05 hand-picked vacation destinations that are worth a visit in Gujarat


  1. The north west desert ( rann of Kutch )

The white sands portrayed in the tourism of ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’ are well within travel reach. This place is an ideal for winter travel as daytimes are less hot while night are really entrancing.

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White Rann of Kuch

Special attraction: there is a place in the Banni Grasslands which is adjoining the Rann of Kutch where according to locals one can see floating lights move around the air. Locals call the phenomenon ‘cheer batti’ or ghost lights which can be seen 2 to 10 feet off ground. Scientists believe the lights are scientific photo emission by oxidation of Phosphine and Disphosphane gases however local legends can be fun to hear over a full moon for adrenaline seeking travelers.

  1. Gir Forest and Girnar
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Cubs been fed my Lioness at Gir Lion National Park, Sasan Gir 

This region between Junagadh and Amreli district are known for its diverse wildlife. It is home to the Asiatic Lion and the Girnar Mountain. This place can be of great adventure for people who find solace in the wild.

Special attraction: the place is the world’s second home to Lions outside Africa. One can also get a chance to mingle with the local ‘siddi’ population whose ancestry can be traced back to African tribes. The mountain Girnar is also a host to ‘Naga Babas’ or naked saints and witnessing them is considered a good omen. It is also a known fact that the formation of this mountain is older than the Himalayan Range.

  1. The deep forests of Dang
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Saputara, only Hill Station of Gujarat in Dang Forest Region

Popular among travelers as Saptuara forest; this place is a good winter retreat. The place has a lot to offer for tourists ranging from treks and hiking to a whole unexplored wildlife.

Special attractions: there are a lots of hotels that offer stay in three houses which can be of interest. There might also be a few waterfalls to visit in this area. Taking a good day’s hike in the forests can be of great adventure.

  1. Dwarka & Somnath
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Somnath Temple overlooking Somnath Beach 

These places are of high religious importance. Each of them has a unique spiritual experience to offer.

Special attraction: dwarka is home to ‘bet dwarka’ which is like the lost city of Atlantis and is submerged in water. Somnath is one of the ‘Jyotirlings’ which lord Shiva himself has established which makes it a very significant destination for religious and spiritual people alike. Somnath also has a beach.

  1. Diu & Daman
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Diu 

Contrary to popular befief, Diu & Daman are far away from each other. However both of them offer a good winter gateway with coastal climate and beaches.

Special Attraction: it wouldn’t be wrong to mention it is one of special attractions for anyone wanting to unwind a bit. Daman is soon to be host to onshore gaming complexes (casinos) and it has recently been host to Sunburn Music Festival. Diu is known for its Diu Fort and the Naida Caves.

When the travel bug bites all these places can be on the list for the various special attractions they have to offer. Tourists not wanting to travel far off lands can find proximity in all of these places. After all; all of them have ‘Khushboo Gujarat ni’ in common.

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Most action-packed jungles


Tiger scouting, Chitwan National Park, Nepal

If you want to see a tiger that isn’t shuffling about in a zoo or on the front of a cereal packet, head for Chitwan National Park in the Nepalese jungle, where there’s a 75 percent likelihood of a sighting. There are also night tours to further help you glimpse this nocturnal beast. But even if you don’t, it’s still the perfect place to channel your inner Mowgli, with heaps of other wildlife on view, such as leopards, sloths and water buffalo. Travel is via a mixture of elephant back, canoe, jeep and foot.

Tiger Safaris  are accompanied by a zoologist and local naturalist guides. Jeep tours and on-foot tracking tours are available, best taken late November to early May.


Gorilla tracking, Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, Central African Republic

When a trip promises ‘long and uncomfortable journeys’ by plane, jeep and canoe, there had better be a super-bright light at the end of the tunnel. In the case of the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, there certainly is – it’s one of the few places where tourists can track the majestic but critically endangered western lowland gorillas. Fewer than 2000 westerners are thought to have visited this stunning jungle region, which is also home to forest elephants, buffalo, crocodiles and red river hogs, and the local Ba’Aka pygmy tribe, who help with the gorilla tracking.

It can take three to eight hours to track the gorillas, after which you’ll move with the group or sit as they groom.

