Brahmaputra River Cruise Day 6

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Brahmaputra River Cruise Day 6

Brahmaputra River Cruise Day 6 - Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Gologhat and Nagaon districts in the state of Assam, India and is a World Heritage site. The park contains two-thirds of the world’s population of One Horned Rhinoceros, and the park also boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world. The park was first established as a Reserve Forest in 1905, promoted to a National Park in 1968 and finally declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The "Big 5" animals to see are

  • The Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros
  • Asiatic Wild Buffalo
  • Asian Elephant
  • Royal Bengal Tiger
  • Swamp Deer

The population of One Horned Rhinoceros in 1975 was just 600, however today it stands at 2,290.
Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical forest located on the edge of the Eastern Himalayas and is about 25 miles in length and 8 miles wide. The grasslands form 61% of the forest landmass and the park is host to 35 species of mammals.

The ship made an announcement at 3am in order to wake us all up and we met in the lounge area at 3:30am ready to disembark for our elephant and jeep safari! It would be an hour drive from where were docked at Silghat to reach the park, and we walked across the bamboo bridge in the near darkness toward the car park area where the jeeps were waiting for us. There was an air of excitement around all the guests as this was one of the highlights of the trip, and no one minded the early start.

On our drive there we saw a local fox, lots of dogs, and even some monkeys! We stopped off at a hotel en route for a restroom break and quick cup of tea, then continued to the Kaziranga National Park entrance for our elephant safari!

Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari

It was a wonderful sight to see all the elephants lined up with their mahout (elephant driver) on top, and there were two baby elephants running around too! We climbed the boarding tower which made getting on the elephant very easy.

The Elephant Boarding Tower, Kaziranga National Park

The Elephant Boarding Tower, Kaziranga National Park

Time to board the elephants

Time to board the elephants

Our elephant was actually the mother of the two little ones so we had them following us around. On the back of elephant was a three-seater rig with planks attached by ropes acting as foot rests either side. You had to straddle the back of the elephant with legs spread either side - fortunately there were handle bars. Once we had mounted and got settled, she lumbered off - it was a strange motion and odd sensation sitting on her back as she ambled away to join the rest of the herd with their tourists atop, and took a few minutes to get into the "sway" of the elephant. There were a few rigs set up as "side saddle" too.

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

And they’re off! Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Baby elephant following the herd - Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Our first Rhino - Kaziranga National Park

The light was getting brighter, and we were lucky with the weather as rain had been forecast. Our elephant soon settled into a regular rhythm as we made our way through the tall elephant grass. It was not long before we spotted Swamp Deer and then we came across a One Horned Rhino! It was so exciting to see these huge creatures up close, their thick grey hides looking more like ill- fitting armour plating than skin. They did not seem bothered by us and went about their business of eating and snuffling about.

Swamp Deer, Kaziranga National Park

Swamp Deer, Kaziranga National Park

Swamp Deer, Kaziranga National Park

Swamp Deer, Kaziranga National Park

We stayed on the elephants of about an hour, spotting vultures, more rhinos, eagles, herons, pelicans, deer, water buffalo and more.

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros and Golden Egret, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

War wounds - One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Thats me on the back!

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Some of our fellow travellers

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Shagzil and Payal, our guides from the boat

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

More fellow travellers

Fishing Eagle, Kaziranga National Park

Fishing Eagle, Kaziranga National Park

We ended our elephant safari at a different boarding tower and disembarked easily. There were two other western tourists here and it was the first tourists we had seen since our trip began - that’s how far off the beaten track we were!

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Our rides for the morning, complete with their mahouts

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

The star of the show!

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Elephant Safari, Kaziranga National Park

After lots of photos with the elephants we were transferred to a local hotel for breakfast, before returning to the national park for another safari, but this time in an open top jeep.

Jeep Safari

Our jeep was the lead jeep in our little convoy, and accompanying our driver (who was also our guide) we had an armed park ranger, in case of emergency. We were in a different part of the park now, and it wasn’t long before we spotted Water Buffaloes, herons, Black Necked Cranes, rhinos and even wild Indian Elephants.

Jeep Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Jeep Safari, Kaziranga National Park

Fishing Eagle, Kaziranga National Park

Fishing Eagle, Kaziranga National Park

Pelicans, Kaziranga National Park

Pelicans, Kaziranga National Park

Stork, Kaziranga National Park

Stork, Kaziranga National Park

Water Buffalo, Kaziranga National Park

Water Buffalo, Kaziranga National Park

Water Buffalo, Kaziranga National Park

Water Buffalo, Kaziranga National Park

Driving around we also spotted a rare Himalayan Squirrel, a bee catcher, vultures, pelicans, kingfishers, wallowing horned buffalo and so many more. We didn’t see the elusive Bengal Tigers, so I was so glad we had managed to spot one earlier in the cruise along the river bank. I had seen the "Big 5"!

Himalayan Squirrel, Kaziranga National Park

The rare and elusive Himalayan Squirrel, Kaziranga National Park

Pelicans, Kaziranga National Park

Pelicans, Kaziranga National Park

Salamander, Kaziranga National Park

Salamander, Kaziranga National Park

Wild Indian Elephant, Kaziranga National Park

Wild Indian Elephant, Kaziranga National Park

Black-Necked Stork

Black-Necked Stork

Pied Kingfisher, Kaziranga National Park

Pied Kingfisher, Kaziranga National Park

Back at base camp it was time to return to the ship. After the hour drive back it was soon time for lunch. Most guests took to their cabins after lunch as it had been a long but very rewarding day!
We were supposed to sail that evening and tie up against a desert island but due to high winds and the amount of sand in the air it was a decided we would stay at Silghat overnight for the comfort of everyone.


Links to the rest of the blogs


MV Mahabaahu Video - showing cabins, public rooms and destinations

For more information or to book this trip see here - Brahmaputra River Cruise

All images and text (c) Scott Anderson - The Luxury Cruise Company 2014

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