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7 Days Nature Exploration Camp in Qinghai
Age: 8+ Child with Family, 10+ alone
Date: July 18-24, 2023 Trip Code: NT001
Guide: Bella Zhang
Trip Focus: Lake + Wildlife Observation + Tibetan Cultural Experience
Route: Xining-Huzhubeishan-West sea-Gangcha-Chaka salt lake-Xining
Summer is the best season for Qinghai, the golden color of the blossoming rapeseed flowers, rolling snow mountain ridges, boundless grasslands, and galloping horses.... There are three types of landform in Qinghai province, namely Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, continental dry basin, and Loess Plateau, consisting of forests, grasslands, lakes, mountains, Gobi deserts, and deserts. The complex ecological environments provide varied habitats for the biodiversity in Qinghai.
▲ Qinghai Lake——the largest lake in China
If it is your first trip to Qinghai, you may be impressed by the same color of lake water and sky. You may be charmed by the plateau wildlife encounter such as Przewalski's Gazelle, Black-necked Crane, and Blue Eared Pheasant. You may be amazed at the natural wonders such as the runs of scaleless carps and the legendary sky mirror.... Every exploration trip brings you discoveries that make you more addicted to this wonderland —— Qinghai. Through our nature exploration in some of the most typical places in Qinghai represented by Qinghai Lake and Huzhubeishan Forest Park, this trip aims at having an in-depth exploration of the most authentic and mysterious Qinghai.
▲ Raptors on Qinghai Plateau
1. Acquire knowledge：Though our exploration of the biodiversity on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we will learn the unique wildlife resources on the plateau. We will feel the charm of biodiversity after comparing the wildlife from different ecological environments and experience the unique Tibetan culture on the plateau;
2. Improve field skills：Learn how to observe birds and identify plants in the field and learn the basic skill for nature photography;
3. Building up passion：Your passion toward nature will be further stimulated from the various interesting nature experience activities. We will encounter some rare and precious wildlife and discuss the possible ways of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature;
4. Personal Improvement：Complete our biodiversity survey report in Qinghai with individual sharing of the achievements made during this trip.
▲ Tibetan Fox—— a star species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
▲ Blue Eared Pheasant——a star bird on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
1. Get to know the diverse ecological systems on Qinghai and Tibet Plateau：We will have an animal and plants survey in Huzhubeishan National Forest Park, which is known as the treasure house of biodiversity on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and Qinghai Lake, which is famed as the most beautiful lake in China;
2. Observe and learn about rare and precious birds and mammals：Look for the Black-necked Crane, which is the only crane living on plateau, search for the endangered Przewalski's Gazelle, observe the migration runs of the Scaleless Carp;
3. Tibetan cultural experiences：Visit Taer Monastery, one of the six most famous Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism, where we will enjoy the yak butter flowers, frescoes, and barbola with extremely high artistic value.
▲ Tibetan Culture on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
▲ Tour Map
Day 1： Arrive and get your first impression about Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
In the morning, we meet in a designated place. For the participants arrive earlier, you can pay a visit to Xining Wildlife Zoo, where you can see the unique plateau animals under national protection such as Snow Leopard, Black-nacked Crane, Przewalski's Gazelle, Chinese Desert Cat, White-lipped Deer, and Wild Yak.
In the afternoon, we will have the opening ceremony followed by a study trip to Xining Ninghu Lake wetlands to learn about the plateau wetlands ecological system. We will learn the observation methods for birds before we look for the summer breeders in the wetlands such as Mallard, Crested Grebe, and Common Tern and find out the secret weaponry owned by water birds.
In the evening, we play indoor games and have group sharing.
▲ Ferruginous Pochard
Day 2：Nature exploration in Huzhubeishan National Forest Park.
In the morning, we will leave Xining for Huzhubeishan by our private bus, enjoying the rolling mountains en route with the possible encounter of birds on the road. Located in the transitional area from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to Loess Plateau, Huzhubeishan National Geology Park has well-preserved primeval forests with abundant wildlife resources. It is famed as the Kingdom of plants and Natural Animal Homeland on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
In the afternoon, we will study the forest ecological system of Huzhubeishan and search for songbirds in the forest. After observing birds like White-browed Rosefinch, White-browed Tit-warbler, and White-capped Water Redstart, we will discuss the differences and similarities between songbirds and swimming birds.
