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Newsletter 50 - sent on the 21 December 2021
Looking forward to travel in 2022!
I am trying hard to be optimistic about future travel as 2021 grinds to its somewhat gloomy end - not least because I am in contact with a number of local leaders all over the World who really need to see travel start up again. Adventure travel has the ability to be a great force for good in the world, promoting both cultural and financial exchanges, which can be a benefit to both the traveller, but also to the locals who work in travel and related industries. Many people are experiencing real hardship without any foreign visitors.
Many people are nervous about getting back on the road again though, and in response to a number of questions, I wanted to outline the booking conditions that we will be working with for all future trips. Hopefully this will reassure you that travel will indeed be practical and possible in 2022.
You can also see our current range of tours for 2022 on this newsletter: hopefully we will be able to travel together at some point before next Christmas.
In the meantime, stay happy and stay safe over the festive period.
Impressions of Uzbekistan
Out first tour of 2022 explores the fantastically exciting country of Uzbekistan - with cities evoking of the lost days of the Silk Road, and conjuring up images of camel-trains, formidable fortresses and exquisitely decorated mosques and madrassas. This unique tour encompasses the most historic cities of Uzbekistan - Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara - and crosses the Kyzylkum Desert, explores the fertile Fergana Vallay and visits the remote village of Darband.
Impressions of Uzbekistan departs from Tashkent on 9 May 2022 for 13 days. Under our new variable pricing policy, the cost is from £2150 if 8 people travel, down to £1895 for the full 12 people. You can see more information on this link. You can see the full itinerary on this link and download the pdf for the tour here.
Impressions of Ladakh
A high plateau between the Himalayan and Kunlun mountain ranges: Ladakh is the most stunning and literally breathtaking region of India. This adventurous tour visits the most amazing areas of this entrancing part of the World. We comprehensively explore the Leh Valley, before driving to the remote Nubra Valley across one of the highest motorable passes in the World. After photographing the Leh Polo Festival, we continue to the remote Zanskar Valley, where we take in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery festival. We drive out of Ladakh via a newly constructed road to Manali, and then finish up in the holy Sikh city of Amritsar.
Impressions of Ladakh departs from New Delhi on 5 July 2022 for 18 days. Under our new variable pricing policy, the cost is from £2695 if 8 people travel, down to £2400 for the full 12 people. You can see more information on this link. You can see the full itinerary on this link and download the pdf for the tour here.
Impressions of Namibia
A place has come up on our wildlife extravaganza in the incomparable country of Namibia. The country is home to some of the great wildlife experiences you will find in Africa, including the Cape Cross Seal colony and the Etosha National Park. Namibia is about more than wildlife though, we will photograph the hauntingly beautiful Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, the massive Fish River Canyon and the remote Skeleton Coast. We will photograph the deserted mining town of Kolmanskop, which is being swallowed by the sands of the Namib.
Impressions of Namibia departs Windhoek on the 23 September 2022 for 15 days. Under our new variable pricing policy, the cost is from £4195 for 8 people to £3795 for 12 people. You can see the full itinerary on this link and download the pdf for the tour here.
Impressions of Rajasthan
Our final tour of next year will be an exploration of some of the well-known, and little visited places of the colourful Indian state of Rajasthan. As well as the popular cities of Jodhpur and Jaipur, we will explore the little visited region of Shekawati and the ancient desert forts of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Most excitingly we will mingle with pilgrims, sadhus (holy men) and camels at the Pushkar Mela and the lesser known Bikaner Mela, where countless thousands of pilgrims bathe in holy lakes to wash away their mortal sins. Both festivals are noted for their sprawling livestock fairs - especially the Pushkar Fair, which is also known as the Pushkar Camel Fair.
Impressions of Rajasthan departs from New Delhi on the 30 October 2022 for 15 days. Under our new variable pricing policy, the cost is from £2395 for 8 people to £2095 for 12 people. You can see the full itinerary on this link. You can see the full itinerary on this link and download the pdf for the tour here.
Travel in the Covid era
Travel in the Covid era has changed everything in the travel industry. We sub-contract our land arrangements and bookings to Intrepid Travel, so if you travel with us, then your booking is actually made with them, meaning that all payments and deposits are fully protected by their ABTA and ATOL travel industry bonding. Payments are safe, and any refunds have to be made in line with a strict industry code.
Although your contract is with Intrepid Travel, ultimately the we undertake all of the financial risk ourselves. As a small business we cannot afford to run trips at a loss, and so have had to amend our booking conditions to protect both you, and ourselves.
A part of the changes are to bring in variable pricing: this is essentially a hedge against having to cancel a trip. It means that we can still (just about) afford to run a trip with fewer people than normal. This gives you more protection against a trip being cancelled due to other people dropping out. If people do drop out, then it does mean that you may pay a little more, but you will get a more exclusive trip with fewer people and more individual attention. If the trip is full, then you will pay a fair bit less.
We will have a review of each trip 30 days before the final payment is due and another a week before the final payment is due. At this point, we will notify you whether the trip is going go ahead. We will not ask you for the final payment, unless we are confident that the trip will be able to run at that time.
If we are not able to operate the tour, we will try to re-schedule: if that’s not possible you will have the option to hold your deposit as a credit towards a future trip or have a full refund.
If the trip is going ahead, then we will request full payment, which must be made by the final payment date specified in your booking. At this point, we will know final numbers for the trip, and will be able to make any refunds that are due under the variable pricing policy.
Intrepid are ABTA bonded and if at any point after the departure is guaranteed we have to subsequently cancel the tour, you will be entitled to a full refund.
If you cancel the trip for any reason - including a Covid diagnosis - after the final payments have been made, then there is the usual 100% cancellation fee. You are therefore strongly urged to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking. Intrepid Travel offers a policy that includes coverage for Covid, so you will be covered for this eventuality.
We believe that these new terms are a good balance between protecting you and your booking, whilst also ensuring that we are able to manage the risk of running tours in these difficult times.
Private local courses
Our private local courses allow you to treat yourself to some intensive one-to-one tuition in some of the most stunning and iconic landscapes in the country, or even to a private photography course with a group of friends.
This time of year is perfect for photographing the the mass gatherings of tens of thousands of starlings in Somerset. These can be photographed as they rise en masse just before sunset, and also they return to roost in the evening. This is often when they weave together in co-ordinated shapes and patterns known as mumerations. In between, you have the option of photographing the various bird and nature reserves that form the Avalon Marshes in Somerset, where Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and Great Egrets are common, and where Otters are sometimes seen.
You can see sample course itineraries on this link.
Better Travel Photography
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