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Great Indian Bustards and Thar Desert Tour, India - 6 Days

Great Indian Bustards and Thar Desert Tour, India

Great Indian Bustards India Birdwatching Tour

This 6-days Great Indian Bustards and Thar Desert Tour is relaxed paced and available on request. The Thar Desert is home to the last surviving population of Great Indian Bustards. With fewer than 115 birds left in the wild, your visit is especially designed to give you good sightings of these birds, and instead of disturbing their habitat you will come to understand it.

You will be working with expert, trained local guides who dedicate their lives to conserving the birds, animals and flora of this extreme yet rich habitat.

Our trip takes in the Desert National Park, with its wide mix of habitats from water bodies, grasslands, rocky terrain and desert scrub. The Park has recorded over 250 species.

Our own tour takes place October to March, outside of the desert’s extreme heat and the July-September breeding period for the Great Indian Bustard when photography is banned. The winter and early spring is a good time for migratory species including raptors, larks, wheatear, MacQueen’s Bustard, and Sandgrouse (flocks of the Chestnut-bellied but also hopefully the Black-bellied and Spotted). Expect to see vast flocks of larks: Greater short-toed, Bimacilated and Black-crowned Sparrow Larks.

Your days in the desert will take in various species of birds, mammals and terrain, at select times and locations from dawn to dusk, so you take in something of the sheer space and scale of this remarkable land.

You will meet the people who care to conserve it: the teams of scientists working to save the GIB from extinction, and the locals who do the same.

The GIB look for their food in land shared with humans. Your local guide, armed with a spotting scope, has shared his whole life with these birds.

Your days with him ensure you achieve more than a glimpse of some of the largest birds of flight in the world – you will experience the stark beauty and the challenges of their life and habitat. It is easy-paced using a vehicle throughout, a 4x4 jeep while in the Desert National Park. Expect about 80 species of birds to be observed.

Our tour includes options to tour the fabled city of Jaisalmer, a medieval wonder including the alleyways and minarets of its hilltop fort. We can include excursions by camel into the desert dunes, and extend the trip to leopard safaris and overwintering crowds of Demoiselle Cranes.

Great Indian Bustards Tour Highlights:

  • Encounter spectacular Great Indian Bustards, among the rarest of the world’s birds
  • Be led into the nature of the Thar Desert: its special birds, mammals, reptiles and flora
  • Take a nocturnal walk to meet night-time species
  • Visit the local community whose lives are steered by taking care of nature
  • Gain up-to-the-minute insights from a private meeting with experts from the Wildlife Institute of India
  • Options to visit the fabled city of Jaisalmer; take a camel safari into the great dunes of Sam in the Desert National Park; and extend the trip into a leopard safari or visits to overwintering crowds of demoiselle cranes.
  • Photographers welcome

If you have a little more time to spend on your holiday, maybe you’d consider a longer trip like this Gujarat Birds and Mammals Tour.

Alternative Tour Name: Great Indian Bustards and the Thar Desert
Day 1
Day 1 - Fly New Delhi to Jaisalmer Airport

A brand-new airport located close to the legendary city of Jaisalmer; during the brief transfer to your heritage hotel, the Himmatgarh Hotel, you will already get a sense of the desert. A midday flight from New Delhi to Jodhpur will be provided in the event that the New Delhi–Jaisalmer flight is not operating. From there, it will take 4 hours to drive to Jaisalmer and stay the night at the same hotel.

Day 2
Day 2 - Jaisalmer

The Great Indian Bustards are the primary goal of our two jeep excursions every day in Desert National Park. To name just a few, you might also see a Houbara, Black-winged Kite, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Indian Spotted Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Booted Eagle, Pied Harrier, Shikra, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Barn Owl, Spotted Owlet, Long-eared Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eura Included in this list are the Egyptian Vulture, Common Quail, Black Francolin, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Red-naped Ibis, Indian Courser, Cream-colored Courser, Eurasian Wryneck, Desert Wheatear, and Pied Wheatear. To help you along the way, we've got a naturalist guide. Discover more by taking a stroll around a grassland ecosystem. Return.

