Our aim on this tour of Nepal is tointroduce you to three very differentHimalayan habitats and theirwonderfully varied wildlife, whilst allowingyou to enjoy the considerable comfortafforded by one of the country's besthotels, lodges and luxury tented camps.Above all, you will be guided, from start tofinish, by one of the country's leadingEnglish-speaking naturalists. It is a deluxeholiday, with no holds barred, and onewhich offers you the maximum of flexibilityboth in terms of departure dates and theopportunity to extend your tour with a visitto one or more of Nepal's other finewildlife reserves, or indeed to trek orextend your sightseeing opportunities inKathmandu.The holiday begins with a 2-night stay inone of Nepal's premier, and best-loved,hotels - the Yak and Yeti. Site of a formerpalace, the Yak and Yeti's pleasantgrounds quickly introduce you to some ofthe commoner birds of the KathmanduValley, amongst them Magpie Robins,Common Mynas, Red-vented Bulbuls andIndian House Crows. Your time in the capital allows ampleopportunity to unwind and enjoy a little sightseeing amongst the old pagoda-styletemples, palaces and Durbar squares ofKathmandu and its sister cities of Patanand Bhaktapur. The latter is a particularlyundeveloped cultural delight, offering thatmedieval flavour once experienced inKathmandu itself before the capital wasbestowed with the trappings of thedeveloping world. Alternatively, you mightprefer to head up into the hills that envelopthe valley, in search of the rich andcolourful bird and animal-life to be foundin the lush temperate forests of oak andrhododendron. It is from here that thesplendours of the snowbound GreatHimalaya begin to reveal themselves.Better views, however, and the truemagnificence of this mighty mountain rangereally become apparent on reaching yournext destination, Tiger Mountain PokharaLodge. This highly acclaimed lodge sitsatop a high ridge above the Pokhara Valley,enjoying spectacular panoramic views ofMachhapuchare (the Fish Tail Mountain)and no fewer than three of the world's8,000-metre peaks: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Iand Manaslu! Each of the lodge's spaciousrooms has a private verandah and gardenfrom which to soak in these fine views, andnearby lie the hill forests and lakes whichyou will be able to explore on foot from thelodge, in search of a wealth of hill birds andsome mammals. Exquisite red and yellowminivets are bound to attract your attention,together with a wide selection of warblers,flycatchers, woodpeckers, laughing-thrushes, yuhinas, sunbirds, flowerpeckersand rosefinches.From Pokhara you will next descend intothe lowlands, to the Chitwan National Park.En route you will pass through the scenicterraced hills where the bulk of thecountry's population live in quaint hillsidevillages, and drive along the great Trisuliand Narayani Rivers. You may choose tostop to look for such riverside birds asPlumbeous and White-capped WaterRedstarts, Blue Whistling Thrush and Brown Dipper, or to enjoy some waysidephotography.The Chitwan National Park is a WorldHeritage Site and Nepal's best-knownwildlife reserve. Its finest accommodationis Tiger Tops, where you will be based forthree nights in a deluxe tented campsituated in the very best part of thenational park. From this magnificent junglebase you will be able to fully exploreChitwan's varied habitats. You may chooseto enjoy the grasslands on early morningor evening elephant rides, which give youperhaps your best chances of a Tigersighting. You may take guided forest walksin search of an abundant birdlife (over 480species having been recorded in the park)and such smaller mammals as Wild Boar,Sambar, Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer,and Rhesus and Common LangurMonkeys; and you may find a variedselection of wetland birds, and perhapseven the endangered Gharial Crocodile,on the Rapti River. Indeed there will beplenty of time to enjoy the 932 squarekilometres of dry deciduous forest, tropicalevergreen forest and riverine grasslands ofChitwan National Park. Amongst thewildlife highlights that you may expect willundoubtedly be encounters with the IndianRhinoceros, thriving now following nearextinction at the turn of the century, whilsta sighting of Leopard, Gaur (themagnificent Asian bison) or Sloth Bear isalways possible. A final night in Kathmandu's Yak and YetiHotel may come all too soon but theopportunity to extend your holiday shouldnot be missed if you are to delay yourinevitable return one day to this magicalmountain kingdom!Splendours of NepalA deluxe 10-day wildlife holiday