As a volunteer you will engage in a wide variety of activities as part of the project, involving yourself with the local community and learning all about tiger conservation. Alongside this, you will have many opportunities to see the beautiful big cats during numerous safaris within Kanha and Pench national parks.
Perhaps the highlight of this project will be the jungle safaris, during which you have the chance of encountering some of the world’s most glorious wildlife in its natural habitat. You will take part in multiple jungle safaris, in both Kanha and Pench National Park, as well as at different times of the day. While of course you will be looking for the beautiful Bengal tigers, keep an eye out for the national park’s other species, including leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs and not to mention countless species of birds!
Visiting Local Villages
Throughout this project, you will visit many different villages where you will have the chance to interact with their residents and learn about their culture and lifestyle. You will also get the opportunity to learn about human-animal conflict first-hand and understand what it means to live in and around a national park. One trip will take you to the Pottery Village, where you have a live demonstration and also be able to get involved and try for yourself.
School and Nursery Visits
This rewarding activity truly reflects the positive impact that volunteers can have on the younger residents of the local villages. You will visit 2 local schools where you can interact with the teachers and also teach the children about the importance of wildlife conservation. Here you get to share your knowledge of just how important environmental conservation is and instil the same motivation to care for the ecosystem into the younger generation. (Schools are closed between March and June for annual exams, so if you join during this time you will instead visit the local primary schools for children aged 3-6.)
Tiger Conservation & Camera Trapping
During the project, you'll explore many aspects of vital tiger conservation in India. You will learn some of this through interactive discussions and talks with wildlife experts and also first-hand by taking part in setting up and analysing camera traps as well as going on nature treks with a wildlife biologist. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about what is being done to conserve tigers and mitigate human-animal conflict in both the national parks and India as a whole.
The Baiga Tribe
During your trip, you will have the pleasure of meeting the talented Baiga Tribe. The tribe are a key component for tiger conservation in Kanha National Park as they work closely with park officials to identify potential poachers and track tigers in the area, and you will learn more about this through your interaction with them. Members of the Baiga Tribe will also perform a traditional dance for your group, so watch and enjoy, or feel free to get involved in the fun!
Please note, itineraries are subject to change and certain activities may happen on different days to those listed below.
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After arriving at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, you will be met by our airport representative and transferred to your hotel. Once checked in, you will have the chance to relax, or to go and explore Delhi and all of its cultural gems.
Day 2 - Fly To Nagpur & Settle In:
After breakfast at your hotel, you will fly to Nagpur, and once there, you will transfer to your accommodation in the species-rich haven of Kanha National Park. In the afternoon you will visit the Corbett Foundation and a tribal museum before watching a wildlife film and discussing the issues of tiger conservation with an expert in the evening.
Day 3 - Tiger Safari & Organic Farming:
In the morning, you will embark on your first jungle safari as you go in search of sloth bears, leopards, dhole and of course tigers. In the afternoon, you will enjoy an orientation of organic farms in Chitvan where you will discover the concept of solar cooking, vermi composting, rainwater harvesting and other activities which help to reduce both carbon and water footprints.
Day 4 - Working With Children & Tiger Safari:
After breakfast, you will visit a local school and begin to understand their education patterns and routines. You'll get the chance to educate the children about their role in maintaining the ecosystem and the importance of wildlife conservation, as well as interact with the teachers and the principal. In the afternoon, you will join another tiger safari in the national park.
Day 5 – Safari & Tiger Census:
In the morning you will venture out on a safari in Kanha in the hope of seeing wild tigers. You'll then spend the afternoon in the buffer zone, where you will learn the process of tiger census to assist with calculating tiger populations, as well as the previous method of pugmark tracing with a wildlife biologist/forest official.
Day 6 - Baiga village & The Local Aanganwadi:
You will visit the Baiga village and start to understand the local’s concerns regarding man-made animal conflict, their dependence on the forest, and how to work in their fields. You will then take a trip to the local Aanganwadi, a nursery school in the nearby village and spend time with the children. Your day will finish with an evening safari in the Mukki zone.
