Sundarbans

The mystical mangroves of Sundarbans is arguably one of the most fascinating wilderness to witness the Tiger.

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Sundarbans Wildlife Tour Packages

Wildlife group tours, photography tours or customised itineraries.
Kabini Skipper Speaker

As the boat meanders through the intricate waterways of the mystic mangrove forests, everyone scrutinises the surrounding creeks and islands for any trace of the fierce, majestic and coveted big cat – even pugmarks. Suddenly, a chital alarm call is heard and the Skipper and the guide quickly exchange a curt look. Every pumping heart feels the adrenaline rush, every mind wonders if the moment they have all waited for has finally arrived on the Sundarbans wildlife tour. The boat pivots and drifts towards the direction of the call.

The engine is turned off. After a pregnant pause, the elusive Royal Bengal tiger emerges out of the creek and parades on the shoreline. Then, like an olympic diver, it enters the water hardly making a splash. It swims across the channel and comes onto the other coast. It strolls for a while. Then, it glances at the boat one final prolonged time and disappears into the mangroves again. The patronus charm of the Sundarbans National Park is seen no more and the mystic mangroves are engulfed in silence once again!

An alluring UNESCO World Heritage Site, located about 120 km from Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal, the Sundarbans are a part of the world’s largest delta formed by the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. 1330 square km in area, this prime kingdom of the Royal Bengal Tiger holds the status of being the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world.

The Sundarbans are not just the world’s largest mangrove swamp forests, but an enthralling biosphere hosting a plethora of stunning wildlife, including land and aquatic mammals, birds, and reptiles. Over here, the tiger is not just an enigmatic ghost, but a living symbol and incarnation of power, grace and supremacy that everyone on a Sundarbans tiger safari wishes to see.

These ancient mystical forests, cradled by the rhythm of the tides, embraced by long eerie silences, and populated by Sundari trees, from where their name ‘Sundarbans’ derives, are truly irreplaceable wild havens supporting an equally invaluable ecosystem!

Quick Information

Best time to Visit:
Sep-May

Recommended min. duration:
3 nights/4 days

Attractions:
Tigers, Leopard Cats, Jungle Cats,
Fishing Cats, Dolphins,
8 species of Kingfishers
Giant Saltwater Crocodiles

Activities:
Wildlife Boat Safari
Tiger Photography

Nearest Airports:
Kolkata

From our Blog
Here are our Big Cat Photography tips for safaris and the tricks of the trade, to help to make better, more striking, and memorable images of Tigers and LeopardsRead More >>

Our Sundarbans Tours

Upcoming Departures

Swamp Tiger Trail – 7N/8D

Wildlife Photo Safari Tour

Cost: Starting INR 74,500/- + GST

Skipper: Jayanth Sharma

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Reviews by Tour Participants

Mahesh Dileep
Trivandrum
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I’ve always wanted to visit Sundarbans for the distinctive habitat it is. However I was never sure when to go or how to approach the place from a photography perspective. Thankfully you’d sent me an invite which was too good an opportunity to ignore.And like all the other times i wasn’t disappointed. Excellent team, from the boat boys to the guide, and the cook. Cherry on top was the 2 tiger sightings, specially in good light and with ample opportunities to observe and photograph. We’ve all heard the tiger in the Sundarbans are special, and I realised that when I was there.You made sure the long days on the boat were fun filled, so much entertainment. So thank you sir, it was a very enjoyable experience and always so much to learn from you. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy our talks and debates. You are are a prime example of a teacher.
Hemlata Palan
Mumbai
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What a wonderful experience in Sundarbans with Toehold !! The beauty and richness of Sundarbans combined with our skippers knowledge and passion for wildlife was  a perfect combination for us to learn and submerge in nature. Toehold is a highly professional organisation and I was lucky enough to embark on this trip with themThanks to Jay for being such a wonderful Skipper.. not to forget his heavenly singing in early foggy mornings of Sundarbans while cruising on the boat  and the laughter riot he is. Such a fun trip!!I would highly recommend this trip with Toehold to anyone wanting fun, nature and photography learnings and a relaxed break with delicious food 🙂Ps : Jay is a lucky charm for tiger sightings in Sundarbans 🙂

We cater to 3 different kinds of Sundarbans travellers. Which one are you?

