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The Indian state of Assam holds aspecial attraction for Asia enthusiastsand we are no exception, which iswhy we are pleased to offer, for the firsttime, a holiday visiting all three of thisstate's most famous national parks -Manas, Nameri and Kaziranga! Little-visited, and rather tucked away in thenorth-east of the subcontinent, Assam is aland of mighty rivers and fertile plainssituated in the foothills of the Himalaya.Remarkable for the richness of its flora andfauna, its natural history represents amelting pot of east and west - many ofthe species found here being either at thewesternmost or easternmost points of theirrange. This new holiday begins in Kolkata, ateeming metropolis that is home to over 12million people, and also, surprisingly, manyinteresting bird species! From Kolkata wetransfer to Assam, on a flight which givesus our first views of the great Himalayanmassif, before we drive by coach to the firstof our three parks, Manas, for a 4-nightstay. Extending into Bhutan, ManasNational Park forms one of the largestuninterrupted protected areas on thesubcontinent and is a UNESCO NaturalWorld Heritage Site. Passing through theheart of the park is the Manas River, atributary of the mighty Brahmaputra.Extensive grasslands, together with moistriverine, sub-Himalayan and dry deciduousforests provide ideal habitat for a richbirdlife, and some of the most sought-afterspecies of the Himalayan foothills live here,amongst them Bengal Florican, GreatHornbill, Ibisbill and Red-headed Trogon.India's iconic mammal-life is also wellrepresented here, with a total of 55mammal species recorded, and we will be looking out especially for theendemic Golden Langur, as well as morerecognisable Indian mammals - a Tiger or Asian Elephant perhaps. Next we travel to the semi-evergreen, moistdeciduous forests of Nameri National Park,home to nearly 400 bird species and over30 species of mammal. The park is animportant conservation area for Tiger andAsian Elephant, and its birdlife is variedand abundant. Arguably, Nameri's mostimportant avian residents are its White-winged Ducks, an important population(the core of the remaining Indianpopulation of 150-odd pairs) of this highlyendangered duck being known to inhabitthe park's forest pools.We will look for the ducks during our 3-daystay, as well as a wealth of other birdspecies, amongst which may be suchhighlights as White-cheeked Partridge,Great and Wreathed Hornbill, CrestedKingfisher, Pallas's and Grey-headedFishing Eagle, Mountain Imperial Pigeon,Blue-naped Pitta, Slender-billed Oriole, HillBlue Flycatcher, White-crowned Forktail,Sultan Tit, Jerdon's Babbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, Long-billed Plover andIbisbill.The world-famous Kaziranga National Parkis our next destination and the last of our'three parks'. Comprising large stretchesof swamp, interspersed with broad tractsof tall elephant grass, evergreen forests,watercourses and reedbeds, Kazirangaoffers an impressive habitat - with wildlife to match! It is also one of the best places in the world to see theendangered Great Indian One-hornedRhinoceros. Asian Elephants are plentiful,as are herds of wild Water Buffalo, andgrazing Sambar, Hog Deer and SwampDeer all of which live here, keeping a waryand constant look-out for such predatorsas Leopard and Tiger! Kaziranga boasts a tremendously variedbirdlist which includes many rare or localspecies. The wetlands attract largenumbers of storks, herons, wildfowl andwaders, and there are significant numbersof Spot-billed Pelicans, Bar-headedGeese, and Black-necked, Greater andLesser Adjutant Storks. From time to timethe waterbirds are sent into panic by theappearance of a Grey-headed or Pallas'sFishing Eagle, or a Bengal Florican isstartled into flight as a Pied Harrier glidesover the waving grasses; while amongtracts of forest we will look for an array ofbarbets, leafbirds, bulbuls and warblers.For those wishing to postpone theirhomeward flight we recommend anextension to the Sunderbans - theworld's largest delta, and a fascinatinghabitat supporting a rich and uniquewildlife.India-TheWildlifeofAssamA 15-day holiday focusing on the birds and mammals of Assam's three