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E X P E R T-L E D G R O U P T O U R S 2 02 1 -2 2

DISCOVER EXTRAORDINARY WITH OUR EXPERTS Our brightest minds, with you all the way


Back to the wild. Welcome to our 2021-22 Expert-led Group Tours brochure. As you know, we always dedicate our complete passion and expertise to these updates, but this edition was driven by something entirely new: the unfolding desire to be out in the world again. While the last year has taught us here at Steppes Travel many things about our society and the role we play within it, it has stoked our desire to discover the extraordinary waiting just beyond the horizon even more than ever. With that in mind, we have been busy creating cultural and wildlife experiences which show you the world through the eyes of the very finest experts and with an intimate group of like-minded souls. What could be a more perfect way to feel wild once again.

Justin Wateridge Managing Director


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37 Contents 6

EUROPE

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INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

8 9 10 11 12

Albania - Origins of Illyria

India - Ganges River Cruise India - Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh

Expert-led Tours - Carve Your Own Path

30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

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MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA

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SOUTH EAST ASIA & OCEANIA

18 19 20 21 22 23

Central Asia - Five Stans

40 41

Indonesian Borneo - Orangutan Conservation Malaysian Borneo - Conservation Insight with New Scientist

13 14

24 25 26

Georgia - Highlights of Transcaucasia Greece - Exploring Ancient Epirus and Beyond Russia - Jewels of St Petersburg Spain - The Wolves and Bears of Cantabria with The European Nature Trust Turkey - Ancient Civilisations of Eastern Turkey

China - Photography and Cultures of the Yunnan Province

India - Textiles of West Bengal India - Ancient Caves and Rock Paintings of India India - On the Trail of Snow Leopards India - Tiger Conservation with New Scientist Pakistan - Mughals, Monuments and History Sri Lanka - Wildlife and Wilderness with New Scientist

Lebanon - Land of Cedars Iran - A Persian Journey Krygzstan & China - Journey Along the Silk Route Mongolia - Palaeontology in the Gobi Desert with New Scientist Saudi Arabia - Kingdom of the Nabateans Uzbekistan - Carpet Ride to Khiva Expert-led Tours - Bright Lights

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42 43

Papua New Guinea - Sepik River and Rabaul Mask Festival

44

AFRICA

46 47 48 49

Gabon - Wildlife and Culture of Africa’s eden

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THE AMERICAS & POLAR REGIONS

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Antarctica - Antarctica and South Georgia Fly and Cruise with New Scientist Arctic - Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute Brazil - Pantanal Cruise Through Jaguar Territory

53 54 55 56 57 58

Vietnam - Cultures and Geology of North Vietnam with New Scientist

Chad - Zakouma and the Wildlife of the Sahel Madagascar - Lemurs, Baobabs and Tsingy with New Scientist Expert-led Tours - True Reflection

Canada - Great Bear Rainforest Cruise with Sue Flood Colombia - Uncovering Colombia’s Historical, Political and Social Truths Galapagos Islands - Cruise with Macarena Iturralde Galapagos Islands - Cruise with Jo Ruxton

41 59 60 61

Guatemala - Textiles and Cultures of the Mayan World

62 64

WHY BOOK WITH US? 2021-22 EXPERT-LED TOUR CALENDAR

Peru - A Unique Experience in the Peruvian Rainforest Expert-led Tours - Just Beyond the Horizon


EUROPE A continent for the eyes and mind. Great landscapes sit side by side with relics of grand empires and nations. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

6 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Nicholas, Albania 2019

CAROLYN BROUGHT ALIVE THOSE ANCIENT WORLDS. HER PASSION AND KNOWLEDGE WERE ALWAYS AT THE FORE; SHE INVITED US INTO A WORLD OF WONDER AND WAS ALWAYS ABLE TO EXPLAIN THINGS SO THAT EVEN THOSE WITH LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF ROMANS AND GREEKS COULD MARVEL AT THEIR INGENUITY.

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Albania

Origins of Illyria Accompanied by Carolyn Perry 17th – 25th September 2021 | 9 days 3rd – 11th June 2022 | 9 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £1,995pp Single supplement: £250pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Take an in-depth tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site

of Butrint • Soak up stunning mountain scenery and hidden villages • Travel to Grama Bay – a site of more than 1,500 inscriptions Journey through the ‘Land of Eagles’ – known as Illyria throughout the classical era – and discover a country with a fascinating past and present. Rich archaeological sites, such a Byllis, will reveal stories of everyday life in ancient times, while Butrint – described by Virgil as ‘Troy in miniature’ – boasts links to the famous legend of Aeneas. The tour also takes time to explore Albania’s dramatic coast and to discover why Caesar and Pompey fought so bitterly over it. If you are looking for a window into an age of empire, war, treasure and rebellion, then this is for you.

8 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Carolyn Perry holds a degree in classics and archaeology, and has lectured in ancient history and mythology at Queen Mary College. Carolyn has led tours for Steppes Travel for over five years and her research into the Illyrian kingdoms has led to this completely new itinerary. We thoroughly enjoy working with her – her incredible knowledge, passion for travel and warm disposition make her a client favourite.

Carolyn Perry


Georgia Ian Colvin

Highlights of Transcaucasia Accompanied by Ian Colvin 8th – 21st May 2022 | 14 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £795pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 Ian Colvin is a historian at the University of Cambridge who works on the South Caucasus, Byzantium and Sasanian Iran. Alongside work for the School Classics Project, he is Director of the Anglo-Georgian Archaeological Expedition to the important site of Nokalakevi in Samegrelo, West Georgia, a project he established in 2001 in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum.

HIGHLIGHTS • Explore picturesque hilltop monasteries and fortresses • Enjoy the dramatic landscapes of the snow-capped

Caucasus Mountains

• Sample Georgia’s delicious traditional food and innumerable wines

From lush green valleys spread with vineyards to its deep-rooted churches nestled in mountains, Georgia is a beautiful country and a marvellous canvas for walkers and travellers of every kind. Its proud, high-spirited, cultured people are the soul of this stunning land. Spend time travelling through Tbilisi, Kvareli, Kazbegi, Kutaisi and Mestia with expert guide Ian Colvin alongside providing genuine insight into the history, architecture and rural lifestyle of many Georgians. Get off the beaten track and traverse the lush mountains and explore the beautiful churches and watchtowers, some of which are not accessible by road.

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Greece

Exploring Ancient Epirus and Beyond Accompanied by Carolyn Perry 4th – 12th September 2021 | 9 days 3rd – 11th September 2022 | 9 days Nikopolis amphitheatre

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,495pp Single supplement: £460pp Carolyn Perry holds a degree in classics and archaeology, lectures on aspects of the ancient Mediterranean and Islamic world and is a regular speaker at the British Museum and elsewhere on ancient Mediterranean history and mythology. Carolyn has led tours for Steppes Travel for over five years and will bring this beautiful region of Greece and its truly gripping history to life.

GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Retrace the famous battle of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans • Visit Nikopolis, the largest ancient city in Greece • Trace the stories of some of history’s most iconic figures

This is a Greece with a difference; focusing not only on the great poleis, or city-states of the south, but also some of the fascinating sites of the regions of Acarnania, Epirus and Boeotia. The names of these regions of ancient Greece may be unfamiliar, but the events, personalities and settings will be well-known. In Acarnania, you will see where the Battle of Actium, between Octavian and Antony and Cleopatra, took place; in Epirus, visit Dodona, the city of Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, and capital of King Pyrrhus; and in Boeotia, pass by the site of the battle of Thermopylae, where the legend of the 300 Spartans was forged.

