Set Departure

Wild India!

Multi-day hiking safari, India

Wild India walking

Tropical Ice’s ‘A Passage through India’, is the sister expedition to ‘The Great Walk of Africa’. Bearing all the same hallmarks of challenging but beautiful walking, heritage hotels, luxurious tented accommodation and the unique opportunity to explore areas on foot that tourists simply do not visit, it is India’s definitive walking safari.

Beginning in Delhi you’ll stay overnight at The Imperial, a magnificent hotel built in the 1920s and a veritable museum of India’s Raj history, before heading out to Bhopal and beginning your walking expedition near the source of the Denwa River. You’ll discover the atmospheric Bhimbetka rock shelters, where over 500 sites with neolithic rock paintings have been discovered, then continue for approx. 15 kms to a private mobile tented camp spotting serpent eagles, plum- headed parakeets and racquet-tailed drongos along the way. This unique wilderness region has rocky outcrops which rise like tumbled castles from the surrounding plains. Few foreigners ever come here and Tropical Ice’s first safari in 2013 was reckoned to be the first since Captain J Forsyth of the British army explored the region in 1857.

From Denwa you will drive 2 hours to Satpura Tiger Reserve to walk the undulating hills home to tigers, sloth bear, sambur, spotted deer, and leopard, then on to Kanha, which is known as “Kipling Country”, for it was upon these forests that Rudyard Kipling based The Jungle Book. To maximise your chances of seeing tigers the group will then head to Bandhavgarh, which boasts probably the largest population of tigers in the country. During your time in these wilderness areas walking will be complemented by 4×4 jeep safaris, which enable closer wildlife encounters and excellent photographic opportunities.

Finally you will head for the foothills of the Himalayas, taking the British built ‘toy train’ up to the town of Shimla and the impressive Wildflower Hall. Hiking in this area you will be immersed in the fresh mountain scenery, passing temples and traditional villages and winding your way through forested valleys of forests of cedar and deodar. The breath taking icy peaks of the Himalayas will dominate the northern skyline and the area’s colonial history is evident.

This unique walking safaris blends arguably the very best elements of any Indian journey – breathtaking Bengal tigers, a rich ancient culture symbolised by countless forts and temples; and the astounding British colonial impact on India between 1730 and 1948 exemplified by Shimla, the most famous Hill Station in the Himalayan foothills. On foot, this is a magnificent journey and a true adventure into the heart of India, experienced by only the very fortunate few.

You will love

  • Virtually tourist free
  • Private tented camps & grand heritage hotels
  • Tiger country on foot
  • Hike the foothills of the Himlalayas
  • Guided by Iain Allan or Alex Fiksman of Tropical Ice Safaris



Welcome to India and the start of your grand adventures! Relax this evening in the iconic Imperial Hotel as you prepare for an exciting 18 days ahead.


In the early morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhopal, and we will arrive at
your hotel for a late breakfast. After settling in and enjoying the surrounds of the Jehan Numan Palace
you will embark on a guided tour of the beautiful city of Bhopal.


After breakfast drive to the Denwa river, stopping on the way to visit the atmospheric Bimbetka rock shelters, where over 500 sites with neolithic rock paintings have been discovered. Upon reaching the Denwa river you will make a three hour boat journey to your lodge with the afternoon at leisure to enjoy Denwa Backwater Escape.


Drive into the Satpura hills and begin your walk following a trail through the Sal forest – where the birdlife can be profuse – to descend towards the source area of the Denwa River. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then continue walking for several hours to your camp on the river. You are now in the centre of this unique wilderness region which rises like
tumbled castles from the surrounding plains. Few foreigners ever come here and Tropical Ice’s
first safari in 2013 was reckoned to be the first since Captain J. Forsyth of the British army
explored the region in 1857!


Continue your hike today as you follow the course of the Denwa river down towards the plains.
The morning is gentle, but after our picnic lunch, you will enter a narrower rocky gorge, and your trail moves across a boulder-strewn river bank. You have the opportunity to cool off in the crystal clear pools and travel by vehicle to your next camp, or continue to walk if you prefer.


After an early breakfast drive for two hours to the northern part of Satpura Tiger Reserve,
and begin walking across the undulating hills, which gradually descend to a new part of the
Denwa river. After a picnic lunch you will reach the river’s edge where crocodiles can often be seen and will follow the river down to your next camp.


Hike for the greater part of the morning along the escarpment above the Denwa River before being collected by vehicles for transfer back to the Denwa Backwater Escape. Enjoy a rest & lunch before heading into Satpura Tiger Reserve on a jeep safaris in search of Satpura’s famous sloth bear, sambur, spotted deer and leopard sightings.


Today you drive across the fertile state of Madhya
Pradesh, one of the bread baskets of India, with a
lunch stop at the famous Indian Coffee House in
Jabalpur. A relatively long, but incredibly fascinating drive through rural Rajasthan, delivers you to Kanha Tiger Reserve in the late afternoon.

DAY 9 & 10 | KANHA

Your days are spent searching for what is arguably the most breathtaking animal on our planet,
the tiger. Kanha is known as “Kipling Country”, for it was here that Rudyard Kipling based The
Jungle Book.


Depart after an early breakfast and drive to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, arriving at your lodge
for lunch. The afternoon is set aside for leisure and rest, though there are amenities such as
swimming, cycling, and hiking if you are feeling energetic.


