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Afghan (or Theresa's) Snowfinch and Large-billed Reed Warbler

Saturday 30th June — Sunday 8th July 2018
(9 days)

Leader: Mark Beaman

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Moderate

Well, you probably were not expecting this destination to feature in the expedition list were you? This is planned as a 'once-only' opportunity.

Mark Beaman last saw the little-known Afghan or Theresa's Snowfinch in the wild Hindu Kush mountains at the scenic Band-i-Amir National Park in July 1973. Indeed Mark reached Kabul on the very day the Afghan monarchy was overthrown in a revolution, and the country has been troubled ever since!

But with Bamiyan (or Bamyan) and the rest of the Hazarajat region nowadays being one of just a few peaceful parts of Afghanistan, he reckons it is time to return. Nonetheless, we will be flying between Kabul and Bamiyan as the roads to and from the region are not yet secure.

As well as the great prize, the snowfinch (a bird on hardly anyone's life list), there is a good chance there are Large-billed (or Long-billed) Reed Warblers breeding at Bamiyan, birds that in the distant past were misidentified as Blyth's Reeed Warblers both here and in the former Soviet Central Asian states. We shall see.

Bamiyan is now the only region of Afghanistan with a tourism office, although the number of foreign visitors is still in the low hundreds per year. We don't think that is likely to change soon! There are, however, extraordinary scenic wonders here (the landscapes of Band-i-Amir are truly awesome) and some fascinating archelological sites. Sadly the famous buddhas of Bamiyan were blown up as idolatrous when the Taliban ruled the country, much to the disgust of the local people, but the niches are still there, as are the lonely ruins of the cities Genghis Khan laid waste when his grandson was killed in battle in the area, leading to the repopulation of the area by Mongols, the ancestors of the present day Hazaras who inhabit the Hazarajat. A much persecuted ethnic group when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they look to a more peaceful future for the country and the return of the tourism that was once a mainstay of the local economy.

We have to have one night in Kabul at the start of the tour owing to the early timing of the Bamiyan flight, but we have chosen a comfortable hotel in a secure area of the city.

Needless to say, what with all the foreign government warnings about travel to Afghanistan, you will only be able to obtain travel insurance from a specialist provider, should you want insurance.

Prices are provisional

Expedition Price: £2160, €2570, $2830 Kabul/Kabul.

Price includes all transportation (including Kabul/Bamiyan/Kabul flights), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £280, €330, $367.

Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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