Feeling Heady In Hyderabad


The Taj Falaknuma Palace – the restored Nizam’s Palace – is yet another jewel in the crown of the city that boasts of the Charminar

taj-falaknuma-palace-courtyardTo enter the Taj Falaknuma Palace involves many steps. You drive to the entrance of the 32-acre palace; then, get on a horse carriage, which takes you to the entrance. You are greeted with vetiver juice. A flag bearer carrying a golden flag-pole bearing a coat of arms marches ahead as you climb the white staircase. Then the rose petal shower.

Taj-Falaknuma-Palace-bWalk into the Ritz Carlton in Miami or George V in Paris and all you get is a form asking for your credit card details. Here in the East, we take hospitality much more seriously, garlanding our guests, giving them a welcome drink, offering them attar and sandalwood paste, or, in this instance, showering petals on them.

cn_image_2.size.taj-falaknuma-palace-hyderabad-india-112405-11Built by Vicar Ul-Umra, the prime minister and son-in-law of then the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1893, the Falaknuma (meaning ‘mirror of the sky’) has had a chequered history. Sir Vicar as he was called, built and inhabited it for a mere five years when he heard that the Nizam was coming for tea. Tea extended to dinner and then overnight. Twenty days later, the Nizam was still in residence. What happened next was typical of the tehzeeb or etiquette of the era, when words were pregnant with hidden meaning. Sir Vicar watched his master’s delight in the palace and the curious questions: “How have you built a palace so wonderful?” He intuited that the Nizam coveted the palace that he had bankrupted himself to build and decided to give it to the Nizam as a nasr or offering. “Huzoor, I have built it for you,” said he. That same evening, three generations of Sir Vicar’s family, along with their retinue of staff, moved out of the palace. To give up something so substantial is not easy for any person, but that was the ethos of the era. The Nizam insisted on paying more than what the palace had cost to build. He presented Sir Vicar with Rs 68 lakh (10 lakh = 1 million), small change for a man who was on the cover of Time magazine with the headline, “The richest man in the world.” The Nizam had his own currency, airline, railways, a fleet of Rolls-Royce, some of which were used to dump the household garbage, and the 48-carat Jacob’s diamond that rolled about his table in lieu of a paperweight.

The-Spectacular-Taj-Falaknuma-Palace-in-Hyderabad-11The Nizam’s family used the Falaknuma till after Independence, when they entertained India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1951. After that, the palace fell out of use and into disrepair till the current Nizam’s estranged wife, a princess belonging to the Turkish nobility, decided to restore it. Princess Esra Jah reconciled with her husband, the current Nizam, who lives in Australia, during her son’s wedding. In 2000, she decided to restore the palace in partnership with the Taj Group of Hotels. By then, the palace was in an advanced state of disrepair. Water poured through the roof, rats were running around, the furniture and upholstery were chipped and broken, and cobwebs hung throughout the place. “I was among the first persons to see the palace and it was scary,” says the historian, Mr. Prabhakar.

It took ten years and countless iterations to get the palace back into its pristine glory. The walls were painted a hundred times to match the shade that Princess Esra had in mind: the colour of the sky at dusk. Today, the Falaknuma is a Victorian pastiche of many architectural styles. There are Corinthian columns, Italian frescoes, Carrara marble fountains, Tudor arches, Venetian cut-glass chandeliers, French trompe d’0eil paintings that make cement look like wood, fleur de lis on stained glass windows, English paintings and upholstery. “Not one of the objects or influence is Indian,” says Mr Prabhakar proudly. The result is stunning but a little disconcerting. It is as if the palace was airlifted from Europe and placed atop the hill in Hyderabad.

char minarThe city sparkles far below as Sufi singers sing on the Gol Bangla’s terrace. It is a city built for love, when Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, whose portrait hangs in the Smithsonian, fell in love with a maiden called Bhagmati. In 1591, he moved his capital from Golconda to what was then a tiny village on the banks of the Musi village. He named the new city after his wife, Hyder Mahal. The city was modelled on Esfahan in Iran, with water-bodies for moon-watching, fountains, fragrant gardens and broad boulevards. When the bubonic plague hit the city, Quli Qutb Shah prayed to Allah to release his people from its clutches and built the Charminar (Four Minarets) in gratitude. Diagonally across from the Charminar is the Makkah Masjid, among the holiest shrines in India, built using soil and stones from Mecca. Ten thousand of the faithful can pray together here.

