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India - Tiger Safari

Author: migyero
Date of Trip: December 2006



Back from two months of travel in India where we visited 5 parks: Kaziranga (Assam), Corbett (Uttaranchal), Keoladeo (Rajasthan), Ranthambhore (Rajasthan) and Bandhavgardh (Madhya Pradesh).

Here is the description of our tours in this magical country on the tracks of Kipling and Jim Corbett.

KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK - ASSAM

Traditional arrival in India from Europe: Paris - Mumbay - Delhi (to recover a large heap of vouchers there) - Calcutta

It seems that nothing moves nor changes in Calcutta, always as many ricksaws, auto-ricksaws, bikes, cars, trucks and buses that the past leaves. I like this city where one sees the print of monsoon on the walls.Two days to walk in between Bengalis; always so friendly.

Twenty-twohours of train and 6 hours of bus later we are in Kaziranga N.P. classified as world heritance of UNESCO. We place in a lodge state, Haranya Lodge, a clean and sympathetic place.

We are there for 6 days of morning and evening safaris in the three parts of the park. It is the beginning of the tourist season and thereare not lots of people. We prefer thisbecause the Indian animals are even more shy than their African cousins.

Fauna presents in the park: about 1500 rhinos, 1200 elephants, 1000 wild buffaloes, 86 tigers andabout 100 leopards, hyenas, jackals, chital, sambar, munjac, rhesus, macaque, commun, langur, pythons, cobras and about 350 birds.

Firstday, Western part in the afternoon: rhinos, elephants, munjacs, langurs, macaques.

Fiveminutes after our first entry in the park, our two first rhinos, that starts well, like often one of the major animals of the park welcome us: a female and its carf. The "elephant grass" in this season is very high, approximately 2,5 meters. Thus just some pictures for the startup of my Canon 20 D in bush condition.

A part only of the park is accesssible in this period of the year, they rebuilt the tracks after the monsoon, which was abundant this year. In each part of the park 25% of the tracks are open. It is nevertheless largely sufficient to see a lot of animals.

We will see about15 Rhinos today, a heard of elephants,buffaloes twice, munjac dears several times and once langurs and macaques. In all 250+ photographs: it will be necessary from day to day to note what it is on the CompactFlash cards.

This park is the most professional one, on the level of rangers, of all of India.The best success of animal protection in India with safeguard extinction of Indian Rhino. It is the centenary year of the creation of the park, new uniforms and rifles for the guards. This park is not included in the Project Tiger, whether 86 tigers are listed. It is the only park where we see the anti-poaching patrols at work every day, but also the head chief of the park inspecting it.

Secondday: rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, sambar, chital, munjac, langur, eagles and water birds of all kind.

Today, Eastern part in the morning and Western part in the afternoon. A good score of rhinos, twice a heard of elephants being refreshed at the river, three times buffaloes, a female sambar, a heard of munjacs and one small heard of chital, langurs, two Indian fish-eagles and a lot of migrating water birds, of which a colony of pelicans. No tigers, no leopards.

Third day same as 2nd day: rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, sambars, chitals, munjacs, langurs and macaques, Indian monitor lizard, eagles and water birds of all kinds. Eastern part in the morning and Central part in the afternoon. Finally, beautiful pictures of rhinos with the good light, a heard of elephants being refreshed at the river, three times buffaloes in the mud, the three type of dears by far, both type of monkeys and birds by far. We met and discussed with the head chief of the park, which authorizes us to enter the park earlier on thenext morning, a very very big privilege.

Fourth day: rhinos, elephants, chital, munjac, langur, eagles and water birds.

Central part in the morning and Western in the afternoon. Thanks to our early entry, 06H00 instead of 07H30, we could see from very very near a large male rhino and an awaking young one. What a great show in a foggy morning to see these prehistoric monsters grazingthree meters from us! But, also a young Indian monitor lizard taking the first sunbeams. This afternoon we will still see other rhinos but not from very near and elephants bathing.



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