The United Nations’ mandated World Environment Day on 5th June every year. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.
This year, the theme revolves around air pollution. Air pollution is a man-made problem that has been responsible for early deaths of about seven million people every year, around 600,000 of whom are children. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s population breathe polluted air.
“The right to a healthy environment is fundamental to human well-being and is legally recognized by over 150 States at the national and regional levels. It should be globally reaffirmed to ensure the enjoyment of this right by everyone, everywhere while upholding the human rights principles of universality and non-discrimination,” David Boyd, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment said in a statement.
As travellers, we explore everything. The fresh mountain air, the warm tropical breeze, the aromatic smell trailing through winding lanes of old quarters of world cities, the powerful fumes of history in old monuments…the list goes on. Air is primary to our existence. Whether it is the cold, billowing wind of Antarctica, or the sultry breeze of Rajasthan, or the mountain air of the Himalaya, every breath we inhale adds to our experience and to our memory of that place. So it becomes important for our tribe to be aware of this primary important element of life. While policy makers have the larger responsibility of ensuring clean air for all, we as world citizens can do our bit by reducing our carbon footprint, by supporting causes and outfits that work towards reducing air pollution, and by generally advocating good clean air. After all, we have only one planet.
Indian media outfit Mail Today organised its 5th Mail Today Tourism Summit 2019 last Friday, 31st May. The event, held at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, witnessed a number of thought leaders from the tourism industry to discuss ideas that could redefine the future of tourism industry. There were panel discussions on how online companies are shaping travel, luxury travel, and destinations Indians prefer.
Speaking at the panel on “Digital Nomads: How online companies are shaping travel plans”, Mandip Singh Soin, founder president, Ecotourism Society of India, commented on how awareness needs to be created towards responsible tourism, even by online companies.
On the 40th anniversary of Ibex Expeditions, Mandip and Anita Soin, owners and Directors, take you on an enthralling personally led deluxe journey through this forest declared as a National park in 1981. Have you considered walking in a forest in the footsteps of erstwhile explorer, Captain James Forsyth of the Bengal Lancers who traversed this forest in 1862? The Satpura Tiger reserve covers 528 km from Gujarat in the East through Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and is an extensive forest area with unique flora and fauna and is the only tiger park in India that allows for a controlled walking safari and mobile camping access accompanied by forest guards.
We first experience a walking expedition through the forest spending two days in a mobile camp. Later we experience the deluxe Reni Pani safari lodge and engage in canoe and jeep rides, all the while enjoying the local hospitality and community interactions. We then travel to the beautiful Ahilya fort (Relaix and Chateau) in the countryside town of Maheshwar living like a royal and explore the countryside with its seamless confluence of textiles, culture, serenity, and architecture. Boat rides on the Narmada river, island picnics and drinks by the poolside sum up the high life as you retreat into a bygone era of simplicity and grace.
Since 2012, Ibex Expeditions has supported the Give Back to Nature programme of WWF India and for each participant of this journey, we will donate US $ 40 per person.
On arrival into IGI Delhi airport at hours, you will be met by our Office Assistant, holding a name placard followed by transfer to your hotel. Since your arrival is late at night, check-in to your hotel and rest.
After breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of Delhi at 0930 hours which includes the city’s world heritage sites. Drive through New Delhi roads & sights such as India Gate, The Presidential Palace and Parliament house to get a feel for the grand new city that Sir Lutyens built in the early 1900s.
Delhi – Bhopal by plane
Early morning transfer to airport to board the scheduled flight to Bhopal. Flight – Jet Airways 893: 0540 – 0700 hours Reporting time – 0400 hours On arrival at Bhopal airport, transfer to your retreat on the outskirts of the town. Post lunch at 1400 hours, your private city guide will report to the hotel for a guided excursion to Sanchi stupa (45 km one way). Today, the remarkably preserved Great Stupa is the centerpiece of Sanchi’s World Heritage-listed Buddhist monuments. Return to the retreat in the evening for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast, check out and drive to Satpura National Park. Satpura National Park covers 1500 sq. km of a unique Central Plateau Highland ecosystem, with rugged terrain, valleys, rivulets, waterfalls and narrow gorges. The park is rich in biodiversity and is the abode of numerous species of flora and fauna. The area’s stunning topography coupled with the abundance of wildlife it contains caters to a variety of interests and a combination of ways to explore them. In the afternoon proceed on a guided nature walk in the buffer zone. The feeling of being in the jungle with no separation between wildlife and oneself is truly exhilarating and is an experience any wildlife enthusiast would cherish. Birdwatchers and butterfly enthusiasts enjoy viewing the ample bird and butterfly life.