Today, the roads that radiate from the Charminar sell rhinestone-studded lac bangles that are a signature of the city. Countless shops glitter with these coloured gem-like ornaments. Vendors sell burqas, dupattas, vessels, fruits, knives, clothes, Unani medicines, orthopaedic massages and anything else that a person can need. It is a hub of humans and commerce. The Chowmuhallah Palace down the road is quieter. Built over 45 acres in the 18th century, it is now a museum and used for weddings and other ceremonies. Only 14 acres remain since the current Nizam fled to Turkey and then Australia to escape debt payments from his wives and concubines. I attend a wedding there one night. The palace is stunning when lit up at night. Tuberose garlands cast their heady scent and the aroma of slow-cooking biryanis makes the tongue pucker. This is a city that takes it meat seriously. Men can argue for hours over the right technique to cook patther ka gosht, or lamb seared on a stone slab.

lac benglesTextile expert Soraiya Hassan Bose belongs to an old family. Today, she and a band of weavers sell the state’s kalamkari and ikat weaves in her eponymous shop. Hyderabad’s hand-loomed, hand-woven textiles are known throughout the country for their quality.

Local fashion designers such as Anand Kabra use the state’s weaves in their designs and infuse it with a modern cut. Jewellery designer Suhani Pittie lives in a heritage mansion that houses her contemporary creations. Both are passionate about their home state and its rich traditions.

There are two Hyderabad today, one is the city around Hussein Sagar Lake; the modern city that attracts IT companies to its Hi-Tec City or Cyberabad. Then, there is the slower, more leisurely city that was created by kings and Nizams; the Hyderabad of slow-cooked meals and exquisite etiquette.

Courtesy by K.T.

The Best of Tanzania


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From the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the game-rich Ngorongoro Crater, from the endless plains of the Serengeti to the baobabs of the Tarangire, Tanzania is the safari insider’s hot tip. Boasting 14 national parks and numerous game reserves, this is home to the largest wildlife herds on the African continent, as well as the palm-fringed island of Zanzibar, ideal for post-safari relaxation.  Many people do not realize that the famous Wildebeest Migration is in Tanzania for 8 months a year, giving birth around February and crossing the Grumeti River in June.

The Serengeti & the Ngorongoro Crater

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
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Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.

The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.

But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species, ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills.
As enduring as the game-viewing is the liberating sense of space that characteristics the Serengeti Plains, stretching across sunburnt savannah to a shimmering golden horizon at the end of the earth. Yet, after the rains, this golden expanse of grass is transformed into an endless green carpet flecked with wildflowers. And there are also wooded hills and towering termite mounds, rivers lined with fig trees and acacia woodland stained orange by dust.

NGORONGORO CRATER
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A trip to Northern Tanzania has to include the Ngorongoro, it is an exceptional place to interact with the Masaai and is one of the most beautiful natural wildlife safari sites in the world.

The advantage of staying at a hotel on the Crater rim is the view, the advantage of staying away from the Crater at nearby Karatu is that there are less people around, the lodges are smaller and more personal offering a range of activities such as walking and mountain biking.

The Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands are one of Africa’s most beautiful regions.  Volcanic craters form stunning backdrops to some of the richest grazing grounds in Africa.  The most famous is without question the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera; home to the highest density of big game in Africa.  With 600 metre high walls and a rich volcanic floor that plays host to the big five, the Ngorongoro is one of the continent’s most famous safari destinations.

The Ngorongoro is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five.  A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are the prize spots, but the Crater is home to strong populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra.  Other game in the Ngorongoro includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat eared foxes along with approximately 400 species of bird.

We also offer Holiday Packages to Tanzania, Uganda & Rwanda, South Africa & Botswana

Write to us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit http://www.adler-tours.com

Joy In the Rains


Monsoons In Maharashtra

A Rain Rendezvous In Kolad, Khandala, Harnai and Lavasa

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Discover Konkans scenic coastal beaches unique culture and cuisine that is specially lovely in the rains. Monsoon is when the locals love to visit the Sahyadris, when rain brings new life to the region and the water laden clouds hungs so low that you can walk in the clouds. With hundreds of waterfalls mushrooming all over the state, you are transported to a surreal, dreamy world of misty mornings, pleasant afternoons and chilly evenings.

