Best time to visit

Mid-November to Early June (also possible to visit year round, but sections of the Corbett Tiger Reserve are closed during the monsoon between June and Nov)

For Whom

Bird-watchers, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Birds & Wildlife Photographers

Extended Weekend Tours

Long Breaks

Tigers, Pheasants & Raptors, Kumaon 8 Nights / 9 Days

Summary

The Kumaon District’s Lesser Himalayan and foothill forests - the region’s natural history popularised by the adventures of Jim Corbett, a pioneer conservationist of British India - provide an excellent representation of the sub-3000m animals and plants of the Western Himalaya. Here the Terai’s grasslands merge into the well-drained forests of Sal, mixeddeciduous and Chir Pine in the low to mid-elevation, beyond which the temperate broadleaved forest of Oak and Rhododendron dominate.

This diversity of relatively contiguous forests (also connected to alpine habitats) supports an fantastic diversity of birds of over 600 species, local numbers seasonally bolstered by altitudinal and long-distance migrants. These include sought after species such as Cheer and Koklass Pheasants, Lesser Fish Eagle, Ibisbill, Great-slaty Woodpecker, Wallcreeper, Long-tailed Broadbill, White-tailed Rubythroat, Indian Pitta and Great Hornbill among various excellent Passerines and Raptors (over 50 species!). Mammal diversity is also interesting, particularly visible in the Terai and lowland forest, where there is a great chance spotting Tiger and Elephant. Higher-up rarities such as as the Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard, Himalayan Weasel, Himalayan Serow and Musk Deer are possible among commoner Goral, Yellow-throated Marten, Red Fox and Barking Deer. King Cobra, Indian Python and Gharial are among the other highlight species that are found in these forests.

Views of the Great Himalaya are possible on clear days. These include a few stunningly high peaks over 7000m - the iconic Nanda Devi, the highest peak within India, among them. This complements the extensive layers of scenic forested hills that lead up to these lofty ranges - a typical perspective from the Lesser Himalaya.

Itinerary Outline

  • Day 1, 2 & 3: Corbett Tiger Reserve
  • Day 4, 5 & 6: Pangot (Nainital)
  • Day 7 & 8: Sat Tal
  • Day 9: PM (evening) arrival in Delhi

    Potential Extensions for independent or small group travel

    Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary (March to June only) for higher altitude (2000m-2500m) birds and wildlife of temperate broad-leaved forests of the Western Himalaya. Among the best views of the Greater Himalaya from the lower hills of Kumaon

    Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bharathpur) for large numbers and density of Palearctic bird migrants, Indian Rock Python and few mammals, including the otherwise rare fishing cat (Nov-Mar Only)

    Chambal Sanctuary (November to February only) for Indian Skimmer, Gharial, Smoothcoated Otter, Gangetic Dolphin and a number of Palearctic bird migrants)

Facilities

Accommodation: : Comfortable accommodation in quaint jungle camps particularly noted for their close-to-nature location and set-up to host keen nature enthusiasts.
Food: : Largely pan-Indian with a few international dishes.
Transport: : Road transfers in MUV’s.
Difficulty level: : Easy to moderate for hikes in uneven, mountainous terrain.
Dates : TBA
Please note that we can customise schedule for independent or small group travel.
Costs : TBC
Price inclusions : Transfers and Transport, ex-Delhi / Accommodation / Meals / Naturalist cum Tour Leader / Local Guide / Entrance Fees / Safaris/Activities

Terms & Conditions

  1. Maximum group size for these tours is 6.
  2. Tour costs are per person based on twin sharing basis ex-New Delhi and is all inclusive (transport, accommodation, food, personnel and all taxes and fees). Personnel includes an expert birding guide/tour leader and resource persons locally. Alcoholic beverages, porter charges, laundry and ala carte snacks are extra. Please check with us on specific items are included in the published tour costs.
  3. Bookings are confirmed only upon full payment of the tour cost and at least one month in advance from the proposed departure date
  4. Our preferred mode of payment is through electronic transfers into our bank account. Relevant details will be provided to you once you are ready to make the payment. Alternatively we accept demand drafts/cheques in the currency of your choice.
  5. If you are paying in foreign currency, we might have apply a currency surcharge on the published rates, if the INR appreciates against your currency at the time of payment.
  6. In the unlikely event in which we are forced to cancel the tour we will refund you the entire booking amount. In case we are unable to conduct the tour due to circumstances beyond our control (for e.g. forces of nature, political conditions), we will make every effort to refund as much of the booking amount as possible.
  7. In case you to cancel your booking more than one month in advance from the tour date, we will refund at least 50% of the tour cost (assuming tour costs are fully paid). The precise refund beyond this will be dependent on the refund policies of our travel partners that we use on tour. In case you cancel your booking less than 1 month from the start of the tour, we will refund 10% of your booking amount