10 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Russia

Jewels of St Petersburg Accompanied by Katya Galitzine 22nd – 26th September 2021 | 9 days 21st – 25th September 2022 | 9 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £2,295pp Single supplement: £400pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Katya Galitzine is a direct descendant of Catherine the Great - and went to live in the former Soviet Union in 1989 to learn Russian, and to study sculpture at the prestigious Repin Academy of Arts in the studio of Mikhail Anikushin. She has written articles for many newspapers and magazines, and has led cultural tours with Steppes since the mid 1990s.

• Discover delicate jewels at the Faberge Museum • See hidden treasures from Russia’s colourful past at the State

Hermitage Museum • Take tea at the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library

Katya Galitzine

Take a journey through the splendour of the tsars with Princess Katya Galitzine, a member of one of the oldest noble families in Russian history. In particular, Katya’s connections will introduce you to the jewels and treasures of pre-revolutionary Russia. Explore some of the vaults within the State Hermitage Museum, view over 1,500 beautiful examples of Faberge eggs in a private collection at the Shuvalov Palace, and uncover exceptional gems and riches at the Mining Institute. This is a rare and dazzling exploration of St Petersburg and some of its most precious artefacts brought to you in a way that few ever have the opportunity to experience. Discover extraordinary with our experts | 11


Spain Cantabrian brown bear

The Wolves and Bears of Cantabria with The European Nature Trust Accompanied by Duncan Grossart 13th – 18th September 2021 | 6 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £2,495pp No single supplement GROUP SIZE Maximum 12 HIGHLIGHTS Duncan’s lifelong love of nature encompasses the protection, restoration and enjoyment of wild habitats in Europe and farther afield. His focus is on supporting rewilding ground initiatives and engaging people with wildernesses directly. He is a zoology graduate, and fellow of the ZSL, RGS, RSAA and SES. He has worked closely with The European Nature Trust.

• Track wild bears, wolves and wildcats in the sprawling and idyllic

Cantabrian Mountains

• Be guided by bear protection and habitat conservation specialists • Join the work of the Brown Bear Foundation

Visit a vast, unspoilt and intact forest eco-system where you will track wild bears and wolves. Explore these areas of outstanding beauty with professional conservationists from the Brown Bear Foundation and gain insight into their crucial work to save the beautiful species. There is also the opportunity to spot the Iberian ibex, Cantabrian chamois, roe and red deer, wild boar and other mammals. Time unwinding away from tracking will be spent in local, independently-run Spanish guest houses known for incredible hospitality, food and insights into the region’s traditional way of life.

12 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Turkey

Ancient Civilisations of Eastern Turkey Accompanied by Ian Colvin 21st August – 2nd September 2021 | 13 days 25th June – 7th July 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,195pp Single supplement: £295pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Ian Colvin is a historian and Byzantinist specialising in Late Antiquity and the South Caucasus, with interests in the wider history of the region. He has more than twenty years’ experience of studying and teaching the history and archaeology of Georgia, the South Caucasus and Turkey. He has led trips to Georgia and Armenia with Steppes for a number of years, and is looking forward to returning to Turkey

• Visit Göbekli Tepe, the newly-excavated 9,000-year-old temple • Explore Lake Van, the largest alkaline lake in the world • Discover Mount Nemrut, one of Mesopotamia’s highest peaks

Prepare yourself for a fascinating melting pot of experiences that’s perfect for any intrepid traveller. The first step of this journey will see you start at Trabzon and travel along the Black Sea coast to Ani. Lake Van, Diyarbakir and Gobekli Tepe – the world’s first temple – are next on the map. Your final stop will be Sanliurfa – also known as the ‘the city that changed human history’. Expert guide Ian Colvin will not only be on hand to explain more about this city’s colourful moniker, but to provide insight on ancient civilisations throughout your 13 days together.

Ian Colvin

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CARVE YOUR OWN PATH. True exploration can only flourish when nothing is set in stone. When you are free to choose the steps that you take. At Steppes Travel, we can create private, expert-led cultural and wildlife group tours, for yourself and those closest to you, right across this beautiful planet.

14 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


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MIDDLE-EAST & CENTRAL

ASIA

A region jewelled with glittering medieval architecture, remnants of the fabled Silk Road and a legacy of rich tradition and lore. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

16 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Ausuf, Kyrgyzstan and China 2019

DIANA DRISCOLL, WHAT A WONDERFUL TOUR EXPERT - YOU REALLY COULDN’T ASK FOR MORE. HER LECTURES WERE GREAT, FABULOUS ATTITUDE, VERY WELL ORGANISED WITH A SUPERB APPROACH TO MANAGING HER TOUR GROUP.

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Central Asia Chris Aslan-Alexander

Five Stans Accompanied by Chris Aslan-Alexander 18th May – 3rd June 2022 | 17 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £550pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Explore Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and

Born and raised in Turkey and Lebanon, Chris travelled to Uzbekistan in 1998 to work on a guidebook. He was adopted by a local family, fell in love with the place and people, and stayed. A Carpet Ride to Khiva – Seven Years on the Silk Road tells this story. He has since gone on to live in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Turkmenistan • Visit the colourful bazaars and architectural wonders of Samarkand and Bukhara • Discover the world of intrigue that was known as the ‘Great Game’ Travelling through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, this journey has been created to allow you to see the highlights of Central Asia. Begin in Bishkek, settled in the shadows of the imposing Tien Shan Mountains, and travel onto Almaty, Kazakhstan’s trading and cultural hub. From there, fly to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, situated on the Varzob River, as well as Khujand, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Cross into Uzbekistan, with its stunning architecture; before concluding in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, known for its white marble buildings and magnificent national monuments.

18 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


China

Photography and Cultures of the Yunnan Province Accompanied by George Chan 7th – 16th May 2022 | 10 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,995pp Single supplement: £425pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 12 HIGHLIGHTS • Photograph Jade Dragon Snow Mountain from Lijiang Old Town • Walk through Tibetan minority villages and search for the

George Chan has been a photographer and cameraman for more than 30 years. He worked on David Attenborough’s State of the Planet, the BBC’s most comprehensive series about conservation, and Wild China. He also worked on the first series of Planet Earth, travelling to the Amazon and the Arctic. He has a PhD in evolutionary biology and a degree in zoology from Oxford University.

endangered Golden Monkey

• Explore Gyalthang, or Shangri La, the best-preserved example of

Tibetan architecture

This varied and eclectic photographic tour of China, and the Yunnan province, combines classic sites, including the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall, while making time for hidden gems, such as Lijiang and Tiger Leaping Gorge. Beijing begins your photographic journey, with the red tiles of the Forbidden City and the curved path of the Great Wall’s more peaceful Mutianyu section. Capture the dramatic and mountainous landscape of Yunnan, honing your lens skills on the people and wildlife. Explore Tibetan minority villages and the Dian National Park, home to the endangered Golden Monkey, which can be found hiding in the trees.