Early morning after breakfast at 0630 hours, check out and drive to Panchmarhi at 0700 hours, a lovely hill station nestled in the highest peaks of Satpura. Upon reaching Pachmarhi, you will commence your descent towards Dehelia camp which will be used as the point for your first campsite. This walk is extremely unique, and patrons get a one of a kind opportunity to witness the transformation from Sal to Teak forest. The first 7 km is a steep decline to the Kanchighat where you will stop for lunch. Here, there is a wonderful perennial stream where you can take a dip and enjoy an array of colorful birdlife including Red-Whiskered Bulbul, Indian Nuthatch, Oriental White-eye, Common Tailorbird, Indian Yellow Tit and beautiful damselflies like the Stream Glory and the Stream Jewel. After lunch, you will walk another 6 km to the picturesque Dehelia camp located on the banks of the Denwa River. Your exclusive mobile camp will be set up along a lovely sandy beach on the river. Look for the Indian Giant Squirrel here. Enjoy cups of specially brewed aromatic coffee from the Chikmaglur estates in South India, in the evening.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Hotel: Private Camp
You will wake up to the symphony of the flowing Denwa River. Breakfast will be served at 0700 hours. Today you will embark on a 16 km partly along with banks of the Denwa and in some pristine woodland habitat. As you walk along the Denwa you will be witness to the magical change in scenery that Satpura offers. High sandbanks, narrow waterways, and a beautiful confluence with the Bainganga River all await your strides. One may need to wade through knee-deep water at times to adventurously get to Jhela camp (9 km) which will be used for your lunch stop. After Jhela, you leave the Denwa river bed and walk 6 km through dry deciduous woodland towards Manakachar where your exclusive mobile camp will be set up for the night.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
After breakfast in the camp, drive to Reni Pani lodge and check into tented rooms and cottages. After lunch, around 1430 hours you depart for a game park drive in open-top Jeeps looking for Tigers, Sloth bears, and birdlife. The state forest department guides along with the naturalists deliver a truly exhilarating experience filled with insightful knowledge on the flora and fauna that is indigenous to the Satpura Tiger Reserve. This evening you will be treated to a talk and presentation by Managing Director, Mandip Soin – ”Tales of an Explorer”.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
This morning return to the park for another game drive and resume the romance with wilderness and its many denizens. Return to the lodge around 1000 hours for breakfast. At 1130 hours, enjoy a yoga session led by Mandip Soin. Learn about various asanas such as shavasana (the dead body posture) and sukhasana (Easy sitting posture). The session will also include a guide to breathing and meditation. Duration – 45 minutes. A brief culinary class with the lodge chef is an interesting and fun way to learn about Indian cuisine early this afternoon. In the afternoon, you depart from the lodge for the Tawa Reservoir where you canoe for a few hours. Enroute you visit a local school and interact with the teachers and staff. Return to the lodge for dinner and rest.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Satpura – Bhopal by road (4-5 hours)
Early this morning, you visit the park for the last time, on a thrilling game drive. Return to the lodge for breakfast. Later check out and drive to Bhopal town via the Bhimbetka caves, a world heritage site listed by UNESCO. Your guide will meet you at the caves directly. The evening is at leisure after check-in at the Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal.
After breakfast, you will check out at 1000 hours and make the last of your long drives for this trip. You will arrive late afternoon and check into the deluxe Ahilya Fort. Today you will visit the town of Maheshwar, starting with the statue of Rani Ahilya bai seated on the throne in the Rajgaddi within the fort complex. Other rooms in the fort are open for public viewing, too, and you can see other heirlooms and relics of the Holkar royal family. Ahilya Fort and the town of Maheshwar itself house several multi-tiered temples that are worth visiting. At sunset, you will go on a boat ride along the Narmada to get a different view of this unique town, and dinner will be back at the fort.
