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In this vast and varied country, wheretravel by any means is at besttime-consuming, it is all too easy to spendtoo little time in one place. This holiday isdesigned specifically to allow ample time forthe appreciation of the outstanding wildlifeof Kanha, one of India's finest and mostremote Tiger Reserves. We have chosen totravel mostly in March and April because,whilst it will be hotter than the winter, thereduced water holes, shorter grass, andfallen leaves resulting from the dry Indianwinter, provide the very best Tiger andmammal-watching conditions. Departures atother times of the year offer cooler weatherthough sometimes fewer Tigers.Kanha lies in Madhya Pradesh, in the verycentre of India. Here, in the days of theBritish Raj, endless hill forests, broken onlyby golden grasslands and well wateredvalleys, teemed with the subcontinent'slargest concentrations of game. Today,sadly, they have all but disappeared, exceptwithin Kanha's 1,945 square kilometres,where the abundance of wild animals is asclose a match to the spectacles of the eastAfrican plains as India can provide.This beautiful reserve is situated on aplateau in the Maikal Range, andincorporates a crescent of hills, rising to 915metres, that embraces broad, undulatinggrasslands speckled with clumps ofbamboo and Sal. Mixed deciduous forestcloaks the hills and borders the meadows.Small pools, and a perennial lake, providedrinking holes for the animals year-round.The reserve is famous for its Swamp Deer-the only population of the hard-ground racein existence-for whose protection KanhaNational Park was first established in 1955. Once, these deer roamed central India inherds of many thousands. Today there areonly 300 left, though this represents a goodrecovery since 1970 when just 70 individuals remained. However, since the launch of theinitially successful Project Tiger in the early'70s, Kanha has been one of the Project'skey Tiger Reserves and, because its widemeadows are so suited to successful Tiger-viewing, it has become one of the bestplaces in the world in which to search forthis king of beasts. In fact, continuedpoaching has made this elusive mammalharder than ever to see. However, it is theconsolation of excellent all-roundmammal-viewing that makes this tour so worthwhile. If the Tigers prove difficult to see, you canbe assured of a host of other mammals thatshould include plenty of Sambar, Spottedand Swamp Deer and Common Langurs.We should also see Gaur (the huge Asiaticbison), Wild Boar, Asiatic Jackal, and withluck, Leopard and Dhole (the Indian wilddog). Sloth Bear and two of India's lowlandantelopes -Chousingha and the beautifulBlackbuck - also occur and may be seenwith patience and good fortune. Birds, too,will be amongst the attractions of this tour.We should see a good selection of birds ofprey, including vultures, Black-shoulderedKite, Crested Serpent Eagle and White-eyedBuzzard. Open country birds, such asPainted Francolin, Indian Roller, Yellow-andRed-wattled Lapwings, and a variety of larksare common, whilst, in the forests, MalabarPied Hornbill, Black-headed Oriole, and aselection of flycatchers, babblers anddrongos may be found.We begin this holiday with an overnight flightto Delhi, and will have a full day and night atleisure in the capital, prior to the longoverland journey to Kanha, which is one ofthe country's most remote reserves, beingsituated in the very heart of rural India, along way from any of the great cities. Firstwe will travel by air-conditioned sleeper onthe overnight 'express' train to Jabalpur;from there we will drive by minibus to ourcomfortable forest lodge, situated on theedge of the reserve.During our week at Kanha, we will explorethe reserve fully by means of early morning,and evening, jeep drives and elephant rides.By being in the reserve at the beginning andend of each day, when both mammals andbirds are most active, we will maximise ourchances of exciting sightings! Ourbirdwatching walks must take place outsidethe reserve, as walking is not permittedinside India's Tiger Reserves, but shouldnonetheless be most rewarding.On our return from Kanha to Delhi, we willbreak the journey for a full day in Agra; anopportunity to visit the Taj Mahal and AgraFort before our return to London. We alsooffer a 4-day extension to the Chambal River(for Ganges River Dolphins) and BharatpurBird Sanctuary, one of the finest birdingspots in the world, for those of you whocannot resist the opportunity! Alternatively,you might choose to visit the beautifulRanthambore Tiger Reserve instead.Just Tigers!A 13-day appreciation of