George Chan

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Lebanon

Land of Cedars Accompanied by Ian Colvin 4th – 9th April 2022 | 6 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £1,995pp Single supplement: £285pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Learn of the gamut of historical civilisations that once thrived at

the UNESCO site of Byblos • Take a dramatic cable car ride to the Virgin Mary shrine for breath-taking views • Explore the monumental temple city of Baalbeck, a wonder of the ancient world

Lebanon offers a unique east-meets-west charm and is one of the Middle East’s most liberal nations. As a historic crossroads of civilisations, remnants of well-known dynasties from right across the ages can be found here in abundance. Led by Historian and researcher Ian Colvin, the tour navigates the turbulent past with visits to colossal Roman ruins, grand examples of Ottoman architecture, and fascinating Druse palaces. All of this is accompanied by fine wines, sumptuous food and a culture and people that are proud, welcoming and warm.

20 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Ian Colvin is a historian and researcher at the University of Cambridge, working on the South Caucasus, Byzantium and Sasanian Iran. Alongside work for the School Classics Project, he is Director of the AngloGeorgian Archaeological Expedition to Nokalakevi in Samegrelo, West Georgia – a project which he established in 2001 alongside the Georgian National Museum.

Sidon Sea Castle


Iran Carolyn Perry

A Persian Journey Accompanied by Carolyn Perry 9th – 21st May 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,695pp Single supplement: £750pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Carolyn Perry holds a degree in classics and archaeology and has lectured in Ancient History and Mythology at Queen Mary College. Carolyn has led tours for Steppes Travel for over five years. We enjoy working with her, not only for her incredible knowledge but for her passion and enthusiasm about the regions to which she travels.

• Explore the ruined ceremonial site of Persepolis • Take to the streets of the colourful and romantic city of Shiraz • Wander through and marvel at the vast Imam Square

Rising to prominence under the Achaemenid dynasty, rulers of the largest pre-Roman empire, Iran’s culture and architecture has continued to flourish long since this great empire disappeared. Start the trip with a visit to Shiraz, the cultural capital of Iran; from there, discover Yazd, a city designed around the unique demands of desert life. Explore the site of ancient Persepolis, before visiting the rockcut tombs of the Achaemenid kings. Finally, travel on to Isfahan - the beautiful creation of Shah Abbas - and surround yourself with the magnificent Imam Square, arguably one of the wonders of the Islamic world.

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Krygzstan and China

Journey Along the Silk Route

Diana Driscoll

Accompanied by Diane Driscoll 7th – 22nd June 2022 | 16 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £650pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 Diana Driscoll is a leading Islamic world guide and lecturer with an emphasis on Central Asia. Diana has led tours for Steppes Travel for the past three years. Educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Diana has over 30 years of experience studying and exploring ancient Near and Middle East history.

HIGHLIGHTS • Discover Kyrgyzstan’s dramatic landscapes of forested

mountains and lush valleys

• Explore Tash Rabat, an ancient caravanserai of the Silk Route • Visit Xian’s extraordinary Terracotta Warriors, built to guard the

tomb of China’s first emperor

Journey eastward by road, rail and air to explore the historic sites that dot one of the world’s oldest and most challenging trade routes. Begin in Bishkek, settled in the shadows of the imposing Tien Shan Mountains. Traverse this stunning range - obstacles to Silk Road travellers for millennia - and drop down into the deserts of China. Visit the ancient trade hub of Kashgar, then skirt the edge of the magnificent Taklamakan Desert and head towards the vast Turpan Depression. From here, travel to the richly-decorated Mogao Caves at Dunhuang. End at the Silk Route’s eastern terminus, Xian, which is home to the massed ranks of the famous Terracotta Army.

22 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Mongolia

Palaeontology in the Gobi Desert with New Scientist Accompanied by John Pickrell 27th August – 10th September 2022 | 15 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £6,495pp Single supplement: £625pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 12 HIGHLIGHTS

John is an award-winning science journalist and one of the world’s top fossil and palaeontology writers, who regularly contributes to publications including New Scientist, National Geographic, Nature and Scientific American. He studied biology at London’s Imperial College and has an MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity from the Natural History Museum.

• Join expert palaeontologists prospecting dinosaur remains dating

back millions of years • Experience starkly beautiful Mongolian desert landscapes • Stay in a traditional ger and marvel at the incredible night skies

This tour offers an incredibly exciting opportunity to work alongside distinguished palaeontologists, as part of an expedition team prospecting for fossils in the remote Western Gobi Desert. Beginning in Ulaanbaatar, you will observe Buddhist culture at Gandan Monastery and spend time at a palaeontology laboratory learning from technicians. Fly to the heart of the Gobi Desert, which dates back some 60-90 millions years to the late Cretaceous Period. Camp hundreds of miles from civilisation and scour sites, such as the Flaming Cliffs, where hundreds of specimens are uncovered every year, including the very first nest of dinosaur eggs.

Dinosaur footprint

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Saudi Arabia

Kingdom of the Nabateans Accompanied by Roger Harrison 2nd – 13th November 2021 | 12 days 1st – 12th November 2022 | 12 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Roger Harrison

Tour price: £6,395pp Single supplement: £615pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15

Roger has worked in and for the Kingdom in various forms for some 20 years or more. He has travelled it widely and in his position as Senior Reporter for the Arab News (the national English language newspaper) was privileged to meet a wide selection of the country’s people, from monarchs to road

HIGHLIGHTS • Visit the spectacular Nabatean site of Madain Saleh • Explore the ancient town of Jeddah • Visit the historical sites around Riyadh, including the UNESCO

site of Diriyah

The prospect of travelling in the footsteps of Richard Burton, T. E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger is certainly a tantalising one. Starting in the growing city of Riyadh, the tour moves to Diriyyah, home to one of Saudi’s most important UNESCO sites and Buraidah, famous for its camel market. Hail and Al Ula are the gateways to Madain Saleh, the lesser-known sister to Jordan’s Petra and a real highlight. Finish at the sandstone landscapes of Hesma Valley and then Jeddah, where the old town and museum unearth more of the city’s pre-Islamic past. Follow your curiosity and put experience before prejudgment.

24 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Uzbekistan

Carpet Ride to Khiva Accompanied by Chris Aslan Alexander 9th – 19th April 2022 | 11 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,295pp Single supplement: £350pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Born and raised in Turkey and Lebanon, Chris travelled to Uzbekistan in 1998 to work on a guidebook. He was adopted by a local family, fell in love with the place and people, and stayed. A Carpet Ride to Khiva – Seven Years on the Silk Road tells this story. He has since gone on to live in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

• Photograph the turquoise domes of Timurid architecture • Visit Samarkand’s spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site,

Registan Square • Explore the bazaars of Bukhara, home to traditional artisans

Escorted by expert Chris Aslan Alexander, this tour to Uzbekistan is a wonderful cultural overview of the country. With its dazzling array of mosques, madrassas, tombs and tales of Tamerlane reflecting the depth of its history, Uzbekistan is the perfect introduction to the Central Asian plateau. Discover the art, architecture and culture of the fabled Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Roam the winding medieval streets of Khiva’s old city, journey across the vast Kizilkum Desert and experience the thriving food markets of Bukhara. Finally, gaze at the intricate tile work of Samarkand’s Registan Square and the vibrant, Soviet-influenced city of Tashkent.

Citadel Kunya-ark, Khiva

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26 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


BRIGHT LIGHTS. We understand that it takes more than just showing up to stand out. We only choose the most illuminating minds in their fields to show you the spaces to which they have devoted their lives.