Wake up to the sunrise on a mountain or sea fort and sunsets on a remote beach. Explore the myriad Konkan, its forests, forts and beaches. Go hiking, walking, rafting, segway riding, nature trailing, camping, driving or just watch the rain from your patio.

Experience the best of multiple landscapes in the same trip – Enjoy River, Ocean, Mountains and the Wilderness in the same trip with many ‘unique experiences’ for everybody in the family that makes for a forever memorable experience in Maharashtra Unlimited.

  1. Konkan – In the Middle of the River Kundalika in Kolad at Rivertrail Eco
  2. Konkan – On the Harnai Beach at Lotus Beach Resort
  3. Western Ghats – Overlooking the Valley at The Duke’s Retreat in Khandala and Ekaant Resort in Lavasa

For bookings write to us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or adlertourssafaris6@gmail.com 

 

The City of Lavasa


Nestled a midst the majestic Sahyadri mountains, along the contours of the sprawling Warasgaon Lake, is the planned hill city of Lavasa. Built on the principles of New Urban-ism, its a city where people can live work, learn and play in harmony with nature.

Where in Lavasa, make sure you

  • Start the day with a walk along the serene Nature Trails
  • Explore picturesque locules cruising along the city via the Trackless Train
  • Take a photograph from the numerious Viewing Galleries present
  • Jet Ski across the lake at Lake shore Water sports taking in the beauty of the valley
  • play a veriety of games like Electric Dart Machines, Photo Games & Bowling at the Neospark Games Arcade
  • Discover the city in an eco-friendly way through Robin – A self-balancing joyride ( available at Neospark )
  • Go camping at Xthrill Adventure Academy
  • Unwind at the spa at Dasvino Town & Country Club
  • Spend a peaceful evening strolling at the lakeside promenade

For inquiries / bookings :-

Weddings | MICE | Educational Tours | Summer Special Packages ( April 1st – June 30th ) | Mesmerizing Monsoon Packages ( July 1st – September 30th ) | Festive Fiesta Packages ( October 1st – December 31st )

Email us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit http://www.adler-tours.com 

Encountering A Bird Wave


Bring curiosity, leave your expectations behind, Shivkar gently advised our group as we headed Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Karnataka, diverse, scenic and spreading forest cover. It was a practical approach to adopt for birding enthusiasts, for then every sighting would be like a gift. But once at the Timber Depot, located across the office of the Conservator of Forests, we were eager to spot and identify birds, and jot down sightings in the little notepads we carried.

woodpekr n blue birdAN EXERCISE IN PATIENCE: We knew the unwritten rules of bird watching and the ways of the forest. Silently walking through the growth of tall trees and passing a clump of bamboo, piles of cut lots and an old banyan tree bestowing long aerial roots on the Earth, we kept our eyes and ears open for the slightest movement in the foliage and bird calls. But in the mid-morning heat, the birds seemed to have vanished as if satiated with their morning forays for food. Only the Coppersmith Barbet called —a monotonous call filling the warm air, while it remained concealed in some leafy branch. One could only imagine the little green bird, its head bobbing, throat inflating and deflating with each call as its beak remained shut tight all the while!

Adesh Shivkar and Mandar Khadilkar, the two sharp-eyed naturalists leading the group, patiently kept scanning the foliage and canopy for the slightest movement that would give us a chance to spot a bird or two. With the many happy hours that they had spent in the field across the country, they knew it was just a matter of time before we would spot a few winged ones. At the Timber Depot they recalled having seen several  Malabar Pied Hornbills—the large and striking members of the  hornbill family—enjoying a mud bath at dusk and gliding across to settle on a fig tree. Their anecdotes only had us thirsting for sightings.

hornbill and green popWe waited patiently, soaked in their stories and experiences, and silently hoped we would be blessed with a spot of luck. It was end of November but the air was warm and dry and the forest was silent. Taking a pause, they suggested we wait for birds at a spot rather than go out to seek them. Scanning the vegetation in all directions only made one realise the vastness of Dandeli’s legendary forest as there were hundreds of trees in every direction.

A BURST OF JOY: At long last Adesh exclaimed in an excited whisper—a mixed hunting party! And true to his word, all of a sudden there was a buzz in the air. All heads turned to the towering Terminalia bellerica tree and eyes scanned its trunk, branches, leaves and flowers. There they were—a loose gathering of insectivorous bird who had come together to hunt insects in an animated wave filled with twitters, flutter of wings and movement in the  trunk, branches, leaves, fiowers and on the ground. All of a sudden the silent tree was a hotspot alive with calls and activity.