In the evening, we will play nature games and individual sharing on the ecological environment and natural resources in the Huzhubeishan Forest Park.
▲ White-browed Tit-warbler——a colorful bird
Day 3：Hike in Huzhubeishan Forest Park and Nature Observation.
In the daytime, we hike in Beishan Forest Park some nature games to the higher part of the forest to look for birds and flowers including raptors such as Golden Eagle and Lammergeier. By studying the beautiful alpine flowers, we will also learn the secrets of alpine plants. All our activities will strictly follow the rules of Leaving No Trace.
In the evening, we will have a group sharing and reports of the Biodiversity survey in Huzhubeishan Forest Park.
▲ Clematis tangutica (Maxim.) Korsh
Day 4 : Study on Grasslands Ecological System.
In the morning, we will have some easy observations around our hotel in search of active morning birds. After that, we go to Xihai Township by our bus.
In the afternoon, we will enjoy the roadside blossoming wildflowers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, play nature games, and fully immerse ourselves in the beautiful natural scenery on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Summer. Our survey on the grassland ecological system will be started right on the carpet of wildflowers on the plateau grasslands. We will search for the birds and mammals living on the plateau and have a group discussion on how to protect the grasslands.
In the evening, we play indoor games and share our survey reports.
▲ Saussurea stella
Day 5：Visit the homeland of Przewalski's Gazelle and observe the runs of Scaleless Carp.
In the morning, we start from Xihai Township to drive toward Gangcha, searching for Przewalski's Gazelle on the way. It is China's endemic animal with a very narrow distribution, which has been found only in small areas around Qinghai Lake. We will explore the causes that lead to the small population of the Przewalski's Gazelle, and think about the relationship between human lives and nature.
In the afternoon, we will enjoy a special ecological wonder——the fish runs of the Scaleless Carp and feel the charm of Qinghai Lake from the road section closest to the lake. In the evening, we check-in at a hotel in Heimahe.
In the evening, we play games and summarize our survey.
▲ Przewalski's Gazelle
Day 6：Hike and Nature Observation in Rubber Mountain, and explore Chaka Salt Lake.
In the morning, we will watch the beautiful sunrise in Heimahe if the weather is good. After breakfast, we drive on to Chaka Salt Lake to feel the mysterious Sky Mirror, learn about how the salt lake was formed and the long history of salt mining culture.
In the afternoon, we will hike in Rubber Mountain with nature observation on the way. We will search for wildlife such as Himalayan Vulture, White-rumped Snow Finch, Rufous-necked Snow Finch, Plateau Pike, and Himalayan Marmot and learn about the sharing of a hole between snow finches and pikas.
In the evening, we will play games and summarize.
▲ White-rumped Snowfinch
▲ Potentilla fruticosa L, Photoed in Rubber Mountain
Day 7：In search for Black-necked Crane, the plateau creature & visit Taer Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Concluding the camp and return home.
In the morning, we drive to Xiaodonghu to observe our star species, the Black-necked Crane. We will find the differences between the wading birds, swimming birds, and songbirds, learn how bird species are related to the habitat environment.
In the afternoon, we drive to Taer Monastery, which is a famous Tibetan Buddhism monastery in China, to appreciate its yak butter flowers, frescoes, and barbola. They are of high artistic and ornamental value. After that, we will have a camp-closing ceremony, to conclude the successful ending of our exploration camp. And you can either board our bus to the airport or continue with your travel plan.
▲ Black-necked Crane
A plant expert, photography teacher and snow mountain lover
Cory's love for plants and nature started from a very young age with rich knowledge and experiences on plant survey. During his study at Sichuan University, he started outdoor hiking. Out of his strong love for plants, he traveled to different parts of Sichuan and neighboring areas and photographed over one thousand plant species. He co-founder of some new plant species and new distribution of plants in Sichuan. Frequently, he is interviewed by the local newspaper, and TV stations. In one of the TV programs called To the West of Chengdu(Chengdu Plus), he showed some unique flowers in southwest China. Through his lens and sharing, he hopes to help more people to appreciate the beauty of plants.
