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254Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryNowhere in the world is the mountainscenery as magnificent as in theEverest National Park. Nowhere elsecan the mere walker feel such a part ofsuch great mountains. Our trek on thisholiday aims at quality not quantity; it isone of superlatives. There may not be thevariety of scenery and wildlife that the KaliGandaki Valley offers but what there is is asspectacular as any in the great Himalayanchain. The brilliantly coloured HimalayanMonal, Nepal's national bird, the very tameand very noisy Tibetan Snowcock, and thatshaggy brown goat, the Himalayan Tahr,both match and complement this mostgrandiose of mountain scenery.We have chosen this season to visit thepark for two reasons. Firstly, this is thebest time to see the floweringrhododendrons and other plants of thepark, as well as the breeding birds andmammals which are so active in thespring. Secondly, the region is relativelyfree of the tourist crowds that flood thepark each autumn in order to capitalise onthe fine weather for optimum mountainviews. These visitors are sadly unaware ofnature's superb spectacle available eachspring, when the mountains are still happyto present themselves!We fly from Kathmandu by Twin Otter toLukla, a large village at 2,740 metres, in theheart of Sherpa country. For the first twodays we walk very slowly up the DudhKoshi Valley in order to adjust to the highaltitude, and enjoy the common Himalayanbirds and plants of field and forest. AtNamche Bazaar, the large market town ofthe Solu Khumbu, the drama of this greatmountain area begins to unfold. We havetime to visit the park's museum which holdsa mine of local information. Whilst duringan acclimatisation day here, we are able toclimb high above Namche and explore thedwarf juniper and rhododendron forests.Here, and in the fields around the sprawlingSherpa capital Khumjung, we find our firsthigh-altitude specialities: Snow Pigeons,Himalayan Monals and, if we are lucky, therare Musk Deer.A wonderful morning's walk, dominated byour first real views of Everest and Lhotse,takes us to Thyangboche, a small clusterof stone houses perched upon a high spur.Surrounded by rhododendron forests andthe highest mountains, many have claimedthis to be the most beautiful place onEarth. The protection afforded to the localwildlife for so many years by the monks ofThyangboche monastery has made bothbirds and animals ridiculously tame. Thus,this is the ideal spot to photograph andget to know these beautiful mountainspecies-pheasants, thrushes, bluetails,rosefinches and grosbeaks -and anotherexcuse for an acclimatisation day!Our journey now takes us, via thedelightful village of Upper Pangboche(whose old monastery houses the driedhand and scalp reputed to have belongedto a yeti!) into a high and wild valley. Aswe ascend, only yak herders' summersettlements decorate the high pasturesand stony river valleys, and massive snowypeaks loom all around us: Ama Dablam,Tamserku, Kangtaiga, Taweche, Everestand Lhotse. From here we walk slowly toour high point, the beautiful Gokyo Lakes.Even at 4,570 metres we find a variety ofducks on these lakes, and in theflower-filled meadows and rocky hillsidesaround them Red-breasted Rosefinches,Himalayan Rubythroats, TibetanSnowcocks and many other uplandbreeding birds are to be found. Migrantbirds, passing through the Himalaya ontheir way north to Siberian breedinggrounds are also regularly found besidethe lakes. We will spend two nights atGokyo, in order to make the most of theinteresting flora and fauna of the area, andto allow time for the ascent of Kala Pattar,a walkable 5,180-metre peak that offerssplendid views onto the famoussouth-west face of Everest, as well as ofMakalu, Lhotse, Cho-oyu and theenormous Ngozumpa Glacier.As we return slowly via high yak pastures toNamche Bazaar, we will see plenty ofHimalayan Tahr, and birds such as SnowPartridges, accentors, Mountain Finchesand the startlingly beautiful BloodPheasants and Himalayan Monals. FromNamche we return to Lukla and take areturn flight to Kathmandu. There we spenda day exploring the forests of Phulchowki,the highest peak of the Kathmandu Valley,and a day sightseeing around the city. Avisit to the lowland grasslands, Sal forestsand dense riverine jungle of ChitwanNational Park is recommended as an idealcomplement to this holiday, either before orafter the trek, and can easily be arrangedfor you. Chitwan is very hot at this time ofyear but it is a good time to see some ofthe larger mammals, including Tiger, Gaur(wild bison), Sloth Bear and IndianRhinoceros, and the exciting birdlife isaugmented by the arrival of many summervisitors from southern India which breed inthe park. Mount Everest & theGokyo Lakes of NepalA 22-day holiday (with a 15-day trek) to enjoy the breeding birds and spring flowers of the Everest National Park, plus birdwatching and sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.Friday 3rd May - Friday 24th May Cost: £3,995 Extension to Chitwan or Koshi available on request.Outline itinerary Day 1Depart London. Day 2/3Kathmandu. Day 4/18Trekking. Day 19Return to Kathmandu. Day 20/21Kathmandu. Day 22Fly London.AccommodationFully serviced camping on trek, anda comfortable hotel in Kathmandu,with private facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Kathmandu.Allow £45.TrekkingGrade B/C. Moderate. Between2,740 and 5,180 metres.FocusBirds, plants and mammals.LeaderHathan Choudhary or ShambhuGhimire.Single room supplement£195. Single tent supplement£195. ExtensionsAvailable on request in Nepal, Indiaand Bhutan. Web quick search:NPL02TIBETTIBETINDIAINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRIGHOREPANIPOKHARACHITWANNATIONAL PARKKATHMANDULANGTANGNATIONALPARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREALUKLANEPALSAGARMATHA (EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI CAMPBIRATNAGARPHULCHOWKIKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEANNAPURNA IGokyo LakeHimalayan Monal

