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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 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

The marshes, forests and Himalayanfoothills of northern India must surelyrepresent most birdwatchers' dreamholiday destination, combining as they dothe mystic appeal of the east with astunningly varied avifauna. The itinerary forthis exciting tour is acknowledged asproviding the classic Indian birdwatchingtour and by concentrating on three maincentres, allows plenty of time to absorbthe range of different species evident witheach change in elevation. The frustrationsof travel in this vast country are also keptto a minimum. Our tour begins in the capital city, Delhi,but even in the densest urban areas ofIndia, birds are rarely absent and thecircling clouds of Black Kites over the cityare an astonishing sight for Europeaneyes. The outskirts of the city offer anexcellent chance to gain an introduction toIndian birdlife and it is easily possible tosee 80 or more species in SultanpurNational Park, where we spend our firstday.Keoladeo Reserve at Bharatpur in Rajasthanis one of the most outstanding wetlandareas in Asia and we will spend four daysexploring this paradise for birds. Here wewill find jheels crowded with huge numbersof wildfowl and waterbirds, savannahinhabited by dry country birds, and patchesof forest frequented by woodpeckers,barbets, minivets and many other woodlandbirds. Turning our attention skywards we willsee clouds of storks, eagles and vulturessoaring on the thermals over the marshesand during our walks we will frequently meetthese raptors, perching tamely in watersidetrees causing endless identificationheadaches. Every corner of this relativelysmall reserve is full of interest and after wehave savoured the initial spectacle of thegeese, ducks, storks and herons that crowdthe wetlands, we can devote time to lookingfor wintering flycatchers and northern visitorssuch as Olive-backed Pipit, SiberianRubythroat and Dusky Warbler. ElsewhereDusky Horned Owls peer down from bulkystick nests, Painted Snipe bob at the edgesof swampy pools and nightjars perchmotionless in their day-time roosts. Althoughwe may find nearly 200 bird species duringour stay, not all the attractions areornithological and other Bharatpur residentsinclude huge Rock Pythons, Nilgai, SpottedDeer, Sambar, Smooth Otters and even therare Fishing Cat. After pausing for a day to admire theMoghul splendours of the Red Fort and TajMahal at Agra, we travel north toUnchagaon then into the forested hills andwide river valleys of the Corbett NationalPark which was named after the famoushunter-turned-conservationist, Jim Corbett.Indian Elephants, Wild Boar and herds ofdeer browse the vegetation in thissuperbly scenic reserve, the latterproviding prey for a healthy population ofLeopards and Tigers. We will search onelephant back for these elusive predators,although the abundance of ground coverprovides plenty of hiding places toconceal somnolent big cats during thedaylight hours and sightings are always abonus. Easier to find are the rare fish-eating Gharial Crocodiles which occuralong the fast-flowing Corbett rivers,sharing this habitat with Blue Whistling-Thrushes, Plumbeous Redstarts andWhite-capped River Chats. MysteriousIbisbills descend from the highermountains to spend the winter months onsome of these rivers and Wallcreepers areoften to be seen probing for insects in thecrevices of riverside boulders. We divideour time at Corbett betweenaccommodation in the heart of the reserveand a comfortable hotel just outside theboundary, where we are free of theprohibition on walking that applies inside the reserve and can more easily enjoy thesuperlative birdwatching.Our final destination takes us deeper intothe Himalayan foothills to spend fournights at the hill resort of Nainital. Theincrease in elevation to over 2,000 metreswill bring a new selection of birds,including representatives of such typicalHimalayan families as laughing-thrushes,forktails and accentors, plus winteringgems from the north like the Red-flankedBluetails, which can often be found in ourhotel garden. If conditions permit, the icypeaks of the western Himalayanmountains may be observed from a ridgeabove the resort, evidence of our proximityto this most impressive of mountainranges which exert such influence on theavifauna of the region.At the end of our stay in this most idyllicof locations we return to Delhi but, beforereaching the capital, we have one lastnatural history treat as the road crossesover the sacred River Ganges and we maybe rewarded by views of the rare GangeticDolphin in the waters below the bridge. Afine conclusion to a tour which provides astaggering variety of birdwatching andnatural history encounters.Northern India & the Himalayan FoothillsA 17-day classic birdwatching and wildlife holiday visiting Bharatpur and the Himalayan foothills of northern India.Friday 9th November - Sunday 25th November 2012 Cost: £2,795Friday 11th January - Sunday 27th January 2013 Cost: £2,895Friday 8th February - Sunday 24th February 2013 Cost: £2,895Friday 8th November - Sunday 24th November 2013 Cost: £2,895Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTIBETNEPALPAKISTANNEW DELHINAINITALAGRAUNCHAGAONUTTARPRADESHBHARATPURCORBETT NATIONAL PARK KOLKATABAY OFBENGALINDIARAJASTHANTHE HIMALAYA YAMUNA RIVERRIVER GANGES Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Delhi.Day 2Delhi.Day 3/6Bharatpur.Day 7Agra; drive Unchagaon.Day 8/11Corbett.Day 12/15Nainital.Day 16Delhi.Day 17Fly London.AccommodationA mixture of comfortable hotels andsimple tourist lodges, most withprivate facilities.FoodAll included in the tour cost, exceptfor main meals in Delhi. Allow £30.GradingA/B. Birdwatching walks of moderate length.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderHarish Sharma, Bunty Mandhayan,Manoj Sharma or Nick Acheson,plus local guides.Single room supplement£595.Web quick search: IND29223Indian SkimmersTaj MahalOriental Darter