Moderate walking on varied surfaces, with some long days and regular ascents / descents.
The season for this holiday is:
01 November 2019 - 02 March 2020
01 November 2020 - 03 March 2021
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It gets very cold immediately after dark, 7pm, at the tented camps, one night down to about 7, I had to wrap one of the blankets round my legs after dinner, the campfire was very smoky and making my eyes water and me to cough. I would have liked more walks in the forest from Sakata, but apparently the Forestry person who did the extra walks is no longer in post there. I am sorry if these appear negative, but you asked for tips.
On the positive side it was a wonderful experience; the highlight was probably the time we spent in Chopna village, everyone so open and accepting of my presence. I did see plenty of footprints and dung from tigers, leopards, wild boar and porcupine, but of the animals themselves alas nothing. However with Deepak's help I saw over 50 species of birds, especially around the Chopna tents. Even the transfers showed me village life in a comparatively unknown part of India. People watching on the AC2 train was a wonderful and new experience, only having gone 1st class before, I felt totally safe even on my own.
The tented camps were very special and different from most other trips. They were very comfortable.
The trip should include an extra day in Mumbai (we had 2 days) and clients be offered a visit to the slum districts. The guide at the end of our tour had some interesting information but we had no time then to visit. We could have done that at the beginning of our tour.
The train journey was a totally different experience, and having the booked bed was essential.
Inntravel and Village Ways were perfect partners for our trip (thank you Madhu!), integrating standard tour itineraries with opportunities to visit the beautiful cities of the Golden Triangle. Our immersion in Mughal history felt complete in Jaipur's Amber Fort. The Forsyth Trail walk gave us a real sense of achievement and the camping facilities were as luxurious as could be. After seeing so much evidence of big cat activity, actually sighting three tigers in Pench was awesome; watching the sun set there to a soundtrack of jackal calls as they massed for the hunt will stay with me for ever. There is probably no better way to experience Indian rural life and landscape than the visits to Hulgol, Pavinakurva and Mothakkara. And the ever-changing view from the houseboat Good Earth had us entranced as we glided through the backwaters, with barely another vessel in sight.
Advice to others: While there are plenty of activities and excursions, they tend to be at the start and end of the day, so be prepared for long rest periods during the days (not every site has a library). Also, you will want to recognise the service you get from the team members and contribute to village development, so keep a suitable amount of cash!