Reminiscing on the Tigers of Bandhavgarh

The recent spate of enquiries about our photographic holiday to India to photograph the Royal Bengal Tiger has got me reminiscing about our last visit to India & why this tour is one of my favourite trips. Young Bengal tiger walking in the long grass - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday I know I keep saying this but seeing a wild Bengal Tiger really is something very special. The first time I saw a wild tiger, I almost forgot to breathe because I was so spellbound by this majestic big cat. I can still remember seeing the pug marks in the soft sand before B2, Lord of Bandhavgarh, strode into view & lay just a few feet away from our car. We choose to visit Bandhavgarh because it has the highest density of tigers of all the national parks in India. As with all wildlife photography, there are no guarantees but one can always stack the cards in one’s favour by choosing the right time of year to visit. In our case, we choose to visit during the height of the Indian summer because the wildlife has to come to water. Bengal tiger and her cub walking through Bandhavgarh National Park - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday Our Tigers of Bandhavgarh India workshop is probably one of our toughest due to the searing heat but at the same time, it’s also one of our most relaxing workshops thanks to the luxurious accommodation we have chosen for our downtime. And what an awesome base we have chosen! Bengal Tiger walking along a rocky outcrop inside Bandhavgarh National Park - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday Each person or couple has their own villa measuring a minimum of 1000 sq. ft. Each villa has a bedroom, a dressing area, spacious bathroom, private courtyard with rain shower (perfect for cooling off after a hot game drive) & a private deck. The rooms are air-conditioned with TV, mini bar. safe, phone, wifi, hair dryer, basically all the modern conveniences that you may expect to find in a modern hotel. The courtyard at night - as found at the accommodation used on the NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography HolidayBandhavgarh Bedroom - as found at the accommodation used on the NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography HolidayVilla bathroom leading to outdoor rain shower - as found at the accommodation used on the NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography HolidayThe Pool - as found at the accommodation used on the NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday A typical day starts at 4am when we make our way to the jeeps for the short drive to the entrance of Bandhavgarh National Park. Once we have been assigned our naturalist & route, we head into the park. In May, the landscape of the park is probably at its most diverse with areas of arid dry grassland, pretty meadowland & pockets of lush green jungle, reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. As you will see from the photos, all make fantastic settings for a Bengal tiger. Wildlife aside, there are also some fantastic architectural photographic opportunities such as the 35 foot long statue of Vishnu, carved out of a single piece of sandstone which is located halfway up to Bandhavgarh Fort. The path leading to & the area where the statue is located looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie with water falling into a pool just below the statue & monkeys chasing each other across the statue. Giant statue of Vishnu hidden in the indian jungle of Bandhavgarh where you can also photograph Bengal tigers - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday Man-made caves that were once used as stables, guard rooms & justice courts also make for great images, especially if a Bengal tiger happens to wander in front of them. One such cave is home to hundreds of bats which can be photographed if you are brave enough to enter. The morning safari typically ends around 10am when the heat is starting to become uncomfortable. After a refreshing cool shower, breakfast is served as we talk excitedly about what sightings we had achieved. I remember one morning drive where my guest & I had no tiger sighting BUT we managed to grab photos of a sloth bear & her cub. We watched with much amusement as David & the rest of our guests sympathised about how my guest & I had not managed to see a tiger, that is, until they saw the back of our cameras. Sloth bear sightings are incredibly rare & definitely trump tiger sightings! Sloth Bears in Bandhavgarh National Park, where you can also photograph Bengal Tigers - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday After breakfast, the rest of the morning is at leisure for you to either catch up on some sleep, go through the morning’s images, take a dip in the enormous swimming pool, take advantage of the massage or therapy rooms or all of the above! A light lunch is served around noon if you fancy a bite to eat & we head out for the late afternoon/evening safari around 3pm. Whilst our target species is the Royal Bengal Tiger, there is also a wide variety of colourful birds & other wildlife such as Sambar, Spotted Deer, Langur monkeys, Gaur & wild boar. If we are lucky, we may even see Leopard, Sloth Bear & Asian Wild Dog. We leave the park as the sun goes down to head back to our villas. The evening meal can be served either indoors or outside under a star strewn sky. The cuisine is truly international with all requirements catered for. One evening, David had a hankering for fish & chips & that evening, he got exactly that for dinner! Nothing is too much trouble for the staff. Bengal Tiger Cub sat in long grass - photographed on a NaturesLens Tigers of Bandhavgarh Photography Holiday Our Safari tour is based on the use of private jeeps & expert local naturalists. These guys really know their stuff & are excellent trackers. One morning, we were lucky enough to photograph a tigress emerging from the jungle because our naturalist had heard her sneeze & was able to judge where she would emerge! With just two people per jeep, there is plenty of space for camera equipment, tripods & for you to move around. David & I can offer one to one sessions to anyone who wants it. The Tigers of Bandhavgarh India Photography Holiday will run from 28th April to 7th May 2015. We have just one place left on this tour so if you are interested, please use our contact form to register your interest. Please note that all bookings have to be made by 28th December 2014 to guarantee the game drives.