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I NDIAN

SUBCONTINENT

A place where every horizon brings something different. Where majestic wildlife and warm cultures spread out endlessly before you. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

28 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Chris Packham, India 2019

THE TRIP WASN’T GOOD. IT WASN’T GREAT. IT WASN’T BRILLIANT EITHER... IT WAS EXCEPTIONAL. WE HAD A TRULY FABULOUS TIME.

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India William Dalrymple

Ganges River Cruise Accompanied by William Dalrymple 23rd February – 5th March 2022 | 11 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £4,995pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 52 HIGHLIGHTS • Eleven days of captivating, fully-escorted excursions with

William Dalrymple is the highly-acclaimed author of best-selling titles, In Xanadu, City of Djinns and The Age of Kali. In his most ambitious book to date, The Anarchy, William tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographical Society.

English-speaking local experts • Exquisite on- and off-board dinners, including pre-dinner presentations and discussions • Exclusive ship charter offering spacious, high-ceiling suites with French balconies William Dalrymple, author and historian, will join this cruise to share his knowledge of India and explore key regions mentioned in his latest book, The Anarchy. The cruise slowly drifts alongside riverside communities on the Lower Ganges, which are punctuated by historic battlefields, temple complexes, historic mosques and impressive colonial architecture. Enjoy a combination of daily shore excursions, on-board lectures and discussions, and experience a unique perspective and insight into Indian history.

30 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


India

Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh Accompanied by Jarrod Kyte 14th – 29th November 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £675pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Spend time in the company of the various tribes of Nagaland and

Arunachal Pradesh • Explore unspoilt regions of India that are untouched by the 21st Century • Explore breathtaking landscapes, from mountain passes to riverbeds This is undeniably last frontier country and some of the wildest land in India. Travel through Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, discover regions of India engulfed in mystery, inhabited by vibrant and zealous people, and journey through landscapes vast and largely unexplored. Begin in Arunachal Pradesh, known as ‘the land of dawn-lit mountains’. This pioneering journey continues, via Assam, into the state of Nagaland, home to the Konyak warrior tribe. Their recent history of headhunting makes them extraordinary people to spend time with.

Jarrod Kyte, Steppes Travel’s Product and Sales Director, will accompany this pioneering tour. A love of wildlife and wild places has long been his motivation for travelling. Jarrod is at his happiest when photographing big cats on the plains of subSaharan Africa or trekking in the shadows of mighty Himalayan peaks.

Jarrod Kyte

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India

Textiles of West Bengal Accompanied by Subhamay Banerjee 20th February – 1st March 2022 | 10 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,995pp No single supplement GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Visit Kalna, famous for Jamdani silk weaving and beautiful

hand-loomed saris • Experience the entire process of silk farming from worm to weave • Spend time with local weavers and try your hand at the loom Described by Lord Clive as “paradise on earth”, the North-Eastern region of Bengal was once the wealthiest and most industriallydeveloped place on earth. This immersive tour will explore this era’s renowned textile industry, which was famous for its muslins and silks. Visit Kalna, to meet one of the few remaining families that hand spin and weave super-fine cotton muslin and Jamdani silk. Discover the little-known Bengali art of Kantha, or stitch painting, which dates back to the 1st century AD. Then, spend time in Murshidabad, the nerve centre of textile production; visit a weavers’ village in Tantipara to meet local craftsmen; and travel to Islamapore and explore a silkworm farm.

32 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Shubhamay Banerjee is a proud Bengali with his heart and passion rooted in East India. A specialist in Indian history, tribal culture, textiles and crafts as well as Buddhist iconology, he leads expeditions all over India for a broad range of international visitors. Home is Kolkata where he grew up and he knows the alleys around the city extremely well, so time spent here will offer a different depth.

Subhamay Banerjee


India Ajanta cave paintings

Ancient Caves and Rock Paintings of India Accompanied by Dr Sethuraman Suresh 17th to 26th November 2021 | 10 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,295pp Single supplement: £780pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 14 HIGHLIGHTS Dr Sethuraman Suresh is an Archaeologist, Architectural Historian and Tourism Consultant based in India. He has a History and Archaeology degree, as well as PHD’s in Classical Archaeology and Medieval Indian Architecture. He will bring India’s caves and paintings to life with his in-depth knowledge and understanding of the region’s ancient history.

• Discover an abundant archaeological heritage through India’s

magnificent cave temples

• Visit the stunning UNESCO heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora • Explore the large marble domes and tapering minarets of the

‘Taj-ul-Masajid’, the most exquisite of India’s mosques

This unique tour explores the remains of a 2,000-year-old culture in the hills of Western India. Begin in Mumbai by exploring the diverse architectural styles found here, before continuing to the hills of the Deccan plateau. Here you will stay at the comfortable Taj Aurangabad and, as well as Ajanta caves, visit the ‘Baby Taj Mahal’ and the mesmerising complex of Ellora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A must-see is the Kailasha Temple, the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world and, deservedly, the best-known of Ellora’s rock-cut temples. Complete the tour with a visit to the Bhimbetka rock shelters which exhibit the earliest signs of human life on the Indian Subcontinent.

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India

On the Trail of Snow Leopards Accompanied by Jennifer Nandi 14th – 26th February 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £5,795pp Single supplement: £1,950pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Join expert trackers for optimum snow leopard sightings • Track snow leopards, blue sheep, ibex and Ladakhi urial on foot • Home-cooked meals and accommodation in a Ladakhi homestay

Ulley sits in the centre of three interlocking valleys, high in the Himalayan region of Ladakh and supports between eight and ten snow leopards, according to the last census. Successful sightings of this rare and endangered species are possible here, especially when tracking with experts Tchewang Norbu and Jennifer Nandi. This trip is a wildlife quest, not a safari, with the enormous reward of encounters with the ‘ghost of the Himalaya’. Other species will also be seen, from blue sheep, ibex and Ladakhi urial. At the end of the day, return to the warmth of a traditional homestay to recount the discoveries made out in the wilderness.

34 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Jennifer Nandi has been a naturalist, trekker and guide for the past three decades. Over the past five years, Jennifer has led small groups to Ladakh to show them snow leopard, as well as wolf, Tibetan antelope, argali, urial and ibex. At home at this altitude, and with intimate knowledge of the Ulley Valley and the movement of its snow leopard inhabitants, Jennifer takes pride in helping you to experience the best of Ladakh.

Jennifer Nandi


India Kartikeya Singh

Tiger Conservation with New Scientist Accompanied by Kartikeya Singh 9th – 17th April 2022 | 9 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,850pp Single supplement: £1,220pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 14 HIGHLIGHTS • Explore Tadoba and Pench, some of the most wildlife-rich

reserves in the India

Kartikeya Singh has worked as a consultant for the award-winning BBC series Natural World and Planet Earth, while amassing over 300 days’ filming experience in the wild. His guiding skills have been nationally recognised for work in the region, having recently been awarded for the ‘Best Lodge Naturalist’.

• 100% record of spotting tigers in their natural habitat • A number of hands-on experiences, including setting camera

traps and learning tracking skills

A tiger tour with a difference; it not only includes nine jeep safaris, offering optimum opportunity to see tiger in its natural habitat, but also explores how India, a country that is almost bursting at the seams with its human population, has managed to find a way to accommodate and protect these majestic creatures. Spend time with best-in-field conservationists to learn about on-going conservation projects, including village relocation and tiger translocation programmes. Your involvement in this tour supports these conservation efforts with a donation to TOFT.