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1, 2 & 3, Corbett Tiger Reserve:

We leave Delhi early AM on Day 1 and reach Corbett for a late lunch. We spend the next 3 days exploring this large reserve for its megafauna and excellent birdlife.

India’s first Tiger Reserve, Corbett’s prey-rich grasslands hold among the highest densities of these large cats in the country, and sightings are regular. The parks diverse habitats also hold Elephant, Yellow-throated Marten, Jungle and Fishing Cats, Wild Dog, Leopard and Goral. Located on the foothills of the Himalaya its birdlife of over 400 species are representative of both Himalayan birds as well as those in the adjacent plains. Corbett is great for raptors and in the right seasons, the bird list includes Ibisbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, Maroon Oriole, White-tailed Rubythroat, Greater Yellownape, Indian Pitta, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Rufousbellied and small Niltava, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Spot-winged Starling and Great Slaty Woodpecker.

Day 4, 5 & 6, Pangot (Nainital):

We leave Corbett after an early breakfast on Day 4 and reach Pangot for lunch. We explore the temperate broad-leaved and pine forests of this location for bird specialities of these mountains.

Pangot (2000m+) is small village, especially known for a number of sub-Himalayan bird specialities of its surrounding forests and grassy hillsides. Here it is possible to find the elusive Cheer and Koklass Pheasants, Hill Partridge, Long-billed Thrush, Upland Pipit, Wallcreeper, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Golden Bush Robin, Lammergeier (and numerous raptors), Chestnut-crowned Laughing Thrush among an impressive bird list of around 300 species. Overall this area is prime birding and holds interest for both enthusiasts and experts. Mammals here include rarities like the Himalayan Serow and Leopard among commoner Goral, Yellow-throated Marten and Red Fox. Impressive views of the snow-clad Greater Himalaya (Nanda Devi among them) are possible on clear days.

Day 7 & 8, Sat Tal:

We leave Pangot after morning activity and breakfast on Day 7 and reach Sat Tal for lunch. We spend two days exploring the mixed forests around Sat Tal for its excellent birdlife.

Sat Tal (approximately1300m to1450m), a collection of seven lakes in a forested landscape is an altitudinal mid-point between Corbett and Pangot, often with overlapping bird species from both locations. Birding can be interesting at all times, but is particularly so in spring, autumn and winter, when altitudinal migrants makes the location particularly rich in birdlife. This is also a good place to find a number of birds that might be difficult or missed in the other locations on this itinerary, including good birds like Siberian Rubythroat, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Rufous-chinned Laughing Thrush, Blue-winged Siva, Grey Treepie and Ashy Bulbul and Mountain Bulbuls.

Day 9, Delhi:

After morning activity and breakfast on Day 9, we drive to Delhi. PM (evening) arrival in Delhi.

 

 

FYI and Guidelines

  1. Kumaon is a hilly district in the north Indian state of Uttaranchal. Traditionally, this area is known for its friendly people and is safe region to travel in.
  2. Weather: Updates based on dates of travel. Always be prepared for cold weather at Pangot at all times though.
  3. Typically birds and animals will be seen at distances where binoculars would be useful for observing them. Although we will have a pair or two binoculors to share among the group, please also carry your own optics for more timely viewing.
  4. It is best to wear earthy colored clothing to blend into the environment.
  5. A hat and sunblock are highly recommended.
  6. Please carry a small torch and insect/mosquito repellents.
  7. Please bring essential medication with you, since the local outlets will not always carry what you are looking for. Do check with your doctor on medication and medical safety before you travel to the region.