There are three different ways to explore Sundarbans. Depending on the kind of traveller you are, we welcome you to choose your preferred Sundarbans wildlife tour package.

Sundarbans Photography Group Tours

Our team of ace photographers will guide you on exciting Sundarbans Photography Tours to ensure you come back with not only great travel memories but also some stunning photographs.

Upcoming Departures

Sundarbans Wildlife Group Tours

Exploring the world with like-minded nature-lovers is surely an exciting human experience. Our fixed departure Sundarbans Wildlife Tour Packages are a safe and fun way to travel for individuals or families alike.

Upcoming Departures

Sundarbans Customised Vacations

For families and individuals who want a tailor-made holiday to suit their personal needs, we invite you to explore our vast array of packages.

Get in touch with us to customise your departure!

Why let us arrange your trip?

At Toehold, we are passionate about travel and photography just as you are, which lets us understand your needs and travails perfectly. And we use our insight and experience to plan your vacation to perfection, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself and make memories for a lifetime.Here are just some reasons you should leave your next holiday to us:

Precise Customisation

It’s your holiday, so you tell us how you want it, and we’ll customise it to your exact expectations, down to every possible detail, just short of what fragrance of air-freshener you’d prefer in your cab.

Expert Advice

Not clear about what you want or how to make the most of your vacation? Pick our brains and make an informed decision about how you’d like to spend your precious holiday, and then just prepare for a rollicking time.

Unmatched Experience

With partnerships with the best people in the field and a stellar logistical network, we ensure no holds are barred in helping you enjoy an enriching and memorable experience.

Flawless Orchestration

Once the plan is set, you can count on us to make your experience a flawless pleasure. A star may implode or a planet may go out of orbit, but you can rest assured your tour will motor on without a glitch.

Sundarbans National Park

An intricate network of tidal streams and channels connecting mangrove forests – the primeval home of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

The Sundarbans National Park is home to over 450 wildlife species, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians! This world dances to the beat and tunes of the tides and on a Sundarbans safari, animal sightings depend on these cyclical changes.

During the low tides, many of the river banks are exposed, resulting in a lot of crustaceans, mudskippers and insects coming out which attract their predators such as the shore birds, the rhesus macaques, the crocodiles etc.

The low tide period also boosts the chances of spotting a tiger march or swim between islands or creeks. The tigers move during the high tides as well, but it is much harder to spot them as they are moving internally and not by the shoreline.

Sundarbans Wildlife Tour Packages
A female Tiger crossing a creek in the Sundarbans

What you can expect in a Sundarbans wildlife tour package?

The Royal Bengal Tiger, 8 species of kingfishers and other wildlife.

The most coveted animal on a Sundarbans safari is undoubtedly the majestic big cat and the apex predator – the Royal Bengal Tiger. Spotting this enigmatic cat parading the shore of these coastal forests or swimming across its intricate network of channels is a wondrous, awe-inspiring experience!

But, the mystic mangroves are also home to some other iconic species such as the Gangetic river dolphin, the snubfin dolphin and the estuarine crocodile. While scanning the region for a tiger, you may also chance upon other elusive small cat species such as the fishing cat, the jungle cat and the leopard cat.

Some other prized sightings at the Sundarbans are green sea turtles, monitor lizards and king cobras. And last, but not the least, Sundarbans is a birder’s paradise too, hosting almost 250 bird species, including lesser adjutant storks, spoonbills, darters, seagulls, lesser whistling teals, partridges, wimbrails, curlews, ruddy shelducks, mangrove whistlers, buffy fish-owls, brown-fish owls, spotted owlets and more!

And to top this incredible gamut, the main avian highlights of the Sundarbans are the eight kingfishers varieties!

