[av_content_slider heading=’In Search Of Leopards & Lesser Floricans: August 24-26, 2018 (3 Nights)’ columns=’1′ animation=’slide’ navigation=’arrows’ autoplay=’true’ interval=’4′ font_color=” color=”]
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  • A personalized group, not exceeding 8 adults
  • A charming, comfortable heritage stay 
  • Some of India’s finest naturalists guiding you
  • A 4-5 minute highlight reel of your entire experience

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Jhalana

The Jhalana Wildlife Sanctuary is located right on the periphery of Jaipur. The forest is spread over an area of 24 square km and is located eastwards of Jaipur. Until 1860, the forest was basically managed for sports of royal families and also to meet the fuel, fodder and small timber needs of neighbourhood villages. It is in recent years that the conservation of the forest begins to take place and safaris here have now become popular.

The small size doesn’t take away from Jhalana’s charm, as it is blessed with a diverse topography, with the rocky Aravallis bordering it on one side and a forest of evergreen and deciduous trees stretching through its boundary. The reserve has safaris in two shifts and 10 jeeps are allowed in each shift i.e. morning and evening.

Jhalana is gaining popularity for its leopard sightings in their natural habitat. Leopards are not endangered like Tigers, but are usually much rarer to spot because they are stealthier and shy, however in Jhalana, with an estimate of over 25 leopards, the cats are spotted regularly on safaris. Apart from Leopard, there are other wildlife attractions such as Striped Hyena, Desert Fox, Golden Jackal, Blue Bull, Asian Palm Civet to name a few. This is also a must visit location for birdwatchers, Indian Pitta, Dusky Eagle Owl, Indian Paradise Flycatcher are some of the species sighted here.

Sonkhaliya

Approximtely 135kms from Jhalana is another place known as Sonkhaliya, about 40 km from Ajmer district, Rajasthan. These fields are famous for the sightings of the highly endangered Lesser Florican” (Sypheotides indicus), or Likh. These birds migrate for breeding in the Sonkhaliya village . The villagers have agreed to conserve 30 hectares of land for the breeding activity of these endangered birds. The farmers were advised by the Agriculture Department to shift to Mung cultivation from Gram. And it was after this shift in agriculture that the forest officials in the region started reporting the increase in nos. of Lesser Florican. Over the years, the no. of Lesser Floricans have increased to substantial numbers, thanks to both the efforts of farmers and forest officials.

It’s a bird that is high on wish list of many birders and photographers not just from India, but also around the World. This species is a typical grassland bird about a size of little bigger than a village hen. The Lesser Floricanis a shy bird and is rarely encountered outside their breeding season and region. During monsoon when it breeds in grasslands, the male Lesser Florican exhibits a unique and spectacular courtship display, risking its life. It jumps up about 1.5-2 meters in air, with folded legs, flapping its wings, with a peculiar croaking or knocking call. This is part of the ritual that male Floricans adopt to lure the females and to ward off other males from their territory.

They now remain in just few pockets of India and are considered to be at high risk of extinction. The species is said to move in response to rainfall and their presence at locations can be erratic, with sudden large numbers in some seasons. Breeding areas are today restricted mainly to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, some areas in southern Nepal and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

 Wildlife seen

Jhalana

Mammals–Leopard,Golden Jackal, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Gray Langur, Striped Hyena, Desert Fox, Chital, Indian Palm Civets, Blue Bulls (Nilgai), Jungle Cat.
Birds–Spotted Owlet, Bay Backed Shrike, Dunlin, Flamingos, White Throated Kingfisher, Sandpiper, Red Collared Dove, Dusky Eagle, Indian Pitta, Indian Roller, ShikraHawk,

Sonkhaliya

Apart from the above flagship species(Lesser Florican,) Sonkhaliya is a great place to see a number of other grassland and scrub land species like Grey Francolin, Rain Quail, Rock Bush Quail, Indian Peafowl, Comb Duck, Lesser Whistling-duck, Spot-billed Duck, Common Hoopoe, Green Bee-eater, European Roller, Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Cuckoo, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, Alexandrine Parakeet, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Indian Eagle Owl, Rock Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Coot, Black Kite, White-eyed Buzzard, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Red-wattledLapwing, Greater Painted-snipe, Eurasian Thick-knee, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank,, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Grebe, Little Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black Ibis, Common Babbler, Large Grey Babbler, Jungle Babbler, White-eared Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Wire-tailed Swallow, Booted Warbler, Indian Silverbill, Indian Bushlark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Rufous-tailed Lark, Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, BayaWeaver, House Sparrow, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Black Drongo, Rufous Treepie, House Crow, Southern Grey Shrike, BrahminyStarling, Asian Pied Starling, Bank Myna, Siberian Stonechat, Pied Bushchat, Isabelline Wheatear, Brown Rock-chat
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[av_tab title=’The Stay’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
Located in the Jaipur City Centre, Suryaa Villa, Jaipur, is bordered by numerous historic attractions which are a resplendent reminder of the royal heritage that respired within the walls of the Pink City. Embroidered with rich Rajasthani architecture and design, the hotel, besides serving as a soothing oasis with a refreshing pool overlooking lush courtyards, is committed to preserving Rajasthani traditions.

