Explorers Connect

Elephants of Manas, NE India, Nov/Dec 2015

Join a TeamJames Hipkiss

For Explorers Connect adventurers who wish to combine adventure with creativity, conservation and ELEPHANTS! Led by an expert wildlife artist, David Dancey-Wood, and expedition leader, Sarah M Lawton, Art Expeditionsare relatively luxurious and accessible adventures.

Think fresh, hot pakora served with your GTs in the jungle, with flushing loos and bucket showers (most of the time at least). No previous expedition or artistic experience required!There is a short (10 day) and long (13 day) expedition option departing in November 2015. Both options begin and end in Delhi and include domestic flights to Guwahati, the capital of Assam.Practice your wildlife artistry alongside David Dancey-Wood. Somebody once said, Art can best be described as an expression of self, the heart of life, and the soul of being. If the passion exuded by David Dancey-Wood when bringing subjects from the animal kingdom to his world of fine art is any judge, those words have true meaning. Davids work is not excellent because he loves art; it is excellent because his art comes from within a passion for wildlife.Join David as he works in the field. Share in this incredible experience and learn directly from a true master. Spot and photograph wildlife, then sketch and work on your ideas with expert help. Be inspired by incredible landscapes and local villagers. Learn about wildlife conservation and how your adventure will support some critical research into endangered species, while bringing much needed financial benefits to local communities.

Creative encouragement: David will take the time to discuss how he produces his incredible naturalist illustrations, offering tips and tricks for sketching in safari conditions to get the best results for final completion when back home. Instruction will be informal, allowing you to work on your own in the safety of a group environment, with access to help when you need it. David will be open to questions at any time throughout your trip.Spot and photograph wildlife from elephant-back in the morning and sketch in the afternoons, or as your itinerary allows. David will encourage wildlife, portrait and landscape sessions. He will share with you his business experience as a commissioned artist and his specialist expertise as an explorer and wildlife conservationist.Discover Bodoland Bodoland is the gateway to Assam and the beautiful North Eastern Region of India. Manas National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Bodoland on the north bank of Brahmaputra River, by the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Home to wild elephant, tiger, rhino, water buffalo, gaur, golden langur, macaque, deer and many other species of interest, the sanctuary is also a birders paradise and a botanical delight.

Just as they would in the wild, the Manas elephants walk as a herd, with their young following alongside their mothers and aunts.Your chance of spotting and photographing forest wildlife is never better than from the back of an elephant. Unlike traditional elephant rides, the Manas elephants and their mahouts (handlers) remain with you for long-range excursions so you can ride for up to three hours per day, learn the elephants language, how to bathe the animals and how to feed them. Accommodation: Food/Accommodation combines camping under the stars in the park and the modern comforts of a hotel on its outskirts.

To make best use of available hotels and keep our footprint as small as possible while in the park, we ask that expedition members share hotel accommodation and a tent while in Manas. Tents are, however, large enough to stand up in, have an optional dividing wall, and are furnished with campbeds.An Assamese chef cooks all meals during our time in Manas. Alcoholic beverages and a laundry service are available at extra cost.Best practice elephant husbandryThis expedition has been organised in collaboration with The Great Indian Elephant Safari (TGIES), a UK-based company with local operations on the ground in Guwahati and Manas. TGIES has established exclusive relationships with Bodoland Tourism and several local community organisations with expertise on conservation and elephants. Manas elephants are happy enough to breed and all young elephants are trained using gentle, positive reinforcement techniques. According to the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Manas hosts the best managed practice for humane elephant training.Community and cultureExpedition members will also enjoy temple visits and tours of the Musa tea plantation. You will be invited into the homes of some Kokilibari villagers to see the different stages in silk production and the process of making the local rice beer. There will also be opportunity to purchase the local silk from the very women who breed the silk worms on mulberry trees in their own gardens, harvest, and spin their silken threads, before weaving them into the final cloth.Conservation and commerce: The Bodoland Territorial Council and an extraordinary group known as the Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society (MMES) oversee the park.MMES was the first national government organisation (NGO) in India to retrain and employ former insurgents, ex-poachers and young activists as conservationists.

This model has been incredibly successful, seeing poachers reapplying their skills to become expert gamekeepers, and boosting local economy through ecotourism. Similar schemes are now benefiting other areas of the country. You will meet MMES members and have the opportunity to hear their stories first hand.Dates Costs: Both short and long expedition options begin and end in Delhi.

You must book your own international flights but we can suggest airlines and flight times. UK citizens require a visa to enter India. Short tour: 19 - 28 November 2015 3100Long tour: 29 Nov - 12 December 2015 4200 Included Art tuition Elephant rides and activities Transfers to/from Delhi airport Overnight accommodation in Delhi Domestic flights to/from Guwahati Transport to/from Guwahati All accommodation, meals transport in ManasNot included International flights, airport taxes or visa costs Alcoholic beverages- provided as extra Laundry service - provided as extraBooking or further informationPlease email: sarah@wildlifeartexpeditions.comNOTE: Response may be slow during first few weeks in July due to travel but we WILL get in touch as soon as we can!About Art ExpeditionsArt Expeditions (www.wildlifeartexpeditions.com) carefully select hard to reach, wilderness locations as far off the beaten track as we deem safe. We select comfortable local accommodations, often under canvas. We aim for added luxury wherever it is available. We work with conservation experts and responsible travel partners to create ethical experiences that combine adventure with creative inspiration and purpose, while directly benefiting local communities and wildlife conservation projects wherever possible.