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250Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryIn the remote far west of Nepal, in thelowlands close to the Indian border,Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is not onlyvery different from any other reserve in thecountry but also very special. Recentlyexpanded, it now covers 305 squarekilometres and protects some of therichest and most extensive grasslands inAsia, as well as both Sal and riverineforest. This mixed habitat supports anestimated 20 Tigers, one of the highestdensities in the world today, although thisparticular population is shy and nothabituated to man's presence as in thepopular Indian reserves where touristsabound! The reserve also offers a densityof other mammals, particularly of deerspecies, that is hard to match elsewhere inthe subcontinent, and certainly in Nepal.The world's largest population of thenominate race of Swamp Deer occurs hereand, until recently, Suklaphanta boastedAsia's largest bull elephant, 'Tula Hatti'.Birds, though, are perhaps the primaryhighlight here. Nearly 400 species havebeen recorded in the reserve, including50% of Nepal's globally threatenedspecies, over half of which are truegrassland specialists. Among them areBengal Florican, Hodgson's Bushchat,Jerdon's Babbler and Finn's Weaver, all ofwhich have their strongholds in Nepalwithin the boundaries of Suklaphanta.Although we begin with a visit toKathmandu and a day spent amongst themagnificent bird-filled temperate forests ofPhulchowki mountain, this new tour focusesmainly on Suklaphanta (where we spend sixnights) and its very rich wildlife, giving usour best shot of seeing as many of itsspecialities as possible. For so long 'off themap' due to the lack of any touristaccommodation servicing the reserve, wehave put this to rights by opening our owncomfortable tented camp, situated on thevery edge of the reserve close to the parkheadquarters. For those of you who havepreviously visited Nepal with Naturetrek,and stayed at Koshi Camp, our tentedcamp on the edge of Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve, you may expect a similar level ofcomfort and service. Our extensive exploration of Suklaphanta willbe carried out primarily by means of jeepsafaris, but we are also able to explore thepark on foot (something that is not generallypermitted in Indian national parks, but is oneof the many attractions of Nepal's reserves).The reserve, unusually, is also blessed withmany tall watchtowers, overlooking bothgrasslands and forest lakes and swamps,from which we will spend much time simplyobserving what passes by. Suklaphanta is reached by Buddha Air'sexcellent domestic service betweenKathmandu and Dhangadhi, just 90minutes from the reserve - a flight thatprovides unique and sensational views ofthe central and western Himalaya. Theinternational border between Nepal andIndia demarcates both the reserve'swestern and southern boundaries, beyondwhich lies the Luggabugga FloricanReserve in India. Between the reserve'sSal and riverine forests span the largestphantas(grasslands) in Nepal and theseare of international importance on accountof the unique selection of threatened birdsand other wildlife that they hold. Four smalllakes - Rani Tal, Salghaudi Tal, KalikitchTal and Shikari Tal - add significantly tothe reserve's biodiversity.Of the mammal species recorded here, wehave a moderate chance of encountering aTiger, though it is Golden Jackals,numerous Swamp, Spotted and Hog Deer,and both Rhesus Macaques and TeraiLangurs that we will see most of. We mayalso see Nilgai, Barking Deer or Smooth-coated Otter, and there is always a chanceof encountering one of the 50 Leopards, 20Asian Elephants and five Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceroses found in the reserve.Suklaphanta has a healthy population ofMarsh Mugger Crocodiles, while a nightdrive (if permitted) would give us a chanceof seeing the little-known Hispid Hare.However, it is the unrivalled selection of raregrassland birds that will attract our specialattention, Bengal Florican (best seendisplaying in summer), Swamp Francolin,Great Slaty Woodpecker (one of the largestof the world's woodpeckers), White-napedWoodpecker, Finn's Weaver, and bothBristled and Rufous-rumped Grassbirdsbeing among the resident