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Jim Corbett was born in Nainital, inIndia's Himalayan foothills, in 1875. Forover 30 years during the first half of the20th century he achieved 'god-like' status inthe hills of Kumaon and neighbouringregions, as he rid these areas of 19 man-eating Tigers and Leopards that betweenthem claimed over 1,200 lives. His modestaccounts of these exploits became best-selling books, but by 1920 he was turningto photography, one of that early breed ofnaturalists to turn from hunter toconservationist, and was duly honouredwhen Corbett National Park was founded in1957 and named in his honour. This tourfocuses on the area of the Himalayanfoothills, either side of India's border withNepal, so loved by Corbett and where hespent every moment of his leave. Today,habitat loss confines much of Corbett'swildlife to the area's national parks andwildlife reserves, but we will nonethelessexperience its wealth and diversity as weexplore the jungles of Corbett National Park,the temperate forests and Himalayanfoothills of Nainital, and the extensivegrasslands and Sal forests of Nepal'sSuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, just to thesouth of the area terrorised by the Thakman-eater a century ago. We begin in India's capital, Delhi, fromwhere we'll make a birdwatching visit toOkhla Barrage, on the Yamuna River, toenjoy a wealth of waterbirds and passerines.We will then take a train north-east to thescenic forested hills and wide river valleys ofCorbett National Park. There we'll be basedfor three nights at Dhikala Forest Rest-house, which offers only basic accommodation but lies at the heart of thepark, perfectly positioned for serious wildlifeobservation! A mouthwatering selection ofsub-Himalayan birds is on offer in Corbett,as well as a wealth of mammals, amongstthem Indian Elephants, Wild Boar, and herdsof deer which are the prey of a healthypopulation of Leopards and Tigers, all ofwhich we will search for on elephant back.We will also look for the rare fish-eatingGharial Crocodiles along Corbett's fast-flowing rivers, where enigmatic Ibisbills andWallcreepers may also be found in winter. Journeying deeper into the Himalayanfoothills, we next explore the hill station ofNainital. Situated at over 2,000 metres, thisregion offers a new selection of birdsincluding representatives of such typicalHimalayan families as laughing-thrushes,forktails and accentors, plus such winteringgems from the north as Red-flankedBluetail. If conditions permit, we will see thesnowbound summits of the westernHimalaya from a ridge above the town, andwe'll spend a day exploring the temperateforests of the Mangoli Valley which extendsdeep into the hills and gives us access to awide range of Himalayan bird species. Next we cross into Nepal for a 4-night stayat our own comfortable tented camp at theedge of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.Suklaphanta covers 305 square kilometresand uniquely protects some of the richestand most extensive grasslands in Asia, aswell as both Sal and riverine forest. Thismixed habitat supports the world's largestpopulation of the nominate race of SwampDeer, as well as an estimated 20 Tigers, 50 Leopards, 20 Asian Elephants and fiveGreat Indian One-horned Rhinoceroses,although these mammals are shy and nothabituated to man's presence due to ablissful absence of tourists and othervisitors in a reserve we can call our own!Golden Jackals, numerous Spotted, Hogand Swamp Deer, and both RhesusMacaques and Terai Langurs are mucheasier to see! ... and perhaps even a Nilgai,Barking Deer, Smooth-coated Otter orMarsh Mugger Crocodile. It is birds, though,that are perhaps the primary highlight here.Nearly 400 species have been recorded inthe reserve, including 50% of Nepal'sglobally threatened species, over half ofwhich are grassland specialists. Amongthem are Bengal Florican, SwampFrancolin, Hodgson's Bushchat, Jerdon'sBabbler, both Bristled and Rufous-rumpedGrassbird, and Finn's Weaver, all of whichhave their