Day 3
Day 3 - Jaisalmer

We will spend the entire day, with a packed lunch, extensively observing birds and mammals in semi-arid terrain (same driver), with the help of a village naturalist. The birds we will be looking for as we move around include vultures such as the Egyptian, Red-headed, Himalayan, White-rumped, Indian, Griffon, and Cinereous; eagles such as the Steppe, Short-toed, Indian Spotted, Greater Spotted, Tawny, Eastern Imperial, Bonelli's, and Booted; harriers such as the Hen, Pallid, and Pied; buzzards such as the White- There will be Indian Gazelle.

When we arrive to a watershed, we'll be astounded to see a sizable group of Spiny-tailed Lizards, which the Great Indian Bustard, Falcons, and Eagles love to eat. It is the sole species of herbivorous lizard in India. We'll go to a village where the Bishnois, a renowned Thar Desert conservationist group, predominate. To better understand how stakeholders live sustainably, have tea with Bishnois. We'll search the desert after sunset for signs of the hare jackal, desert cat, desert fox, etc. Return.

Day 4
Day 4 - Jaisalmer

A naturalist will accompany us as we travel to Mokla village and through Dungari Pir Oran, a sacred woodland covering 6,500 hectares, Jelipa Nadi, a body of water, and "Khadeens," a moisture conservation region for agriculture. Utilizations of such extraordinarily productive environments are rapidly vanishing in this area. a sensation of trekking over arid terrain.

We meet locals to learn about their living situations and get an opportunity to sit down with them at their home for a cup of tea and a chat about life. The Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Rufous-tailed Lark, Crested Lark, Dusky Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, and Large-billed Crow, among other new birds, may be present. On the way back, pause at Bara Bagh (large garden) to see some new birds, including Lesser Whitethroat and Red-throated Flycatcher. Return.

Day 5
Day 5 - Jaisalmer

An early-morning trip to a pond will allow you to see birds such the Common Coot, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, House Sparrow, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Rock Pigeon, Tailor Bird, Laughing Dove, Greater Coucal, Common Hoopoe, and Indian Roller, among others. In spite of the abundance of five-striped squirrels, an Indian Grey Mongoose can surprise you. For such a dawn visit and photo opportunity, keep silent. Bring breakfast back.

Then we enjoy crossing a sand dune. Visit the Akal Wood Fossil Park for the afternoon. In the neighborhood, pterosaur fossils and footprints were discovered. They are 180 million years old. The landscape is rough and desolate. There are 25 striped tree trunks resting like stones. The fossils come from early Jurassic petrophyllum, phyllophyllum, and equisetitis species. There are probably birds like the Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark and Desert Wheatear. Spend the sundown near a sand dune.

An expert from the Wildlife Institute of India is welcome to attend for drinks and supper to discuss his experiences with desert birds, particularly the Great Indian Bustard's ex situ breeding program, which began in 2019. Return.

Day 6
Day 6 - Jaisalmer – Jodhpur - New Delhi

Midday, board a flight, and arrive in New Delhi. Transfer to the airport so you can catch your journey home. Farewell. If the Jaisalmer-Delhi flight isn't running, take a morning drive (4 hours, with a packed lunch) to Jodhpur, where you can catch a midday jet to Delhi and then get to the airport.

Stop for tea or coffee at a motel along the way and watch the birds as you travel, including Jungle Babblers, Grey Partridge, Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Common Myna, Green Bee-eater, House Sparrow, and others. You may also see Black Kites and Shikra flying through the sky, as well as Steppe Eagles perched on trees.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Great Indian Bustard, McQueen’s Bustard, Short-toed Eagle, Indian Spotted Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Pied Harrier, Shikra, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Barn Owl, Spotted Owlet, Long-eared Owl, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eurasian Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Laggar Falcon, Larks, Pipits, etc. Nearly 250 bird species are found in this region.

What is included?