specialities, whilstHodgson's Bushchat occur in winter. Thepark also supports a particularly wide rangeof other woodpeckers, warblers and bushwarblers, and such rarities as Jerdon'sBabbler and Jerdon's Bushchat. Whether you have been to Nepal manytimes before, or whether you are on your firstvisit, you will find this to be a fascinatingholiday to a unique and rich wildlife reservewhere we can almost guarantee that you willsee no other tourists! Indeed we are likely tohave the luxury of having the reserve entirelyto ourselves!Wildlife & Grassland Birds of West NepalA 12-day tour focusing on the unique selection of birds and mammals found in the grasslandsand forests of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and the forested hills of the Kathmandu Valley. Thursday 15th November - Monday 26th November 2012 Cost: £2,295Thursday 17th January - Monday 28th January 2013 Cost: £2,295Thursday 14th February - Monday 25th February 2013 Cost: £2,295Thursday 2nd May - Monday 13th May 2013 Cost: £2,295Thursday 14th November - Monday 25th November 2013 Cost: £2,295Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: £795Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2/3Kathmandu andPhulchowki.Day 4/10Suklaphanta WildlifeReserve.Day 11Kathmandu.Day 12Fly London.Koshi extension Day 12Fly Koshi Tappu. Day 13/15 Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve. Day 16Fly Kathmandu.Day 17Fly London. Accommodation Simple but comfortable hotel inKathmandu, with private facilities.Comfortable tented camp withshared facilities in Suklaphanta.Food Included in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Kathmandu.Allow £35.Grading A. A birdwatching and wildlife tourbased around jeep safaris and easywalks.Focus Birds and mammals.Leader Hem Sagar Baral, ShambhuGhimire or Tika Ram Giri, plus localguides. Single room/tentsupplement £195 (extension: £95).Extensions Optional extensions may also bearranged to destinations such asChitwan, Bardia and Pokhara.Web quick search: NPL10TIBETINDIAPOKHARANEPALINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRICHITWANNATIONAL PARKLANGTANGNATIONAL PARKSAGARMATHA(EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREABARDIANATIONAL PARKSURKHETJUMLADHANGADHISUKLAPHANTAWILDLIFE RESERVELAKE RARANATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUBIRATNAGARKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEKOSHI CAMPNEPALGANJANNAPURNA IKATHMANDUSuklaphanta Wildlife ReserveAsian ElephantGreat Eggfly

On this holiday we will make a mostthorough tour of Nepal's finestlowland habitats, therebymaximising our chances of seeing manyspecies from the country's long list of 840birds and 164 mammals. In February,numbers of wintering wetland birds are attheir peak, as are wintering passerinesfrom Siberia and the high Himalayanbreeders down for the winter. Themammals, too, descend; not only toescape the winter cold, but moreimportantly to take advantage of the newgrowth of grass, the result of the annualJanuary cut-the only time when localpeople are allowed into the parks to cutthe grass and burn the stubble. We shouldtherefore have a rewarding time as wemove from park to park across Nepal'swell-forested lowlands, enjoying a pleasantclimate as well as splendid views of thefoothills and high peaks of the Himalaya,which are often visible from the lowlands.The weather and views are better still inNovember, but the numbers of birds andmammals to see, whilst good, are perhapsnot quite at their peak.We begin our holiday at higher altitudes, inKathmandu (1,370 metres). Here we will drive as close as conditions allow to the2,740-metre summit of Phulchowki, thehighest peak in the Kathmandu Valley,where we will have magnificent views overthe Himalaya as well as seeing a largenumber of bird species, includingwoodpeckers, minivets, warblers,flycatchers, laughing-thrushes, yuhinas,sunbirds, flowerpeckers and rosefinches.Our first lowland destination, a short flightfrom Kathmandu, (past Mounts Everest,Makalu and Kanchenjunga!) is Koshi TappuWildlife Reserve, part of a vast expanse ofopen water, marshes, lagoons, sandbanks,mudflats and dry woodlands that lie to thenorth of a huge barrage. This is one ofAsia's finest wetlands and a fabulousbirdwatching area. Almost all of Nepal'slong