Some of the images of the property are shown below. You can also check the hotel website and TripAdvisor  pages for more information.
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[av_tab title=’The Package’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’]
INR 22,500/- per person

A maximum of 8 adults will be accommodated on this expedition.

Inclusions:

  1. 3 nights’ stay on double occupancy at the serene hotel Suryaa Villa, Jaipur inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner
  2. 3 jeep safaris with 4 people in each jeep
  3. All park & safari fees (except camera fees where applicable)
  4. Skipper mentorship fees
  5. Complimentary roof prism binoculars for the duration of the expedition
  6. Transfers ex-Jaipur airport/ station
  7. A 4-5 minute highlight reel of the expedition
  8. All associated taxes based on the costs above

Exclusions:

  1. Airfare/Rail fare to transit point
  2. Any additional services or meals requested at the property
  3. Beverages not included as part of meals as well as bottled water
  4. Tips to hotel or safari personnel
  5. Any other fees or costs not mentioned in the inclusions

For payment terms and other enquiries, please contact us
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  1. Wilderness Exploration: This expedition is not recommended if the intention of your travel is to purely kick back and relax. While relaxing in the lap of nature will be part of the experience, the majority of our day will spent exploring the wilderness. Sighting wildlife can never be predicted, however the more time you spend exploring the wilderness, the better the chances are you will be witness to amazing natural spectacles.
  1. The Best of Guidance: Our accompanying skippers include some of the most well-renowned naturalists of India, having accomplished a level of expertise in their domains where they now inspire others to follow in their footsteps. With their in-depth knowledge of the wilderness and its denizens, we are sure as they reveal the hidden treasures of the wild to you, you will experience nature like never before.
  1. Personalized Experience: With a maximum group size of eight and a ratio of naturalist to guest of 1:4 during this expedition, we wish to provide a customized and truly intimate nature interpretation experience. In addition, we provide complimentary roof prism binoculars on our expedition to enhance your viewing experience when we encounter the wonders of the wild.
  1. Stay: Our chosen place of stay would be one that allows you to truly experience the wilderness and natural environment with the additional benefits of providing all modern amenities, comforts and a professional service level.
  1. Memories: We will be documenting the expedition on video, capturing not only those amazing moments of rare and endangered wildlife we see, but also of you watching them, together with all the other fun-filled memories. We will be providing a short highlight movie (ranging from 3-5 minutes) within 2 weeks of return from the expedition to reminisce at your leisure.
  1. A Responsible Outlook: It will be our effort to minimize the impact of our time spent in the wilderness on the natural environment by making responsible and sustainable choices wherever possible and try to leave the wilderness as it was, if not in a better condition.

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Day 1 (August 24):

Arrival at your transit point (Jaipur) and transfer to the hotel where you can relax at leisure. In the evening, we move for our first safari to the sanctuary. Our skippers will be on hand to assist you with any queries as regards photography & natural history. Return to the hotel post safari for dinner and then we recommend resting early today to prepare for our explorations over the next few days.

Day 2 (August 25):

We rise just before dawn to get ready for our morning safari in the Jhalana Wildlife Sanctuary. A short session with tea and light snacks, where our skippers will help you with any last-minute preparations before we depart for the safari. Return to the hotel post safari for breakfast and some rest. Once in Jaipur, we cannot afford skipping the famous lassi and kachori, therefore we depart towards the market. After a quick refresher at the hotel, we shall then depart for the evening safari. On our return to the hotel, we share our experiences of watching some of the amazing wildlife we would have witnessed. Our skippers would once again be on hand to assist with any queries. We get together again during dinner and retire for the night.