The highest mountains on earth,thundering rivers, magical montaneforests and dense lowland junglesfilled with colourful birds and the mostexciting of large mammals. For a countrythat lies 800 kilometres from the sea,Nepal has a scenic and altitudinal varietythat is quite unrivalled. It will be our aimon this holiday to explore its many facets,focusing on the fabulous range of birdsand mammals that they support. This willbe a less strenuous adventure than ourother Himalayan journeys so as to allowas wide a range of people as possible tosample Nepal's delights with us.We begin this holiday in the KathmanduValley. Once the bed of a large andancient lake, the valley is now a colourfulmosaic of rice paddies and quaintred-brick farmhouses, surrounded by highforested hills that support a fine variety ofbird and mammal species, includingmonkeys, Muntjac, Jungle Cat, Leopardand even Tiger! We will explore the best ofthese forests during our 3-night stay inKathmandu ... and we will find time to visitthe unique array of temples, palaces andnarrow alleyways of this fascinatingcapital, and the neighbouring cities ofBhaktapur and Patan.A long but beautiful drive through the hills, with tantalising glimpses of thesnowbound peaks of Ganesh Himal andLangtang, brings us to the busy town ofPokhara, the starting point of our trek. This 9-day circuit takes us along highridges into the hills north of Pokhara,where pretty Gurung and Chhetri villages,and magnificent forests of oak andrhododendron decorate the hillsidesbeneath the towering white summits ofAnnapurna South and Machhapuchare-the Fish Tail Mountain. Here live numerous bird species; amongst themsome of Nepal's brilliantly colouredpheasants, and a variety of tits, minivets,warblers, laughing-thrushes, rosefinches,sunbirds and woodpeckers. The highlight of our walk is the high ridgebetween Ghandrung and Ghorepani. Here, some of the best of Nepal's highforest-now thankfully affordedprotection by the Annapurna ConservationArea Project-provides a refuge for some of the rarest Himalayan species. We will be looking in particular for suchforest gems as Golden-breasted Fulvetta,Rufous-bellied Shrike-babbler, VinaceousRosefinch and Great Parrotbill. Twoattractive mammals, the Red Panda andthe Yellow-throated Marten, are alsooccasionally seen here.On completion of our trek, we will drivefrom Pokhara to the Seti River for a day'srafting journey down the beautiful andtranquil Seti Valley. Moving slowlydownriver through the forested foothillsand into the lowlands of Nepal, we havean ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy themagnificent scenery and birdlife of theriver. We will see forktails, redstarts,whistling thrushes, kingfishers and manybirds of prey.As the river slows and broadens into thelowlands of Nepal, we once again take tothe land, driving to Chitwan National Parkfor a stay of three nights in a comfortablejungle lodge. Comprising 932 squarekilometres of Sal and riverine forest andgrassland, Chitwan has a greater diversityof wildlife than any other area of Nepal.Over 480 species of birds have beenrecorded in the park and we can expect tosee nearly half of these, as well as manymammals and reptiles that may includeIndian Rhinoceros, Wild Boar, Sambar,Muntjac, Chital and Hog Deer, Rhesus and Hanuman Monkeys, and crocodiles.Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gauralso occur but are more difficult to see. Wesearch for them all on foot, elephant backand by dugout canoe.A long journey by road now takes us toour comfortable tented camp at KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve. Three nights at thecamp will allow you to enjoy thisoutstanding Asian wetland by raft, LandRover and on foot. So rich in birdlife is thisremote reserve that over160 species arelikely to be seen,together with such rareanimals as Wild Water Buffalo, GangesRiver Dolphin, Smooth Otter, Jungle Cat,and Gharial and Marsh MuggerCrocodiles. We are in no doubt that thispeaceful and rewarding spot, followed bya spectacular flight back to Kathmandu,past the snowy summits of MountsEverest, Lhotse, Makalu andKanchenjunga, will provide a fitting end to this varied and exciting holiday.Nepal - A WildlifeAdventureA 22-day wildlife adventure, combining rafting, jungle and wetland exploration, and a gentle 9-day trek in the forested hills beneath the spectacular Annapurna Massif.Sunday 11th November - Sunday 2nd December 2012 Cost: £3,695Sunday 10th November - Sunday 1st December 2013 Cost: £3,795Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTIBETTIBETINDIAINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRIGHOREPANIPOKHARACHITWANNATIONAL PARKKATHMANDULANGTANG NATIONALPARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREASHEOPURI WILDLIFERESERVELUKLANEPALSAGARMATHA (EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI CAMPBIRATNAGARKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFE RESERVEANNAPURNA IOutline itinerary Day 1 Depart London. Day 2/3Kathmandu. Day 4Pokhara. Day 5/13 Trekking. Day 14Rafting, Seti River.Day 15/17Chitwan National Park. Day 18/20Koshi Tappu WildlifeReserve. Day 21Kathmandu. Day 22Fly London.AccommodationA variety of good hotels, lodgesand permanent tented camps, mostwith private facilities. Fully servicedcamping whilst trekking and rafting.FoodIncluded in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Kathmandu.Allow £35.TrekkingGrade B. Easy to moderate.Between 900 and 3,350 metres.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderSuchit Basnet, Shambhu Ghimire orHathan Choudhary, plus localguides. Single room supplement£280.Single tent supplement£120. Web quick search:NPL06 255Annapurna South and Machhapuchare from GhandrungGreaterStone PloverGharial Crocodile