Deftly setting up and focusing the spotting scope, Mandar beckoned us to quickly take turns to peer through the lens. And what a treat was in store! The first to come into view was a Greater Flameback Woodpecker with a gorgeous yellow—golden back; it was going up the trunk with its tail for support, tapping at the bark, disturbing insects. And while the woodpecker was making its way up, an utterly charming Velvet—fronted Nuthatch, with a violet-blue colouring, was coming down the trunk. While climbing up a trunk is no small feat, the nuthatch was deftly making its way down without losing  its grip and in fact, circling the trunk now and then while descending and looking for insects as well.

birdsSwooping through the foliage was a Bronzed Drongo, its glossy body shining in the sunlight as it made neat aerial sallies while sounding its loud metallic call and snapping up insects on the wing. Spotting it, Adesh explained that mixed hunting parties are generally motivated by drongos— Black, Ashy, Bronzed, Racket—tailed, White-bellied or Spangled—who are vocal, and along with woodpeckers, the heart of a mixed hunting party.

A MERRY BAND: Unlike a flock of one species, a mixed hunting party has different species of birds who come together to increase their foraging efficiency and reduce predation. “There are more eyes to look out for danger. This helps, as during feeding, birds tend to get engrossed in looking for insects. Individual birds in a mixed hunting party can focus a bit more on finding food as there are other birds warning about predators. So it helps when there are lots of birds on the same tree; the probability of getting attacked by a prey is minimised,” explained Mandar.’  The sudden arrival of so many birds, and the activity of birds such as the woodpecker and nuthatch along the trunk, disturbs the insects much to the advantage of the other birds who snap them up. Some of the birds forage on insects that may be or flowers or fruits, while babblers rummage the forest cover on the ground upturning leaves, looking for insects and adding to the activity.

birds-1All eyes were scanning the tree and enjoying the delightful sighting of actively feeding birds. Among them was a lovely Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher with a tinkling musical call; an endearing Brown Cheeked Fulvetta lost in the foliage but its whistling call  helped us locate it; different leaf warblers flicked  their tails restlessly, their greenish, brown and  yellow colouring helping them merge into the foliage; bright green leaf birds whistled and called  as they quickly moved along branches; a Scarlet  Minivet pair flitted about, the male standing out with its striking colours; different bulbuls, including a prize sighting of a Ruby Throated  Bulbul—its black head, yellow body and ruby  throat making it a picture of cheer; and a Large  Woodshrike flying through the branches.

A CONCERTED EFFORT: The common interest of a mixed hunting flock is obviously to catch insects, but interestingly, they have different foraging techniques. While woodpeckers and nuthatches probe wood for insects, leaf birds and leaf warblers glean insects from leaves while perched, Minivets catch insects on the wing and sometimes beat their wings to flush them out, the Drongos make superb sallies while pursuing and swoop on insects in-flight, flycatchers hawking insects while flying from a branch and babblers overturn leaves on the forest floor to find them!  We watched the buzz in the tree, the movement from ground to canopy, quickly identifying birds with the unaided eye and through the scope. And then, as swiftly as they had arrived, the party bobbed away from the tree and headed off deeper into the forest. Maybe some birds would leave the flock while others would join as they headed to another tree home of insects; maybe after sometime, another jolly mixed hunting party with a different composition would pass our way. Till then the forest fell silent and the call of the barbet suddenly became noticeable again!

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HAPPY GLAMPERS


happy glampers.docxThere is no need to rough it to enjoy the Middle East’s great outdoors any more – the global phenomenon of glamping (glamorous camping) has finally hit our shores, says Kerry Baggott.

  1. Dibba’s Adventure House with Absolute Adventure

Glamping is all about balancing the thrill of the great outdoors with some home comforts and at Dibba’s Adventure House, rather than sleeping under the stars, you and 13 others will be sleeping in bunk beds in a traditional stone house on the beach in Dibba, Oman. The mattresses might not be overly thick, but this is more than made up for with air conditioning, clean sheets and pillows, three bathrooms with hot showers, and a semi-equipped kitchen. The house is set in a large courtyard with the beach on one side and the Hajar mountains on the other (you may also find it a comforting thought to learn that it’s also a stone’s throw from the Golden Tulip Hotel).