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Pakistan Amelia Dalton

Mughals, Mountains and Monuments Accompanied by Diana Driscoll 22nd September – 6th October 2022 | 15 days PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,195pp Single supplement: £760pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Diana is a leading Islamic guide and lecturer. Educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Diana has over 30 years’ of experience studying and exploring Ancient, Near and Middle East history, languages, religion and culture. Diana has led tours for Steppes Travel for several years.

• Cross over soaring mountain plateaus and through epic scenery • Soak up the Mughal, Sikh and British history that is waiting

throughout Lahore • Explore the UNESCO site of Mohenjo Daro

This tour showcases the highlights of both north and south Pakistan. Distinct in topography, religion and culture, you will journey from the breathtaking mountain landscapes of the North-West Frontier, to the architectural melange of Lahore and the desert forts and ancient sites of the south. Access little-visited UNESCO sites and engage with the incredibly welcoming people of the country. Spend time in remote tribal villages, artisan workshops and experience the Wagah-Attari border ceremony – a colourful and somewhat eccentric display between Pakistan and neighbouring India.

36 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Sri Lanka

Wilderness and Wildlife with New Scientist Accompanied by George McGavin 5th – 16th March 2022 | 12 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,995pp Single supplement: £1,300pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 14 HIGHLIGHTS • Explore Sri Lanka’s wildlife hotspots with George McGavin • Discover a variety of bustling habitats including jungles,

mountains and coastline • Stay and relax in eco-sensitive lodges, like the acclaimed Gal Oya Sri Lanka boasts an impressively high rate of endemic species, offering some of the finest wildlife watching experiences in South Asia. Embark on a wildlife adventure like no other that takes you to the wild corners of this extraordinary island in search of leopard, elephant and whales but also the more unusual species like sloth bear, pangolin and loris. George McGavin, entomologist and TV presenter, will shine a light on all of these species to provide a fascinating insight into this beautiful and exotic island. Extend your trip with a beach stay or visit to UNESCO Galle Fort.

Dr George McGavin is an Honorary Research Associate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and a Research Associate of the Department of Zoology of Oxford University. George was the Chief Scientific Consultant for David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth programme. He also has a number of insect species named after him.

George McGavin

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SOUTH EAST

ASIA

& OCEANIA

Layer upon layer of diversity awaits. Discover ancient tribes, cutting-edge innovations and playful creatures. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

38 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Moira, Indonesia Borneo 2019

ASHLEY LEIMAN WAS SO INFORMATIVE AND TRULY PASSIONATE ABOUT THE FOUNDATION. IT WAS A PLEASURE TO MEET HER.

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Indonesian Borneo

Orangutan Conservation Accompanied by Ashley Leiman 5th – 14th June 2022 | 10 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,595pp Single supplement: £675pp Ashley Leiman

GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Accompanied by founder of the Orangutan Foundation UK,

Ashley founded the Orangutan Foundation UK in 1990, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020. She is one of the leading figures in orangutan conservation and has made numerous radio and television appearances and authored a number of scientific papers. Her in-depth knowledge and passion for this region will inspire you long after you return home.

Ashley Leiman • Visit Camp Leakey and gain access to orangutan release sites • Get face to face with orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park A unique opportunity for those with a desire to understand the plight of the world’s most endangered great ape. In cooperation with the Orangutan Foundation, you will be given privileged access to the release site at Lamandau and the chance to understand the importance of the forest and local communities in securing the orangutans’ future. Visit areas in the region only accessible through this unique partnership. Escape the crowds and witness these magnificent creatures in the wildest parts of Indonesian Borneo. Get close to orangutans in their fragile natural environment whilst spending time at the three feeding sites, including Dr Galdikas’ famous Camp Leakey.

40 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Malaysian Borneo

Conservation Insight with New Scientist Accompanied by Charles Ryan 2nd – 10th July 2022 | 10 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £5,495pp Single supplement: £730pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 14 HIGHLIGHTS • Meet orangutan in their natural habitat, learn about their plight

and the efforts to save them • Explore a secretive nocturnal world that comes alive when the sun goes down • Take breakfast with <NAME HERE>, a riverside community, and gain an insight into their world

Charles moved to Borneo in 2008 to work on community development projects with a focus on conservation. He is an expert naturalist, specialising in mammals, birds, and rainforest ecology and an avid photographer, with some of his most extensive work documenting the fauna of Borneo.

This tour is perfectly suited for those with a genuine interest in conservation issues at a grassroot level and a love of the rainforest, wildlife, and photography. Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre’s for an insight into these endangered species, before moving onto the Kinabatangan River, home of the proboscis monkey. Take breakfast at a riverside village and talk candidly with experts and locals about the work towards creating sustainable palm oil. Finally, conclude the tour in the Danum Valley with wildlife walks through some of the island’s most pristine rainforest and a presentation on the discoveries of Alfred Wallace in the region. Throughout, you will stay in accommodation with a proud focus on sustainability.

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Papua New Guinea

Sepik River and Rabaul Mask Festival Accompanied by Nathan Batley 3rd – 15th July 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £12,995pp Single supplement: £3,895pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Cruise the Sepik, home to remote villages nurturing traditions,

rituals and legends • Encounter Asaro Mudmen, Huli Wigmen and birds of paradise in the Highlands • Experience sing-sings, fire dances, and elaborate, ritualistic costumes and masks Cruise the mysterious waterways of the mighty Sepik River over five days before journeying to the forests and tribal villages of the Highlands. East New Britain Island explodes into an exciting cacophony of colour, sound and movement as tribes from across the country gather to honour their ancestors during some of the most ancient cultural rituals in the world at the four-day National Mask Festival. Add to this the white sand beaches, WWII history and thriving reefs of the Duke of York Islands, and this is a journey that will show just how diverse, unique, beautiful and exciting Papua New Guinea is.

42 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Nathan was raised in a Samban village on the Sepik River. His studies as an adult have led him to be a principle adviser on youth-related projects throughout the South Pacific and his bond with PNG endures. Guiding trips since 2017, his fluency in numerous indigenous languages enables him to facilitate unparalleled access to the local area.

Rabaul Mask Festival


Vietnam

Cultures and Geology of Northern Vietnam with New Scientist Accompanied by a local expert 14th – 24th May 2022 | 11 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Imperial City

Tour price: £3,895pp No single supplement GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Our Vietnam group tour will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide throughout the duration of the trip. They will meet you on arrival and travel with you throughout your time; their in-depth knowledge and passion for their country will give you an intimate and personal perspective on Vietnam.

• Privileged access to the Save Vietnam’s Wildlife Centre in Cuc

Phuong National Park • Explore Hang Tien Caves, home to stunning stalactites and stalagmites • Work alongside the Green Youth Collective’s Riverbank Erosion Project in Hoi An Vietnam is famous for its ancient and modern history, wonderful food and iconic landmarks. What it is less known for is its spellbinding hidden landscapes, such as Cuc Phuong National Park, where one can observe the conservation work being done with pangolins and civets. The cave system at Hang Tien, a part of the Phong Nha National Park, boasts beauty that is hard to find just about anywhere. Gently trek through lush jungle, the secluded inlets of Bai Tu Long Bay and the peaceful streets of Hue.