to the mountains, jungles and Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, making the most of the luxury accommodation that now serves these magnificent but contrasting Himalayan habitats.Departs daily Cost (January to June): £3,095Departs daily Cost (9th - 31st December): £3,695Departs daily Cost (September to 8th December): £3,195Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: £795Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2/3Yak and Yeti Hotel,Kathmandu.Day 4/5Tiger Mountain PokharaLodge, Annapurnafoothills.Day 6/8Tiger Tops Tented Camp,Chitwan National Park.Day 9Yak and Yeti Hotel,Kathmandu.Day 10Fly London.Koshi extension Day 9/12Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve. Day 13 Fly Kathmandu. Day 14Fly London. AccommodationNepal's finest lodges, hotels andluxury tented camps; all with privatefacilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Kathmandu.Allow £35.GradingA selection of wildlife walks, riverjourneys, and jeep and elephantrides of your choice. Grade A. FocusBirds, mammals, general naturalhistory and Nepalese culture, andscenery.LeaderTika Ram Giri, Shambhu Ghimire,Hem Sagar Baral, Suchit Basnet orHathan Choudhary, plus localguides.Single room supplement£615 (extension: £95).ExtensionsMany optional extensions areavailable, and we would particularlyrecommend extra days in KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve. Please callfor our help and suggestions.Web quick search: NPL08248Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryTIBETTIBETINDIAINDIAINDIA POKHARACHITWANNATIONAL PARKKATHMANDULANGTANGNATIONALPARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREALUKLANEPALSAGARMATHA (EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI CAMPBIRATNAGARPHULCHOWKIKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEDHAULAGIRIANNAPURNA IAnnapurna Himal from Tiger Mountain Pokhara LodgeBrown Fish OwlIndian One-horned Rhinoceros
Nepal is not to be missed. It is one ofthe most spectacular countries onearth, inhabited by the most friendlyand endearing people, and boasts anincredible 840 species of birds within aland-locked area only the size of Englandand Wales! This holiday is designed tointroduce you to the finest birdwatchingareas of this Himalayan kingdom, at asensible cost. We should see in the regionof 300 bird species, together with a goodselection of larger mammals, birdwatchingat altitudes up to 2,740 metres in theKathmandu Valley, and down to nearly sealevel in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.We will begin our holiday in Kathmandu,Nepal's fascinating capital that combinesmedieval and modern in unique fashion.Our three nights here will allow us to enjoysome of the valley's cultural andarchitectural highlights. Beautifulpagoda-style Hindu temples, Buddhiststupas (shrines), and elaborate royalpalaces punctuate Kathmandu, andprovide homes for the Barn Owls that maybe seen floating over the city at dusk,together with Night Herons and scores ofghostly Indian Flying Foxes. We may alsohave time to look for the many wetlandbirds that crowd the rivers and paddyfieldsthat surround the city, whilst overhead it ishard to miss the Black Kites and SteppeEagles that wheel above the valley.It is Phulchowki mountain, however, thatwill be the focus of our attention during ourtime in Kathmandu. Driving as close to itssummit as conditions allow, we will enjoyour first views of the magnificent snow-clad Himalaya. From here we will spend afull day descending from Phulchowki's2,740-metre crown, where frost and snowcling to a temperate forest of spruce, fir,oak and rhododendron, to the subtropicalforest around the mountain's base at1,520 metres. The birdlife on this forestedmountain is the richest in the valley, noone visit producing the same long list ofbird species. Here we will undoubtedlyenjoy our first Himalayan woodpeckers,minivets, warblers, flycatchers, laughing-thrushes, yuhinas, sunbirds, flowerpeckers,rosefinches, and possibly some of themountain's more unusual species such asGrey-sided Laughing-thrush, NepalParrotbill and Cutia.The long drive from Kathmandu to ChitwanNational Park, along the Trisuli andNarayani Rivers, is not only very scenic butmay allow us to catch roadside views ofBrown Dipper and Himalayan PiedKingfisher. The Chitwan National Park is aWorld Heritage Site that protects 932square kilometres of dry deciduous forest,tropical evergreen forest and riverinegrasslands. A larger number of birdspecies (over 480) has been recorded herethan in any other part of Nepal due toChitwan's diverse habitats and