Ultimate Tigers

Kanha National Park, India

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Download Trip DetailsTigers are the world’s largest living cats. Few animals can evoke such a visceral feeling of fear and awe. Over the centuries, the tiger's predatory prowess has become the source of legend—and the occasional inclusion of “man” in its diet has intensified this mystique. Today, shrinking habitat, poaching and human overpopulation threatens them over most of their range.
"This was such an amazing trip! This is one I would absolutely love to do again in the future. I loved every aspect of the tour. "
- B. Jacobs

Tigers are difficult to photograph in the wild—the reason so many images of these spectacular cats, used commercially and editorially, were taken at game farms. For our Ultimate Tigers 2020 photo shoot we have obtained, by government permit, special pro photography access to one of the world’s most impressive tiger reserves, India’s Kanha National Park. This is the same type of permit for comprehensive access that a film crew from BBC, National Geographic or Discovery Channel would have. The vast majority of visitors (99.95%) to the park will never have this experience!
 
Virtually all of India’s famous tiger parks are busy with tourists and are tightly controlled. Without our valuable permits, visitors arrive early in the morning at the park gate where they are assigned a prescribed zone and game drive route—whether or not tigers have been recently seen on this track. The vehicles may only drive forward—a real problem if a tiger appears out of photo range behind the “jeep.” The normal game drive lasts 3½ hours, the park closes midday for 3½ hours (strictly—no matter if you are viewing a tiger or not), and then reopens again for an afternoon game drive for another 3½ hours. With our permits, 3 of our 6 full shooting days in the park will be route free and unrestricted.  
 
Viewing tigers in IndiaKanha National Park has one of the highest tiger densities in the world. Here, the growing tiger population is now large enough that it is used as the seed stock to repopulate other natural areas around India where tigers have been extirpated. Kanha and its buffer zone is Central India's largest national park encompassing more than 360 square miles. The landscape is predominated by sal forest combined with mixed deciduous/bamboo forest and broad expanses of grassland. We are there in the dry season when most leaves are off the trees—making it easier to spot and photograph these awesome big cats.
 
There is no shortage of prey in the park for both the tigers and the less frequently seen leopards. Several species of ungulates, including chital (spotted deer), sambar, muntjac, nilgai, chinkara and chousingha are all on the big cat menu, as well as gaur and wild boar. Black-faced langurBarasingha (swamp deer) have been reintroduced into the park. Other species we may encounter as we traverse the park include dhole (wild dogs) sloth bear, Indian fox, Hanuman (gray) langur and rhesus macaque—plus Indian jackal, jungle cat, mongoose, ratel, and more than 300 species of birds. Wild peacocks are frequently photographed displaying in their native forest habitat.
 
Our tiger quest may start by sighting huge fresh paw prints (spoor) in the roadway dust. Then we hear the snorts of deer and the chatter of langurs from the trees betraying the presence of these elusive cats. With palpable tension we wait in silence for this king of the forest and, hopefully, it saunters into view with hardly a glance at the human intruders.
 
A trip to India's great tiger parks is a peak experience for every nature photographer and a wonderful opportunity to explore one of Earth's most intriguing wildlife habitats and photography destinations.
 

Compelling Reasons To Travel With Us


For those photographers who love shooting the world's big cats a trip to photograph tigers in India is near the top of their bucket list. Our tiger photography tours provide exceptional access to the national parks in which we work. They are the "gold standard" of wild tiger photography tours.
 
Unparalleled Experience
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris has more than 20 years of experience offering photography tours in India. Our local trip logistics consultant comes from a long line of celebrated Indian conservationists—his grandfather, "the tiger man of India," was a principal advocate of tiger preservation, while his father pioneered India wildlife ecotourism. With his help, our trips are carefully planned for the right place and the right time when tiger sightings are the best.
 
Special All-Access National Park Permits
Tiger with cubsWith special national park permits, 3 of our 6 full shooting days will be unrestricted and route free, allowing us to travel on any track—and in any direction—where and when tigers are seen, and permitting us to enter the park a short time before it opens to tourists (while animals by the roadway have not been disturbed) and to stay a little later than closing time to capture the best light at sunrise and sunset. We do not have to leave the park at midday on those permit days, allowing us to stay within the park, lingering at water holes when tigers are present, and from sunrise to sunset—up to 4½ more hours than the tourist vehicles.
 
