Today is set aside as an arrival day in the frenetic city that is Delhi.
Today on our India photo tour, we will catch an early morning flight from Delhi to Guwahati. Post arrival at Guwahati International Airport, we will drive through the town of Guwahati for lunch, before transferring by car to Kaziranga (approximately 5 hours) for our elephant safari in India. We will arrive late at our lodge, check in before dinner and have a relaxing evening.
Kaziranga National Park, which lies in the flood plain of the Brahmaputra River in Assam, has often been compared to African parks because of the quality of wildlife viewing. On account of its large rhino, elephant and water buffalo populations, Kaziranga is locally referred to as the “Land of Giants”. Kaziranga contains about fifteen species of India’s threatened mammals, including the world’s largest population of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros.
Tall, dense grasslands against a backdrop of the majestic Eastern Himalayas dominate the scenery at Kaziranga. This exciting wilderness of marshes, reedbeds and woodlands will be our focus for the next three full days of our India photo tour. A total of one third of the entire global population of Indian Rhinoceros is located in Kaziranga and we will enjoy incredible sightings of these highly threatened and prehistoric-looking plated beasts.
Game viewing in the reserve is excellent and besides the Indian Rhinoceros there are also plenty of Water Buffalo and Indian Elephant. With dedicated searching, we may also encounter Gaur – a huge bovid indeed! In addition, Kaziranga is another of the few reserves where one stands a reasonable chance of seeing the Bengal Tiger. The tigers here tend to favor areas where the grass is long and dense, which aids them in ambushing their main prey: Swamp Deer. Our best chance at locating a tiger will be on elephant back as we can gain access to the areas that they haunt. Leopards are also prominent in the park’s list of predators, which besides Tigers includes smaller felines such as Jungle and Fishing Cats.
The Brahmaputra River forms the northern border of the reserve and it is here during our elephant safari in India, we have a chance of finding the rare Ganges River Dolphin. Primates that occur here are the Capped Langur and Hoolock Gibbon (the latter very rarely), while other mammals include Wild Boar, Sambar, Hog Deer and Indian Muntjac. The reptilian fauna include Water Monitor, Indian Python, Common Cobra and the fabled King Cobra.
The avifauna at Kaziranga comprises over 300 species, including the much sought-after Bengal Florican and several waterfowl species. The numerous water bodies are rich reservoirs of food, attracting over 100 species of migratory birds – some from as far as Siberia. With many ponds and swampy areas (locally called bheels), this is also a good place to see the Common Indian Otter.
Today on our India photo tour , We will depart the park very early for Guwahati, where we will catch our flight back to Delhi and our Elephant safari in India sadly comes to an end.
Dale Morris’ addiction to wildlife films at a tender age instilled a deep love for animals and the great outdoors. He has spent the last 20 years travelling the globe working with and photographing its wildlife and cultures throughout the world’s utterly diverse destinations such as Madagascar, Brazil, Borneo, the plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti, and other equally spectacular areas.
Dale’s wealth of knowledge and imagery has found its way into numerous publications. He has produced more than 400 nature, travel and photography oriented magazine articles and has worked on numerous wildlife documentaries including for the BBC. His photographs have appeared on high profile front covers and he has won several awards with global publishing companies.
His sense of humour and relaxed demeanour ensure that he is a hit with all the people he guides, both young and old, creating long-lasting clientele whilst easily captivating new guests on a tour with him.
Ranging from the icescapes of Antarctica to the tropics of Bornea, Madagascar, Brazil and more, Dale’s endless passion and knowledge makes him a perfect Photo Tour Leader for your next ORYX tour.
Dale Morris is a Photo Tour Leader for ORYX private and scheduled departures.