  • All lodging and boarding at double/twin occupancy.
  • All meals, with packed lunch as necessary.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Experienced Bird Guide/Naturalist.
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off.
  • All surface transfers, transport in a/c deluxe car or large vehicles for a group.
  • Domestic air-fares, a/c train berths, as per need.
  • Walking experiences in villages to meet the conservation community.
  • A walk after sunset to explore nocturnal species.
  • Assistance throughout the tour, providing first-aid medical relief as required.

What is not included?

  • International air-fare.
  • Visa fee.
  • Insurance.
  • Laundry.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.
  • any other item not included in “What is Included.”

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Why should I book with Our Indian Tours?

We have long experience with wild species, their habitats and their seasonal movements. We are also alert to how they have to modify behaviour to meet environmental pressures. We use our vast experience in the field, in conservation and through 25 years of welcoming overseas guests, to satisfy your enquiries by email before bookings are confirmed.


Upgraded hotels/resorts having established character for hospitality and a heritage background, located away from the crowd, with en-suite facilities, clean bed-sheets, pillows, extra towels, soap, etc, extra chairs and table in an a/c room. Courtyard, lobby, garden, sitting outside area, and separate restaurant facilities are available.


A deluxe a/c driver-driven car to accommodate a minimum four persons (including driver and guide) with sufficient space for baggage, optics, etc. Open driver-driven jeep (4x4) for safaris in Parks to accommodate six persons excluding driver and guide. The same driver to be in attendance throughout the tour.


Airport pick-up, surface travel and drop-off by a/c deluxe car, escorted by the guide or our executive. Group travel is likewise served.

Group size

Either individual or couples. Groups can be minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 persons.

Meals and Drinks

A wide variety of Indian, Western and often Chinese dishes. Breakfast: Tea-coffee, toast with butter-gem, omelet, scrambled eggs, stuffed ‘parantha” (fried bread), potato vegetable, yogurt, fruits. Lunch: soup, green vegetables (2), lintel, Indian bread (tandoor), chicken/mutton, salad, ‘papad’ pickles, yogurt (‘raita’), sweet dish, tea-coffee. Dinner: soup, green vegetables (2), different lintel, boiled rice (or ‘pulao’), Indian bread (tandoor), chicken/mutton, salad, ‘papad’ pickles, yogurt (‘raita’), sweet dish or fruit salad, tea-coffee. Guests are welcome to suggest what they would like cooked for them. The chef will speak to them in person to cook accordingly: less spice, with less oil, etc.

Best time for Tour

From October to June, the Parks will remain open. We are happy to give advice about the best time to visit for climate / migratory species etc.

Age, fitness, mobility

The tours are at an easy pace, using a vehicle throughout the day and walking for about 100 meters daily to add to you own species’ list. No rough walking or climbing over hills. Guests can rest in vehicle if so needed. We have catered happily to guests in their 70s and 80s. If desired, any guest can be driven back to the hotel to avoid further travel on any day.

Communication before and during the tour

Ideally you let us know the specifics of what you wish to experience on your tour. We aim to answer in detail within hours. We can dialogue through email or WhatsApp. Wi-fi will be available at hotels, often for a small payment. Cellphones may lose coverage in some regions during the field-tri[ elements but arrangements will be made to meet the needs of guests.

Health & Insurance

Guests are required to obtain their own insurance. Do inform us in advance of any likely medical needs so we can accommodate them. Doctors can be invited to your hotel, (payment needed), to respond to urgent health needs and recommend any medication. Some pharmacies remain open round the clock and guests can visit with the driver/naturalist. Treatment through such pharmacies is cheap in India. Inform us in advance of any dietary needs.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

6 Days

Price & Availability

GBP1,220 / per person
Based on twin/double room
This tour is operated by: Our Indian Tours

Quick Enquiry Form

Tour Facts

  • Thar Desert, India
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Wildlife
  • 1 to 8 pax
  • 6 Days
  • October to March
  • +10 Years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English
  • Jaisalmer Airport or Contact Us To Know
  • Jaisalmer Airport or Contact Us To Know