If you watched BBC Dynasties on Sunday evening & thought, ‘I’d love to see & photograph the tigers of Bandhavgarh for myself’ then the photography holiday we have been running for years is just perfect for you. Our jeep drivers & naturalists are amongst the most experienced in the reserve, we have been working with these local experts for the past 7 years.
Andrew was one of the guests on this year’s Tigers of Tadoba photography tour. We arranged the tour for Derek & Andrew after we learnt that two of the tigresses in Tadoba had recently given birth, which meant there was the possibility to photograph tiger cubs.
David learnt that there were two female tigers who had recently given birth to cubs in Tadoba National Park. This was probably around late November 2017 & two other females had also given birth a little earlier. It seemed that a visit to see the Tigers of Tadoba was on!
David & I, plus my friend Andy, could not miss this great opportunity of hopefully viewing 3 to 4-month-old tiger cubs. So, we caught a plane to Nagpur & then travelled to Tadoba for some excellent tiger viewing & photography.
David is always networking which helps significantly in the meticulous planning NaturesLens always carry out when preparing wildlife photographic trips & workshops. This was no exception.
If you want to get the best possible viewing in the core tiger zones, you usually have to book at least three months in advance. David learnt that two of the Tigers had made their home outside of the core zones of the reserve. We therefore decided to take a gamble & arrange some of our drives in the lesser used reserve areas. We hoped this would increase our chances of seeing as many different cubs as possible. Of course, this could have gone wrong if the Tigers had returned to the main areas but we felt confident they would not.
Our gamble paid off! In reality, this was probably not an enormous gamble due to the planning by David. Most tourists tend to stick to the traditional core areas as they believe they offer the best sightings. I believe we were the only westerners in the areas where these two females were to be found, which made our viewings & images even more special.
Many followers of NaturesLens will probably know that David & I have been friends for many years, well before he & Pui Hang set up NaturesLens, & have enjoyed many nature photography tours together.
Just before Christmas 2017, David asked me if I had been to theLittle Rann of Kutch. I said I had never even heard of it. Kutch is a little-known wildlife destination in the state of Gujarat near the Pakistan border. So off we went in March this year to carry out a recce for a new wildlife photography holiday for NaturesLens.
In late April/early May I completed two back-to-back Indian trips. The first being our Tigers of Bandhavgarh Safari Holiday. I always look forward to our annual trip to photograph tigers & this year was no different, apart from the fact that I was more excited than usual.
We took a break from Bandhavgarh in 2016, so I couldn’t wait to get back there. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited about going back to what I consider to be my second home.
We have been visiting the park for 7 years now & have gotten to know its residents very well. Along with the drivers & guides who have become our friends, we have mourned the loss of favourite tigers & celebrated the birth of new cubs.
In the beginning of May 2017, it was time for us to make our second attempt to capture images of the impressive Bengal Tigers of India, when I write second attempt it’s because Linda – my wife – & I, had previously been to Bardia National Park in Nepal for the very same reason, but, because the tigers in Nepal are much wilder, it was difficult to get as close to them as we would like.
So, on this occasion, we joined NaturesLens on a trip to Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Bandhavgarh is one of the best tiger reserves in the world, with the highest population of Bengal Tigers, so the odds seemed good & the NaturesLens Bengal Tigers of India Photography Holiday looked to tick all the boxes of what we hoped to achieve.
We met with Pui Hang & David of NaturesLens in New Delhi airport, also with them were Jayne & Simon, two guests from the UK, meaning that we had a nice little group of 6 persons in total.
The flight from New Delhi to Jabalpur is a relative short flight in a small plane. Getting the gear to fit in the overhead luggage compartment could have been a problem, but it turned out to be no problem at all, even David managed to persuade the cabin crew with a rather loud “IT WILL FIT” that his bag would fit, & it did!
After the flight & a drive, we arrived to Tala & our wonderful accommodation, which would be our base for the next 7 days. & a very nice base it was, large rooms, nice bathrooms, &, of course, a pool to cool off in.