Top Cat Tryst

He came from the bush like a spectre, walked with the authority of a colonel and sat like a Tagore poem in earthly form. You were left a sitting duck.

Before this you hadn't seen anything remotely as big that is also so achingly throbbing with aesthetic perfection and mesmeric charm. Rightfully, you check if you're hallucinating.

You want to cling to every second of this exotic experience, but it is like a mirage - a real phenomenon but not a packable commodity. And the more you see, the more you want of it. It is joyous, sacred. You cannot shrug it off. Something inside you has been lit. Your life has just changed and you know you'll never be the same again.

For you've just enjoyed the incomparable sight of a tiger in the wild.

Dates:

2 to 6 May 2018

9 to 13 May 2018

Skipper:

Sachin Rai

Why go on a Toehold Tour?

Planned to maximise

photo opportunities

Led by ace

photographers

Over 100 years'

collective experience

Hands-on assistance

on and off the field

Image reviews

and presentations

Photography gear

on rent

Tour Highlights

  • An authentic four-night/five-day wildlife experience in a celebrated central Indian forest
  • An excursion planned and executed to perfection
  • Possibly excellent photo opportunities of tigers and other attractions of Bandhavgarh
  • Beautiful landscape photographs of scenic environs
  • Extensive photography assistance both on and off the field
  • A wealth of natural history and post-processing learning with Toehold's Skippers
  • A fun and highly interactive environment without barriers

How is it?

A seamless marriage of history and natural history.

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What you will see and photograph

Tigers as individuals; not just as animals.

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About your Skipper

Sachin Rai

An uncompromising reverence for nature and an unfailing eye for unique perspectives underline Sachin's journey as an ace naturalist and eminent wildlife photographer with over a decade's experience in excellence.

I wanted to express my gratitude for organizing a wonderful trip. I was looking forward for the trip more so from the point of having a break from the hectic corporate life and to have good sighting of wild life. The trip gave me much more than what i had expected. The learnings from the trip on photography was great and will help me improve my skills further. Your knowledge of photography made the trip more informative and fun. Thanks for the wonderful experience. Looking forward for more such trips in the future. - Sandesh Murchy, Bengaluru
The Bandhavgarh trip was a very enriching experience.. of course with the Tigers and the forests in context. Sachin, with his immense knowledge, his freindly affable ways, and his eagerness to teach, broke the ice immidiately in such a diverse group, his informal approach i think worked wonders. In the last one year that i have picked up a camera..and travelled with a couple of groups, the instant bond that Sachin created with the participants was magical. We felt a bond with toehold ... as we parted .. and im sure many of us will be there for more trips in future. - Neelu Bhatt, Bengaluru
For a nature lover seeking solace in the wilderness,dreams galore, expectations are very high. For him the itenary running at pace, guidance, information on field, the whole experience of being one with nature matters a lot. Even a when a person learns digital photography understanding the techniques, knowing about the nuances, he needs the right tutoring and ideas to bring in a difference in what he visualizes and photographs, here the experience with Toehold has been by far one of the best. - Dilip Prashanth, Bengaluru
This mail is just to tell you guys that it was wonderful experience with you all it was very friendly envouent with you all guys as it was my journey towards wildlife and I m so happy that it was with right guys. - Tejas Chhadwa, Mumbai
Tigers, Leopards and Wildldogs - all predators in Bandhavgarh made this a great outing. Learnt so much and had great fun! - Srinivas Yelandur, Bengaluru

Please note:

For schedule 1, the Tour starts at Bandhavgarh after 12 noon on 2 May 2018 and ends at Bandhavgarh after the evening safari on 6 May.

For schedule 2, the Tour starts at Bandhavgarh after 12 noon on 9 May 2018 and ends at Bandhavgarh after the evening safari on 13 May.

Transfer from and back to the nearest airport (Jabalpur) or railway station (Umaria or Katni) will be at an additional, actual cost. Toehold will provide assistance in cab-pooling but please talk to us for further help and specific needs.

The itinerary common to both schedules will be as follows:

Schedule 1: 2 to 6 May 2018

Schedule 2: 9 to 13 May 2018

DAY 1   9 May 2018, Wednesday:  Arrival and Check-in; Overnight in Bandhavgarh

Participants fly to Jabalpur from either Delhi or Mumbai and are transported to Bandhavgarh, in about five hours. After checking in, we are met by the Skipper and get to know one another. Following a scrumptious dinner and a round of mutual introduction, our Skipper will brief the group on the natural history features and tourist rules of the park and set the tone for the Tour before we retire for the night with exciting dreams of what lies ahead.

DAY 2   10 May, Thursday:  Morning and Afternoon Safaris and Overnight in Bandhavgarh

Come early morning and it's time for the much-awaited first safari, during which we acquaint ourselves with the topographical features of the park. A dash of beginner's luck can yield the coveted sight of a tiger early on the trip, kicking the event off to a rollicking start, but even if feline fortune doesn't shine through, the beauty of the forest is bound to enthrall us with plenty of time remaining on the Tour to see and photograph the principal object of our pursuit.

Following our maiden foray, we return to camp, where the Tour's first interactive ChaayaaChitra session will ensue. These unique Toehold sessions, which are highly fruitful and great fun, are reported by earlier participants to be as enjoyable as the safaris themselves and are likely to entertain as much as educate you.

