Evolved Wilderness Journeys
Leading responsible guided wildlife tours since 2001
Rural Traveller is a field-based wildlife tour company, leading guided bird watching and mammal watching holidays for individuals and small groups. We are based in the Western Himalayan region of Kumaon in the beautiful and heavily forested state of Uttarakhand, Northern India.
Our wildlife operations are spread over some 26 of India’s protected areas, tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation, and biosphere reserves. Based on our many years of experience operating tours in these sensitive and valuable environments, we are confident that we provide excellent opportunities for bird and mammal viewing.
Our Promoter: Sumantha Ghosh
Nature Tour Leader, Vanghat Eco Lodge Founder & Supporter of Conservation & humanitarian issues. Sumantha began his wildlife career at Tiger Tops Corbett Lodge as a chief naturalist from 1997 to 2001. It was here that he led numerous birding, wildlife & nature-based excursions. During those years, he gained a formidable reputation and is now regarded as one of the finest naturalists in the region. For over 20 years now he has led numerous wildlife, birding, and photography excursions to various National Parks, Tiger Reserves, Biosphere Reserves, and Sanctuaries of mostly north, central India and in the Himalayan realm (about 28 protected areas).
Sumantha believes in observation of nature and is passionate about sharing and forever learning. He is a keen observer of various aspects of nature and its changing hues and loves to share it amongst visitors both specimen hunters and children. For the last two decades, he has led wildlife tours for various photography tour companies in France including NIKON SCHOOL – France, Terresoubliees, Natures Du Monde, and Energy Trip. In the UK he has led tours for – Norfolk Birding, Nature high, Banyan Tours, etc.
Nature conservation – Sumantha is the founder of Society of Mahseer Conservancy. Established in the year 2007, the society has been actively working on Mahseer conservation in the Western Ramganga river (in collaboration with the Uttarakhand Forest Department and the Corbett Tiger Reserve), Corbett Vulture campaign (in partnership with BNHS & RSPB assisted by Darwin Initiative) and on issues of Tiger Human Conflict ( assisted by Himmothan assisted by Sir Ratan Tata Trust). He assisted the local ladies of Ringora village affected by human wildlife conflict to establish a successful community run shop www.harela.in.
He has been the founder of the internationally acclaimed Vanghat Eco Lodge. This iconic lodge on the periphery of India’s oldest Tiger reserve Corbett, is an example of responsible and sustainable tourism catering to visitors from across the globe.
He has been involved with several wildlife documentaries including award winning ones like – Tiger the Death Chronicles. Several documentaries by French filmmakers. He anchored a documentary ‘Good Morning India’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BOsr7RHuLQ
Awards and recognitions – Ghosh was a nominee for the Green Hero Award by NDTV. During the platinum jubilee of Corbett National Park in 2011 he was facilitated for his conservation work by Chief Minister of the Uttarakhand state General BC Khanduri.
What makes us unique
All our guides are fluent in English. As insiders, our experienced, qualified local guides give us the edge of local insider knowledge. In addition to their exceptional knowledge of different species, two decades of field experience has endowed our guides with remarkable spotting skills, even the ability to often identify by call. Key factors to our high rate of repeat clients include; simplicity, thorough organisation, so there is nothing to do but enjoy your holiday, courtesy from all staff and guides, consideration of safety issues and not to mention a sense of humour.
Ethical Wildlife Viewng
We believe in responsible wildlife viewing and our tours, whilst trying to provide the best possible viewing opportunities, endeavour to observe rare fauna in a manner that would not distress them or disrupt their activities. How do we do this?? We brief our guests that at times, we will avoid big gatherings of people and vehicles.
The wilderness by its very nature is an area that has not been significantly affected by human activities and has been left in its natural state. A wilderness trip is a personal encounter that is best experienced either in solitude or with a small group of like-minded fellow travellers. We ensure small group sizes averaging between 4 – 8 guests.
A Local Experience
Wherever possible we take our visitors for a brief and rewarding peep into the lives of local communities and individuals involved in conservation. This is part of providing a more wholesome experience - Our tours are designed for an enriched encounter focused on one region or landscape, thereby eliminating wasted time travelling to different parks and reserves. This process of slowing down not only rewards guests with better wildlife sightings and enjoyment of the landscape, but allows them to gain a more in-depth understanding of the culture and way of life of local inhabitants.
Special Departures for 2023/24
Departures led by
James Champion is the grandson of F W Champion - a great conservationist and the pioneer of wildlife photography, especially camera trap photography in India.
From a very young age, James became interested in wildlife – perhaps he was indoctrinated by his father, but if so, it certainly worked. Much of this early fascination came from collecting Brooke-Bond tea cards, one of which came in each packet of tea, and his family consumption must have been significantly boosted by his desire to complete such series as British Butterflies, Tropical Butterflies, Wildlife in Danger, African Wildlife and Asian Wildlife. But it was not just the cards that inspired him – coming from a long line of naturalist Champions, the desire to observe and learn more about many different aspects of wildlife was doubtless in his genes. He grew up surrounded by the amazing portraits of Indian animals taken by his pioneering wildlife photographer grandfather F W Champion.
Some of these journeys take you to some of F W Champion's favourite photographic haunts, while others are important wilderness regions that will be showcased by James, going beyond the iconic species that most tours tend to focus on.