the birds and mammals of Kanha, India's most rewarding Tiger Reserve, with an optional extension to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.Bharatpur or Ranthambore extension available on all tours Cost: from £750Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTIBET NEPAL PAKISTAN NEW DELHI BHARATPUR BIRD AGRA SANCTUARY (EXTENSION) KOLKATABAY OF BENGAL INDIA KANHA TIGER RESERVE JABALPUR RANTHAMBORE TIGER RESERVE (EXTENSION) Outline itinerary Day 1Depart London. Day 2Delhi.Day 3Full day in Delhi;overnight train toJabalpur. Day 4/10Kanha Tiger Reserve. Day 11Final morning at Kanha;overnight train to Agra. Day 12Full day's sightseeing inAgra; then drive to Delhi. Day 13Return London.N.B. 18th January and 15th Marchdepartures include an internal flightand night's accommodation in Agraon Day 11, instead of overnighttrain.Bharatpur/Ranthambore extension Day 12Evening transfer fromAgra to Bharatpur. Day 13/15Bharatpur/Ranthambore. Day 16Delhi. Day 17Return London.AccommodationA tourist hotel in Delhi; simple butcomfortable forest lodgeselsewhere, all with private facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except formain meals required in Delhi. Allow£30.GradingA. This is a wildlife tour with littlewalking.FocusTigers, other mammals, and birds.LeaderNick Acheson, Harish Sharma,Chandra Hada, Himanshu Rathore,Bunty Mandhayan, HarshaJayaramiah, Indrajit Latey, SaravanaKumar or Dilip Saini, plus localguide.Single room supplement£295 (extension: £150).Web quick search: IND26225Fri 9th - Wed 21st Nov '12 Cost: £2,395Fri 14th - Wed 26th Dec '12 Cost: £2,695Fri 18th - Wed 30th Jan '13 Cost: £2,695Fri 8th - Wed 20th Feb '13 Cost: £2,495Fri 8th - Wed 20th Mar '13 Cost: £2,495Fri 15th - Wed 27th Mar '13 Cost: £2,695Fri 22nd Mar - Wed 3rd Apr '13 Cost: £2,495 Fri 5th - Wed 17th Apr '13 Cost: £2,495Fri 18th - Wed 30th Oct '13 Cost: £2,495 Fri 8th - Wed 20th Nov '13 Cost: £2,495Fri 20th Dec '13 - Wed 1st Jan '14 Cost: £2,695KanhaRoyal Bengal Tiger

For Asia enthusiasts the north-eastern hillstates of India have always held a veryspecial attraction. Adjoining the westernreaches of that spur of Malayan rainforestwhich extends right up into Burma, the hills ofArunachal Pradesh support a unique blend ofHimalayan, Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Burmesespecies. Rivers from these hills feed themighty Brahmaputra, and the swampygrasslands through which they meander inthe state of Assam harbour the laststrongholds in India of One-hornedRhinoceros, Water Buffalo, Greater AdjutantStork and Spot-billed Pelican. For so longWestern naturalists could only imagine thewildlife riches of this region through thewritings of early explorers or the enthusiasticaccounts of Indian friends. However, nolonger. The opening of Assam, and finally in1996 of Arunachal Pradesh, means that wetoo may now make the pilgrimage to two ofIndia's most exciting national parks:Namdapha and Kaziranga.By focusing on these two parks we can offer a tour to suit all interests. Birdwatcherswill have plenty of time to find Namdapha'smany specialities and to enjoy the wealth ofwetland and grassland birds at Kaziranga.Mammal enthusiasts may choose in-depthobservation of Kaziranga's big game andNamdapha's primates. Photographers will welcome the slow pace and abundant wildlife in unspoilt naturallandscapes, a combination which alsomakes this an ideal tour for first-timers to the Indian subcontinent.This is a pioneering tour in the sense that weare travelling to remote areas with a limitedtourist infrastructure. The roads are poorlymaintained, hotels and rest-houses arebasic, and tour buses and jeeps rather old.On the plus side, walking, which is strictlyrestricted in most Indian Tiger Reserves, isencouraged in Namdapha and permitted inparts of Kaziranga. This means that we cantruly immerse ourselves in the exceptionalwildlife-viewing opportunities on offer duringthis tour! Our holiday begins in Kolkata from where wefly to Dibrugarh, one of the oldest towns inthe state of Assam. The following day we willtravel to Namdapha National Park inArunachal Pradesh. Covering 1,985 squarekilometres and ranging in altitude from 200to 4,500 metres above sea level, Namdaphahas a great variety of forest habitats and isthe only reserve to provide sanctuary to all ofAsia's four great cats: Tiger, Leopard,Clouded Leopard and Snow Leopard. We will base ourselves at Camp Namdapha,situated in the most picturesque of settingson the confluence of the Deban and Noa-Dihing Rivers. The compound andsurrounding forest are excellent forwoodpeckers, thrushes, robins, andlaughing-thrushes and Hoolock Gibbons