Day 7 - Transfer To Pench National Park:
After a leisurely breakfast you will depart Kanha and make your way to Pench National Park. Lunch will be served at the lodge's multi-cuisine restaurant before you go on a nature walk in the 40-acre Eco Park. In the evening, there will be an interactive discussion in the bonfire area of the lodge with their in-house naturalist where you will learn about the national park and the conservation activities of the forest department.
Day 8 – Tiger Safari & Conservation Activities:
Today you will go on your first safari in Pench, taking a packed breakfast with you which you will enjoy inside the national park. In the afternoon, you will visit the Avargani Village to learn about local culture and the sources of livelihoods for the locals. You will then go into the Eco Park and assist with setting up camera traps. In the evening there will be a wildlife documentary shown before dinner at the lodge.
Day 9 – Kohka Lake & Night Safari:
Wake up and travel to Kohka Lake where you will be served breakfast before joining a bird watching excursion. After lunch, you will visit the Potters Village and watch a live demonstration as well as having a go on the pottery wheel yourself. Night time brings an exciting new experience as you go on a night safari at the wolf sanctuary, where you can hope to see leopards, wolves, jackals and more. Afterwards there will be an interactive session as you look at the camera trap recordings.
Day 10 – Local School Visit & Tiger Safari:
In the morning, you will enjoy breakfast before visiting a local school to interact with the children and teachers. Then, after an early lunch, you will go on another safari in the national park before enjoying a wildlife talk from the naturalist, where he will share his stories and experiences. You will then review camera trap recordings before having dinner, which tonight, will be served by the lake.
Day 11 – Tiger Safari & Camera Traps:
You will join an early morning safari today before reviewing further recordings from the camera traps. The afternoon will be free for you to relax at the lodge, take a swim in the pool or visit the spa. In the evening there will be a talk by Mr. Ajay Ghale, an expert in the local flora and fauna who has spent his life working with the local forest department. After, you will head out to set up camera traps before having a farewell dinner.
Day 12 – Pench To Delhi:
After breakfast, you will go on your final safari in Pench National Park before departing for Nagpur Airport to catch your flight back to Delhi. Upon arrival into Delhi, you will be met by a member of the team and transferred to your accommodation. Dinner will be provided but the evening will be yours to explore Delhi for a final time or to relax before your departure the following day.
Day 13 – Delhi Departure:
After breakfast, which will be provided at your accommodation, you have the chance to spend your final day admiring Delhi itself, before saying a fond farewell to India and either transferring back to the airport for your flight home or commencing your onward travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 per person is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Please Note: This project is not available for solo travellers and can only be offered on a private basis for 2-8 people.
Updates & Outcomes
Currently, there are thought to be 131 tigers resident in Kanha National Park, which has increased by a total of 51 since 2010. Pench National Park has also seen an increase from 44 to 53 since 2014, and it is the mixed efforts of locals, international NGOs and local government who have enabled so many tigers to live freely in protected areas!
This project combines tiger conservation in India with community interaction, aimed at reducing human-animal conflict. It also champions a number of initiatives to promote more sustainable and alternative income for those living on the edge of Kanha National Park.
As part of our commitment to responsible tourism, we are International Tour Operator members of the TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers) campaign. This is a global travel industry initiative which aims to advocate, catalyse and support a more responsible and sustainable approach to tourism within Indian wildlife reserves. For more information, please visit TOFT's website.
- posted on 25/07/2018
- by Leanne Sturrock
The 29th of July marks International Tiger Day, and now is the time to make a positive impact on this beautiful animal's uncertain future. Read on to learn about the history of this important occasion, the threats faced by this beautiful species, and the global efforts to save it from extinction.
- posted on 12/09/2017
- by Adam Smith
Even though lions, jaguars and other big cats live in the African savannahs, the continent has never been a habitat for wild tigers. Let’s look at why.