A massive table sits in the centre of the yard, so it’s fabulous for hosting large groups who can also spread out to chill in the barasti hut on stilts, or lounge on the cushions in the majlis. There’s even a small freshwater pool — fairly old, but perfect for cooling off.

kayakingA BBQ grill is provided, and although dinner can be cooked for you, why not head down to the local harbour — about a five-minute drive from the house — when the fishermen bring in their catch? See them unload huge kingfish or snapper, make your choice and then go watch it be gutted and cleaned. Dinner doesn’t come fresher than this. Wood can be delivered to order, allowing you all to pull up a chair around the campfire and roast your marshmallows until the early hours before retiring to your bunk.

But for those who want more adventure, you’ve come to the right place. The name says it all. This is Dibba’s centre for all things adventurous — climbing, kayaking, diving, mountain biking and canyoning. The Adventure House is run by a bunch of outdoor enthusiasts, and there is a whole load of guided activities for you to try, from a two-hour pootle around town on a bike, to a half-day mountain trek.

  1. Musandam with Dolphin Khasab Tours

musandam tourThis is far more than just a camping trip — this is an exhilarating adventure that sees you cruise the fjords of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula taking in overwhelmingly dramatic scenery, snorkelling, chasing dolphins and spending the night under canvas on a remote beach.

Dolphin Khasab Tours collects you from Khasab harbour, the main harbour within this small bite-sized Omani enclave, where you’ll board a traditional wooden dhow to spend the day exploring what is dubbed the ‘Norway of the Middle East’. Although there is no evidence of glaciers having gouged these fjords within a landscape that is grey, barren and austere, the sheer mountainous cliffs plummeting into the sea, the jagged, sun-bleached rocks and the deserted coves are just as mesmerising as any Norwegian picture postcard.

And, as if the scenery were not enough, you’ll be accompanied by schools of playful dolphins ducking and diving as you ply through the water — loads of them.

The cruise will take you passed the historic Telegraph Island (the former British communication base in the region) and the isolated villages of Nadafi, Qanaha,  Maqlab and Sham — villages frozen in time in an area that

seems unaware that the century has even turned. At 4pm you’ll be transferred from the dhow into a speedboat and taken to one of the many small sandy beaches where you’ll spend the night.

snorkeling-1Muslin tents (they look flimsy but they are perfect for keeping cool and they are taller than normal camping tents, meaning you can stand up in them), sleeping bags, chairs, tables, electricity, firewood, a portable loo and even a fresh water bag for bathing are all set up for you.

If you’re lucky, no other party will join you on ‘your’ beach – there are lots of sandy coves to choose from, so most parties cruise along the coast until they find their own private spot. If you prefer, you can even choose to stay on the dhow for the night. Plus, you can either bring your own food to cook on the barbecue or Dolphin Khasab Tours can rustle this up for you. In fact, they’re happy to tailor-make the tour to your liking. You’ll be returned to Khasab harbour the following morning by 10 am.

  1. Liwa Desert with Abu Dhabi Adventure Tours 

Liwa desert safariVenture where few have gone before — into the Empty Quarter, or Rub’ Al Khali as it is locally known — the world’s largest uninterrupted desert. Flowing through Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Yemen and the UAE, this ocean of sand was first explored by the famous Etonian explorer Wilfred Thesiger with a caravan of camels and group of Bedouin back in 1945.

Still today, venturing too far into the Liwa Desert is not something to be done on a whim, but it can be if you put yourselves in the hands of Abu Dhabi Adventure Tours.

So, don your khakis and discover for yourself some of the tallest sand dunes in the world and the bizarre rock formations of Saddle Rock, the Ancient Fossil Rocks and Camel Rocks. With rolling waves of sand stretching all around you, you’ll discover that this desolate place is teeming with life and, as the sun traverses the sky casting its myriad of golden colours on the dunes, you’ll agree that this place is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is hauntingly hostile.

camal ridingThe highly experienced drivers at the helm of their Toyota Land Cruisers make small work of the dunes, seeing you roller—coaster and surf the waves. This is a private tour for a minimum of four people per car, so experiences can be tailored to each group — if you want dune bashing or sand boarding that can be on the cards, but if you prefer a more leisurely sail across the sand that’s OK too.

