Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Indian roads - it's all part of the experience!

Driving (or better put being driven) in India, is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. For those of us who are used to the rules of the road in other parts of the world, travelling by car in India offers a whole new cultural experience. Where basically, the rule book is treat more as a guidance note. 
For example, if the highway planners built and marked out a two lane road, then Indian drivers will create their own four lanes. And not always heading in the same direction! 
Basically if there is even the tightest road space to fit a car, motor bike, cycle, taxi or bus, then it will be filled. In the cities that means bumper to bumper, door to door. But in the rural areas where the pot holes are everywhere, then the order of the day is to weave, swerve and generally find your own way on whichever side of the road is most convenient. 
Whether city or rural road, the drivers use their horn to announce their presence to other drivers. For instance when overtaking on a blind corner, one simply sounds the horn to alert oncoming g traffic and if that doesn’t work, then one or other vehicle will casually swerve onto the side of the road to avoid collision. 
And remarkably, without cause for anger, distress or upset from either party. It’s just the way things are done. 
Remarkably it works. Somehow from the chaos comes a system that (if the statistics are anything to go by) results in less accidents per head of population than the supposedly safer roads in the developed world.
My advice to those of a sensitive nature, is close your eyes and try to relax. It will be fine. For those less sensitive, relax lie back and marvel in the chaos. It’s all part of the experience.
Join us in India in 2018

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Elephants free to roam after work

Early misty morning - Elephant backed Ranger checking on a Tigers progress
Within India’s National Parks, the forest rangers sometimes need to go on Elephant back to monitor the resident Tiger population,. Especially in areas that are inaccessible by vehicle and (for obvious reasons), access by foot is not advised.
I am not normally in favour of training elephants to be ridden and most definitely not for tourism. Which (incidentally), is why you will never find elephant riding in any of our Safari packages. 
The Elephants used in India's National Parks come from domesticated stock i.e. are not taken from the wild, and (from what I have seen), they are not mistreated. 
I understand the cultural, historical and practical reasons that park rangers and vets ride Elephants to check on Tigers well being and to administer care. 
A good example of this can be seen from a recent occasion when a sick Tiger requiring treatment had retreated deep into the forest in a place that could only be reached by Elephant. 
The vet was extremely concerned and commented that the added benefit of using Elephants, was that the presence of an Elephant was accepted as a natural event in the forest and did not upset the poorly Tiger. 
Thankfully the vet was able to administer care to the dehydrated Tiger in the forest, in a situation when sedating and relocating the animal would probably have killed it. 
The happy end to the story is that the Tiger made a full recovery.
At the end of the day the practical realities of wildlife conservation often result in imperfect policies, which are not black and white decisions, but on balance outweigh other concerns.
Off road - Ranger returning from checking resident Tiger
I also have to say that when I raised my doubts about riding Elephants to a mahout he replied “but you ride horses don’t you”. He has a point, I have ridden horses and enjoy being around horses. So who am I to judge. 
We are of-course talking about a handful of Indian Elephants in Nation Parks and not African Elephants. I spend an awful lot of time in the vicinity of wild Elephants in Africa, and am more than happy to just respectfully view them in the wild. Magnificent creatures, which must be treated with absolute respect, especially when on foot.  There is a reason that they are one of Africas big five.

Free roaming elephant after work
Back in India. At least when they’re not working, the Elephants are given the freedom to roam, free grazing in the park and doing what comes naturally.
Be there. Join one of our Indian safaris in 2018.
Written by Will Fox

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Wild Dogs

Indian Wild Dog
Wherever I travel on safari, a Wild Dog sighting is always guaranteed to create an extra buzz with Safari guests. 
Whether it’s Africa or India, when there are Wild dogs around the level of excited anticipation rises up to Tiger, Leopard and Lion levels.
And so it was when traveling back towards the entrance gate in Kanha Nation Park one morning, after a great five hour game drive. Earlier we’d tracked and found a Tigress and her four cubs, and seen a myriad of other creatures, now all thoughts were on a celebratory early lunch and a siesta. All that changed when we heard about this mating pair. 
Pair of Indian Wild Dogs
Cameras  came back out of bags, and heads were spinning in all directions searching for these illusive animals. Which dutifully appeared right at the last minute 500 meters from the gate. Fantastic. 
African Wild Dog
Join us on safari in India or Africa 

Sunday, 10 December 2017


New for 2018, we are now able to offer a beach holiday in  Zanzibar. The perfect place to end your African safari.