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AFR ICA Alien landscapes overlap with enthralling nature, peoples and ways of life. Sit back and watch the extraordinary play out. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

44 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Linda, Chad 2019

DOUG IS THE BEST GUIDE WE HAVE EVER HAD. HIS KNOWLEDGE NOT ONLY OF THE ANIMALS BUT FAMILIARITY WITH RESEARCH ON THEM ADDED MUCH.

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Gabon

Wildlife and Culture of Africa’s Eden Accompanied by Guillermo Casasnovas 22nd January – 3rd February 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £7,995pp Single supplement: £725pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 6 HIGHLIGHTS • Discover the sprawling Ivindo National Park, home to

Langoue Bai • Visit Loango National Park - encounter forest elephants and trek for lowland gorillas • Experience an iboga-fuelled Bwiti ceremony, deep within Gabon’s inaccessible interior

Guillermo Casasnovas is an expert in Cameroon, Gabon and the surrounding countries. He has guided extensively throughout west and central Africa. Guillermo is based in Douala, in neighbouring Cameroon, and has been to Gabon many times over the past 15 years.

This trip showcases all that Gabon has to offer, from its crashing waterfalls and captivating spiritual rituals to its beach-roaming wildlife and impenetrable rainforests. Explore a country that is a relative stranger to tourism, yet lays claim to some of the most remarkable biodiversity in Africa. Begin in Ivindo National Park, spending time watching jungle wildlife emerge into the beautiful Langoue Bai. Continue to relaxed Lambarene, where you have the chance to sit at the heart of an electric all-night Bwiti ceremony, fuelled by psychedelic drugs. Finish, in Loango, where forest elephants roam the beach and habituated lowland gorillas hide in the forest.

46 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Chad

Zakouma and Wildlife of the Sahel Accompanied by Doug Macdonald 13th – 21st March 2022 | 9 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £5,650pp Single supplement: £550pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 6 HIGHLIGHTS • Gain a privileged insight into African Parks’ pioneering

conservation work

• Search for the park’s large herd of 400 elephants • Explore a landscape that seasonally floods and is alive with

migratory birds

Flourishing under the stewardship of African Parks, Zakouma is squeezed between the sands of the Sahara and the jungles of the tropics. Famed for its resurgent elephant population – once poached almost to extinction – the park forms a haven for the region’s wildlife, which includes Kordofan giraffes and West African savannah buffalos. Explore during the dry season, when this impressive landscape can be accessed at will. Take game drives and bush walks led by Doug Macdonald, one of the few to know this remote park.

Doug Macdonald was born in Zimbabwe, into a family of adventurers and explorers. His grandfather was also one of the first Europeans to canoe down the Zambezi River, heading into Mozambique on his quest to find minerals. Doug has travelled and guided through many countries in Africa, from well-known safaris areas to some very unusual destinations, such as Zakouma.

Doug Macdonald

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Madagascar Charles Randrianantenaina

Endemic Wildlife and Limestone Landscapes with New Scientist Accompanied by Charles Randrianantenaina 10th – 22nd September 2022 | 13 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £6,595pp Single supplement: £675pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS Charles began his training as a local park guide in Isalo. After qualifying as an independent guide, he has focused on Englishspeaking clients and has explored almost every region of Madagascar, leading several specialist groups for Steppes. As charming as he is knowledgeable, he always maintains the best groups are the ones that ask the most questions.

• Visit Durrell’s projects in Kirindy to see the conservation work • Spot endemic lemurs in Amber Mountain National Park • Explore the lunar landscape of Ankarana, with its razor-sharp

tsingy formations

Explore this richly diverse country – remarkable for its unique plants and animals. Gain behind-the-scenes access to Durrell’s projects, explore forests packed with lemurs and discover the Ankarana Reserve – a limestone landscape like nowhere else. Begin in one of Madagascar’s most accessible parks, Andasibe, where the rainforest is alive with lemurs, chameleons and birds. Continue to the dry forest of Kirindy, home to fossas and giant jumping rats. Then fly north to the lush montane forest of Amber Mountain, hiding sacred waterfalls and inch-long chameleons. Finish with the dramatic tsingy of Ankarana. Hike both sides of this eroded landscape, crossing hanging bridges and exploring river caves.

48 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


TRUE REFLECTION. Travel does not just open us up to new worlds - it also lets us meet new people. Every one of our expert-led group tours is just as much of an intimate experience with a small group of like-minded people, as it is the extraordinary places on our planet.

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THE

AMER ICAS

& POLAR REGIONS

From epic frozen landscapes to colourful carnivals. Something waits just beyond every turn for those looking to find adventure. Chat to our team about any of the following group experiences – we are always here to help you discover the extraordinary.

50 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


SUE FLOOD WAS EXCELLENT ON THE TRIP. SHE MADE HERSELF VERY VISIBLE AND APPROACHABLE. SHE IS ENGAGING, FUNNY AND EXTREMELY KNOWLEDGEABLE. WE WOULD HAVE NO HESITATION IN JOINING ONE OF SUE’S TRIPS IN THE FUTURE.

Euan Stanwix, Antarctica 2019

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Antarctica Leah Crane

Antarctica and South Georgia Fly and Cruise with New Scientist Accompanied by Leah Crane 25th February – 13th March 2022 | 17 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: from £13,250 pp Single supplement: £8,245pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 69 Leah Crane is a reporter at New Scientist. She writes primarily about physics and space, and is particularly interested in physics, planetary science, cosmology, and quantum weirdness. She received her physics education at Carleton College in Minnesota and now lives in Chicago, where she spends her time talking to scientists, physicists, astronomers and planetary experts.

HIGHLIGHTS • Nine days exploring South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula • Observe endemic species’ nesting rituals and uncover

Shackleton’s history • Return from Antarctica via a flight, saving two days at sea

The ultimate trip in terms of wildlife, itinerary design, expertise, ship and time of year. Explore South Georgia, sail south to the Antarctic Peninsula and then fly from the South Shetland Islands to Chile. Join this exclusive voyage, in partnership with New Scientist, and travel on the luxury Magellan Explorer. Our hosts, acclaimed polar explorer Paul Rose and New Scientist journalist Leah Crane, will be accompanied by an on-board team of experts, who will share their knowledge as you explore the landscape on foot, and by Zodiac boat. Through an insightful programme of talks, discover more about polar exploration, marine biology, photography, glaciology and the science of navigation.

52 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Arctic

Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute Accompanied by Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell 27th August – 9th September 2022 | 14 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £7,725pp Single supplement: £5,435pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 20 HIGHLIGHTS • Hosted by SPRI’s Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell, and John Shears • Voyage aboard a comfortable 108-passenger expedition vessel,

M/V Ortelius • Observe polar bears in arguably the best region in the Arctic

Up to 20 passengers will have the opportunity to join this special group in partnership with The Friends of The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). Navigate glassy waters through spectacular landscapes and discover the history, geology and wildlife of Spitsbergen and northern Greenland. Home to seals, polar bears, whales, and colossal icebergs, lakeside hikes will best afford the opportunity of seeing musk ox, Artic hares and ptarmigans; while zodiac cruises will take you deeper into the glacial fjords. With luck, passengers may also encounter the Aurora Borealis. Julian, Evelyn and John will be on hand to share their knowledge during the voyage.

Voyage in the company of The Friends of The Scott Polar Research Institute committee members Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell and John Shears. Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, since 2002, Julian Dowdeswell is an expert on glaciology. Evelyn is a glacial geologist with a number of seasons of field experience in the Antarctic and Arctic. John is a polar geographer and environmental scientist, with over 25 years of experience of working in the polar regions.