tropicallowland situation. We can expect to see athird of these during our 3-night stay. Thepark holds a similar wealth of mammals,including the endangered IndianRhinoceros, Wild Boar, Sambar, Muntjac,Spotted and Hog Deer, and Rhesus andCommon Langur Monkeys. Tigers,Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gaur (theAsiatic bison) may also occasionally beseen, as well as the Marsh Mugger andfish-eating Gharial Crocodiles. We willexplore the park on foot, on elephant back,in canoes and by jeep.The long drive eastwards, across Nepal's 'terai' (lowlands), that precedes our 3-night stay at Koshi Tappu will give us a further taste of the birds of Nepal'sextensive dry deciduous forests. RedJungle Fowl, Black-headed Orioles andperhaps even the rare White-rumpedNeedletail Swift are likely to be seen; whilst, on the Rapti River, we have achance of locating Ibisbills and Long-billed Plovers.Koshi Camp, our comfortable tented camp, is situated in an otherwise isolatedarea on the edge of Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve, part of a vast expanse of openwater, marshes, lagoons, sandbanks,mudflats and dry woodlands that lie to thenorth of the great Koshi barrage. This isone of Asia's finest wetlands and afabulous birdwatching area. Almost all ofNepal's long list of wildfowl, waders,storks, ibises, herons, egrets, terns andgulls occur here, plus a great variety oflandbirds, especially warblers and birds ofprey. Well in excess of 100 species of birdsmay be seen daily in this wonderful area,including such local specialities as SwampFrancolin, Red-necked Falcon and StriatedMarsh Warbler. This region is also the lastrefuge of the Wild Water Buffalo in Nepal,and other mammals occurring here includeLeopard, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, AsiaticJackal, Spotted Deer, Nilgai (or 'Blue Bull'- the subcontinent's largest antelope),and the rare Ganges River Dolphin. We will explore the area on foot and ininflatable boats.With our introduction to Nepal's birdsbehind us, we will now leave Koshi Tappuand drive to Biratnagar, a town on theIndian border in the far south-east of thecountry. Here we must reluctantly board aflight back to Kathmandu, carrying with uslasting memories of this bird-rich mountainkingdom, as we fly past the Himalayangiants-Mounts Everest, Lhotse,Kanchenjunga and Makalu.Nepal - A Birdwatching TourAn 11-day birdwatching tour of Chitwan National Park, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, and the forested hills of the Kathmandu Valley - Nepal's top three sites!Sunday 16th December - Wednesday 26th December 2012 Cost: £2,595Sunday 13th January - Wednesday 23rd January 2013 Cost: £2,095Sunday 10th February - Wednesday 20th February 2013 Cost: £2,095 Sunday 10th March - Wednesday 20th March 2013 Cost: £2,095 Sunday 31st March - Wednesday 10th April 2013 (Easter departure) Cost: £2,295 Sunday 10th November - Wednesday 20th November 2013 Cost: £2,195Sunday 15th December - Wednesday 25th December 2013 Cost: £2,595Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: from £850 Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationPHULCHOWKITIBETINDIANEPALINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRICHITWANNATIONAL PARKLANGTANGNATIONALPARKSAGARMATHA(EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREAJUMLADHANGADHISUKLAPHANTAWILDLIFE RESERVE(EXTENSION)LAKE RARANATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUBIRATNAGARKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFE RESERVEKOSHI CAMPANNAPURNA IKATHMANDUOutline itinerary Day 1Depart London. Day 2 Kathmandu. Day 3/5Chitwan National Park. Day 6/8Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve. Day 9/10Kathmandu. Day 11Fly London.Suklaphanta extension Day 11Fly Suklaphanta WildlifeReserve. Day 12/14 Suklaphanta WildlifeReserve. Day 15Fly Kathmandu.Day 16Fly London. AccommodationSimple but comfortable hotel andjungle lodge, with private facilities;a comfortable tented camp withshared facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except fordinners in Kathmandu. Allow £35.GradingA. A birdwatching tour basedaround easy walks.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderHem Sagar Baral, ShambhuGhimire, Suchit Basnet, Tika RamGiri or Hathan Choudhary, pluslocal guides.Single room supplement£245 (extension: £95).ExtensionsMany optional extensions areavailable. Please call for our helpand suggestions.Web quick search: NPL04 249The Himalaya from the Kathmandu ValleyIbisbillSpecial Mammal Departure3rd - 13th FebruaryFocus on mammals rather than birds (seepage 25).