Wildlife group tours, photography tours or customized itineraries.
What do you call a sanctuary that has the world’s largest population of the great one-horned rhino, the planet’s highest density of tiger, is India’s biggest conservation success and a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
You may call it an idyll. Some call it a marvel of the Northeast. The world knows it as Kaziranga National Park.
And stepping into its core, this guided Tour will unravel the many facets of the wondrous site, and around its sinuous swamps and surreal mist-shrouded vistas, introduce you to a world of endless opportunities.
There are three different ways to explore Kaziranga. Depending on the kind of traveler you are, we welcome you to choose your preferred Kaziranga tour packages.
Giants in a giant landscape.
Kaziranga’s 470km2 lush green flood plains, which seem to be designed for maximum spectacle value, and fed by the mighty Brahmaputra, are composed of tall, dense grasslands interspersed with cane brakes, open woodlands, interconnecting streams and numerous lakes or ‘beels‘ – which is a long way of saying that it’s a truly mesmeric setting.
And virtually everything about Kaziranga is large, as giants dominate the landscape. From the grasses to the birds, and from the reptiles to the mammals, the underlying credo of this wildlife expo is that chic is the opposite of size-zero. And their rarity and exclusivity add excitement to the experience.
‘An isolated evergreen forest’ is a concise identifier of Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary but the beauty and the magic it stands for cannot be reduced to words, for it is an invaluable piece of natural heritage sheltering India’s only ape, the Western Hoolock Gibbon, besides a wealth of other exotic species.
The sanctuary is a 21km2 treasure of alluvial semi-evergreen vegetation composed of the eponymous Hollong trees, and evergreen shrubs and herbs. And weaving on you an inescapable web of charm, it will remain evergreen in your heart.
Charismatic large mammals, little-seen primates, and birds of all sizes.
Two decades ago, Kaziranga faced the ignominious threat of losing its most celebrated tenant, the great one-horned rhinoceros. Today, it is the best place in the world to see and photograph this primordial pachyderm. And although the rhino is virtually synonymous with the place, it is merely the tip of an iceberg that goes incredibly deep.
Among other mammals, the rare and endangered Asiatic water buffalo – a species of wild buffalo even larger than its African counterpart – forms a unique attraction. Enormous mud-stained tuskers and mid-sized elephant herds drifting slowly across the great outdoors are a regular fixture.
In a smaller segment, the comely hog deer and the endemic swamp deer (or the ‘soft ground barasingha‘) offer beautiful attractions on hooves. Occasionally, those bestowed with special fortune may enjoy the exceptional sight of a tiger adorning the great outdoors.
Kaziranga’s avian life is famously splendid. Identified by Birdlife International as an “Important Bird Area”, a rich variety of migratory birds, waders, raptors and scavengers are found here, including the black-necked stork, red-breasted parakeet, Asian barred owlet, dusky eagle-owl, dalmatian pelican, grey-headed fish eagle, Jerdon’s babbler, swamp francolin, great hornbill, pied harrier and cinerous vulture.
Reptiles are represented by two of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python and Indian rock python, and the longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra. The Assam roofed turtle is a fairly common sight that lends itself beautifully to creative imaging.
The adjoining Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a bonus destination on this Tour, is a fabulous place to observe some of India’s endemic primates. A small park that offers big opportunities, it boasts of seven species of primate including the hoolock gibbon, pig-tailed and stump-tailed macaques, capped langur and slow loris, while three species of civet and four species of squirrel, including the Malayan giant, will keep your eyes riveted to the canopy. Amidst all this, the botanically inclined will be floored by its floral diversity. Truly, a ‘simian adventure’ never sounded so enticing!
Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge-sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focused.
Of course! Please talk to our capable Camera Rent team or mention what gear you’d like to hire while registering for the tour. Guess what? We offer you a 10% off on camera rent while on the tour.
Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold’s eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away!
However, in order to make the most of the Tour photographically, we recommend that you be familiar with photography fundamentals. If you’re not, we suggest you join an Art and Science of Photography Workshop before the Tour.
We assemble at Guwahati by noon and the group will leave for Kaziranga. After a drive of around five hours, we settle down in our lovely stay, which is at at the edge of the forest where many species of birds, including the Oriental pied hornbill and the brown hawk owl, are seen nearby. Reptile lovers will be delighted by the enchanting sight of the endemic tokay gecko, a very big gecko that resides in the banyan trees nearby.
We enter the forest early in the morning and reach the gates of one of the zones of this beautiful park, aiming to get some evocative pictures of rhinos in the mist. As the mist lifts, the beauty of the magical swampy grasslands will become evident. After a fascinating ride, we return to the resort and breakfast, after which we discuss our first morning safari.
In the late afternoon we leave for the second safari, hoping to make images of the other magnificent wildlife seen here. A stimulating ChaayaaChitra session will ensue before dinner, with a view of helping us make the most of the forthcoming safaris.
We follow the same schedule as on Day 2 and explore some other forested areas of the park too, choosing our zones according to the group’s preference between mammal and bird photography. In the evening, another highly insightful session we call ChitraTantra will help you have your images reviewed and incorporate necessary improvements into your photography and processing.
We visit the beautiful Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and spend half a day watching and photographing primates. A combination of patience and luck should yield opportunities to watch hoolock gibbons at length.
In the evening we return to Kaziranga and after an informal discussion about the finds of the day or a session reviewing pictures, call it a productive day.
Please note that the afternoon safari in Kaziranga is NOT included in the itinerary. We’ll be happy to arrange an extra safari (at extra cost) if we return from Gibbon early enough for the afternoon safari in Kaziranga.
We venture into the National Park for two more safaris to try our luck with large mammals and rare birds. By now, we will have spent ample time both in the field and off it learning a lot about both photography and animal behaviour, which should help us make the most of the opportunities that come our way. In the evening we enjoy a CharchaaLoka session from the Skipper.
After an early breakfast we check out of our lodge in Kaziranga and are driven back to Guwahati. Having enjoyed an eventful trip filled with learning, adventure, fun and memorable experiences, we part and return home, bustling with stories to tell and pictures to share.
Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.
Anybody with an interest in wildlife, photography or birding will thoroughly enjoy this Tour. And although this Tour is optimized for photographers, non-photographers are most welcome too. There are no eligibility criteria except that you must be over 18 unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.