And the best news of all, our newsletter subscribers can enjoy discounted rates in this idyllic beach location, when added to any of our African safaris.

We have partnered with a local family run business offering their privately owned collection of beautiful luxury hotels and resorts. Each has been inspired by the magic of Zanzibar and all are located on the Eastern side of the island away from the crowds.
As they say  'astunning recluse for the discerning traveler and a sanctuary for those in search of tranquility … a place to stimulate the senses and to experience the very best of the magical island of Zanzibar".
Alongside stunning beaches and luxurious accommodation, you can also enjoy a range of water sports, stunning spas and an affiliated PADI 5 star Dive Center. And if you would like to learn more about local culture and the history of Zanzibar (the Spice Island), we can also offer guided trips on the Island.
As ever our newsletter subscribers are eligible for discounted rates. Email Carol for more information.

Village visit India

Wednesday afternoon is traditionally market day in India’s tribal villages. 
In these rural communities the Wednesday market is the day for shopping. No supermarkets here. Folks walk for miles to shop once per week, buying anything from local fresh products to toys and clothes. 
For our safari guests, a visit to a buzzing local market offers a great opportunity to mingle with local people and see local culture that hasn’t changed for centuries.
Be there. Join one of our Indian safaris in 2018

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Special safari deals in 2018

Before we enter the traditionally busy season for selling holidays, we're offering you the first option on 2018 safari deals.
We have special safari deals available for ten day safaris on the following dates:
Sunday 15th April
Saturday 12th May
Sunday 3rd June
Thursday 5th July
Wednesday 18th July
Email Carol for more information on our ten day safari deals

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Snow leopard safari Feb 2019

Will Fox will be leading our first snow leopard safari in February 2019 and as ever we're offering our newsletter subscribers the first option to register your interest in joining this truly amazing safari in the Ladakh Himalaya region of India.

Will has recruited a team of very experienced local guides and naturalists who understand the terriane and behaviours of these magnificent cats, and best of all, over the last three years haven't failed to find snow leopards, so we'll be in good hands.

This trip starts in Delhi, from where we fly up to Lea, to spend a few days acclimatising and sightseeing. Learning more about the culture and history of this amazing location area, before we set off on a five day trek in search of Snow Leopards. After our time in the mountains, we'll fly down to central India for a there day Tiger safari, on this exclusive and unique big cat experience.
To register your interest for this safari you just need to Email Carol and she will be in touch.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Become a camera trapper and help support leopard research

You can help to support our work in leopard conservation, by becoming a camera trapper member.
Each month you will receive a selection of the 'best of' images taken by our network of camera traps.
You will receive exclusive images that are not published elsewhere.
Become a camera trapper today
We only use photographs that have been taken by our guests on safari to promote On Track Safaris.
After all what could be a better testament?
In this case the images are courtesy of Bruce Cardwell who was on safari with us in September.

You can be there with us on safari in 2018.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

New cameras a hit

We have recently started a new leopard research program with our friends at Nzumba Lodge within the Klaserie Game Reserve.
Nzumba has proved to be a big hit with our safari guests and features in most of our South African packages in 2018.
In the first few days of operating camera traps in the reserve we had some great results, from Elephant to Lion, Leopard and Hyena.
November will be the first full month of operation, so we are hopeful of some great results.
You can be there in 2018

Friday, 3 November 2017

Our new Platinum Collection

We are proud to announce our new deluxe range of safari accommodation.
Our Platinum Collection offers a range of prestige safari locations, created for discerning travellers who expect the highest level of service and attention to detail. Above all Platinum is about bespoke safari experiences and tailor-made moments that speak to who you are and how you like to travel.
Select from our list of preferred Platinum Collection lodges and we will create a personalised deluxe safari for you. We include all in-country travel and can also provide international flights.
When travelling within South Africa you can opt to use private executive flights directly into each game reserve, or fly into regional airports, where you will be met by a member of our team and transferred to your safari lodges.