Sunday, 8 November 2009

Rhino Spotting in Kaziranga

One Horned Rhinoceros in Kaziranga, Assam

Kaziranga is a National Park in Assam which is famous as the home of the endangered one-horned Rhino. It is another place on this big North East India tour which I had visited before, but I was more than happy to come back with my family since it is one of the highlights of the "Seven Sisters" - an affectionate name for the seven states of the North East.

A visit in Kaziranga virtually guarantees seeing these fantastic wild rhinos. This is especially the case if you go on an elephant safari. Elephants and rhinos live peacefully side by side here, so rhinos will be less disturbed by humans on elephant back than humans in jeeps. However, we also took a jeep trip to be able to cover a bit more ground. In all we got very close to about 4-5 rhinos and saw dozens over longer distances. We also saw wild elephants, wild boar, tons of deer and a couple of birds I have never seen before including the very cool pied kingfisher.

For nature lovers going to the Northeast a visit to Kaziranga is a must, in my opinion. I hope these pictures convey the reasons why.

Elephant in the morning mist

The mist lifts to reveal a Ranger's Cabin

First Rhino spotting of the day in the woods near the park gate before we had started the safari proper

The only proper transport for rhino safaris is elephant back

The scaly bum of the second rhino spotted on the characteristic grasslands of Kaziranga

A third rhino taking a good look at the intruders into its territory. It clearly decided we were not important enough to fight off.

Typical scene from the park. The little grey dots on the meadow across the water are rhinos. I count 9 of them in this picture - a concentration you will not find anywhere else.

Here you can just see the top of a wild boar, which I was lucky enough to spot (it is said to be good luck to discover one). They love the tall grasses of Kaziranga, which act as excellent camouflage.

Wild elephant crossing the road in front of us. Contrary to popular imagination wild elephants are much more dangerous than wild rhinos and cause many deaths in Kaziranga and rest of India every year. They must to be treated with utmost respect.

An elephant eye. This particular one is domesticated.

Sunset over one of Kaziranga's watering holes. A pelican enjoys a late night swim while other birds take to the trees for the night.