Kaziranga National Park is the biggest biodiversity hotspot of North-Eastern India. Situated in Assam, a Unesco World Heritage site is a major wildlife game reserve of India where the abundance of wildlife and stunning landscapes bewilders a visitor. The green tropical vegetation interspersed with picture-perfect tea estates along the mighty Brahmaputra on north and Karbi Anglong Hills on the south makes it an unmatched destination.
How To Reach
Kaziranga National Park is located in Golaghat district between towns of Nagaon and Jorhat. Nearest Airport is Guwahati and Jorhat. Guwahati is about 230 Kms from Kohora Charali, the central market point just outside the Kaziranga National Park. Numerous buses are available from Paltan Bazar and ISBT AhomGaon in Guwahati. It takes about 5 hours including refreshment breaks. We have traveled through Baikuntha and Ratnagiri Transport buses. Ratnagiri buses are best in terms of comfort, punctuality and staff behavior. ASTC buses are available as well, but those are often city buses and not comfortable for a long journey. Nearest Railhead is Nagaon and Chaparmukh though train services are inadequate.
Safari Options in Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is divided into four ranges and visitors can go for elephant safari or jeep safari. All the ranges have different pricing depending on distance and safari vehicles(Modified Canters Gypsies) are provided by the forest department. One vehicle can accommodate 6 persons and prices are per vehicle. Solo or Couple travelers can share the cost by forming a group by themselves. Apart from vehicle 100 Rs per head for entry, 300 Rs per vehicle as Road Tax, 100 Rs per Digital Camera would be levied.
Jeep Safari at Central Range(Kohora)
Kohora range is the central range and just beside the market and most of the resorts. It is mostly thick woods of tropical deciduous forest with tall trees and few grasslands. Rhinos, Swamp Deers and Wild Buffaloes are abundant. Also, many migratory birds can be seen along with water bodies. The silhouette of the Karbi Hills in the south adds to the aura of the landscape.
Elephant Safari at Western Range(Bagori)
Elephant Safari is the most sought activity in Kaziranga. It has limited seats and Rs 950 per head. We have booked in a couple of weeks advance to beat the rush. No official online booking is available but the tour operators/resorts can arrange this through their network. We took the first trip around 6:15 AM and it was unreal. There are certain platforms to ride on the back of the jumbo. Four people ride on one elephant on a cushioned seat attached to the back. There are certain concerns of conscience on the practice of domestication of elephants. But here the animals are nurtured and fed well. Moreover, these animals are born in captivity and hence it is not possible for them to live a life on their own in the wild. One advantage of Elephant Safari is that one can go deep inside the marshes, bushes and up close to the wild animals. This part of the park is mostly swamp and bushes where one can see animals very close. We saw duel of swamp deers, rhinos and buffaloes on the safari.
Jeep Safari at Eastern Range(Agaratoli)
The eastern range of Agaratoli is located about 20 km eastwards towards Jorhat near Bokakhat village. This is the least visited range and the best one in terms of abundance of wildlife and stunning landscapes. Here most of the tigers dwell so be cautious and vigilant. The safari route circumnavigates a large swamp and through the banks of Brahmaputra. It is also a birding paradise.
Accommodation at Kaziranga
Numerous resorts are available around Kohora Market. We stayed at Aranya Lodge run by Assam Tourism. Online Booking not available. Booking can be done through Assam Tourism offices or agents around the country.