Camp is set up with all the gear provided — including a barbecue chicken dinner and shisha. Tents are provided of course, but many people choose just to sleep outside beside the campfire. It’s then over to the night sky to provide the evening entertainment as a velvety blanket of stars light up Liwa.

The next morning you’ll watch a magical sun rise before heading back to the capital for noon.

  1. Dreamland Aqua Park, Umm Al Quwain

dreamland waterparkFor those who can’t get enough of waterparks, this is literally a dream land. Most of us know the UAE’s oldest and most family-favourite waterpark, but we may not be aware that guests can also camp on—site, in either air- conditioned wooden chalets or in tents.

All the gear is provided, from your BBQ to airbed mattresses, pillows arid sleeping bags. This is camping on a full-board basis — breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinner are included. In fact, you and your party will be given a cooler box heaving with a very generous helping of shish taouk that you can cook yourself whenever you wish after the park closes at 6 pm.

  1. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve with Arabian Adventures

Camping with camels, oryx and gazelles is possible within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, about 45km southeast of the city centre. With the reserve only accessible to authorised tour operators, Arabian Adventures has its own, permanent camp within the area for its Arabian Dreams Overnight Safari guests (separate from the Bedouin camp that entertains day trippers with belly dancers and henna painters).

arabian adventureAs expected from this desert giant of a tour operator, everything is well thought out. In fact, this camp has only recently been completely refurbished and opened in December. The emphasis is on luxury: the eight permanent tents sleep two people and come with a queen-sized bed with linen and towels. In fact, all you’ll need to remember to take is your toothbrush — which you can use in the bathrooms that come with all mod cons. You’ll even be collected from your door in the late afternoon arriving in the desert in time for an exhilarating dune drive and to be able to appreciate the sunset.

A lavish dinner is provided of barbecued meats and sweet treats and in the morning you’ll enjoy a full American breakfast – after you’ve watch the magical sunrise, of course. Even better, you can be back in Dubai by mid-morning — but not before you’ve been taken on a gentle safari of the reserve to learn about the flora and fauna.

Courtesy by K.T.

 

10 MUST VISIT PLACES ON A TRIP TO KENYA


Kenya is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. With its beautiful people from different cultures, animals and breathtaking vegetation, there is no way anyone would not want to visit the country. Tourists come to Kenya for both safaris and business purposes. There are many places which serve as both Kenya luxury safaris rand Kenya normal safaris (cheap). But what are the places that every tourist wants to visit whenever on a visit to Kenya? We have compiled a list of 10 must visit Places while on a Kenyan safari.

1.Nairobi National Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANairobi National Park is about 7 KM away from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi which is equivalent to a 10 minute drive. The park’s environment is comprised of open grass plains and scattered Acacia bushes. There are several tree species found here like, Apodytes dimidiataCanthium schimperiana among others. Some of the animals found here are black rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Ostrich, Maasai giraffe among others. Nairobi’s towers are visible from the park.

2.Maasai Mara National Park

masai maraThis is the most visited tourist attraction site in Kenya. It’s famous for its remarkable population of wild animals and famous wildebeest migration. The Wildebeest Migration which takes place each year from July to October is one of the ‘Wonders of the World’. There are several hotels, Camps and conservancies that offer accommodation while on a visit to Maasai Mara.

3. Lake Nakuru

lake nakuruLake Nakuru is one of the soda Lakes in Rift Valley Kenya. The Lake is famous for its beautiful flamingos that give a breathtaking view to tourists. It’s often referred to as the greatest bird spectacle on earth. Other animals found here are Baboons, Warthogs and the black & White rhinoceros. Other birds also camp at the lake.

4.Samburu National Reserve

samburu nrThe Samburu National reserve is located in Northern Kenya on the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro River. This is a nice destination to see wild animals like blue-legged ostriches, Elephants, Leopard, Zebra as well as enjoy the culture and traditional practices of the Samburu People. There are daily flights from Nairobi to Samburu.

5.Mount Kenya

mt kenyaThis is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Second highest mountain in the whole of Africa. Its slopes are covered with forests while its highest peaks are covered with snow. The highest peaks are Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m which are difficult to climb. However, there is another peak Lenana (4985m) which is easily accessible and tourists have much fun climbing it. Tourists can use huts built on the mountain for accommodation or put up tents.

