Being the nature lovers we are, our nature fix this time, came from Meghalaya and Kaziranga. The trip left me wondering why I hadn’t explored the North East before!!
We flew from Delhi to Guwahati then on to Jorhat. A very friendly dude clearly aspiring to be a rock star drove us to the Iora resort at Kaziranga. His shades stayed even when dark clouds threatened to release themselves on the city.
We were off for our safari the next morning. Unlike most resorts attached to wildlife parks, that insist you take off at 5am, this one insisted you catch up on your sleep, have a leisurely breakfast before taking offJ Unlike Corbett, Kaziranga is a lush green park dotted with water bodies and surrounded by mountains. There are 3 Safari ranges to pick from. Eastern for bird viewing & Western and Central for game spotting. We started off with Central and as expected there were rhinos, wild buffaloes, elephants, deer etc. in abundance. We saw a giant wild elephant up close and missed the elusive tiger by a few minutes. The elephant apparently was in his mating cycle and Babul, our safari driver, warned us to remain at a distance. Elephants apparently get a bit looney and hump everything in sight & God knows we didn’t want to be at the receiving end! Trivia – A rhino weighs 2200 kilos and eats 16 hours a day. Despite that, he can run at a speed of 40 kms/hr. One -horned Rhinos are predominantly found only in North-East India & Southern Nepal.
Since we don’t care much for bird viewing, for our next viewing, Babul took us to the Western Range. And now LISTEN hard – Literally, 10 minutes into the safari, we spotted a tiger!! Within 5mins there were 10 jeeps at the spot. The tiger was at a distance & the moment the tiger went back into the bushes, everyone lost interest. All but 2 jeeps stayed back – one fortunately, was ours. The drivers and the park guards of the 2 jeeps after an animated 2min discussion, had predicted the route the tiger was likely to take.
We went & parked at the spot & prepared for the long wait that was likely to ensue. Giving us company were rhinos, water buffaloes, deer, and cows. The Rhinos were close enough to come & eat us but thankfully they’re vegans!! While we were going crazy clicking the rhinos 20 feet away, we saw the magical orange stripes. A gorgeous giant male tiger, quietly peered from behind the bushes. I think he was deciding whether to have cows or deer for dinner!! Given his penetrating gaze, we knew, he had his eyes on the poor little cows today
He crept towards them as we sat tracking his every move. He’d disappear in the thick jungle for a while but we knew he was just waiting for the right moment. The cows had some sense, because they fled, picking a spot which put a water body between them & the jungle. As the tiger followed them we got a rare sighting of a rhino & a tiger in the same frame. I cannot possibly describe how we felt. ! Two magnificent giant creatures in one frame & at such close proximity. We wondered if the tiger would attack the Rhino, but I guess they’ve both learnt to respect each other’s strengths. We watched the cat & mouse game between the tiger & the cows for 3 hours. As the sun prepared to rest, we were advised to leave the park. We’ll never know if the cows made it through the night but I do hope they magically avoided the magnificent cat at least this one time.
We stayed in Iora for 3 days and then headed to Meghalaya from there.
Recommendations for Kaziranga National Par
- Best Time to go: November to April. We went in March
- How to get there: Jet Airways from Delhi to Jorhat. 2hours drive from Jorhat
- Ideal Trip Time: 3 days
- Places to stay: We stayed at the Iora Resorts & had a very comfortable stay.
- Safari tips
- Our resort organized the safari. Ask the Safari driver to get a park guard to accompany you. You’ll only spend INR 100-200 to benefit from the wealth of their park knowledge. They also stay in touch with each other on sighting in different parts of the park
- Carry strong binoculars
- Instead of covering area, work with the drivers and guards to maximize spotting opportunities