India 2016 (part XII): Kaziranga 1

Kaziranga National Park, Assam:

Indian Rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park

Indian Rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park

On the way from Kolkata back to Jaipur, I took a short weekend detour to the fantastic Kaziranga National Park in Assam.

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An airplane took me from Kolkata to Guwahati, the largest city of Assam. At the airport a driver picked me up and together we drove another 250 km towards the east (~ 5-6 hours) to the tiny village Kohora, the base for visits to the Kaziranga National Park. During my two days there I stayed in the Wild Grass Lodge, which I can definitely recommend! I had booked a package deal, so accomodation, transport, meals, and safaris were already arranged in advance.

The major attraction of the Kaziranga National Park is the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros or Indian Rhinoceros. Originally, these majestic animals inhabited the entire Indo-Gangetic Plain, but excessive hunting and agricultural development decreased their numbers dramatically. After a minimum at the beginning of the 20th century, populations recovered and today there are around 3,500 rhinos living in the wild. Of these approximately 70 % live in the Kaziranga National Park!

On my first day, I started very early for a 1-hour elephant ride. This was recommended to me as being the best option to get close to the rhinos (5-10 m) who seem to care not the least for their giant relatives. However, in the meantime I heard and read a lot about the practice of elephant safaris and would not do it again since elephants are just not made for carrying tourists! During the subsequent four jeep safaris I saw approximately 100 rhinos (!) and I think that would have been enough in any case! Please don’t make my mistake, should you be in the area!

After the elephant ride, I returned to the lodge for a quick breakfast and then started again for my first jeep safari. There are three areas in the national park which can be visited via jeeps: the western, central, and eastern zone. On my first tour, the guide took me to the central range. In the following hours we saw a lot of birds, numerous rhinos, Wild Water Buffalo (the park accounts for almost 60 % of the world’s population!), Hog Deer, and Swamp Deer (also called Barasingha). You can imagine, I had a great time!!

The morning safari lasted from 7:45 am to around 11:00 am. After a rich lunch at the lodge, I started again at 1:30 pm for the afternoon tour, which would bring me to the eastern range and last until sunset at 5:30 pm. The first highlight awaited me already on the way from the lodge to the park entrance: a group of Capped Langurs in a forest next to the road! In the park itself, I again saw many rhinos, deer, and buffalo. The birding was fantastic including a couple of Great Hornbills, Oriental Pied Hornbills, endangered Lesser and Greater Adjutants, a number of eagles, the pretty Blue-bearded Bee-eater, and a sleepy Brown Fish Owl! In addition, I spotted several groups of wild Asian Elephants!

After this fantastic first day in a true wildlife paradise, I was wondering what would come on the following day – well, you have to click here to find out! 😉

19 responses to “India 2016 (part XII): Kaziranga 1

  1. Another brilliant post, Matthias. What a wonderful glimpse into the wildlife paradise that India must have been before humans arrived on the planet.

  2. Woo-hoo! Thanks for taking us along on your fantastic day of safaris Matthias. Great to see such an abundance of wildlife, especially so many rhinos. Your photos are great and your adventure terrific~~

    • thank you!! 🙂 yes, I was also very amazed by the sheer abundance of rhinos!! and still they poach them even in the national park and although their horns are comparatively tiny… what a stupid waste!!

  3. Pingback: India 2016 (part XIII): Kaziranga 2 | wild life·

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