Also as a snow mountain lover, Cory is one of the founders of an interest group called For the Snow Mountains to the West Chengdu and their activities have been reported by local TV stations many times.
A bilingual nature teacher, culture interpreter, guide for birds and mammals
Being born and nurtured in a Bai family in Dali of Yunnan Province, Bella has shown strong love and curiosity toward nature at a young age thanks to the excellent ecological environment in her hometown. She joined our company after graduation from Sichuan Agriculture University and became a nature guide for ecotour trips, which were planned for nature and wildlife lovers from home and abroad. She is widely respected and loved by her clients because of her fluent English, profound knowledge, and great service. In the past five years, she has traveled to most places in Yungui Plateau, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and mountains in southwest China and built up her rich knowledge in the birds, animals, and cultural resources in these areas. She is happy and good at sharing her knowledge. She hopes to help both old and young travelers of ApandaTour to seek fun from nature and enjoy it, reconnect themselves with nature.
A nature class designer, nature guide, and nature educator
Born in Zhangye of Gansu Province, Bill started his work in an NGO in China, specializing in children's education. He has a wide range of interests, loving bird-watching and enjoying board games. Bill is also familiar with video editing software. He likes making some creative and interesting video clippings with materials he has photographed during trips. After years of working in natural education, Bill becomes very skilled at class design and development. He has built up rich experiences of guiding outdoor activities from his frequent working in the field with students for natural experience and observation activities. He always makes use of any possible chance to go to nature in search of birds and wildlife to enrich his field experiences. Bill also holds AHA first-aid certificate.
Location：Xining, Huzhubeishan Forest Park, Qinghai Lake, and the surrounding areas
Date：July 18-24, 2023
Expected Participants：Family with children above 8 or only children above 10
Camp Size：15-25 for every camp
The price includes：the transportation during our camp in Qinghai, hotel stays meals during the trip, entrance charges, service charges for nature teachers, material preparation for the class, and travel insurance
The price does not include：personal expenditure and any items not specified as being included in the itinerary
Hotel Stay：Local hotels or guesthouse ( one twin-bed room for one family, for children without a parent, arrange room-sharing according to the actual situation. In principle, we do not use one room for one single child. If parent hopes to use a single room, the single supplement is 293USD/pax ).
Transportation：A local registered tour bus for all the participants during the whole trip.
Food：We use local popular restaurants with a choice of typical food popular in northwest China.
1. All around process control and safety check before the start of the trip.
2. Staff with AHA first aid certificate and first aid kit during the whole trip.
3. Detailed rules and reminders for the trip and ensure all the participating parents and children know them.
4. Measures for epidemic prevention: we will prepare epidemic prevention materials such as surgery masks, pure alcohols, hand sanitizer, and thermometer. We will have a temperature check before the start of our trip activities.
What is the temperature in Qinghai during the summertime? What are the elevations of the places we are going to visit?
Located in the temperate continental climate, Qinghai has a big temperature gap between day and night, with the highest temperature of 25℃ during the day and the lowest temperature of 10℃ during the night. It will be very helpful you have some warm clothes such as a down jacket and gloves. Because the ultraviolet during the day is pretty strong, we need to prepare some cream for the strong sunlight. Before the start of the trip, we will send every participant an e-version departure book with detailed information about this trip including the elevations for each place we are going to stay.
What kind of special preparations we have made for the activities in the high-elevation areas?
All of the places we are going to visit are below 3,500 meters. Our teachers for this trip rich experiences of guiding trips in high elevation areas. They will constantly check with our participants about their actual feelings. We also have prepared oxygen bottles and most of the time our bus stays at the closest possible place with us. So in the time of emergency, we can quickly drive to the nearest hospital. We will also try our best to provide well-balanced food so that every participant can enjoy and have the good physical capability to adapt to the elevation change. We will control the length and strength of the activities so that everybody gets enough rest and sleep.