strongholds in Nepal within theboundaries of Suklaphanta; while in the Salforests parties of the giant Great SlatyWoodpecker (one of the world's largestwoodpeckers) and White-napedWoodpecker may be found. On our return to Delhi, we will spend afurther night at Corbett, this time at acomfortable hotel outside the park fromwhere we are free to enjoy birdwatchingand wildlife walks. We'll also take a finalgame drive in the Bijrani area of the park,its plentiful forest lakes and ponds amagnet for both birds and mammals.Alternatively you might wish to considerextending your holiday with a visit to thelittle-known Dudhwa National Park and TigerReserve to the south of Suklaphanta.Northern India - Corbett CountryA 14-day holiday to 'Corbett country' in search of the birds and mammals of the jungles of Corbett National Park, the Himalayan foothills and forests at Nainital, and the grasslands and Sal forests of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, plus an optional extension to Dudhwa National Park. Sunday 18th November - Saturday 1st December 2012 Cost: £2,895 Sunday 3rd February - Saturday 16th February 2013 Cost: £2,995 Sunday 3rd March - Saturday 16th March 2013 Cost: £2,995Sunday 17th November - Saturday 30th November 2013 Cost: £2,995 Dudhwa National Park extension available on all tours Cost: £950Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationINDIANEPALTIBETNEW DELHIKATHMANDUCORBETTNAINITALNATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTSUKLAPHANTAWILDLIFE RESERVEDUDHWA NATIONAL PARK(EXTENSION)(EXTENSION)(EXTENSION)Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Okhla Barrage;overnight Delhi.Day 3/5Corbett National Park.Day 6/7Nainital.Day 8/11Suklaphanta WildlifeReserve (Nepal).Day 12Corbett National Park.Day 13Delhi.Day 14Fly London.Dudhwa extensionDay 12/15Dudhwa National Park.Day 16Dudhwa National Park;overnight train to Delhi.Day 17Delhi.Day 18Fly London.AccommodationComfortable tourist hotel; simpleforest rest-house, lodge and tentedcamp elsewhere. All rooms haveprivate facilities, except atSuklaphanta Wildlife Camp wherethey are shared.FoodAll included in the price, except formain meals in Delhi. Allow £20.Grading A. This is a wildlife tour thatincludes no strenuous walking.Focus Birds and mammals.LeaderHem Sagar Baral, BuntyMandhayan or Tika Ram Giri, pluslocal guides. Single room supplement£625 (extension: £350).Web quick search: IND43229SuklaphantaTigerSuklaphanta Wildlife Camp

Beyond the rich tapestries of colour,noise and confusion thatcharacterise the cities andcountryside of the Gangetic plain lies adesolate wilderness of breathtakingbeauty. Scattered amongst the TharDesert's 700,000 square kilometres are avariety of habitats that form a laststronghold for some of India's mostthreatened wildlife. Among the shiftingdunes are rocky outcrops, scrub forestsand, in places, some of the savannahgrasslands that provide the vestige of avanished landscape. Quiet and peaceful,but always colourful, this desert holdsmany surprises. Resplendent Rajputpeoples in their gaudy turbans andscarves; desert citadels, eerie forts andMaharajahs' retreats provide the backdropto our tour.We begin in New Delhi, and enjoy thebirdlife and sights of the city beforetravelling by overnight train to Bikaner,situated on the edge of the Thar Desert.Here we have time to explore this old royalcity before proceeding to Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, where we will stay in the oldpalace of the Maharajah of Bikaner. Thislittle-known, private reserve is the formerhunting ground of the Maharajahs, thequiet seclusion of its lake and acaciawoodlands today offering us finebirdwatching opportunities. In particular,we may hope to observe largecongregations of sandgrouse as theycome to drink at the lake each morningand evening.Our exploration of the Thar, or GreatIndian, Desert now begins in earnest as wetravel next to the magnificent citadel ofJaisalmer. With its intricate stonework,minarets, palaces and proud and colourfulpeople, Jaisalmer