most famous national parks - Manas, Nameri and Kaziranga - all of them situated in the foothills of the mighty Himalaya.Saturday 5th January - Saturday 19th January Cost: £3,395Sunderbans extension: to Tuesday 22nd January Cost: £595Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTIBETSIKKIMBANGLADESHKOLKATASUNDERBANSNATIONAL PARK(EXTENSION)MEGHALAYABHUTANGUWAHATIMANASNATIONAL PARKMIZORAMMANIPURASSAMJORHATNAMERINATIONALPARKNAGALANDKAZIRANGANATIONALPARKARUNA CHALPRADESHOutline itineraryDay 1 Depart London.Day 2Kolkata; birding. Day 3Fly Guwahati; transferManas National Park. Day 4/6Manas National Park. Day 7/9Nameri National Park.Day 10/12Kaziranga National Park.Day 13Kolkata.Day 14Depart Kolkata. Day 15 Arrive London.Sunderbans extensionDay 14/16Sunderbans NationalPark.Day 17Kolkata.Day 18Fly London. AccommodationComfortable tourist hotel in Kolkata;simple but comfortable lodges atNameri and Kaziranga; basic lodgein Manas. All rooms have privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price, except formain meals in Kolkata. Allow £40. Grading A. Some easy walks; mostexcursions by jeep or on elephant-back.Focus Birds and mammals.LeaderSujan Chatterjee or Manoj Sharma,plus local guides.Single room supplement£595 (extension: £195).Web quick search: IND40221Great Indian One-horned RhinocerosLesser Adjutant

This is, quite simply, the mostconvenient Tiger tour yet! For, bytaking advantage of the internationalflights to Nagpur, the capital of MadhyaPradesh (heartland of the Tiger), we offerthe wildlife enthusiast the ultimate luxury -a holiday to India that avoids large cities!Indeed, on this tour more than on any other,we maximise the time spent in India'swonderful national parks and TigerReserves, and minimise the time spenttravelling - particularly the time spentnegotiating India's 'urban jungles'. We begin our tour in India with an afternoonarrival into Nagpur airport after acomfortable flight via Mumbai on one of theworld's best international airlines. From herewe drive straight to Pench National Park, ajourney of just over two hours to the north ofthe city. Pench rose to prominence followingits designation as Project Tiger's 19th TigerReserve in 1992 and today it protects 758square kilometres of prime Tiger habitat. Itis situated amongst the southern reaches ofthe Satpura Hills, which lie in the Seoni andChhindwara districts, the region whichinspired Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book'.The park spans the border of the states ofMadhya Pradesh and Maharashtra which ismarked by the Pench River as it meandersfrom north to south through the reserve. During the dry season the river ceases toflow, forming pools which provide theprimary watering holes for Tigers and allother wildlife. On the southern boundary ofthe park the Pench River has been dammedto generate hydro-electricity, and around thebanks of this dam many waterbirds andmammals may be found, amongst themAsiatic Jackal and Nilgai. The terrain isrugged and the region's hills are cloaked inboth southern moist deciduous forest andextensive dry, deciduous forest, dominatedby Teak. Gaur, Wild Boar and CommonLangurs are common here, as are Sambar,Spotted and Barking Deer. With luck wemight also see Dhole, or even a Leopardwhich are generally seen in the peripheralareas of the park where they are able moreeasily to avoid Tigers.Traversing the scenic Vindhya Hills wemove next to Kanha National Park wherewe have yet more opportunities to watchTigers during daily excursions. Kanha TigerReserve encompasses 1,945 squarekilometres and is one of the largestreserves in India. It occupies a beautifullocation on a plateau in the Maikal range ofhills, and comprises a crescent of forestedhills that embraces broad undulatinggrasslands dotted with clumps of bambooand Sal forest; small pools, and a perenniallake, provide essential drinking holes forthe animals. The reserve is famous for itsSwamp Deer - for whose protectionKanha National Park was first established in1955, but since the launch of 'Project Tiger'in the early 1970s, Kanha has been one ofthe Project's key Tiger Reserves and,because its wide meadows are so suited tosuccessful Tiger-viewing, it is one of thebest places in the world in which to