“Having travelled with ORYX on two previous occasions when I decided to visit India again they was the first choice company to arrange it for me .I wanted some culture to sit alongside an Indian wildlife experience. The trip was perfect – great hotels, great sightseeing and best of all wonderful wildlife. Our tiger sightings were phenomenal and I we really could not have asked for more. The local guides were excellent and Marius Coetzee (our ORYX tour leader) could not do enough for us and improved everyone’s photography over the course of the trip. We have all decided to travel with ORYX in India again next year and look forward to another great trip.”India
“Andries and I would like to thank the ORYX team for a memorable India tour. The tour was exceptionally well planned. The only hassle we as guests were left with was to try and get the best photo of a Tiger. We can only but highly recommend ORYX and will not think twice about using their services again in future.”India
“Dale Morris was an excellent tour leader. Apart from being a very pleasant person, he also went out of his way to share his wealth of knowledge on photography with us. We started the tour with our photos looking like normal holiday snap shots, and ended up taking some pretty professional images. Thank you Dale for your patience and willingness to help us.”India
“We are writing to provide some feedback on our short trip to India with Oryx, to visit several game parks with Tiger spotting a priority. We had a small group of 4, ably led by Dale Morris, a genuinely friendly and helpful leader. Dale is a skilled and award winning photographer whose enthusiasm for photography was infectious. Dale was a delight to travel with and ensured that everything worked as planned. We managed to see quite a few tigers and also enjoyed the classic sights of the Taj Mahal.”India
I have recently returned from my second ORYX private tour to India with Marius, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it and to recommend ORYX to anyone considering taking a wildlife photographic trip.
We knew where we wanted to go – Corbett, Keoladeo, Ranthambhore and Pench – but left all the planning and details in the very capable hands of ORYX. We were not disappointed. Everything had been taken care of, from accommodation in the best locations and travel between national parks, down to tips for our drivers and guides, so that we only had to think about the wildlife and the photography – a real luxury.
Marius is an inspirational photographer, and a superb travelling companion. He has seemingly endless patience, and his knowledge and advice have helped even this novice photographer capture some exceptional images! Nothing is too much trouble for him, and his experience has proved invaluable in enabling us to take shots that I know we would not have if he had not been with us. We had the most amazing tiger sighting in Ranthambhore – no mean feat – and fulfilled our wish to see dhole in Pench, as well as many other wonderful wildlife moments on the trip, which were entirely due to him – so a very big thank you to Marius.
I have been on numerous safaris in Africa, and have been lucky enough to have had many amazing wildlife experiences, but the ORYX tours to India have been in a league of their own. We are already planning our next tour to India with Marius, and hope that there will be many more to come!
Having recently returned from my third trip to India with ORYX in three consecutive years, with the fourth one in 2015 already on the drawing board, I would urge all those who have not yet been to consider it very seriously as a perfect holiday destination.
The aim of our first trip was to see the glorious Taj Mahal at Agra and, if possible, catch a glimpse of the majestic Bengal tiger yet having succeeded in both, nothing could have prepared us for the excitement we experienced as we raised our cameras those first photographs of them. Thus began a love affair with India.
From the moment we met surprisingly young Marius Coetzee, safari guide and prize-winning photographer at Dubai Airport, we realised he was what one might loosely describe as a mover and shaker, inspiring immediate confidence. Coupled with this was his ability to relax with people of all ages, putting them at ease, thus making mealtime conversations stimulating and fun, so traveling on one’s own need not be a concern. Our first visit to India in 2011 was his too, yet having worked in Natal (KwaZulu) where there is a large Indian community, he instinctively knew how to get on with the locals, appreciating their customs and habits, yet earning their respect by his sound common sense and mature capability.
He stands no nonsense and this is soon understood! This is so important in India, particularly on wildlife safaris, where the drivers’ and guides’ goodwill, and anxiety to please, are so crucial in Marius getting us into the best possible position to find – hopefully – and photograph the rarer species like a tiger or dhole (wild dogs), for despite the photographs one sees, India is very different to the Masai Mara and one actually has to look quite hard for shy predators.
However, the jungles we visited in the northern and central national parks are absolutely stunning, each with its own individual characteristics, though more like Up-State New York than the Amazon, and there is an abundance of game and birdlife. Marius drew on his techniques as a top South African safari guide by playing close attention to alarm calls by spotted deer (chital) and langurs (silver haired, long–tailed monkeys), resulting in wonderful tiger and dhole sightings on a number of occasions, earning him obvious, if slightly grudging, admiration from our jeep drivers and guides, who consider themselves to be the experts on Indian wildlife.