Black Capped Kingfisher
Black-capped Kingfisher, Sundarbans
A Spotted Deer in the mangroves

The common kingfisher, also known as the Eurasian kingfisher or the river kingfisher is a sparrow-sized bird, characterised by its blue upper-parts, orange underparts and a long bill. The stork-billed kingfisher is larger than a common kingfisher and is a tree kingfisher. It has a long, bright-red bill, green back, blue wings and red legs. The ruddy kingfisher has a rust-coloured body and a red beak. It is a winter immigrant in the Sundarbans.

 The pied kingfisher is a species of water kingfisher and is easily identified thanks to its black and white plumage and crest. The white-throated kingfisher, also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is arguably the most common kingfisher species, featuring a brown head, blue wings and white chest.

The collared kingfisher or mangrove kingfisher, like the name suggests, has a white collar, a black bill and blue plumage with a greenish tinge. In India, the brown-winged kingfisher has mainly been recorded in coastal regions such as the Sundarbans and the Bhitarkanika National Parks. It has a golden-brown head, dark brown body and a long, bright-red beak. The black-capped kingfisher has a black head contrasted with a white throat, purple-blue wings and is mainly found in coastal regions.

Perhaps, the most intriguing part about the Sundarbans is man’s dynamic relationship with these mangrove forests. The native fishermen community’s livelihood depends on these mangroves. They risk their lives everyday when they go out to fish, and while we wait for a tiger to emerge out of a creek, we sometimes see these fishermen fishing on the opposite side!

The other intriguing part about the Sundarbans is that tigers here perhaps perceive human beings as prey. Hence, our interaction with the tigers of Sundarbans is very different from that of the denizens of central Indian parks.

Sighting a tiger prowling Kanha’s open meadows or cooling off in Ranthambore’s Rajbagh lake, or tiger cubs gambolling in the tall grasses of Telia in Tadoba, is already an exhilarating affair. But a tryst with a Sundarbans tiger, the moments when it looks into your frame or locks eyes with you or just effortlessly paddles its way through the water, experiencing its flair is truly awesome because there is the sense of our lives at stake!

People who operate Sundarbans wildlife tours are extremely wary and vigilant about the tiger. No one is allowed to get down anywhere and the boat, when anchored, is not by the edge of the creek since there is always the imminent threat of a tiger lurking nearby.

Our Skippers and guides have years of experience in the Sundarbans. They have learned to trust their gut and know where to spend time looking for the tigers where there are a few males who wander around and a few females with cubs!

The chief focus on the Sundarbans phototour would be on the tiger, and while the majority of our time is spent searching for one, we will get to see other animals such as leopard cats, fishing cats, jungle cats, Irrawaddy dolphins and so on.

Please note: A large part of this Sundarbans wildlife tour goes in long hours of searching and waiting. For people expecting hourly action and spotting numerous tiger individuals, such as in the case of a central Indian forest expedition, we don’t recommend this tour.

This tour is for advanced nature lovers who are willing to be patient to witness something quite rare – a tiger in the Sundarbans. Most tourists consider themselves lucky even if they spot one tiger in the entire week! If you are one such person who is hungrier than the tides, then this Sundarbans photo tour is for you!

Interested? Make a Booking Enquiry

It’s easy. Call us on 1800 1200 901 (Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.) or simply fill this form, and we’ll get back to you like the whirring wind.

Enquiry Form

Frequently Asked Questions

We ensure maximum care and protection while traveling in the post-COVID scenario. We certainly think you have to be extra-careful and follow rules and regulations. Please consult your general physician or doctor before you make this decision.
That’s quite easy. It depends on what your interest is. If you are a photography enthuisast and would like our skipper’s guidance and tutelage, then Photo Tour. Else hop on to a group tour where photography isn’t the focus of the trip. Finally, we can tailor-make a vacation for you if you need to travel on your own date and style.

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 focused.

