Kaziranga is synonymous with one horned Asian Rhinoceros. It also has the highest density of tigers in the world!! And it is a world heritage site. Almost all travellers to Assam visit Kaziranga, and no doubt it is very beautiful. Here are some facts based on my experience at Kaziranga where I stayed for about four days.
|Rhinos of Kaziranga|
- Kaziranga has five zones - Central (Kohara), Western (Baguri), Eastern (Agaratoli), Ghorakati and Northern zone. I went on safari in Central, Western and Eastern zones. Ghorakati is the buffer zone of the park and not many people visit. Central and Western are popular for Rhino and is the most visited area. The fact is that they are situated towards Guwahati also causes increase in the number of tourists. Eastern zone is famous for birds and is least visited. But it was my favourite area in Kaziranga and ended up in visiting multiple times during my stay. The best views of Rhino was seen at this zone!! (Including an attack attempt by Rhino on our Jeep).
|Crested serpent eagle|
- There is no limit on the number of jeeps entering the park. Hence there is no need to book them in advance. It also means that the park can get very crowded during peak seasons.
|Red Jungle fowl|
- Which safari is better? Morning or evening? Undoubtedly it is morning. Morning safari is from 7 - 9:30 AM and it is between 2 - 4:30PM in the evening. But time violations are common and the authorities do not bother much. But during winter, sun sets at 4:30 PM and you anyway have to get out of the park. But then you will have more time in the morning. Most of the days we came out at 11:30AM!!
|Darter perching on a branch|
- Jeeps can be hired from the hotel or from park entrance. Make it clear to the driver what you are interested in. And better take a guide. Most of the visitors are picnickers who are interested in Rhino. And it is difficult for drivers to distinguish between a normal tourists and a wild life enthusiasts. Having a long lens does help!! Even though we visited with kids, I and my friend had telephoto lens which indicated that we are “serious” people and commanded some respect!!
- Safari cost:
- Jeep cost - Rs 1600 to 2200 depending on the zone.
- Forest entry per person per day - Rs 100
- Camera charges per day - Rs 100
- Road toll - Rs 300 per vehicle
- Staff welcome fund - Rs 100 per vehicle
|Otter feeding on a fish|
- Where to stay? We stayed at Wild Grass resort. Value for money. They have a large area, big rooms and decent food. Being the first resort in the area, they do not even bothered to put a sign board anywhere!! And they do not have a website!! Reservations happen over phone and email. They did not even take advance money from us. And they do not take accept credit cards. But still I maintain that it is the place to stay in Kaziranga. They arrange safaris and are good at it.
- Is guide require? Hiring a guide during safari is important. During our first safari in Eastern zone, we just relied on driver. We found about 30-40 species of birds. Later, we took a guide and he found nearly 150 species of birds on the same stretch!!!!
|Bar headed geese|
- When to visit? Winter is good time for birds. The grasses in Kaziranga are burnt during February which increases the chances of seeing carnivorous. The park is closed from May to October due to rains. It normally gets flooded by overflowing Brahmaputra in monsoon.
- How far? Kaziranga is about 200 km from Guwahati and it takes about 4-5 hours to reach. Half the journey is on four lane highway and remaining on single but good road.
|Sunset at kaziranga|
Labels: Assam, birding, Safari, travel, Wildlife