India also has the advantage of a culture stretching back over 3,000 years and cities such as Varanasi, the glorious Holy City built on the banks of the Ganges, and beautiful Udaipur in Rajastan, are a photographer’s delight especially if encouraged by one’s enthusiastic tour leader to reluctantly rise at dawn in order to capitalize on the golden morning light. One never tires of the rich tapestry of colours provided by the glorious silk or cotton saris worn by Asian women with such innate grace and one can only wonder at how immaculate much of their clothing is when many have only a communal water pump or local river in which to do their laundry. Whether you are an aspiring but novice photographer – we started off with little automatic Lumix cameras with built-in zooms, progressed to Nikon DSLRs and under Marius’s tutelage, are now producing more than passable photos, to our great surprise – or an experienced one, in which case you would benefit hugely from Marius’s photographic/competition expertise and advice, intriguing India has absolutely everything you could possible ask for. From the moment the February morning mists lift and the beauty of this enigmatic country is revealed, I am certain you will succumb to its magic, whether your penchant is wildlife, architecture, scenery, or all three.
On each occasion, ORYX has provided us with an Indian guide of the highest caliber, intelligent with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of birds and wildlife, and a touching willingness to do everything possible to make our lives easier, from hailing porters and checking-in our luggage at airports to accompanying us on shopping expeditions to ensure we were given the fairest prices. They, in turn, appointed the best possible local guides at the historic sites we chose to visit and, looking back, thanks to efficient planning, everything worked like clockwork from the moment we were collected at the airport to our departure a fortnight later, no mean feat in a country like India. For a holiday that is anxiety-free, yet filled with exciting sights and sounds, ORYX India is the perfect combination. Enjoy India!
I have recently returned from my fourth private photographic tour to India with ORYX and have to say that the trip exceeded all my hopes and expectations, and I cannot recommend ORYX highly enough. Our trip was 2 years in the planning, with the excellent team at ORYX doing a marvellous job throughout. Our tour leader, Marius Coetzee, had suggested that we time our visit slightly later than usual and go in March, in the hope of catching the iconic sight of a tiger lying in a water pool to cool off. We have had many incredible tiger sightings on our previous ORYX expeditions, especially in Ranthambhore National Park, and were not disappointed on this latest trip. In fact we achieved our aim on the first afternoon game drive in Ranthambhore! In all we visited five national parks over 3 weeks; each park had its individual delights and we have returned home with some really wonderful wildlife images, including tiger, leopard, sloth bear and dhole.
We knew from previous experience that everything would be taken care of – down to the tipping of our local guides and drivers – by Marius and our Indian guide, so we were left free to concentrate on the amazing wildlife and our photography. Nothing was too much trouble for them, everything ran like clockwork thanks to excellent organisation, and ORYX could not have done more to make sure that our trip was everything we could have hoped for. I would recommend ORYX to anyone who is interested in wildlife and photography, and will definitely use them again.
“I grew up admiring the beautiful portraits and landscape shots hanging in my grandparents’ house. Later, I recall my cheek muscles constantly hurting as the subject of my mom’s developing love of photography. So when I was gifted a Nikon DSLR camera in early college, I felt like I was following the footsteps of my mom and grandfather before her. Through photography I wanted to be able to capture the sentiment of a moment; to tell a story through the light in a person’s eyes. Marius gave me the tools to begin to do this on our trip to India with ORYX Photographic Expeditions.
Marius helped me see what makes a good photograph, taught me new techniques like hi-key, how to shoot in different light and how to process an image using Lightroom. At the end of this trip I am thrilled to have a good portfolio of photographs I can print and look back on proudly, but even happier to have refined my skills and developed a deeper passion for photography.”
Thank you for another great experience! It was a fantastic time in India, and although I’m very glad to be home, I already miss it.
It was great getting the opportunity to meet the other clients, and Dale did a wonderful job as our guide and I really appreciate all of his hard work and dedication both in and out of the field, and I loved his willingness to engage in personable conversations at the dinner table. He was very willing to listen and learn about the world through someone else’s perspective. He also taught me some new tricks with my camera that I had no idea about, but they made life so much easier.
Thanks again for everything!India
WE HAD A FANTASTIC TRIP, AND BY NOW I AM SURE THAT YOU KNOW THAT WE SAW EIGHTEEN TIGERS AND APPROXIMATELY 25 DIFFERENT SIGHTINGS
OUR TRIP TO JAWAI WAS ALSO FANTASTIC, AND I CAN ONLY BEST DESCRIBE IT AS MIND BLOWING! THE CONSERVATION OF THESE LEOPARDS IN THE ENVIRONMENT THEY FIND THEM SELVES, IS TRULY REMARKABLE.