Julian Dowdeswell

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Brazil

Pantanal Cruise through Jaguar Territory Accompanied by Fred Crema 27th August – 2nd September 2022 | 7 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £5,295pp Single supplement: £1,750pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 9 HIGHLIGHTS • Travel along the Rio Paraguai seeking up-close jaguar viewing • See four protected ecosystems rich with wildlife • Embark on daily wildlife speedboat excursions led by an expert

naturalist guide

An exclusive cruise through the Brazilian Pantanal, this wildlife safari follows the extraordinary Rio Paraguai and presents opportunities to spot elusive jaguars. In the company of expert naturalist guides, travel atop lagoons and rivers far away from the crowds while looking out for caiman, armadillos, river otters, anacondas and more than 800 species of birds. A must for wildlife enthusiasts and keen photographers, this trip moves through four protected ecosystems and explores two jaguar-viewing regions.

54 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

A naturalist guide, birder, photographer and Sao Paulo native, Fred is an environmental educator and involved conservationist with a passion for supporting the economies of local communities. Known for his professional and passionate demeanour and spectacular wealth of knowledge, Fred is skilled at identifying birdcalls, spotting elusive mammals and naming the most obscure of insects.


Canada

Great Bear Rainforest Cruise with Sue Flood Accompanied by Sue Flood 20th – 28th September 2022 | 9 days

Sue Flood

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £7,495pp Single supplement: £2,750pp

Sue Flood is a photographer, author, wildlife filmmaker and conservationist. Sue was an Associate Producer on the BBC Blue Planet series, and also worked on Planet Earth. Steppes Travel has been travelling with Sue for over eight years – she is always great fun to be with and you will undoubtedly hone your photographic skills under her engaging and considerate tuition.

GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Photograph black bears, spirit bears and grizzlies • Expert tuition from award-winning photographer Sue Flood • Sail aboard the Island Roamer along the spectacular British

Columbia coastline

Sail aboard an exclusive Steppes Travel-chartered expeditionary yacht to explore the inside passage of British Columbia and the wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest. The nature here is outstanding. Grizzly bears rule the roost, with towering mountains, cascading waterfalls and lush forests providing a dramatic backdrop. On previous trips, our clients have been lucky enough to see the Kemode spirit bear, which can only be spotted in British Columbia and is always a rare find. Sue Flood, your expert guide, knows these waters intimately and will be on hand to lend her vast expertise as you capture memorable photographs of the scenery and wildlife.

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Colombia

Uncovering Colombia’s Historical, Political and Social Truths Accompanied by Richard McColl 9th – 20th September 2022 | 12 days Cartagena de Indias

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £4,495pp Single supplement: £995pp British journalist, author and hotelier Richard McColl has spent much of his life in the Americas. Settling in Colombia, he opened his first guesthouse with his wife in 2008 in Mompós. Richard continues his career in journalism from Bogota, and is an authoritative voice on the political, social and contemporary history of Colombia.

GROUP SIZE Maximum 8 HIGHLIGHTS • Join journalist Richard McColl to find the real Colombia • Gain a deeper insight by visiting projects in Bogota and Medellin • Discover the little-visited town of Mompos, rooted in tradition

This group tour is designed to dispel the myths and uncover the truths of a country whose reputation precedes it. Spend time in Bogota, an ideal base for an introduction to the history of Colombia, its armed conflict, and today’s peace process; visit local neighbourhoods where communities are using tourism to change lives; and meet with local coffee farmers, growing Colombia’s second greatest export. Continue on to Medellin, one of the greatest examples of urban and social regeneration in Colombia before visiting, in contrast, the sleepy riverside town of Mompos, which is steeped in tradition and famous for its jewellery-making. The journey concludes in the colourful city of Cartagena.

56 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Galapagos Islands

Cruise with Macarena Iturralde Accompanied by Macarena Iturralde 12th – 22nd June 2022 | 11 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £6,995pp Single supplement: £4,500pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Wildlife highlights, sea lions, penguins, giant tortoise and three

booby species • June is a thriving time for marine life, perfect for snorkelling • Swim with sea lions and Galapagos penguins at the island’s premier snorkelling sites

Spend eight days exploring the northern and eastern islands of the Galapagos archipelago in the company of expert naturalist Macarena Iturralden. Discover remote Genovesa with all three types of booby, Santa Cruz and home to the Charles Darwin Research Centre and Bartolome, with the chance to snorkel with penguins.

Since 1979, Macarena has been guiding trips through Ecuador, Galapagos, the Amazon and Patagonia. Having lived in the Galapagos for more than a decade, she has led countless voyages and scientific expeditions there, both on land and under water.

Macarena Macarena Iturralde Iturralde

This is a perfect opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands with two expert Galapagos National Park guides.

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Galapagos Islands

Cruise the Galapagos Islands with Jo Ruxton Accompanied by Jo Ruxton 27th March – 6th April 2022 | 11 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £6,995pp Single supplement: £4,500pp GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS

Jo began her work in marine conservation back in 1990 when she joined WWF in Hong Kong to begin their Marine Conservation Programme. Jo produced a documentary feature, A Plastic Ocean, after initially learning about the plastic problem in 2009. She co-founded the Plastic Oceans Foundation in 2010.

• Visit the youngest, most pristine and most isolated islands in the

archipelago

• Come face to face with blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and

sea lions • Travel on Natural Paradise, a high-end motor yacht

Join a sailing cruise around the enchanting Galapagos Islands, experiencing their unmatched pristineness in the company passionate conservationist, Jo Ruxton. Led by an on-board expert naturalist guide, explore an immersive series of intricate micro worlds as you follow behind waddling penguins, stumble upon flamingo feeding spots and swim with playful sea lions. Navigating around the western and southern islands, this route takes in one of the biggest calderas in the world and sails a complete circumnavigation of the island that is home to flightless cormorants. 58 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980

Jo Ruxton


Guatemala Olga Reiche

Textiles and Cultures of the Mayan World Accompanied by Olga Reiche 2nd – 10th March 2022 | 9 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,295pp No single supplement GROUP SIZE Maximum 15 HIGHLIGHTS • Discover centuries-old techniques and the history behind Olga Reiche has over 30 years’ experience in textiles and natural dyes and has been guiding for nearly two decades. Of German descent, Olga was born in Guatemala and has been working with indigenous weavers for 34 years to preserve the traditional techniques.

Guatemala’s vibrant textiles

• Explore the cultural, architectural and social timelines of

Guatemala

• Participate in workshops including textiles, cooking and shaman

ceremonies

This itinerary is a filigree of Guatemala’s fascinating culture, past and present. It all begins in the UNESCO colonial treasure of Antigua with a focus on textiles, the ancient art of backstrap weaving and the importance of traditional dress. The itinerary continues on through ancient villages, Mayan ruins and highland communities where there is the chance to take in local markets, cooperatives, cooking classes and craft workshops. Move onto the Ixil Triangle, a remote mountain region where traditional practices remain. Then, visit the scenic Lake Atitlan, which is ringed by volcanoes, home to white-washed villages and Saint Maximon.