is a reminder of theRajput past of the Thar. It is from here thatwe embark on our camel cart safari,travelling between three and four hourseach day, either in a camel cart, or on foot.In all probability, you will enjoy both formsof transport, and our camels will enable usto travel far into the desert to observe itswildlife. Outstanding amongst the birds wewill search for are the Great Indian Bustardand the Houbara Bustard, the latter awinter visitor to the Thar. Sadly, bothspecies are now very rare due to habitatloss and hunting, but we will be unlucky tomiss the former species. Other desertbirdlife we may encounter includesChestnut-bellied and Spotted Sandgrouse,Cream-coloured Courser and theenigmatic Stoliczka's Bushchat. Amongstthe desert mammals we may see are theelegant and shy Chinkara (or IndianGazelle) and Indian Fox, and perhaps eventhe increasingly uncommon Blackbuck,Wolf or Striped Hyena. On completion of our camel cart safari, wewill enjoy the spectacle of the thousands ofDemoiselle Cranes attracted to the villageof Khichan through generations of feedingby the locals, then spend two nights in thebeautiful village of Rohetgarh. Nearby livethe Bishnoi, a unique tribe of practisingnaturalists . and the world's firstenvironmentalists. Continuing on toJodhpur, we visit the Mehrangarh Fort, oneof the largest forts in India, and JaswantThada, a 19th century royal cenotaph built in white marble, before taking the train to Ranthambore. RanthamboreTiger Reserve offers a magnificent settingin which to search for Tigers and otherwildlife. Set in the Aravali Hills, the drydeciduous jungles of the reserve aredominated by the impressive ruins of amassive 11th century fortress, and byMoghul monuments that nestle discreetlyon the shores of small lakes. Until recently,this famous Tiger Reserve held up to 40Tigers. Today, poaching has considerablyreduced this number, but we still have agood chance of encountering thismagnificent animal, plus such othercreatures as Marsh Mugger Crocodile,Spotted and Sambar Deer, Nilgai, Chinkara,Common Langur and perhaps even a SlothBear or Leopard. From Ranthambore we return to Delhi bytrain to complete our tour of the magicaland exotic state of Rajasthan. However, forthose of you wishing to extend your stay,our extension to Agra (to see the Taj Mahaland other fabulous Moghul monuments)and the famous Bharatpur Bird Sanctuaryis thoroughly recommended.RajasthanA 15-day wildlife holiday to Rajasthan's Great Thar Desert, the Rajput cities of Jaisalmerand Jodhpur, and Ranthambore Tiger Reserve; plus an optional extension to Bharatpur, Agra and the Taj Mahal.Sunday 4th November - Sunday 18th November 2012 Cost: £2,850Sunday 3rd February - Sunday 17th February 2013 Cost: £2,950Sunday 3rd November - Sunday 17th November 2013 Cost: £2,950Bharatpur and Agra extension available on all tours Cost: £795Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London. Day 2Delhi; overnight train toBikaner.Day 3/4Gajner Wildlife Reserve.Day 5Jaisalmer.Day 6/7Camel safari throughThar Desert.Day 8/9Rohetgarh (andKhichan). Day 10Jodhpur.Day 11/13Ranthambore TigerReserve. Day 14Delhi.Day 15Fly London.Agra/BharatpurextensionDay 14/17Bharatpur BirdSanctuary.Day 18Agra and Taj Mahal.Day 19Delhi.Day 20Fly London.AccommodationA combination of formerMaharajahs' palaces and forestlodges, all with private facilities,plus two nights of fully servicedcamping in the Thar Desert.FoodAll included in the price, except formain meals in Delhi. Allow £30.Grading During the camel cart safari, thosewho prefer to walk may do so.Otherwise no serious walking!Grade A/B.Focus Birds and mammals.LeaderDilip Saini, Manoj Kulshreshtha orHimanshu Rathore, plus localguides.Single room supplement£495 (extension: £175).Web quick search: IND31230Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryTIBETPAKISTANNEW DELHIAGRABHARATPUR BIRDSANCTUARY(EXTENSION)INDIARANTHAMBORETIGER RESERVEJODHPURROHETGARHJAISALMERBIKANERGAJNERWILDLIFERESERVETHARDESERTGreat Indian BustardBlackbuckDemoiselle Cranes