248Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.uk for your free Trip ItineraryNepal 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-cladHimalaya. From here we will spend a fullday 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 at 1,520metres. The birdlife on this forestedmountain is the richest in the valley, no onevisit producing the same long list of birdspecies. Here we will undoubtedly enjoyour 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 18th December - Wednesday 28th December 2011 Cost: £2,595Sunday 15th January - Wednesday 25th January 2012 Cost: £1,995Sunday 12th February - Wednesday 22nd February 2012 Cost: £1,995 Sunday 11th March - Wednesday 21st March 2012 Cost: £1,995 Sunday 1st April - Wednesday 11th April 2012 (Easter departure) Cost: £2,295 Sunday 16th December - Wednesday 26th December 2012 Cost: £2,595Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: £825 Outline 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, Suchit Basnet,Tika Ram Giri or HathanChoudhary, plus local guides.Single room supplement£245 (extension: £95).ExtensionsMany optional extensions areavailable. Please call for our helpand suggestions.Web quick search: NPL04 TIBETTIBETINDIAINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRIGHOREPANIPOKHARACHITWANNATIONAL PARKKATHMANDULANGTANGNATIONALPARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREASHEOPURI WILDLIFERESERVELUKLANEPALSAGARMATHA (EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI CAMPBIRATNAGARPHULCHOWKIKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEANNAPURNA IThe Himalaya from the Kathmandu ValleyIbisbillSpecial Mammal Departure5th - 15th FebruaryFocus on mammals rather than birds (see page 23).
In 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 tourfocuses mainly on Suklaphanta (where wespend six nights) and its very rich wildlife,giving us our best shot of seeing as manyof its specialities as possible. For so long'off the map' 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. Foursmall lakes - Rani Tal, Salghaudi Tal,Kalikitch Tal and Shikari Tal - addsignificantly to the 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,whilst Hodgson's Bushchat occur in winter.The park also supports a particularly widerange of other woodpeckers, warblers andbush warblers, and such rarities asJerdon's Babbler and Jerdon's Bushchat. Whether you have been to Nepal manytimes before, or whether you are on yourfirst visit, 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 17th November - Monday 28th November 2011 Cost: £2,295Thursday 19th January - Monday 30th January 2012 Cost: £2,295Thursday 16th February - Monday 27th February 2012 Cost: £2,295Thursday 3rd May - Monday 14th May 2012 Cost: £2,295Thursday 15th November - Monday 26th November 2012 Cost: £2,295Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve extension available on all tours Cost: £795Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 280 for Booking InformationTIBETINDIAPOKHARANEPALINDIAINDIADHAULAGIRICHITWANNATIONAL PARKLANGTANGNATIONAL PARKSAGARMATHA(EVEREST)NATIONAL PARKANNAPURNACONSERVATIONAREABARDIANATIONAL PARKSURKHETJUMLADHANGADHISUKLAPHANTAWILDLIFE RESERVELAKE RARANATIONAL PARKMt EVERESTLHOTSEMAKALUBIRATNAGARKANCHENJUNGAKOSHI TAPPUWILDLIFERESERVEKOSHI CAMPNEPALGANJANNAPURNA IKATHMANDUOutline 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 or Tika Ram Giri,plus local guides. Single room/tentsupplement £195 (extension: £95).Extensions Optional extensions may also bearranged to destinations such asChitwan, Bardia and Pokhara.Web quick search: NPL10249Suklaphanta Wildlife ReserveAsian ElephantGreat Eggfly