Listed among the prominent world heritage sites by UNESCO – Kaziranga National Park – is the crowning glory of Assam. It is a haven for endangered wildlife species indigenous to India. This animal reserve has nearly two-third population of the great one-horned rhinoceros found in the entire world and the highest density of tigers found elsewhere. The marvellous topography of this place comprises tall elephant grass, marshland, verdant tropical moist forests and various water bodies meandering through its vast expanse. This forest area is an ideal place to witness rich biodiversity and behold captivating natural beauty. Not only does it provide shelter to a vast variety of fauna and avi-fauna, but it has also achieved notable success in wildlife conservation. It is also a popular tourist destination in India, frequented mostly by either nature lovers or wildlife enthusiasts. A major highlight of a Kaziranga tour is the jungle safari, which is an ideal way to explore this natural habitat of wildlife.
Jeep and Elephant Safaris
There are basically two types of guided tours offered here, either by Jeep or on the back of an elephant. Irrespective of which safari a tourist opts for, the excursion within its bounds is sure to be a thrilling and memorable, replete with fun and excitement. During the safari trips, travellers might spot – one-horned rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild Asian water buffalo, Eastern mole, Indian wild boar, Indian elephant, swamp deer, leaf monkey, mongoose, leopard and many other species of animals. A ride within the jungle also gives an opportunity for birdwatching as the place is home to an umpteen number of bird species. Some of them are swamp partridge, quail, grey peacock pheasant, goose and fulvous whistling duck. Jeeps with groups of tourists and trained guides are allowed into this reserve at fixed times during the day. To ensure a safe expedition within the park, these Jeeps are required to abide by fixed routes and timings. Other than catching a glimpse of the endangered species, visitors get an opportunity for photographing them; however, they are not allowed to step down from the Jeep or the elephant for this.
Within this sanctuary, observation towers are built at Sohola, Kathpara, Foliamari, Mihimukh and Harmoti for wildlife viewing. Standing atop these towers, travellers get to see the charismatic landscape of this place with the Himalayan range in the background. This park remains closed for visitors from mid-April to mid-October due to monsoon rains. Within the vast expanse are set up tourist lodges, which are maintained by the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam.
Besides giving travellers an opportunity to see the varied species of animals and birds found here, a tour within the park is an endeavour to spread awareness amongst them about eco-tourism. To make this tour a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any avid nature enthusiast, various customised wildlife tour packages to Kaziranga are available online. These tour deals are designed for different types of visitors – personal groups, educational institutes and even corporates. Each of these tours is meticulously planned with the help of professional naturalists and tour leaders. Some packages only cover the safari while others also cater to the accommodation requirements of visitors.