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Ussher’s Spring Thoughts on Nepal

Christopher's Mid-April 2019 Tour into the Rhododendron Forests of Langtang National Park......

Christopher Ussher writes:

December is upon us, and, freshly returned from the mountain kingdom of Bhutan, my thoughts turn to Spring and the return to Nepal.

Just the time to visit …

The warming weather in the Himalayas, starts to bring everything back to life. The birds begin their migration north from India, the flowers come into blossom, it is just the time to visit Nepal.

It was from here that the famous 19th century botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, returned to Kew in 1851 after his renowned expedition, with over three thousand species of plants, many of which today, are household names, such as the red-blooming Rhododendron arboreum – the national flower of Nepal – and Magnolia campbellii, named after Dr Archibald Campbell, Superintendent of Darjeeling, while the forest floor is a carpet of the delicate Alpine primrose, the celebrated Irish East India Company botanist, Michael Pakenham Edgeworth’s Primula edgeworthii. 

Group Tour, April 2019:

With three trips already booked, we are now looking to fill a final ten day group tour, for a minimum of
eight people in mid-April, to trek into the rhododendron forests of the Langtang National Park to see the Spring flowers in full bloom. At this time of year, the temperature is just right in the foothills, with magnificent snow-capped peaks as the backdrop to every day.

A great opportunity to gather up your friends for an Easter break with a difference!

After an overnight flight to Nepal, you will be met and checked into your hotel in Kathmandu, by my team.
The following morning, a guided tour of the city. After a second night in the hotel and fully refreshed, it is a four hour drive in a comfortable jeep, with a picnic lunch overlooking the Bothe Kosi River, to Chautara, an old provincial capital, in the North East where we will be met by porters, hand over the baggage and begin the two hour trek to our camp. 

Over the next six days, climbing to approximately 12,000ft, we will walk, see and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Langtang National Park, not only the flora but the fauna too such as the Ghoral goat antelope, Crested Serpent eagles, the Impeyan pheasant and the Fire-tailed Sunbird. Come evening, over a glass of whisky, we can talk about the great mountains, the myths that surround them, the day gone by, the days yet to come and then maybe the mahseer that run the rivers but they, of course, are another tale …

With best wishes for a very happy Christmas,

Christopher Ussher
Ussher Tours

Approx price per person not including air fares, which we will arrange, US$3,500.00

Ussher’s Notes from Nepal

Tigers, showers and campfire chat from the Himalayas...

As many listeners already know, my Gurkha team and I have been leading tailor-made tours to Nepal since 1985; from parties of one to thirty at a time, more often than not though, ten seems to be the perfect number.

Keen eye for detail

Travelling off the beaten track, comfort ever the watchword, we maintain a keen eye for detail. On our latest trip to the Bardia National Park in West Nepal, we trialled our new camp in the Babai Valley, from which we conducted daily activities; tents, beds, dining and washing facilities all received the thumbs up from our guests but most welcome of all were the new showers. There are now two options – modern and traditional, both of which I know will be of interest to Listeners. On the one hand, it was often hard to get Panu (bottom middle), our photographer, out of the modern showers, so warm was the water, while on the other hand, (bottom right) some members of our party still preferred more traditional methods…


In the hills, Spring is the perfect time to trek in Nepal; the magnolia and rhododendrons are in full bloom and the temperature is just right. Down on the plain, it is the moment to explore the riverine forest in search of tiger, wild elephant, the Greater Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, leopard, five species of deer, two species of crocodilian, Gangetic Dolphin and all manner of birdlife from the Bengal Florican to the Pied Kingfisher and the Crested Serpent Eagle.

Driving through the forest

In camp, come early afternoon, often the temperature can be such, that it is best to let the heat of the day pass you by with a siesta in the cool comfort of your tent. A few weeks ago, after one such occasion, we took the jeeps out into the forest for the early evening game drive, in search of wildlife – always a special time of the day. Driving through the forest, Gyan, one of our most experienced trackers, suddenly waved the vehicles to stop. Something had caught his eye. He signalled for silence and, dismounting, sure enough, his hunch was right.

“Sahib”, he whispered at me, gesticulating that I too should dismount. On his haunches, he smoothed the ground around the unmistakable foot print of a tiger, and, from its’ size, a big animal too. He looked enquiringly at me, “ten may be twenty minutes ago?” He whispered. By the definition of the print, it was hard to disagree. With his long stick, he pointed to the next sign, a leaf turned back on itself ten yards ahead; a disturbance so slight, it was hard to distinguish but once spotted, was unmistakable. Gyan moved further into the undergrowth, his every step taken with the greatest of care, halting, crouching, listening and watching for vital sign that would guide him in the tiger’s direction.

Low bass growl

Moving close behind Gyan, I watched over his shoulder as he slid his stick gently under a branch lifting it carefully like the lid of some ancient chest, to reveal a hollow a hundred yards hence. At the bottom, in the half light, a tiger brooded over a spotted deer, its’ neck hanging limp in clamped jaws; triumphant, possessive, yet angered by the intrusion, bright eyes glared up at us. A low bass growl, a swirl, a clatter of undergrowth and in less than a razor’s slice of a second it took its kill and was gone. The only clue that anything had been there at all was the faint murmur of a sal tree branch; jubilant at this unique find of tiger and kill, that we had chanced on, our hearts raced.

Round the campfire

After dinner, later that evening, over a glass or two of whisky, we stood around the campfire, discussing what would have once been a rare encounter. However, thanks to a well co-ordinated conservation programme run by the by the Wildlife and Forests Department and the National Trust for Nature Conservation, with the full support of the Government, the good news is that, in Nepal, tiger numbers are on the rise again and the population is less endangered than before.

At dawn, the following day, it was an early start to board the aeroplane to Pokhara to begin our trek through the rhododendron forests in the foothills of the Himalayas but that, of course, is another tale…

Best wishes,
Christopher Ussher
Ussher Tours

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