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Peru

A Unique Experience in the Peruvian Rainforest Accompanied by a local expert 4th – 11th July 2022 | 7 days

PRICE (excl. flights) Tour price: £3,495pp Single supplement: £495pp Peruvian rainforest

GROUP SIZE Maximum 10 HIGHLIGHTS • Explore Peru’s most diverse wildlife reserve, within the pristine

Our Peru group tour will be accompanied by an English-speaking naturalist guide based at the Manu Learning Centre. You will be met on arrival and travel with this guide throughout your time; their in-depth knowledge and passion for Manu and the Amazon rainforest will give you an intimate and personal perspective on Peru.

Manu Rainforest

• Help with conservation and research projects at the Manu

Learning Centre

• Take guided walks learning about local medicinal plants and

observing wildlife

Travel to one of the most diverse areas in the world, the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Staying at an active research station that is on the front line of conservation, the Manu Learning Centre offers the rare opportunity to be involved with the collection of data, including setting camera traps, monitoring endangered blueheaded macaw clay licks and recording nocturnal species on night walks. In choosing to stay here, you are directly supporting the indigenous Machiguenga tribe by providing sustainable livelihoods and improved living standards.

60 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


JUST BEYOND THE HORIZON. We are here to make those far-flung places and extraordinary places feel much closer. Our team of experts is waiting on groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980.

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Always a step ahead. We stay on the front foot when it comes to cultural and wildlife group tours. Not only are we considered specialists at creating cultural, archaeological and historical experiences, we also have strong bonds with conservation projects and world-renowned animal researchers across the world.

What’s different about Steppes Travel? • • • •

We only set small, intimate groups sizes so you can get to know and learn from your tour guide We make sure you can always discover the extraordinary with pioneering, little-known locations Enjoy zero single supplement charges on a number of tours Gratuities for the local guides, drivers and hotel porters are almost always included

You Can Trust Our Service Want to immerse yourself in our world of group tours? Travel on over to our website for further tour information, day-by-day breakdowns and more on our experts. Be sure to keep an eye out for the helpful activity key – detailing the necessary fitness level needed and how busy the tour is.

62 | Ask our experts for more details: groups@steppestravel.com or call 01285 880980


Discover extraordinary with our experts | 63


2022 TOUR CALENDAR JANUARY Gabon – page 46 Wildlife and Culture of Africa’s Eden Accompanied by Guillermo Casasnovas Departing on 22nd January 2022

FEBRUARY India – page 34 On the Trail of Snow Leopards Accompanied by Jennifer Nandi Departing on 14th February 2022 India – page 32 Textiles of West Bengal Accompanied by Subhamay Banerjee Departing on 20th February 2022 India – page 30 Ganges River Cruise with William Dalrymple Accompanied by William Dalrymple Departing on 23rd February 2022 Antarctica – page 52 South Georgia and Antarctica Fly-cruise with New Scientist Accompanied by Leah Crane Departing on 25th February 2022

MARCH Guatemala – page 59 Textiles and Cultures of the Mayan World Accompanied by Olga Reiche Departing on 2nd March 2022

Sri Lanka – page 37 Wilderness & Wildlife Adventure with New Scientist Accompanied by George McGavin Departing on 5th March 2022

Chad – page 47 Zakouma and the Wildlife of the Sahel Accompanied by Doug Macdonald Departing on 13th March 2022

Galapagos Islands – page 58 Galapagos Islands with Jo Ruxton and New Scientist Accompanied by Jo Ruxton Departing on 27th March 2022

APRIL Lebanon – page 20 Land of the Cedars Accompanied by Guillermo Casasnovas Departing on 4th April 2022

Uzbekistan – page 25 Carpet Ride to Khiva Accompanied by Chris Aslan Alexander Departing on 9th April 2022

India – page 35 Tiger Conservation with New Scientist Accompanied by Kartikeya Singh Departing on 9th April 2022

Uzbekistan – page 25 Carpet Ride to Khiva Accompanied by Chris Aslan Alexander Departing on 23rd April 2022

MAY China – page 19 Photography and Cultures in Yunnan Accompanied by George Chan Departing on 7th May 2022

Georgia – page 9 Highlights of Transcaucasia Accompanied by Ian Colvin Departing on 8th May 2022

Iran – page 21 A Persian Journey Accompanied by Carolyn Perry Departing on 9th May 2022

Vietnam – page 43 Cultures and Geology of Northern Vietnam with New Scientist Accompanied by local expert Departing on 14th May 2022

Central Asia – page 18 Five Stans Accompanied by Chris Aslan Alexander Departing on 18th May 2022


JUNE Albania – page 8 Origins of Illyria Accompanied by Carolyn Perry Departing on 3rd June 2022

Indonesia – page 40 Borneo Orangutan Conservation Accompanied by Ashley Leiman Departing on 5th June 2022

Kyrgyzstan & China – page 22 A Journey Along the Silk Road

Galapagos Islands – page 57 Galapagos Islands with Macarena Iturralde Accompanied by Macarena Iturralde Departing on 12th June 2022

Turkey – page 13 Ancient Civilisations of Eastern Turkey Accompanied by Ian Colvin Departing on 25thJune 2022

Papua New Guinea – page 42 Sepik River and Rabaul Mask Festival Accompanied by Nathan Bately Departing on 3rd July 2022

Peru – page 60 Peruvian Rainforest Discovery Accompanied by local expert Departing on 4th July 2022

Brazil – page 54 Pantanal Cruise through Jaguary Territory Accompanied by Fred Crema Departing on 27th August 2022

Canada – page 55 Great Bear Rainforest Cruise with Sue Flood Accompanied by Sue Flood Departing on 27th August 2022

Accompanied by Diana Driscoll Departing on 7th June 2022

JULY Malaysia – page 41 Conservation Insight with New Scientist Accompanied by Charles Ryan Departing on 2nd July 2022

AUGUST Mongolia – page 23 Palaeontology of the Gobi Desert with New Scientist Accompanied by John Pickrell Departing on 27th August 2022

Arctic – page 53 Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland with the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute Accompanied by Julian and Evelyn Dowdeswell Departing on 27th August 2022

NOVEMBER Saudi Arabia – page 24 Kingdom of the Nabateans Accompanied by Roger Harrison Departing on 1st November 2022

SEPTEMBER Greece – page 10 Exploring Ancient Epirus and Beyond Accompanied by Carolyn Perry Departing on 3rd September 2022

Colombia – page 56 Uncovering Colombia’s Historical, Political and Social Truths Accompanied by Richard McColl Departing on 9th September 2022

Russia – page 11 Jewels of St Petersburg Accompanied by Katya Galitzine Departing on 21st September 2022

Pakistan – page 36 Mughals, Mountains and Monuments Accompanied by Diana Driscoll Departing on 23rd September 2022

India – page 31 Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh Accompanied by Jarrod Kyte Departing on 22nd November 2022

Madagascar – page 48 Endemic Wildlife and Limestone Landscapes with New Scientist Accompanied by Charles Randrianantenaina Departing on 10th September 2022


DISCOVER EXTRAORDINARY WITH OUR EXPERTS 01285 880980 groups@steppestravel.com www.steppestravel.com

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Steppes Travel Expert-Led Group Tours 2022 Brochure  

Welcome to our 2022 Expert-Led Group Tours collection. As you know, we always dedicate our complete passion and expertise to these updates,...

Steppes Travel Expert-Led Group Tours 2022 Brochure  

Welcome to our 2022 Expert-Led Group Tours collection. As you know, we always dedicate our complete passion and expertise to these updates,...

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