Discover the realms of Rhinos by experiencing the Kaziranga National Park. Visiting this place would be a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true. One of the most significant national parks in our country, Kaziranga is also renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What makes this place so exceptional is that it is home to around two-third population of one-horned Rhinoceroses in the entire planet. But there’s a lot more to this wildlife haven!
Situated in Assam’s Kanchanjuri locality, Kaziranga National Park spreads across an area of 430 square kilometres. The park is nestled away on the banks of Brahmaputra River. Kaziranga is also famous for its Tiger Reserve. In fact, the park has a staggering number of 104 tigers. While about 80% of India’s Rhinoceros population reside here, the national park is also home to over 10 other endangered species.
Not just for animals though, as the national park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Countless types of migratory and endemic birds can be found here. Let us help you get started for planning your visit to the park.
How to reach Kaziranga National Park?
By Air – The two nearest airports are the one in Jorhat (around 130 kms) and Guwahati (around 180 kms). While the town Jorhat is closer to the park, Guwahati airport has much more flights and connectivity. It totally depends on where you’re coming from. Both are good options. Either way, you will have to get a bus or a cab from the airport.
By Rail –The nearest railway stations are Furkating, Guwahati and Jakhalabandha. Furkating is around 120 kms away, Guwahati is about 160 kms away and Jakhalabandha is just about 11 kms away. However, Jakhalabandha is not very well connected and trains don’t run regularly here. So your best bet is either Furkating or Guwahati. Unless you get lucky of course. No harm in trying.
By Road – Getting a bus to reach Kaziranga National Park is definitely possible. Many private and state operated buses run here. The National Highway 37 also makes sure that roadways are well connected here. So driving down to the national park is also something you can do. And Assam is pretty beautiful so you will definitely enjoy the drive.
Best time to visit Kaziranga National Park?
Anywhere from late October to early May. The weather here during the winter is comfortable and really cool. It’s nice and we particularly enjoy it. But you might want to layer up a little. April is when summer begins and it does get a little hot and dry but we found it tolerable.
However, summer season is usually good for wildlife spotting in general as animals and birds come out for water. April would also be a good month considering fewer tourists would visit compared to the months between November and March. Do not visit during monsoon. It is not at all advisable. Assam often gets flooded during monsoon which affects the park too.
Things to know about Kaziranga National Park
The national park is divided into 4 zones by the forest authorities:
Bagori (Western Range)
Agaratoli (Eastern Range)
Mihimukh (Central Range)
Ghorakati (Burapahar Range)
Each of these zones are unique in their own way. They all have different grasslands and different densities, in terms of certain kinds of wildlife.
There’s an entree fee of 100 INR for Indians and 650 INR for foreigners. Keep in mind that this price is only to enter the park and the fee for safaris is separate.
If you wish to carry a camera with you, there will be an additional cost for that. It would depend on whether you’re carrying a professional camera or a regular one.
Early morning safaris might not be the best option. Especially during winters. Purely because you won’t get a clear view of the wildlife till it’s bright and the sun is out.
What to do at Kaziranga National Park?
Kaziranga is one of the most iconic and best places to experience wildlife in India. They have regular safaris for visitors. Like most places, these are the two categories:
In total, there are two types of safaris you can enjoy at Kaziranga National Park.
Elephant Safari – The most important thing to know is that the Central Range and Western Range are the only ones in which an Elephant Safari is possible. The timings are 05:30 am to 07:30 am in the morning and 03:00 pm to 04:00 pm in the afternoon. An Elephant safari is considered as the best way to witness Rhinos. By sitting on top of these giant beasts, you get a very up close view of the Rhinoceroses since they don’t tend to attack elephants.
Jeep Safari – Only 6 people can be accommodated at a time in a jeep. The timings for Jeep safari are between 07:00 to 09:30 in the morning and 01:30 to 03:30 pm in the afternoon. Driving across the vast expanse of the natural park will definitely give you an uplifting feeling. It’s a very exciting way to discover wildlife. But not just spotting animals or birds, the untamed forests, endless stretches of tall elephant grass and the dense forests in general make up for a really captivating experience of the wild.
Boat Safari – This is something which not many people know about. This one hour boat ride is only possible in the Eastern Zone of Agoratoli. There are no fixed timings for the Boat Safari. It purely depends on a minimum number of people being available and visibility. This is definitely the best safari to witness birds. You also get to see various animals on the periphery, quenching their thirst.
We would suggest Jeep Safaris over Elephant Safaris. The reason behind this is that a Jeep can cover a lot more ground in the given time. Also, domesticating wildlife in a national park seems kind of counterproductive to us.
What makes Kaziranga National Park Special?
Getting a chance to see the majestic Rhinoceroses is definitely one of them. But even apart from that, the biodiversity of Kaziranga National Park is really phenomenal. Swamp Deers, Elephants and Asiatic Water Buffalos are definitely common sightings. That’s not it though. You could spot Golden Jackals, Sloth bears, Indian Pangolins, Civets, Leopards, Jungle Cats and so much more. The sighting of rare animals is absolutely fulfilling.
Amongst birds you can witness The Great Indian Hornbill, Weaver, Spot-Billed Pelican, and many others. The list is very long, even for reptiles and aquatic creatures. Amongst birds too there are many endangered birds like Indian White-Rumped Vulture. Visiting Kaziranga National Park not only makes you fall in love with nature. Seeing these creatures in their natural habitat up close and personal is an experience you will always cherish.