Type of Journey
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Known for its mysterious landscape, entwined in the branches of this mangrove forest, rest several secrets. While they inhabit various non-amphibians, being surrounded by saltwater on all sides has made the habitat living there evolve as seasoned swimmers. All the reptile lovers will rejoice with the knowledge that this place is home to some of the world’s largest crocodiles, the saltwater or estuarine crocodiles. More than all, these mangrove forests are home to the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. In no other Tiger park of India, the Tigers are so elusive, and have so many legends and stories associated with them. These Tigers are also famous as man-eaters, which is a rarity in India. Spotting the King here is surely going to be a lifetime memory, and this tour is curated to make our best efforts in tracking down one for you. The best guides, fast and low-noise boat, flexibility of movement, and our vast expertise in Tiger tracking here makes this trip your best bet to spot the elusive King of these mangroves. While we cannot assure any sightings as this is nature dependent, but more than 75% of our guests in this tour have ended up spotting one or more mangrove Tigers.
These lands also serve as the only habitat in the entire country for a species of birds called Buffy Fish Owl. This delta, being the largest in the world, has been a fascinating vast habitat for various wildlife species cohabitating, preying, and surviving in these conditions with other wilder species and the water itself that’s surrounding them.
The Padma, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers converge to form this delta mangrove forest on the Bay of Bengal, making it a forest that has so much to offer in every season. Winter is the most gratifying season of all as the major attraction of the delta, the Sundarbans tiger, also famously called Dokkhin Rai, seems to enjoy the pleasantly sunny days of winters. The Sundarbans tiger and the crocodiles are often seen basking in the winter sun. Winter is also a rewarding time to spot the Brown-winged Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, Grey-headed Lapwing, etc. The watching gains its truest meaning here around the year, giving the visitors an opportunity to see Changeable Hawk Eagle, crested serpent eagle, Osprey, and many more. Some rare and exclusive birds like the Ruddy Kingfisher, the Mangrove Pitta, and the Mangrove Whistler can be spotted in the forest around the monsoons. Other than the motorized boats that are predominantly used to visit the mangrove forest, few islands also have watchtowers for the visitors who wish to observe.
Brown-winged Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, Grey-headed Lapwing, etc. Monsoon offers some very rare and exclusive winged visitors too like the Ruddy Kingfisher, Mangrove Whistler and the Mangrove Pita. Birds which can be seen round the year are Changeable Hawk Eagle (both dark and pale morphs), Crested Serpent Eagle, Osprey, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Shikra, Buffy Fish Owl, Lesser Yellownape, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Collared Kingfisher and many more. Among the mammals apart from the Bengal Tiger other species like Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Oriental Small-clawed Oter, Irrawaddy Dolphin can be seen. Reptiles include the huge Salt-water Crcodile, Water Monitor, King Cobra, Red-tailed (Bamboo) Pit Viper etc.
Arrival at Kolkata
The journey starts slightly late in the morning from Kolkata upon arrival of the guests. Passing through the rural parts of Bengal, the first destination would be Gadkhali, from where the journey will switch from road to motorized bikes at Gadkhali ghat, which is where the guests will be accommodated for the next one week. First things first, a delicious meal will be served once aboard and then the guests will indulge in bird-watching as the boat cruises down the rural Bengal islands. Upon reaching the Sajnekhali campus by early evening, forest entry permits will be given and a mandatory forest guide will thereafter accompany the guests in the safari. After sunset, when the bird watching comes to an end for the day, the guests will freshen up and munch on some snacks while planning strategies for the week ahead.
After dinner is served, guests will rest the night away on the comfortable boat.
Safari at Sundarbans
Safari timings in Sundarban being sunrise to sunset, the day will start early. The cruise to the forest entry point will be 30 minutes and the first task at hand will be understanding the prevailing situations. Signs of the Sundarbans tiger on the mud-banks will be searched for, by looking for the pugmarks of the big cat. Along with the tiger, guests will also try to track other animals and birds too. The guests will then visit the watchtowers of Sudhanyakhali after spending the entire day cruising around in the rivers, lakes, and the numerous creeks. Both breakfast and lunch are to be served hot on the boat. A nearby human habitation will then be the place to unwind at sundown.
After which everyone will get together and chat about the day’s happenings and retire to their individual beds post-dinner.
Safari at Sundarbans
The schedule of things to be done on the third day of the safari will be pretty much the same as the previous one. The day will start early on and guests will go on into the forest, only this time, more confident about the forest and start with their complete focus on their subjects.
The day will end at sunset when they will again go to the local habitat, do a little chat session, and post-dinner, end the third day.
Safari at Sundarbans
Day four will start on the same note as the last two days, at sunrise. After exploring, learning and gaining more practical knowledge, the guests will leave the forest a little earlier today to be taken to renew the forest entry permit which is issued for a maximum of 3 days post which they will be taken to Pakhiralaya market to purchase anything they need and to experience the local market of the region, or will do some bird watching around the human habitation.
And just like the previous days, the day will end on a satisfied and happy note.
On day five the itinerary will remain almost the same as day four. The day starts early, before sunrise. The day goes by exploring, searching, witnessing, and learning more things. Now that the schedules have become a routine, there will be more confidence amongst the guests, as to look into the concerned subjects in detail and be more keen and exploratory in their observance.
As usual, breakfast and lunch are served on the boat and the day ends with discussion and dinner.
Birding and searching for Wildlife
On the sixth day, the guests, being used to the schedule, will start the day early and stay in the forest trying to find wildlife, witnessing the beautiful reptiles, their signs around, and dive deeper in their search of the subject. After birding around at sunset, they will spend some time at the local habitat and then catch up with all other guests on the boat at snack time.
Scrumptious dinner will be served and after a little while, the guests will call it a day.
Day seven will be the last day of this amazing safari journey. This will be their last day in the forest and it’s needless to say that everyone will try to give their best shot today. After cruising the whole day, sundown will be the time when the guests will finally say goodbye to the beautiful forest and proceed towards Godkhali from where they will go back to Kolkata by road.
The safari will end on a rather satisfactory note and will forever become a part of each participant’s life journey.