6.Tsavo National Park

tsavo npTsavo National park is comprised of Tsavo east and Tsavo West National Parks. It’s located in the Kenyan coast. Tsavo East National Park is famous for Bird watching, animals like the Cape buffalo, Caracal, African Wildcat etc., Rock Climbing, Falls and dams and several other attractions. Tsavo West is famous for Rock climbing and wide range of wildlife.

7.Malindi and Watamu

malindi and watamuIf you are looking for a beach safari, Malindi is the place to visit while on a Kenyan Safari. It is an island located in the Kenyan coast surrounded by magnificent beaches. Watamu, also found in the Kenyan coast about 15 KM south of Maslindi is surrounded by beautiful beaches and has a National Park. Fishing is also practiced here. This is also where one of the world’s largest spitting cobra called “Nasha Ajei” was discovered in 2007.

8.Lamu

lamuLamu Island, found in the Kenyan coast is one of the oldest cities in Kenya. It is the place to go to when you want to ‘run away’ from the world. There are no disturbing matatus and buses here. Donkeys are greatly used as a means of transport. One will also find comfort in the beautiful oceanic waves. It is a quiet Kenya Safari destination.

9.Amboseli National Park

amboseli npIt is located on the Kenya-Tanzania border on the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa. Amboseli National Park is famous for elephants and a very beautiful view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

10.Hells Gate

hells gateAs the name suggests, it’s one of the most adventurous Kenya safari destinations. It is the only place where tourists can take unguided walks and cycles. It is famous for its steep cliffs, gorges basalt columns and varied wildlife (few). Hells gate is one of the historical sites in Kenya.

For Packages, write to us on, adler-tours@hotmail.com
Or visit us at, http://www.adler-tours.com

3 bird species in state still under threat


Are on IUCN’s ( International Union for Conservation of Nature ) latest red list of 15 most Endangered Indian Avian s

The latest ‘red list’ of endangered bird species released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) includes 15 Indian bird species, three of which are found mainly in Gujarat. These include the Great Indian Bustard, the Indian Vulture and Siberian Cranes. All three are in the ‘critically endangered’ ( CR ) category.

GIB

Several migratory birds that come to Thol and Nalsarovar ( Gujarat ) have also been listed in the ‘vulnerable’ and ‘nearly threatened’ bird species.

Officials said the IUCN red list is the list on the basis of which several countries and states form their strategies for conversation of birds.

Officials said that the ‘International Union for Conversation of Nature Red List of Birds – 2013’ shows that 15 birds species in India continue to be in the ‘critically endangered’ category. Of these, three bird species are now in greater danger than before.

The decline in the population of these species is because of the growing human interference in areas where bird nesting and colonies exist, said the officials.

Studies by the Bombay Natural History Society ( BNHS ) and other organizations, including Wildlife Institute of India, of factors most responsible for the failing numbers of several bird species reveal that like wetlands, most other habitats such as grasslands and forests, also face severe threat due to development pressures.

florican1

The drastic loss of grassland habitat over the past decades has severely threatened species such as the Great Indian Bustard, Siberian Crane, Bengal Florican and Jerdon’s courser.

While the extensive use of diclofenac by farmers for treatment of their cattle, had led to the fall in the number of Indian Vultures, the destruction of deciduous forest had lead to the decline in the numbers of Forest owlets. The presence of chemicals in the carcass of animals on which scavenging birds feed has affected their population adversely.

BNHS – India Director, Dr. Asad Rahmani, said that on the basis of insightful scientific field research, there is an urgent need to conserve the remaining habitats and the species dependent on them.

“Policies that ensure this through sustainable development should be framed and implemented at the earliest,” Rahmani said.

 

Flying Away

Critically endangered species: This category in India includes migratory birds.

Wetlands species: Baer’s Pochard, Siberian crane and Spoon – billed sandpiper

Grassland Species: Bengal Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Jerdon’s courser and Sociable lapwing.

Scavengers: Indian Vulture, Red – headed vulture, White – backed vulture, Slender – billed vulture, Himaliyan quail & Pink – headed duck

Non – migratory wetland species : White – bellied heron

Forest Species: Forest owlet

Courtesy:- Times of India 

 

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