
Regards
Ray & Joy

Joined: 01/05/2011
Posts: 29

thanks for the tips

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