searchfor this majestic big cat. Besides Tigers, wecan also hope to observe plenty of Sambar,Spotted and Swamp Deer. We should alsosee Gaur, Wild Boar, Common Langur,Asiatic Jackal and, with luck, Leopard andDhole. The base from which we willundertake twice-daily game drives into thereserve will be the splendid Kanha JungleLodge or Royal Tiger Lodge, close to theMukki Gate, the quieter of the parkentrances. Here we will conclude our 'Tigerholiday' with a 4-night stay - ample time inwhich to see a wealth of wildlife in India's finest Tiger Reserve. For the aficionado, however, we offer anopportunity to extend this holiday with apre-tour visit to the little-known Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, situated in theChandrapur District of Maharashtra just a3-hour drive from Nagpur. The reserve,spanning over 625 square kilometres,incorporates both Tadoba National Park(which became Maharashtra's first nationalpark in 1955) and Andhari WildlifeSanctuary, and became one of India's 28Project Tiger Reserves as recently as 1993.Its hills support a dense tropical drydeciduous forest, largely made up of Teakand bamboo, carved by the Andhari River.As many as 40 Tigers are reputed tosurvive here, plus a great many othermammals such as Leopard, Sloth Bear,Gaur, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat andChousingha (the Four-horned Antelope),not to mention a rich birdlife. Best of all,foreign tourist numbers are negligible dueto the limited options for accommodation.We stay in a simple but pleasing lodge onthe edge of the park. We also offer a post-tour extension to Satpura Tiger Reserve.This is not only the most scenic andpeaceful of all central India's TigerReserves, it is also perhaps the best forSloth Bear, Leopard, Asian Wild Dog, Gaurand Indian Giant Squirrel. We thoroughlyrecommend a visit!India - Tiger Direct!An exciting tour taking you straight into the heart of Tiger country on a 9-day safari that combinesPench and Kanha Tiger Reserves, two of India's finest, plus an optional pre-tour extension to Tadoba National Park and post-tour extension to Satpura National Park.Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2/3Pench Tiger Reserve.Day 4/7Kanha Tiger Reserve.Day 8Kanha, then driveNagpur.Day 9Fly London.Pre-tour TadobaextensionDay 1Depart London.Day 2Nagpur.Day 3/5Tadoba Tiger Reserve.Day 6Drive Pench (join Day 2,above).Post-tour SatpuraextensionDay 8/11Satpura Tiger Reserve.Day 12Fly London, via Bhopal.Day 13Arrive London.Accommodation Comfortable lodges with privatefacilities. Food All included in the price.GradingA. This is a wildlife tour, with littlewalking. Focus Tigers, other mammals and birds.LeaderBunty Mandhayan, SaravanaKumar, Harsha Jayaramiah, IndrajitLatey, Dilip Saini, Chandra Hada,Harish Sharma or Nick Acheson,plus local guides.Single room supplement£350 (extension: £295).Web quick search: IND20 222Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryTIBETNEPALPAKISTANNEW DELHIAGRABHARATPUR BIRD SANCTUARYMUMBAIINDIAKANHATIGER RESERVENAGPURTADOBATIGER RESERVE(EXTENSION)PENCHTIGER RESERVERANTHAMBORETIGER RESERVEBANDHAVGARHTIGER RESERVEBHOPAL(EXTENSION)SATPURATIGER RESERVE(EXTENSION)(EXTENSION)Sun 4th - Mon 12th Nov '12 Cost: £2,095Sun 18th - Mon 26th Nov '12 Cost: £2,095 Sun 23rd - Mon 31st Dec '12 Cost: £2,395Sun 6th - Mon 14th Jan '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 3rd - Mon 11th Feb '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 17th - Mon 25th Feb '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 10th - Mon 18th Mar '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 17th - Mon 25th Mar '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 31st Mar - Mon 8th Apr '13 Cost: £2,295Sun 5th - Mon 13th May '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 3rd - Mon 11th Nov '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 10th - Mon 18th Nov '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 17th - Mon 25th Nov '13 Cost: £2,095Sun 22nd - Mon 30th Dec '13 Cost: £2,395Sambar stagTadoba pre-tour extension available (usually from preceding Wednesday) on all tours Cost: £750Satpura post-tour extension available (usually returningthefollowing Friday) on all toursCost: from £750Tiger