Ultimate Tigers

Bandhavgarh National Park, India

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Tigers 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’s shrinking habitat, poaching and human overpopulation threatens them over most of their range.
"I very much appreciate the thought and effort that Photo Safaris puts into getting clients to the right place at the right time with the right kind of support: knowledgeable and experienced tour leaders, capable guides, comfortable lodgings, etc. Being relieved of the need to think about any of the logistical details allows me to concentrate on the reason for the trip: photography."
- K. Andrews

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 photo shoot we have obtained, by government permit, special pro photography access to one of the world’s most impressive tiger reserves, India’s Bandhavgarh 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. Typical tourist vehicles must stay in their assigned zone with no deviations. 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 7 shooting days in the park will be route free and unrestricted.

Viewing tigers in IndiaBandhavgarh National Park has one of the highest tiger densities in the world. The park covers 168 square miles, predominated by sal forest combined with mixed deciduous/bamboo forest and broad expanses of grassland. Imposed across the skyline is an impressive plateau, crowned with the ancient Bandhavgarh fort—thought to be some 2,000 years old—rising more than 2,600 feet above the forest. 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 wild boar. Other species we may encounter as we traverse the park include sloth bear, Indian fox, Hanuman (gray) langur and rhesus macaque—plus Indian jackal, jungle cat, mongoose, ratel, and more than 250 species of birds. Wild peacocks are frequently photographed displaying in their native forest habitat.

Black-faced langur 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 that betray 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. We are there in the dry season when most leaves are off the trees—making it easier to spot and photograph the big cats.

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 25 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 7 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 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 latest Ultimate Tigers photo tour
For trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (March 31)
Indian rollerParticipants arrive in Delhi, India. On your arrival at the international airport in Delhi, and after clearing customs and immigration, our representative meets you for the transfer to our hotel. (Due to varied arrival schedules, hotel meals are not included this day)

Day 3
Following breakfast we depart for the airport for our flight to Jabalpur in the center of India. Arriving in the afternoon, we drive (by air-conditioned cars) to Bandhavgarh. During the 3-hour drive we pass through the bustling villages and countryside of Madhya Pradesh. (BLD)

Days 4–10
We photograph for seven days in Bandhavgarh National Park. We have obtained three days of exclusive pro photography permits allowing each participant three full days of access on roads throughout the park. On those three days (most likely consecutively) four photographers—in two vehicles—have full access to the park—no zone or route restrictions. The other four photographers—in two 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 at sunrise.  Participants following the assigned game drive routes leave at the same time to get in queue for the morning route assignment, with 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 (April 9)
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 30, 2024 - Apr 10, 2024

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


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and may be paid by check or bank transfer. If you wish to make your final payment with a credit card a 3% convenience fee will be charged.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation. Based on the cancellation date the following apply:

Trip deposits are non-refundable.
150-91 days before the trip start date: We will refund any payments made exceeding 50% of the total trip cost.
90-61 days before the trip start date: We will refund any payments made exceeding 75% of the total trip cost.
Within 60 days of the start of the trip: No refund.

If, on the trip start date, your space has been resold and the tour is full—as designated by “Limit” number of travelers on the tour website page—we will refund your payment, minus the non-refundable trip deposit and any discounts given to resell your space.

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

We strongly encourage you to protect your travel investment and purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. We can provide travel insurance options, or it can be purchased online. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available. Trip participants without travel protection insurance are considered “self-insured.” Without insurance you assume all risks and losses for any conditions requiring your cancellation.

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, including viral illnesses, 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. Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

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, and applicable health advisories. 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 email address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or email messages to info@photosafaris.com.

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific details that are included in your trip fee. Generally, these 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, internal tour 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, 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.

Most of our trips are priced in double occupancy (shared) accommodations. Single accommodation is 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 accommodation 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.

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 is 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, as well as 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 people traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motor coach, automobile, van, boat, ship or aircraft or any other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy 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, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics, pandemics and outbreaks, 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 flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, 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, travel insurance premiums and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure or disease outbreak in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit 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; 4) 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 5) 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 signed Registration Form with the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be returned 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.

I have read, understand, and agree to the terms, conditions, and provisions of the enrollment information, as stated on the Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris website and the Enrollment Conditions section of this form, especially noting the policy on cancellations, refunds, and limitations on responsibility.

I am aware that during any trip or tour that I am voluntarily participating in under the arrangements of Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., a Washington corporation, and its employees, agents and associates, certain risks and dangers exist while traveling in the United States, foreign countries, and wilderness areas in any country or territory that include the possibility of property damage, bodily injury, and death. There is a possibility of accident or illness occurring without access to immediate or timely medical treatment or facilities. There is a risk of tropical or communicable diseases that may require quarantine and removal from the tour at my expense, food-related illnesses, the risk of personal injury and property damage or delay or inconvenience by forces of nature, wildlife or wildlife models, quarantine, political instability, acts of terrorism, strikes, government restrictions or regulations change, thefts, and the risk of accidents during travel while on foot or by aircraft, train, automobile, van, bus, boat, ship, or other conveyance. I understand that such risks cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of this trip or tour. In consideration of, and as part payment for the right to participate in such trips, tours and/or other activities and services arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates, I have and do hereby assume all risks, and hereby release Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents and associates, and will hold them harmless from any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, debts, claims, and demands of every kind and nature, howsoever caused, which I now have or which may arise of or in connection with any of my trips or tours and participation in any activities arranged for me by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, agents and associates.

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, I agree to indemnify them and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, I agree to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington and further agree that the substantive law of that state shall apply in that action without regard to the conflict-of-law rules of that state. The terms hereof shall serve as a release and assumption of all risk for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, and for all members of my family.

If any part, article, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this Agreement is not enforceable, the affected provision shall be curtailed and limited only to the extent necessary to bring it within the requirements of the law, and the remainder of the Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

I acknowledge that if anyone is hurt or property is damaged during my participation in this activity, I may be found by a court of law to have waived my right to maintain a lawsuit against Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., its employees, shareholders, agents, and associates, based on any and all claims from which I have released them.

Ultimate Tigers: Moderate Activity Level

Van, commercial airline and safari vehicle transportation. Two photographers per safari vehicle. Easy walking on flat ground from your hotel room to dining room and parking lot. Walking is prohibited within the national park. Toilets are available in the national park. Expect cool mornings and warm/hot temperatures later in the day.

Trip Details
Mar 30 - Apr 10, 2024
Fee: $14,595 from Delhi, India, includes internal tour airfare
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 11 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • Seven shooting days at one of the world's premiere tiger parks
  • Special photography permits allow rare access to one of the world’s most impressive tiger reserves
  • Only 2 photographers per safari vehicle
  • Reside in a comfortable lodge only 5 minutes from the park entrance
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, internal tour flights, national park permits and fees, photo guide and instruction
Tour Leaders
Eric Rock

Eric Rock

Having been on this trip three previous times, I was thrilled with the number of different tigers we saw and were able to photograph. There are no guarantees with wildlife and previous trips did not yield the same results. I know that Photo Safaris attempts to get the best results by using the best guides. They didn't disappoint.
—E. Goff