Bandhavgarh Accommodation

Single Traveller Offer for Newsletter Subscribers

We’ve had another single booking come in for India’s tigers, that means that we can run this special deal again …

If you fancy photographing tigers in India, but are a single traveller & do not want to pay a single supplement, carry on reading …

Please note though, there is only one place available on this deal … unless, after this, we get a further single traveller wanting to attend the trip.

Book on this trip as a single person & you will get your own room with NO single supplement. You will share a jeep but this is with just one other person, as we like to have only two people per jeep.

On our 7 day Tiger Safari in the Bandhavgarh reserve, you will be staying in a fantastic hotel in the area, for the price that we normally charge sharing travellers. This is an amazing trip so if you are interested in this deal, please get in touch.

More details of the trip can be found here.

Bandhavgarh Accommodation

Of course, if a couple or a pair of travelling companions would like to attend, we are able to offer a double or twin room at £2000 per person, a deposit of £250 per person will secure a place, with the balance due in February 2015.

There really isn’t anything more special than seeing a tiger in the wild. The first time you see this magnificent cat, you may forget to breathe. They truly are the Kings of the Jungle.

Other wildlife that we can hope to photograph while we are in the park include Langur Monkeys, Sambur Deer, Leopards, the elusive Sloth Bear & colorful birds.

Accommodation is on a full board basis & we are based in a fabulous hotel complete with indoor wet rooms & privately screened rain showers, just perfect for cooling off after a game drive.

The available cuisine is both traditional & international, nothing is too much trouble for our hosts.

Bandhavgarh Tiger

Puffin gathering nesting material photographed on Skomer Island during a NaturesLens Puffins Photography Holiday

Puffins of Skomer Island

Skomer Island is famous for the puffins that reside there over the summer. No matter how much time is spent, something new always beckons & calls us back time & again. Skomer is a magical place to visit, a haven for wildlife, but it is most well known for its puffins. Situated just off the coast of Pembrokeshire this island, with its sister island Skokholm, is surrounded by some of the richest waters for wildlife off the British Isles. The seas are full of fantastic wildlife, from delightfully coloured sea slugs to magnificent cetaceans. The island itself attracts a huge array of wildlife which shelters in its bays & inlets.

Puffin gathering nesting material photographed on Skomer Island during a NaturesLens Puffins Photography Holiday
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One of the many White Tailed Eagles that frequent the hides used on the NaturesLens Ultimate Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday

New Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday

Take up the opportunity for a week of amazing wildlife photography in Romania, specifically our Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday. Our trip is based at a cosy & well-equipped 4 star hotel inside the nature reserve itself. This allows our group to stay in the middle of nature, without giving up on the the comfort & amenities that will make the trip comfortable! It gets better, our venue has 20 purpose built hides available for the use of all our group participants throughout the trip.

A pair of White Tailed Eagles photographed at the hides used on the NaturesLens Ultimate Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday

Species that you can observe & photograph during our visit will include Glossy Ibis, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, White- tailed Eagle, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling, Golden Jackals & Eurasian Otters.

At night, aboard the 4×4 vehicles, you will hear the endless calls of Tree Frogs & Toads, you will be able see various nocturnal insects including many moths, & with a bit of luck we might even see the Wildcat, which are quite numerous inside the property.

Details of the itinerary, including more images from this holiday may be found on our events page here. We anticipate that this holiday will be extremely popular so book now to avoid disappointment.

Reserve a place on the NaturesLens Ultimate Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday, with a deposit of only £300, balance due March 2015.

One of the many White Tailed Eagles that frequent the hides used on the NaturesLens Ultimate Danube Wildlife Photography Holiday

Montagus Harrier photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Calera Photography Holiday

Birds of Spain, a week of amazing photography

During Mid-April 2015, NaturesLens have been offered exclusive use of some hides in Spain. Located not far from Madrid, the hides provide some great photography of some of the birds of Spain, in short, some stunning species at some awesome locations! This is a trip that offers unique wildlife photography of some of Spain’s best bird species from some of the best hides we know of.

Great Bustard at Sunrise photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Birds of Spain Photgraphy Holiday

Species you should be able to capture incredible images from the hides include the following:

  • Great Bustard
  • Little Bustard
  • Kestrel
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Kite
  • Black-Shouldered Kite
  • Marsh Harrier & Montagu’s Harrier
  • Hoopoe, Bee Eater, Shrike, Roller & Magpie
  • Curlew & more from a Lake hide
  • Black Vultures

If you’d like to see more sample photos of some of these species, these are available on the booking page – all were taken at the hides that we will be using. If you want to see any further photos, please contact us by email.

Reserve a place on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera, Spain Photography Holiday, with a deposit of only £300, balance due February 2015.

Flights to Madrid are not included in the trip price, but are currently available for an approximate cost of £100.

Montagus Harrier photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Birds of Spain Photgraphy Holiday