Day 3 (August 26):

Early morning we depart for Sonkhaliya, which would be around a 3 hour drive from Jhalana. The whole day will be spent bird watching and other wildlife of the area and if we are lucky we might also get a chance to see the special dance of Lesser Florican and spot other species of birds residing nearby.

Day 4 (August 20):

Remembering the fond memories created, once you’re all packed and ready, arrange for your transfer back to the transit point (Jaipur) till our next wild wandering.

*Arrangements can also be made on departures on Sunday night.
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[av_tab title=’Your Skippers’ icon_select=’no’ icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

Shashank Birla is a naturalist & photojournalist. Passionate about wildlife since childhood, he is happiest tramping of into the wilderness whenever the opportunity arises. His formal background has been in the management and business domain having worked with companies such as Jumbo Electronics, Sanctuary Asia and the Seascope Group. Wishing to make a career in his field of passion, he has undertaken several short-term courses with organizations such as The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), United For Nature (A joint initiative by WWF, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy and several organizations) and the iNaturewatch Foundation to improve his understanding of natural history & conservation by first participating, and then undertaking coordination and leadership roles in biodiversity survey programmes, conservation initiatives & events. Some of his past works have been featured in publications such as National Geographic Traveller India, Nature in Focus, Sanctuary Asia, Saevus, and Hornbill among others, and he continues to contribute to many of the above. He is also the founder of Wilderlust, an initiative he hopes will bring people closer to nature and forge a lifelong connection with it.

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What do I need to be pack for?

We advise light summer clothing for this time of year though you can carry a jacket as well, as evenings and early mornings will be cool. We also suggest avoiding bright colored clothing especially if you plan to explore on foot. You may also carry caps/hats, sunglasses, scarf, comfortable walking shoes with socks, insect repellant (recommended to be used sparingly and only if needed), swimwear, lip balm, and a flashlight/torch. You may also carry a dust mask if you are allergic, these will be available at souvenier shops at the destination as well. Please also carry along a first aid kit and prescription medication.

Do you provide guidance for photography?

While photography is not the primary focus of our expedition, we recognize that rarely anyone travels to the wilderness without a camera in one form or the other. We will do our best to provide you opportunities for photography as well, however please keep in mind the focus remains experiential so if you are travelling to photograph a particular subject, this may not be the trip for you.

How many people will be with me in a safari jeep?

To provide comfortable seating during the safari, you would be in the company of two guests and your expedition skipper which ensures a comfortable seating of four in the safari jeep. The jeep driver and mandatory forest guide would be seated in front in separate seats.

Is there a more budget-friendly option?

Yes, trips to the wilderness can be far more budget-friendly than this, you can choose to join tours more friendly on the pocket or plan to travel on your own, which we will be happy to help you with. However, the experience we wish to provide on this expedition goes far beyond a regular trip, and it is our belief you will find as much value, if not more in such an expedition.

How are your tours different?

Please find the full details of the same here

This will be my first trip to the wilderness? Is this recommended?

Absolutely! The objective of this expedition is make you experience the magic of the wild, and we will be always be thrilled to share this with someone who will be visiting the wilderness for the first time. Our trips are designed to introduce you to the wild in a comfortable environment, in an unhurried manner, which we truly believe is the way to be one with nature.

How will I reach the destination?

Jhalana is best accessed from Jaipur, the latter being the nearest airport or station. From Jaipur, it’s a 30 min drive to Jhalana. And Sonkhaliya is 3 hour drive from Jaipur.

Is it safe to go?

Yes, visiting Jhalana & Sonkhaliya is quite safe. Many of our country’s popular sanctuaries see lakhs of visitors every year and numbers are growing every year and instances of travellers or tourists facing any threat from wildlife are extremely rare. However, especially when exploring a wilderness on foot, we should take necessary precautions as this is the wild. Our skippers are always on hand to guide you for the same, and we believe there should be no hindrance to you enjoying your time in the wilderness.

Can I get my children along?

While we believe the sooner children are introduced to the wilderness the better, a long safari can provide challenging for a young child’s comfort. Therefore as a policy, we believe it is best that children younger than 10 years old not be part of the expedition.We do realize that some children adapt to safaris much quicker, and if a child is comfortable and used to taking safaris, we can look at exceptions but we believe such a policy is in the interest of comfort for all as well as the welfare of wildlife.

Can you arrange for a camera as well along with the binoculars?

We do not currently offer camera equipment rental but would happy to assist you and put you in touch with third-party providers who can seek to provide you with the camera equipment of your choosing.
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For more details, please contact +91 976-9005751
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