Wild Riches of the Lower Himalaya
A gharial basks in the shallows as a Pallas’ fish eagle dripping with majesty dries its big wings on a branch above. On the stony riverbed, a black stork forages for aquatic tidbits and a jackal, overseen by a collared falconet topping the bald canopy of a dead tree, marauds at a trot. And as you drive slowly through an idyllic path flanked by giant sal trees, a tiger with big paws, thick fur and amber eyes appears from the bush, enters your heart and walks away with it.
It is then you realise that this is not just a tour; this is a grand photographic voyage into India’s cornucopian wildlife Eden that goes in the garb of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
- 4 nights and 5 days in one of India’s finest and most celebrated national parks
- Group size restricted to 7 to ensure an exclusive experience
- Guidance of one of India’s finest natural history photographers
- Photographs of a rich repertoire of mammals and birds in enchanting habitat
- Evocative pictures of spectacular sub-Himalayan landscapes
- A wealth of learning in daily insightful sessions on photography, natural history and more
Since Corbett was born as India’s first National Park, it has remained one of the country’s finest wild refuges harbouring a sensational variety of free life in the most breathtaking of settings. Any exaggeration in describing Corbett is quite impossible, for its enchantment defeats verbal articulation.
Located nicely between the Himalayas and the terai that stretch to Nepal, the Ramganga and her tributaries crisscross the park spawning some dramatic landscapes that dazzle with celestial beauty. With rich disparity in habitat, ranging from plain to precipitous and dense forests to emancipating meadows, it supports a rich variety of precious natural treasures and adorns India’s crown as a gleaming jewel.
The pathways and ravines down which Jim Corbett once tracked tigers show traits of the Himalayan mountain system. The northern part represents the Lesser Himalayan belt, with an average altitude of 1800m comprising oak, pine and rhododendron, while most of the park occurs in the Shivaliks, where sal abounds.
But perhaps the most emblematic of Corbett’s habitats are the chaur – vast tracts of magnificent grassland that are the result of ancient forest clearings made for agriculture, and are now a haven to many species that are specialized to living and feeding in the grasses. Nearly synonymous with the fabled Dhikala range of Corbett, chaur are favourite haunts of the majestic elephants and other smaller herbivores, which attract tigers too.
Life flourishes in every inch of Corbett.
In birding terms, Corbett resembles a very large, open treasure-chest filled with an assortment of Himalayan endemics. No fewer than 585 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 33 species of reptiles inhabit the park, taking species diversity to dizzying levels.
A crested kingfisher sits on a smooth rock awaiting its breakfast to be fished out, as an ibisbill practises some riverside meditation. In the undergrowth a jungle cat flushes a babbler from the ground, causing a barking deer to cough out its stentorian call in alarm.
A blue whistling thrush vindicates its name, a green magpie adorns the trees and a spectacular khaleej pheasant is never too far away. And while close to the ground, a red jungle fowl sets new standards of vividness, a lesser fish eagle perched on a high branch opens up fresh perspectives on grace and majesty.
As day turns to dusk, a mottled wood owl sitting quietly by the track bores a piercing look into your soul as you pass by. In the meadows throbbing with theatrical feel, a shy hog deer melts quietly into the grass and from the edge of a ravine, a black francolin calls it a day.
Amid all this avian frenzy, mammals don’t play truant. From the diminutive yellow-throated marten to the gently gigantic Asian elephant, they in fact quite zealously vie for your attention. The coveted appearance of the enigmatic Corbett tiger, traditionally skittish but commoner in the public gaze in recent times, can earn a permanent seat in your memory.
Please note: This tour will begin on the morning of 6 May 2019 at Ramnagar and end at Ramnagar in the evening on 10 May. We suggest an overnight train or a shared taxi between Delhi and Ramnagar on the nights of 5 May and 10 May.
6 May 2019, Monday
Participants arrive in Ramnagar early in the morning and will be driven to Bijrani. After checking in, we begin the Tour with a brief introductory session and later commence bird-watching in the periphery of the park. We will target some of the specialty-birds in the famous Bijrani range on the evening safari. Bijrani is a fantastic birding area with good chances of sighting tigers and elephants as well. The regular fixtures of the jungle should allow plenty of ‘target practice’ to hone your photography skills early and get creative. Driving through this prime tiger-habitat is a pulsating start to our photographic expedition.