After breakfast at the Fort, drive 65 km (1 1/2 Hours) to Mandu, the 15th-century city with marvels of early Islamic architecture. Enjoy a picnic lunch near the old gates to Mandu, the Tarapur Darwaza. Mandu or the ‘City of Joy’ embodies the love of the poet Prince Baz Bahadur for his consort Rani Roopmati. The Balladeers of the region still sing about their love. Each structure in Mandu is an architectural gem. After a day filled with romance, weave your way back to the fort. This evening you will experience a hand-paddled wooden boat as it glides through hundreds of flickering lamps on the river. Local musicians will serenade you from their vessel and hotel staff will serve your local refreshments. Once you’ve reached magical Rupmati’s Island, disembark for your special candlelit dinner. Return to the fort after dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Maheshwar – Indore airport by road (2-3 hours) – Delhi by flight – International departure
After breakfast, check out by 0830 hours and transfer to Indore airport to board the scheduled flight to Delhi. Flight – Jet Airways 766: 1130 – 1255 hours Reporting time – 1030 hours. On arrival at Delhi airport, transfer to hotel Trident Gurgaon, where a room is reserved for day use only. This evening/night transfer to International airport to board onward flight.
To know more about this journey this year, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Flying into Leh, the former capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, feels more like landing on the moon than landing in India. Its harsh, mountainous terrain is starkly beautiful and very dry, due to its high altitude and cold desert climate. Dotted with stupas and whitewashed houses, the Old Town is dominated by a dagger of steep rocky ridge topped by an imposing Tibetan-style palace and fort.
Our special anniversary edition journey to Ladakh this September will be led by Himraj Soin, an adventure travel journalist who is an avid skier and climber;
studied at Colorado College. He is a National Geographic Student Expedition leader
and photographer and his expeditions have taken him to Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan,Borneo, Madagascar, Peru, Morocco, Namibia, Argentina, Chile, and Antarctica, and more.
Following a theme of a responsible eco adventure, walking in the footsteps of the this photo adventure journey will take you to all Buddhist monasteries, trek through breathtaking passes. You will discuss Buddhist traditions, learn about renewable energy projects with conservationists, visit outfits promoting sustainable development and walk along hillsides dotted with chortens and monasteries with exquisite Himalayan vistas.
The journey will take place this September. Send in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Two adventurers are attempting to cross Antarctica alone, without support, without being resupplied by food, or assisted by any means of transport other than the power of their legs. If either or both succeed, they will be the first to do so. No one has been able to cross Antarctica on foot, unsupported, yet.
The two adventurers are attempting this feat separately, and couldn’t be more different than each other.
Mr. Rudd is a grizzly British Army adventurer, carrying hot chocolate powder, dried porridge, along with the rest of his kit.
The second explorer is a 33-year-old American mountaineer and explorer—Colin ‘O’ Brady. Mr. Brady is a chiselled professional triathlete-turned-mountaineer. He has over 70,000 Instagram followers, a YouTube channel, and brought his own custom-made energy bars called Colin Bars.
While for Mr. Rudd the reason for taking on this journey is a personal one, Mr. Brady wants to win the race, and make history. 16 people have attempted to cross Antarctica so far. All failed. Waiting to see what happens now.
We are going on an epic voyage to this expansive continent in March 2019. The journey aims to create ambassadors for Antarctica, who will pledge to protect and preserve the region from exploitation of all kinds. Check this link for more details of the journey, and send in your enquiries to us at email@example.com
UPDATE: Colin O’Brady eventually won the race in 53 days. For more, read this BBC story.
The north-eastern part of India is an explorer’s paradise. Part of the eastern Himalaya, the region is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra-Barack river systems and its tributaries. The region has some of the last remaining rainforests of the Indian subcontinent, that support diverse flora and fauna and several crop species. Dense forests, living roots bridges, emerald pools, high mountains and among these live some of the most amazing tribes of the world. The north-east is truly a gem.
At the 7th International Tourism Mart 2018 for the North East Region, our founder and explorer Mandip Singh Soin was a panellist at a session on adventure and ecotourism development in the region. He gave a number of recommendations to maintain the beauty of the region and work harmoniously with local communities. These included recommending tour operators to get an STCI certification (Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India), and to follow #responsibletourism practice in every step that accrue benefits to the #localcommunities and environment and allow for interactions with the amazing tribes of the region.
When tour operators, governments and travellers make responsible tourism and sustainable travel as part of their policy and thought process, good things can be achieved.