list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises,herons, egrets, terns and gulls occur here,plus a great variety of landbirds thatinclude such specialities as SwampFrancolin, Red-necked Falcon and StriatedMarsh Warbler. This reserve is also the lastrefuge of the wild Water Buffalo in Nepal,and home to the rare Ganges River Dolphinamongst other mammals. We will explorethe area on foot and in inflatable boats.Our next stop is Chitwan National Park, along drive from Koshi Tappu but a chanceto look for White-rumped Needletail Swiftsand Ibisbills en route! The Chitwan NationalPark is a World Heritage Site that protects932 square kilometres of dry deciduousforest, tropical evergreen forest and riverinegrasslands. A larger number of birdspecies (over 480) has been recorded herethan in any other part of Nepal, and we canexpect to see a third of these during our4-night stay. The park holds a similar wealth of mammals, including theendangered Indian Rhinoceros, Wild Boar,Sambar, Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer,and Rhesus and Common LangurMonkeys. Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bearsand Gaur may also occasionally be seen,as well as Nepal's two species ofcrocodile. We will explore the park on foot,on elephant back, in canoes and by jeep.We next journey westwards, to BardiaNational Park, the largest lowlandsanctuary and seldom visited by Westernornithologists. We will stay in simple butcomfortable accommodation close to thegreat Karnali River, the largest in Nepal,and spend four days exploring the park'sSal and riverine forests and grasslands,and the Karnali River itself - which we willview from rafts, allowing close approach ofthe river's waterbirds, and occasionallySmooth Otter and Ganges River Dolphin.As well as excellent birding - enabling usto see some of the rarer and more local ofNepal's western specialities, we will alsoencounter a similarly exciting range ofmammals, with Tiger and Nilgai generallybeing easier to see here than in Chitwan.Above all this is a delightfully quiet andunspoilt part of Nepal, the beautifullydressed indigenous Tharu and Rana Tharutribespeople being amongst the mostinteresting and traditional in Nepal.Finally, we must return to Kathmandu,flying from the western town of Nepalganjback to the capital for our last night inNepal. For those wishing to extend theirholiday, the grasslands of SuklaphantaWildlife Reserve offer a different and veryspecial range of birds and mammals.Lowland NepalA comprehensive, 17-day mammal and birdwatching tour of lowland Nepal, visiting the country's three finest lowland sanctuaries, Chitwan and Bardia National Parks, and the remote Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, and the forested hills of the Kathmandu Valley.Saturday 17th November - Monday 3rd December 2012 Cost: £3,595Saturday 19th January - Monday 4th February 2013 Cost: £3,595Saturday 16th November - Monday 2nd December 2013 Cost: £3,595Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: £850Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTIBETINDIANEPALSUKLAPHANTAWILDLIFE RESERVE(EXTENSION)INDIAINDIADHAULAGIRICHITWANNATIONAL PARKLANGTANGNATIONAL PARKSAGARMATHA(EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREABARDIANATIONAL PARKJUMLALAKE RARANATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUBIRATNAGARKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEKOSHI CAMPNEPALGANJANNAPURNA IKATHMANDUDHANGADHIOutline itineraryDay 1 Depart London. Day 2/3Kathmandu. Day 4/7Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve. Day 8/11Chitwan National Park. Day 12/15Bardia National Park. Day 16 Kathmandu. Day 17Fly London.Suklaphanta extension Day 16Drive SuklaphantaWildlife Reserve. Day 17/19 Suklaphanta WildlifeReserve. Day 20Fly Kathmandu.Day 21Fly London. AccommodationComfortable hotels, lodges andpermanent tented camps, most withprivate facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except fordinners in Kathmandu. Allow £35.GradingA. Gentle-paced birdwatchingwalks only. FocusBirds and mammals. LeaderTika Ram Giri or Suchit Basnet,plus local guides. Single room supplement£325 (extension: £95). ExtensionsCan be arranged to include India,Bhutan and other areas of Nepal.Web quick search: NPL01251Indian One-horned Rhinos, Chitwan National Park TigerGiant Hornbill