Sadly, there are so many endangered species all over the world, and the responsibility is upon everyone to change these circumatnces. We shouldn't just leave it up to wildlife conservationists, as they can't do it all themselves. The Great Projects aim to spread awareness of the shared responsibility of humans, to care and preserve the animals we are slowly destroying.
Is this trip for you?
On your first and final night, you will be staying at the Pride Plaza Hotel or Lemon Tree Premier next to the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, to allow for easy airport transfers on arrival and for your departure.
Your accommodation in Kanha National Park will be spent in the luxurious Chitvan Jungle Lodge, where you will take in the ambience of the jungle with your very own private terrace and open showers. After, you will spend 5 nights at the Pench Jungle Camp which is located just 1km from the Turia Gate of the national park.
All rooms are on a twin-share, same-sex basis, however, double rooms are available for couples. Each accommodation has a pool for you to make use of in your spare time, as well as a peaceful and relaxing spa with treatments available at an additional cost.
During your time in Delhi, you will be staying under a B&B meal plan.
At the Chitvan Jungle Lodge, you will be eating all organic food, most of which has been cultivated from their very own farm, including fruits, vegetables and even the cooking oils! You will be provided with 3 delicious meals a day cooked in true Indian style.
Whilst at Pench Jungle Camp, you will dine in their on-site restaurant which offers traditional Indian and also continental cuisine.
This project involves multiple safaris and also walks in a hot and humid climate, so a moderate level of fitness is required. No specific skills or experience are needed, only a positive attitude and a willingness to get involved and a desire to learn.
The vaccinations required for travel will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP/Doctor regarding your own immunisation needs.
When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?
The Kanha Tiger Reserve and Pench National Park, where this project is based, are home to a diverse number of wildlife including barasinghas, gaurs, sloth bears, wild dogs, leopards and tigers as well as over 300 species of bird and there are 2 seasons which allow for different types of wildlife viewing.
November to February: This is the winter season and is one of the best times to visit. The weather brings cool mornings, pleasant days and crisp cold nights which mean long walks don't tire you out easily and physical work does not look like a tough task. Though the vegetation is largely evergreen, in the winter many park trees lose their leaves making wildlife viewing easier. This is also a great time for bird watching as a number of birds arrive having migrated from much cooler climates.
March to mid-June: After winter, spring arrives, bringing warmer temperatures and new growth on the trees. While the early mornings, evening and nights are pleasant, the day time, especially around midday can be quite hot, but with adequate nutrition and precautions, this is no problem at all. This season also brings out a lot of wildlife as nearly all species are seeking a mate during this time. The hot summer sun has also evaporated nearly all the water from the streams and pools and only a few shaded rock pools and water holes have water left in them. Naturally, therefore, these places become a hotbed for all wildlife activities and wildlife sightings can be easier in this season.
Mid-June to October: This is monsoon season and also when Kanha National Park is closed so the project is unable to run during this time.
The project starts and ends in Delhi, so you will need to arrive into Indira Gandhi International Airport on your start date and depart on your end date. Airport transfers can be arranged for any flight arriving/departing between 7am and 5pm. Upon arrival, you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred by road to your hotel. The next day you will fly to Nagpur as you transfer to the Kanha Tiger Reserve and this flight is included in the cost of the project.
To join this project you will need to obtain a tourist visa in advance of travel and all visa applications are now made online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html. You will also need a valid passport with at least 6 months validity from your arrival date into India and at least two blank pages for stamping by the immigration office. Foreigners coming from or through Yellow Fever countries must also have a valid vaccination certificate. Please ensure you check with your local Indian Embassy for any additional requirements if you are unsure.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Full board basis for 12 nights, and bed and breakfast in Delhi
- Airport transfers using air-conditioned vehicles
- A conservation donation
- 9 Jeep safaris (shared basis)
- Naturalist fees
- Internal return flights between Delhi and Nagpur
What's not Included:
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Any expenses of personal nature such as laundry, bar bills, spa treatments, telephone calls etc.
- Visa fees