THE RABARI PEOPLE ARE INCREDIBLE AND THEIR SURVIVAL, WHICH IN IT’S SELF IS THREATENED, BUT THEY LIVE IN HARMONY WITH THE LEOPARDS IN THE HILLS OF JAWAI!
IN AS FAR AS THE LODGES WERE CONCERNED, WELL FROM THE FIRST TO THE LAST DAY, WE WERE ACCOMODATED IN WORLD CLASS ACCOMODATION.
THE MANAGEMENT, STAFF AND PEOPLE IN GENERAL WERE FANTASTIC.
THE CUISINE WAS SIMPLY OF THE VERY HIGHEST STANDARDS. ALL ARRANGEMENTS WERE VERY SLICK AND AS CUSTOMARY WITH ORYX AND MARIUS, EVERYTHING WAS 100% PERFECT! MARIUS, THE WARRIOR, WAS ALWAYS AT MY SIDE TO ASSIST THE “OLD MAN”!THE OLD MAN ALSO ACTED AS HIS “FATHER” AND GOT HIM A FEW PRIVILEGES IN RETURN FOR HIS SERVICE AND ASSISTANCE!
OUR HOSTS WERE FANTASTIC AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT I AM MORE THAN HAPPY AND SATISFIED WITH THE WHOLE TRIP!
THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES FOR ALL THAT YOU DID TO MAKE THE TRIP SUCH A PLEASURE AND ALL I TAKE FROM THERE ARE WONDERFUL MEMORIES!
Once again a great big thank you to all at ORYX for our latest journey to India.
We had a marvelous time and had some really wonderful opportunities to get some good shots away in both Kaziranga and Ranthambore.
Some days I had to pinch myself in awe at the photographic opportunities with the Tigers and just the beautiful scenes along the way in both paces. The Indian Rhino is an amazing looking beast for sure.
Dale really stepped us up with the technical application of photo taking which added to the beauty of some of our images. Bablu smoothed the way and has obvious respect with many of the drivers and guides, Mr Khan is way cool.
Wonderful, full on holiday with like minded travellers and guides and place, can’t get better than that.India - Snow Leopards
The recent first ORYX expedition for Snow Leopards was outstanding! The communication from the first e-mail enquiring about the trip to the time we got back, was very good. Trouble broke out between India and Pakistan in another part of India during our expedition; you ensured my family were informed immediately of my well-being. Thank you!
The expedition was very well organized. Behzad ensured each of us acclimatized to the high altitude in the first two days. None of us felt altitude sickness. Behzad and the team also kept a close watch on our physical ability and mental awareness through out the trip. Their attention was key in a very enjoyable experience.
The camp site was perfect. Behzad had pitched the tents well in advance of our arrival, to take the best position. The tents themselves were luxurious, with a bed ensuring we were not sore or cold by sleeping on the ground. The food was delicious, with pizzas, pastas, noodles, dumplings and Indian food for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was elaborate, with porridge, eggs, bread and cereal. Many varieties of tea and coffee were always available through the day.
The sightings were exceptional. Khenrab Phuntsog, the renowned tracker from BBC Planet Earth 2, is not only a great tracker, but also one of the lead conservationists in Hemis National Park. He gave many, many insights into the ecology, animal behaviour, culture and conservation aspects of what we experienced. He delivered in spades each day: we had 7 snow leopard sightings including one from a few hundred feet and two from the camp (a first, I am told), 5 tibetan wolf sightings, including one from the camp (a first again). We also saw a red fox, many blue sheep and birds. The calls on four different mornings of ‘snow leopard’ even before the first cup of tea, and the first time I saw a snow leopard, will always remain with me.
Behzad went over and beyond in helping us with our photography, setup portrait sessions, cultural experiences and helped with astro photography. He is an exceptional photo mentor, tour leader, cultural and snow leopard expert, and above all a very warm, funny and extremely friendly person.
This trip was supposed to see the snow leopard, to take it off my bucket list. Instead, it has turned into the first of hopefully many more trips to see the snow leopards again.
Thank you for such a wonderful experience!