Tigers—And A Whole Lot More
With us you get 6 full shooting days and 2 additional half days of photography within the national park. (All tiger national parks in India are closed to all on Wednesday afternoons.)  We also enjoy another morning shoot prior to our return flight to Delhi. This schedule allows you many hours of productive tiger tracking as well as time to photograph many other intriguing wildlife species to enhance your tiger photo portfolio.
 
Accommodations Matter (A lot)
Evening at our lodgeWe stay at just 1 location while we are in the field. There are no travel days to break up the rhythm of our shooting, allowing us to focus all of our attention on our photography. With the potential of long (and sometimes hot) days in the field, to get the most out of tiger sightings and early and late light, we can retreat to comfortable air-conditioned accommodations that provide a peaceful oasis and good food when we return either at a midday break or after sunset. Located just a 3-minute drive from the national park gate, our Jungle Lodge is built with minimal disturbance to the natural environment of the jungle and is managed with eco-friendly principles. 
 
Great Transportation, Fewer Passengers
Viewing a tiger from one of our jeepsOn this trip there are only 2 photographers, a professional driver, and a local guide in each 4x4 vehicle. The drivers are excellent tiger trackers—many with years of experience. We travel from the airport to the national park via comfortable air-conditioned Toyota Innova station wagons.
 
When you choose our Ultimate Tigers 2020 photo tour you will appreciate our company’s 40 years of experience that make your trip comfortable, safe—and photographically productive!

 

 

Check out Eric Rock's trip report from our 2018 Ultimate Tigers photo tour

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.
 
Day 2 (Mar 24)
Indian rollerParticipants arrive in Delhi, India. On your arrival at the international airport in Delhi, and after clearing customs and immigration, meet our representative for the transfer to our hotel.
 
Day 3
Following an early breakfast we depart for the airport for our 2-hour flight to Raipur. Arriving mid-morning, we drive (by air-conditioned cars) to Kanha Jungle Lodge. During the 4-hour drive we pass through the bustling villages and countryside of the state of Madhya Pradesh. (BLD)
 
Days 4–10
We photograph for the next seven days in Kanha National Park.  We have obtained three days of exclusive pro photography permits allowing each participant three full days of all-access on roads throughout the park. On those three days (most likely consecutive) six photographers—in three vehicles—have full access to the park—with no zone or route restrictions. The other six photographers—in three vehicles—follow a typical national park track, assigned each morning by the park service. 
 
Tiger cubThose participants using pro permits have an early breakfast and head to the park gate where they are allowed entry 15 minutes before the gate opens to all others—just prior to sunrise. Participants following the assigned game drive routes leave at the same time to get in queue for the morning route assignment, with a midday lunch and break at the lodge. The potential for photography—tigers and especially other wildlife—is also quite good on the tourist tracks. 
 
The entire group will be assigned national park tracks on Wednesday morning.  The national park is closed to all on Wednesday afternoons. Following lunch on Wednesday we have time to review and critique trip photos on our laptops, birdwatch around the lodge, or relax until dinner. (BLD) 
 
Day 11 (Apr 2)
Peacock with feathers in full displayIn the morning we return to the park for a final morning of wildlife photography. Following lunch we drive to the airport and fly to Delhi later in the afternoon. Dayrooms are provided at an airport hotel.  After dinner we transfer to the international terminal to catch onward flights for home. (BLD) 
 
Day 12
Arrive home.
 
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Ultimate Tigers

Mar 23, 2020 - Apr 03, 2020


1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Highlights
  • Special photography permits allow rare access to one of the world’s most impressive tiger reserves
  • Only 2 photographers per safari vehicle
  • Seven full shooting days at the world's premiere tiger park
 
Mar 23 - Apr 03, 2020
Fee: $13,295 from Delhi, India
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 11
 
Tour Leaders