Bandhavgarh is very different in both scenery and atmosphere to Kanha. Your daily program will
be similar to that of Kanha. The Sal jungle of this region has plentiful bird life, as well as gaur
(Indian bison), sambur, spotted deer and leopard. Bandhavgarh has what is probably the largest
population of tigers in all of India.


After breakfast you will depart for Jabalpur, where you will have lunch before boarding your mid-afternoon flight to Delhi for overnight before taking the train into the Himalaya.


Depart your hotel early this morning bound for Delhi Railway Station where you will board the express to train to Kalka – the town where the Indian plains meet the foothills of the Himalayas. Reach Kalka around noon and board the Toy Train which has changed little in the last 120 years when it was completed by the British Raj during the last decade of the 19 th Century. After three hours you will alight at the small station of Kandaghat and continue your drive to Shimla.


Today you have the opportunity to attempt the “neckline” hike – a relatively challenging 16km walk, which will take you far down into a deep valley, through forests of cedar and deodar. The breathtaking icy peaks of the Himalayas will dominate the northern skyline and you will pass temples and traditional villages. After your descent you will contour round the hills for several kilometres and enjoy a picnic prior to the long hike up to the highest ridges. (At this point a vehicle will offer an option should you wish to shorten the hike).


Undertake a walking tour of Shimla today. One of the most historical towns in India it was the summer capital of the British Raj between 1830 and 1947. Like a graceful horse saddle, Shimla straddles a seven mile ridge, which descends from the nearby Himalayas. You will see stunning examples of British Victorian gothic architecture and there will be ample time if you wish to shop. Return to your hotel mid-afternoon, where the rest of the day is at leisure.


Drive down through the foothills to the town of Chandagarh in time to board your afternoon flight to Delhi. Your journey ends on arrival in Delhi.


A mix of private tented camps & leading hotels

The Imperial Hotel – New Delhi

Arriving at The Imperial Hotel with its 24 towering signature palms and turbaned sentries at the door will immediately transport you back to the glamour of India’s Raj. The restored 1930's Victorian style building is a perfect meeting of old and new. Grand and luxurious, the hotel makes the perfect start or end to your stay in India. Read More

Oberoi Wildflower Hall – Shimla

Situated at 2500m in the magnificent Himalayas, Wildflower Hall is a fairy tale luxury resort in 22 acres of pine and cedar forest. It recreates the grand style of the colonial era with wood paneling and original artwork creating an aura of old-world charm. The resort also offers white water rafting, mountain biking, archery and more. Read More


18 days

18 days

Please enquire for pricing

Please enquire for pricing

START: Delhi, India     |     Finish: Delhi, India

Operates February and March – just three departures per year.
A single supplement may apply
Flights and insurance on request
Terms and conditions apply – please request a copy of our booking form for all details.
Please contact us for pricing, dates and a full itinerary.


Iain Allan

The Founder of Tropical Ice, Iain Allan, has lived in Kenya since he was 8 years old. Always drawn to the African bush, he developed an early love for rock climbing and mountaineering, which he describes as an ‘obsession’ during his formative years. He has consequently pioneered many new routes on Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro as well as participating in frequent climbing expeditions to the Himalayas, Andes and North America.

A Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society, Iain has written two books, entitled ‘Guide to Mount Kenya & Kilimanjaro’ and ‘Snowcaps on the Equator.’ Iain is also one of the main characters in Rick Ridgeway’s acclaimed book ‘The Shadow of Kilimanjaro’, which describes the first 22 days, 300 mile (480 km) walk from the summit of Kilimanjaro to the beaches of the Indian Ocean.

In 1979, shortly after starting Tropical Ice, Iain shifted his focus away from mountaineering and towards the endless bush country of Kenya’s largest, unspoilt wilderness – Tsavo, home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa! He is now a leading authority on this area, with a vast knowledge of the region’s animal behaviour patterns and conservation ‘ups and downs’. He has been successfully operating walking safaris along the Tsavo and Galana Rivers for over 30 years.

In 2000, Iain was made an Honorary Warden by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

He is married with three children and lives in the Nairobi suburb of Karen.

Alex Fiksman

A native of the former Soviet Union, Alex moved to Kenya in 1998 after eighteen years in the US. Expecting to stay in Kenya for two years, he was beguiled by the country’s untamed wild beauty and miles of walking terrain. The outdoors required an entirely different set of skills to those in his former mountain playgrounds. Alex quickly made the meadows and snowy peaks of the alpine region on Mount Kenya his second home.

Alex met Iain Allan through the Mountain Club of Kenya where each recognised a kindred spirit in the other and a shared passion for the pursuit of adventure. In 1999, Alex left the teaching profession and joined Iain at Tropical Ice.

With Iain as his mentor, Alex quickly showed his talent for guiding in the African bush, developed a deep appreciation for Kenyan and Swahili culture and took on the management of a successful outdoor adventure company.

Alex is a widely acknowledged East African climber and has guided numerous professional expeditions, as well as logged many a recreational hour on Mount Kenya and other renowned crags in Eastern and Southern Africa. He is a member of the American Alpine Club and a contributor to its annual journal.

Alex is an Honorary Warden with the Kenya Wildlife Service.

In 2010, Alex guided Tropical Ice’s first commercial expedition from the summit of Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean following the route as described in The Shadow of Kilimanjaro.

Alex is married and lives with his wife and their son in the Nairobi suburb of Langata.

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