In the afternoon we venture into the park for another safari, looking for more opportunities.

Having spent a noteworthy day replete with exploration, photography and frolic, we enjoy a scrumptious supper before hitting the sack for the night.

DAYS 3 and 4    11 and 12 May, Friday and Saturday:  Morning and Afternoon Safaris and Overnight in Bandhavgarh

For the next two days, we follow the same schedule in pursuit of tiger photography opportunities.

After a morning wakeup-call at 4:15 opens the day, we reach the park gate at the earliest possible and be one of the first to enter when it opens. This will allow us to look for pugmarks and other fresh signs of any tiger movement to track the big cats, and also put us in a vantage position for viewing and photography, should a tiger materialize. Tigers are at their most active during the early hours of dawn and late hours of dusk, so we seek to utilize the first hour of the ride to the most.

The morning safari lasts for a full four hours, giving us a splendid chance not only to find tigers but also see and photograph many other inhabitants of this Central Indian Eden. We exit the park and return to our comfortable resort for a refreshing shower and a rejuvenating breakfast.

After a brief repose, we meet for a session of ChitraTantra, where your Skipper will critique your pictures upon request, sharing valuable tips for improvement. Intriguing and interactive, this discussion is bound to open your eyes to many new things you can try on the rides to come.

Lunch will be followed by the second safari at 3:30 p.m. Afternoons are great for bird-watching, and while we wait for tigers to start moving or visit the numerous waterholes to counter the summer heat, we have a great time photographing some of the winged attractions of Bandhavgarh. Meanwhile your Skipper will constantly monitor the situation and strategize with the guide and the driver to maximize tiger sighting opportunities.

Should a tiger encounter materialize, your Skipper will do everything in his strength to put you in the best possible position for viewing and photography.

DAY 5    13 May, Sunday:  Morning and Afternoon Safaris in Bandhavgarh and Checkout

After enjoying morning and evening safaris in Bandhavgarh, we check out of our lodge and are transferred to Jabalpur or Katni, whence we return home with fascinating tales to tell our families and friends!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria? Anybody over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by an adult) and interested in nature and wildlife - specifically tigers - and/or photography will enjoy this Tour thoroughly. There are no other eligibility criteria.
  • I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible? Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold's eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, in order for you to make the most of the Tour, we recommend you be familiar with at least the basics of photography. If you're not, we suggest you join a Art and Science of Photography Workshop first.
  • How many people can I expect to share my vehicle with on safari? Our Photo Tours are designed to provide you sufficient space for comfortable photography without being excessively taxing on your pocket, so you can expect a maximum of three other people (including the participants and the Skipper) apart from the driver and the mandatory forest department guide.
  • Why aren't onward and return journeys included on this Tour? Since participants of our Tours travel from various parts of the country by different modes (road, rail and air) as per their individual preferences, it works best to originate Tours from the destinations. We, however, provide all the assistance you need in arranging your logistics.
  • How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours? Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.
  • How sure are you about photographing wildlife on this Tour? Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our sightings and photography were unsatisfactory. Of all the Indian parks, Bandhavgarh offers the best opportunity to observe and photograph the Bengal tiger. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, we do not claim that sightings - especially of big cats - are guaranteed.
  • What equipment do you suggest on this Tour? For tigers and other mammals, a telephoto zoom lens in the range of 70 to 200mm/300mm or 100 to 400mm works very well. If opting for a fixed ('prime') lens, the 300mm focal length on a cropped sensor body with a 1.4x extender ('teleconverter') is the best compromise, although lenses of longer focal length can be used to good effect as well, especially on 'full-frame' bodies. For birds, a lens with a focal length of at least 400mm is essential. A wide-angle or normal zoom to capture landscapes or creative perspectives of wildlife is recommended. And since the light conditions in Indian jungles can often be challenging, an image-stabilized lens and a camera body that performs well at high sensitivities are boons.
  • I do not have the requisite equipment. What do I do? If you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer. What's better, you can enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on our Photo Tours!
Individuals
INR 49,000 *
Couples ††
INR 96,000 *
Toehold Patrons
INR 47,500 *

* 5% GST Extra

Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation

†† Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation

  • Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable rooms unless single occupancy purchased at extra cost
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hot beverages (coffee and tea)
  • All entry fees, guide fees and safaris
  • Any airfare
  • Transfers from the nearest airport or railway station and back
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours or extra meals ordered
  • Insurance, laundry and phone calls
  • Bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Camera fees if any (participants will be advised of the estimated fees in advance)
  • Tips and gratuities
  • All applicable taxes
  • Anything that is not included in the inclusions list
  • INR 10,000 as booking advance
  • 100% by 25 December 2017
  • 30% on or before 25 December 2017
  • 100% on or after 26 December 2017

Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Participants who have a medical history of blood pressure, heart-related problems or asthma are advised to seek medical advice before enrolling for this Tour.
  2. Fitness to complete the Tour is the only criterion for participation.
  3. Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. shall not be responsible for injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveller in connection with terrorist activities, social or labour unrest, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel partner's control.
  4. All clients travelling with Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. must complete and sign a reservation form and the " Release of Liability, Assumption of Risk & Arbitration Agreement" form.
Bookings Closed: Please note that bookings for this Tour have been closed. Please get in touch with us if you'd like to be notified in the event of a seat becoming available due to a cancellation.