You are in an ancient forest. A peacock crows his raucous call, big sambar stags stomp the ground in red alert, frogs retreat to the security of the water and chirping birds slump into a lull of silence.
A tiger walks out of the bush and strides regally across the shoreline taking your breath away.
And you have witnessed the magic of the emperor who doesn’t rule merely the land but also the hearts of its inhabitants. It’s a timely experience of timeless evolutionary perfection.
- Four nights and three full-days of dawn-to-dusk safaris in one of India’s greatest tiger abodes
- A special wildlife experience with over 36 hours of virtually unrestricted photography
- No route or zone restrictions within the area open to tourism
- Possibly excellent photo opportunities of tigers and other attractions of Ranthambhore
- Extensive photography assistance both on and off the field
- A wealth of natural history and post-processing learning
- A fun and highly interactive environment without barriers
Between the Aravalis and the Vindhyas in the Sawai Madhopur District of eastern Rajasthan lies the Ranthambhore National Park as a part of the greater Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. 1334km2 in area but infinitely larger in appeal, the tiger reserve is bound by two rivers and a sanctuary, and features the terrain types of both hill systems at whose confluence it nestles enticingly.
But Ranthambhore is not just the confluence of two mountain ranges, but also a convergence of the best of man, nature and her creations. Here, history and natural history jell seamlessly to form a perpetual spectacle of endless wonder.
The ancient relics left by the human kingdoms of the past, most notably in the way of arches, gates and chhatris, dot the park almost ubiquitously, now reclaimed by the protected wilderness and embraced wholeheartedly by its rightful inhabitants.
This great setting in which the masterpieces of human industry complement the products of nature’s whimsical flair, gives the reserve its unique, inimitable feel and charm that have propelled it to one of the best places on Earth in which to witness some of the world’s most beautiful animals enjoying unmolested lives.
The invaluable jungles of Ranthambhore bear the distinction of being India’s largest expanse of dry deciduous Anogeissus pendula forest, Rajasthan’s only habitat in which a viable tiger population currently survives, a critical water catchment area, and an important bio-diversity hub supporting endangered megafauna. And with its rugged hills, steep valleys, rakish ravines and grass-covered plateaus, Ranthambhore makes tiger-watching a joy nonpareil.
The royal Bengal tiger, true to the prevailing ambience, is particularly royal here. A true emperor of all it surveys, the tiger makes its life much more public here than in most other reserves, offering a wealth of precious opportunities to observe and photograph Ranthambhore’s most charismatic tenant and implicitly its greatest guardian in all its glorious individuality.
But the tiger is certainly not Ranthambhore’s singular attraction. For where the apex of the food chain dwells, a whole healthy ecosystem thrives and thus abounds a great variety of watchable wildlife.
Felines hogging a smaller share of the limelight include the leopard, which is sometimes seen straddling the rocky cliffs and steep ridges under the perilous shadow of its larger cousin; the elusive caracal with its long, tufted ears; the fascinating jungle cat and the diminutive rusty-spotted cat.
Notable ungulates apart from the ubiquitous sambar and chital are India’s largest antelope, the nilgai or blue bull and the infinitely graceful and rare chinkara or Indian gazelle, which are the kinds of subjects that make photography such a rewarding vocation.
Sloth bears, jackals and Indian foxes are in attendance and a burst of fortune can lead to explosively exciting encounters and while Indian and palm civets, ruddy mongooses and the striking striped hyena are not easy to see, their pursuit in the interests of a photographic pay-dirt will keep you very keenly interested.
And over 320 species of birds in attendance, including francolins, quails, thicknees, sand grouses and partridges in the ground to minivets, flycatchers, tits, orioles, green pigeons and parakeets in the trees, the avifaunal siege is bounteous enough to keep you riveted as you snake through its magical alleyways in the quest of the king.
Please note: The Tour starts at Ranthambhore on day one after 12 noon, and ends at Ranthambhore on day five after breakfast. Transfer from and back to the nearest airport or railway station will be at an additional, actual cost. Assistance in cab-pooling will be provided but please talk to us for further help and specific needs.
You arrive at the lodge in Sawai Madhopur by lunchtime and check in. Shortly, the Skipper will facilitate a round of mutual introduction over buffet lunch and orient you to the features and the rules of the park.
The afternoon will be at leisure as we wait for everybody to check in. In the evening the Skipper will deliver a refresher of photography basics to ensure we’re all geared up for a full day’s photography the next day.
Having spent a noteworthy day replete with preparation and frolic, we enjoy a scrumptious supper before hitting the sack for the night with dreams of what lies ahead.
Over the next three days, we enjoy full-day safaris in Ranthambhore. We enter the park just after sunrise and go in search of tigers and all the other wealth of photo opportunities, to hopefully make plenty of images of many of Ranthambhore’s resident wild inhabitants.
Meanwhile, the Skipper will constantly monitor the situation and decide the strategy real-time to maximise the opportunities and derive the utmost value from the experience, and if a sighting is reported somewhere or likely, we can get there with no zone restrictions. He will also help you make great images by having the vehicle positioned rightly, and assisting you to get all the settings right.
In the evenings, we meet for a ChitraTantra or CharchaaLoka session, where a review of the experiences of the day and a discussion of all matters photography and natural-history will call a fittingly erudite end to a productive day.
After enjoying a final morning’s breakfast, we take the customary group picture, check out and disperse with many images to show and many an enthralling story to tell to our loved ones.
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable rooms unless single occupancy purchased at extra cost
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner — packed breakfast and lunch on safari days) and hot beverages (coffee and tea) as per the Tour itinerary
- All entry fees, guide fees and safaris
What’s Not Included?
- 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
- At least 50% of the Tour fee as booking amount
- Remainder of the Tour fee 60 days before the Tour
- 50% of the Tour fee 75 days or more before the Tour
- 100% of the Tour fee (no refund) within 74 days before the Tour
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?
Anybody with an interest in wildlife, photography or both, and is over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) is welcome to join the Tour.
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.
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 personnel.
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 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. 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.
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.