Absolutely everything! From booking the travel tickets and arranging for a comfortable stay to suggested itineraries and planning places of interest, Toehold takes care of all the details of your vacation.
You may certainly take your young child, but we don’t recommend taking infants and very small children on safari. Please talk to us for more information.
Certainly! We take care of the flight ticket bookings too for anyone who requires assistance.

Of course! Please talk to our capable Camera Rent team or mention what gear you’d like to hire while registering for the tour. Guess what? We offer you a 10% off on camera rent while on the tour.

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.

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Swamp Tiger Trail - Sundarbans photo Tour

SEP 25 - OCT 2, 2021

Sundarbans Photo Tour

Skipper: Jayanth Sharma

Tour Itinerary

Please note: This Group Tour will begin and end in Kolkata, on the noon of day 1 and ends at Kolkata on the evening of day 8

We recommend participants to arrive in Kolkata before 11:00AM on this day or the previous night (Day 0). Our transfers to Sundarbans from Kolkata from around the Airport area begins at 1:00PM. We stop for lunch and shopping on the way and arrive at Gadkhali by 4:00PM approximately, from where we board our boat to kick start the cruise to reach our lodge deeper in to the ecosystem.

The agenda for the day is to arrive by evening and rest before our busy week begins.

Following your arrival and a scrumptious dinner, a round of mutual introduction will ensue, after which your Skipper will brief the group on the natural history features and tourist rules of the park and set the tone for the tour.

Our day starts before sunrise as we head to our boats and resume our exploration of the mystic mangrove forests. Tigers are at their most active during the early hours of dawn and late hours of dusk, so we seek to utilise the first hour of the day to the most and optimise our tiger sighting chances.

The entire day will be spent to watch and photograph not only tigers, but all the wild inhabitants of this priceless ecosystem. Your Skipper will constantly impart a wealth of useful photography tips, tricks and techniques. Intriguing and interactive, this discussion is bound to open your eyes to many new things you can try on the days to come.

Your Skipper will also constantly monitor the situation and strategize with the guide to maximize tiger sighting opportunities all the same.

For the next 5 days, we follow the same schedule with variations in strategy and approach if and when required. Your Skipper will always be thinking a step ahead and will collaborate with the guides to take strategic decisions both proactively and driven by need, in an effort to maximise sightings.

We venture into the intricate waterways of the Sundarbans for a couple of final hours to take our last chances of wildlife sightings. Upon our return, having completed a thrilling expedition, we sail to Gadkhali – the jetty where we disembark and from which we drive back to Kolkata and depart for our abodes with myriad pictures and memories.

We expect to be dropped back to Kolkata by 4:00PM. You can book a flight post 6:00PM to your destination.

Please note: Your Skipper may, at his discretion, amend the itinerary for the better, depending on prevailing circumstances. 

Cost & Terms

Regular Price

INR 74,500
  • Per Person on twin Shared Accommodation

Couples

INR 1,47,000
  • Per Couple on Twin Shared Accommodation

Toehold Patrons

INR 72,500
  • Per Person on Twin Shared Accommodation

What’s Included?

What’s Not Included?

Payment Terms

All figures per person.

Cancellation Fees

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

Interested? Make a Booking Enquiry

It’s easy. Call us on 1800 1200 901 (Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.) or simply fill this form, and we’ll get back to you like the whirring wind.

Enquiry Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Anybody with an interest in wildlife and over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by an adult) is welcome to participate.

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.

Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, our Group Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of an experienced naturalist. The common ingredients in all our Group Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are nature lovers, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.

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 were unsatisfactory. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, we do not claim that sightings – especially of leopards – are guaranteed.

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.

For Leopards and other mammals, a telephoto zoom lens in the range of 100 to 400mm works very well. Sometimes, when leopards and other wildlife are far, and for birds, a longer lens can come in more than handy. 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. A wide-angle or normal zoom to capture landscapes or creative perspectives of wildlife is recommended. And since we may do some nocturnal photography, an image-stabilized lens and a camera body that performs well at high sensitivities are boons.

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 enjoy a 20% discount on all equipment hired on our Toehold Outdoors Group Tours!