We’ll return to the lodge after the ride and end the day with an interactive ChaayaaChitra session with our expert Skipper. After a scrumptious dinner, we retire for the night.
7 May, Tuesday
After exploring the wilderness of Bijrani again in the morning, we have our breakfast and checkout from our lodge. We will be transferred to Dhikala where will go on an evening safari.
The Dhikala range is highly sought after due to its excellent wildlife sightings. Driving towards Dhikala through dense forests, we look for birds like the red-billed leothrix, yellow-bellied fantail flycatcher and the dollar bird.
We reach our destination by afternoon and check in. Not after long, we will embark on our evening safari and drive through the famous Dhikala area, which offers a tremendous possibility to photograph elephants and hog deer in a highly photogenic ambience.
In the evening, a session of will help you get your photos reviewed and incorporate improvements into your photography and digital post-production processing techniques.
8 and 9 May, Wednesday and Thursday
We will spend the morning and evening safaris exploring the Dhikala range, winding through Sambar Road, Khinnanauli and other popular landmarks, scouring for jackals, owls, vultures, collared falconets, lesser and Pallas’ fishing eagles and otters. Being a biodiversity hotspot, Dhikala seldom disappoints a discerning visitor as there is never a dearth of objects of amazement in this action-packed zone.
Before enjoying a scrumptious supper and retiring for these two nights, we are educated and entertained through a CharchaaLoka session facilitated by the Skipper.
10 May, Friday
We drive around Dhikala in the morning, checkout and depart post-lunch on an evening safari, all the while admiring the lovely landscape and amazing wilderness. We then reach Ramnagar whence you will disperse by your preferred mode of transport, with your memory cards full of wildlife photos you will cherish for a long time.
Please note: Your Skipper may, at his discretion, amend the itinerary for the better, depending on prevailing circumstances. This will not affect your travel schedules, Tour duration or cost.
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Twin-sharing accommodation in a resort (outside the park) and forest rest houses (inside the park)
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hot beverages (coffee and tea)
- Transfers between Ramnagar, Bijrani and Dhikala as per Tour itinerary
- All entry fees, guide fees and safaris
- All applicable taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Any airfare and travel between your home and Ramnagar
- Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours, extra meals and beverages 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
- Anything that is not included in the inclusions list
- Atleast 50% of the Tour fee as booking amount (non-refundable)
- Remainder of the Tour fee before 5 March 2019
- 50% of the Tour fee on or before 10 March 2019
- 100% of the Tour fee on or after 11 March 2019
Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.
While Toehold Photo Travel is one of our most popular offerings, we work as a travel agency without bringing the photography guide element in to your travel. In short you would be using our travel experts service to just plan the vacation and execute it.
- Unlike a Photo Travel experience, your Vacation is completely personalised.
- The dates, style of travel, class of hotels and lodges, destinations, everything is tailor-made to suit your custom requirement.
- A Skipper or a photography guide doesn’t travel with you to guide you unless you decide to take our customised and guided photo travel experience.
So take advantage of the immense experience and field knowledge that we bring in to your Vacation’s planning without having to pay for our time and costs. Plus, we don’t charge an additional fee for our time and travel planning services.
Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria?
Anybody interested in birds, wildlife and/or photography and is above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by an adult) can participate in this Tour. There are no 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 to make the most of the Tour photographically, we recommend that you be familiar with photography fundamentals. If you’re not, we suggest you join an Art and Science of Photography Workshop before the Tour.
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.
By what mode will photography be done on this Tour?
Photography will be done from an open four-wheel-drive safari vehicle.
How sure are you about photographing birds 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. 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 elephants 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.
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.
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. Visit our Rental Store to see what we offer’ to see what we offer. What’s better, you can enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on our Photo Tours!
I had a great time on the Toehold tour. They took care of all the logistics so all I had to do was enjoy myself! The evening sessions were great fun and I got to interact with a lot of like-minded people. I’m already planning for my next trip with Toehold!
Toehold injects a lot of interest about photography and natural history. Wish them all the best!
I went on a tour with Toehold to a destination I was so familiar with but ended up learning a lot more things than I already knew. Great bunch of young pros.