Booking with Steppes vs Going it Alone

Meet Hamish Mackie

Hamish is one of the UK’s top wildlife sculptors. Through his work he has had the privilege of observing wildlife in many corners of the world.
One such project required him to travel to India. See the difference between Hamish planning and booking with Steppes as opposed to going it alone.

Like many artists, I am inspired by wildlife. I have been lucky to sketch and sculpt in situ around the world. However I had never seen a tiger in the wild, only imagined what this might feel like from the crouching tiger depictions of Delacroix and The Tiger Hunt of Rubens springing to life. So my long held fascination with tigers led me to take a journey to the jungles of India with Steppes.

Initial Planning

Not recorded: Endless time spent day dreaming

Holiday Brief

  • A fourteen day research holiday in India
  • Return flights in business class
  • Accommodation at three different lodges
  • Behind the scenes access to the national parks
  • Private guides throughout
  • Access to conservation charities on the ground
  • All in-country transfers

The Booking Process

Work involved to book holiday

DIY

27

Hours spent planning

19

Websites Visited

10

Calls Made

0

Calls Received

18

Emails Written

11

Points of Contact

With Steppes

1

Hours spent planning

1

Websites Visited

1

Calls Made

6

Calls Received

5

Emails Written

1

Points of Contact

DIY

27

Confirmation Emails Received

19

Payments Required

10

Hidden Extra Costs

6

Printouts Required For Travelling

0

Travel App With All Travel Information Pre-Loaded

With Steppes

1

Confirmation Emails Received

1

Payments Required

0

Hidden Extra Costs

0

Printouts Required For Travelling

1

Travel App With All Travel Information Pre-Loaded

Hamish’s Tiger Safari in Tadoba National Park

It was with both curiosity and excitement that I flew from Mumbai to Nagpur and drove just three hours to Tadoba National Park. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is a park that is lesser known and as such offers visitors a rare view of India’s central jungle. Two lakes and open waterholes have created a healthy population of tigers (70 individuals at last count). I was incredibly heartened by the support initiatives that are in place there.

A new policy has been implemented to promote community nature conservancy (CNC) on private lands outside wildlife sanctuaries. This policy was launched in Tadoba in attendance by Sudhir Mungantiwar, the Forest Minister and Dr Debabrata Swain, the inspector General of Forests and National Tiger Conservancy. I have been lucky enough to witness CNC being implemented in Africa from the Masaimara to the Serengeti. In summary, the tiger foundation provides compensation to farmers, thus reducing human-animal conflict, whilst encouraging locals to protect their own environment through wildlife conservancy.

The experience of an Indian safari is very different than an African one. Perhaps because of the habitat and the superb camouflage of these cats, I was surprised how incredibly close my tiger sightings were. In part down to my brilliant guide Chinmay Joshi. His knowledge and cat-like instinct seemed to pre-empt their very moves and it wasn’t long until we sighted the first of many encounters.

Nothing quite prepares you for that first encounter. The whole character and essence of an animal can be seen in the wild. This is the very reason I only sculpt from sketches and maquettes I make on location. The confines of captivity no longer apply. I was aware of the very immediate power and force of this majestic animal. I watched transfixed as a large male dragged a freshly killed sambar deer back into the camouflage of the jungle habitat. An incredibly inspiring thing to witness.

If you, like me, believe in protecting the natural habitats where wildlife flourish then I urge you to travel and view wildlife responsibly. Tigers need your support. Travelling with Steppes means just that. Their team and their connections in India made my trip the success it was.

DIY

  • Support

    Dedicated support for duration of trip

  • Helpline

    24/7 Emergency Helpline

  • Protection

    Protected by UK Travel regulations

  • Exposure

    Protection from exchange rate fluctuations

  • Financial Protection

    Financial Protection

With Steppes

  • Support

    Dedicated support for duration of trip

  • Helpline

    24/7 Emergency Helpline

  • Protection

    Protected by UK Travel regulations

  • Exposure

    Protection from exchange rate fluctuations

  • Financial Protection

    Financial Protection

The Result

Hamish Mackie

Joe at Steppes Travel took the time to really understand what we wanted to experience and was honest about what would work well for our trip and what perhaps wouldn’t be right for us. He took the time to get to know us which made the service feel all the more personalised.

Hamish Mackie
Hamish Mackie

Steppes offered value for money in ways that booking independently would not allow for. They streamlined what would have been an exhausting and arduous task.In short, booking a holiday is the one exception where I wouldn’t endorse doing it yourself. For a beyond the ordinary experience we wouldn’t travel with any other company.

Hamish Mackie
If you still want to go it alone, we’re still happy to send some destination information to help you on your way. We’d also love to hear how it went, what you liked, what you didn’t like – maybe we could help you with your next trip?

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  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

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