singfrom the hillside. During our stay we willexplore the park's varied network of trails.One highlight will be our walk up to MotiJheel where there is an unusual area ofswamp forest with - clouds permitting -stunning views across to the snow-cladmountains of the Great Himalaya. Botanistsamongst the party will be in their elementhere, and indeed throughout the holiday forNamdapha harbours an estimated 3,000vascular plant species with many endemicsand curiosities.Another highlight will be the gentle 1-daytrek, following a trail that passes throughpristine lowland rainforest to the beautifulforest campsite of Hornbill, where we willstay for three nights. If the sun is out thismust rate among the best birding walks inAsia. We will encounter mixed flockscontaining barwings, parrotbills, scimitar-babblers, sibias and Sultan Tits; we will seegroups of Long-tailed Broadbills, flocks ofWreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbills, andpeacock-pheasants . all adding up to anunforgettable birding experience! The walkalso provides an excellent opportunity toobserve Hoolock Gibbons, Capped Langursand the metre-long Malayan Giant Squirrels.Namdapha is notable too for birds of preyand river birds, in particular the ease of finding such specialities as White-tailed SeaEagle, Wallace's Hawk-eagle, Pied Falconet,Ibisbill and Blyth's Kingfisher.Our next destination is Dibru SaikhowaWildlife Sanctuary, where we will stay for anight to enjoy the special birdlife in this littleknown, but rewarding reserve. A drive fromDibru Saikhowa will bring us to the southernedge of Kaziranga, where we stay for amagical three nights at the comfortable, andevocatively named Wild Grass Lodge,undertaking daily excursions into the nationalpark.The park consists of a 430 square kilometretract of low-lying grassland sprinkled withshallow lakes and woodlands; day-timetemperatures are hot, our lodgecomparatively luxurious, and excursions areby jeep and elephant. Kaziranga is famousfor its 1,000-strong population of Indian One-horned Rhinoceros and wild Water Buffalo,but the reserve rivals Bharatpur for wetlandbirds and supports localised andendangered grassland species such asSwamp Partridge and Bengal Florican.Kaziranga is divided into three ranges, eachwith its own character and highlights. Thepopular central range supports higherdensities of rhino, elephant and WaterBuffalo, but it is the eastern range whichoffers some of the most exciting and variedwildlife-watching in Kaziranga. At Soholabheel we should see Greater Adjutant Stork,Pallas' and Grey-headed Fishing Eagle and agreat variety of waterfowl. Otters arefrequently seen on a nearby river, and thewoodlands harbour woodpeckers, FairyBluebirds, flocks of Spot-winged Stares,warblers and much more. It is in this less-visited region of the park that we have thebest chance of perhaps starting our trip on ahigh note with views of Tiger or Sun Bear. At the end of this fascinating visit we return to Kolkata for an onward connectionto London.Arunachal Pradesh & AssamA pioneering 16-day bird and mammal-watching expedition into the little-known rainforestsand mountains of the remotest Indian state, plus a visit to Assam's best wildlife reserve.Sunday 20th January - Monday 4th February Cost: £3,295Sunderbans extension: to Friday 8th February Cost: £695Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Kolkata.Day 3Dibrugarh.Day 4/9Namdapha NationalPark.Day 10Dibru Saikhowa WildlifeSanctuary.Day 11/13Kaziranga National Park.Day 14Kolkata.Day 15Depart Kolkata.Day 16Arrive London.Sunderbans extensionDay 15Kolkata; transfer toSunderbans NationalPark. Day 16/18Sunderbans NationalPark. Day 19Kolkata. Day 20Fly London. AccommodationBasic lodge (or tents) at DibruSaikhowa and Namdapha; simplebut comfortable tourist lodge atDibrugarh and Kaziranga. Mostaccommodation with privatefacilities.FoodAll included in the price, except formeals required in transit at Kolkataor Dibrugarh. Allow £40.GradingA/B. Mostly gentle birdwatchingwalks but a couple of longer walksincluded.FocusBirds and mammals, plus elementsof the area's culture. LeaderManoj Sharma or Sujan Chatterjee,plus local guides.Single room supplement£625 (not available in NamdaphaNational Park and Dibru Saikhowa);extension: £275.Web quick search: IND01226Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryBURMATIBETSIKKIMNAMDAPHANATIONAL PARKBANGLADESHKOLKATASUNDERBANSNATIONAL PARK(EXTENSION)MEGHALAYABHUTANGUWAHATIMIZORAMMANIPURASSAMDIBRUGARHJORHATDIBRU SAIKHOWA WILDLIFE SANCTUARYNAGALANDKAZIRANGANATIONALPARKARUN ACHALPRADESHKaziranga National ParkGreater Adjutant StorkWild Water Buffalo