1. Introduction

Hamish Mackie sculpting a giraffe
Say hello to Hamish Mackie. He is one of the UK’s top wildlife sculptors and has the privilege of seeking out beautiful animals in many corners of the world. One such project required Hamish to travel to India, and he decided to use it to experience the difference between booking with us and 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.”

- Hamish Mackie

2. Holiday brief

  • A fourteen-day research holiday in India
  • Behind-the-scenes access to the national parks
  • Private guides throughout
  • Valet parking and fast-track pass through a UK airport
  • Accommodation at three different lodges
  • Access to conservation charities on the ground
  • Return flights in Business Class
  • All in-country transfers

3. Planning

With Steppes
Going It Alone
Hours spent planning
Websites visited
Calls made
Calls received
Emails sent
Points of contact
Confirmation emails received
Payments required
Hidden costs
On-the-ground payments
Print outs required
Travel app with pre-loaded information

4. Getting impartial advice

Booking with Steppes

Going It Alone

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.

It was difficult to get a balanced view from across the various forums that I had searched.

Hamish Mackie

The holiday: a tiger safari in Tadoba National Park

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 and ensured that our holiday was created our way. In short, booking a holiday is the one exception where I wouldn’t endorse the DIY approach. For an extraordinary travel experience, I wouldn’t book with any other company.”


The itinerary that Steppes Travel created took me to Tadoba National Park – one of the jewels of India’s conservation efforts. Just two hours south of Nagpur, it offers some of the most thrilling and best-protected tiger experiences in the world. It is also known for its fantastic tiger sightings.

Tiger, Tadoba, India, JK

From the moment I landed in India, every moment was exceptional. The VIP meet-and-greet straight from the plane was a lovely touch; even more so, was the complimentary room upgrade and bottle of wine on arrival at my hotel.

The days that I spent on the trail of tigers were profoundly memorable. The guides took me way off the beaten track and introduced me to some little-known tiger-spotting areas. Downtime was spent kayaking at a local lake and relaxing at the boutique hotel that was picked out for me. This was certainly Central India at its very finest, and the perfect place to draw inspiration for my work.

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