We were on a work related tour to Guwahati for 2 days early December, but we had to cut short our stay there. After completing all our work on the first day, we started our return journey to Dibrugarh the next day itself. It was 1.30 pm by the time we left the city. On the way, we decided to stay for a night at Kaziranga and do an early morning elephant safari of the National Park. The next day was Sunday and we were expecting a rush, so we decided to check out ways to make advance booking for the safari. Booking could be made online and we made ours through this website called http://www.kaziranganationalpark-india.com
We were asked to make the entire payment through a link provided in our whatsapp number and to provide an ID proof. Yes, we were apprehensive at first because of online fraud and stuff but still decided to take the chance. It costs us 1500 INR per person and our kid who was three and half year old at the time wasn’t charged anything. So we made the payment of 3000 INR online after which we were sent a confirmation message. We were told that their agent would contact us later that evening.
The agent called up later that evening while we were still on the way. Our safari was scheduled at 6.45 am the next day and we were to report at the Western Zone of the National Park. The exact location was Bagori and so we decided to stay close by. We checked into Bagori Resort which was located by the National highway and the safari point was about 400 mtrs from the hotel. This resort has 23 rooms with basic amenities available, and the rooms are quite comfortable.
First time Elephant Safari experience
We were so excited, we woke up way too early and by 5 am we were ready. We got in our car and reached the safari point in less than 5 mins. But nonetheless there was already a rush because it was Sunday. There are generally 3 scheduled safari on a day, but sometimes, very rarely though, only 2 safari are arranged because of various reasons. Ours was the last one for the day and it got delayed by a few minutes.
Also the safari charges for those who book it directly at the office was only INR 900. There are around 30 elephants available for safari with a seating capacity of 4 adults per elephant. Depending on these facts you can decide whether to make your booking online or directly at the office.
The first time elephant safari experience was surreal! As I sat on the howdah I could only pray for the safari to be a safe one. Neev squeezed in between me and my husband on one side of the howdah, while on the other side sat a couple. After all the elephants were ready with the passengers, the herd began to march ahead towards the interiors of the park. We were on the lead, which was all the more reason for me to freak out.
It was past 7 am by the time our safari started. The ride was bumpy and the seating not at all comfortable. But nevertheless it was a thrilling experience and Neev enjoyed a lot, especially the bumpy ride. He just couldn’t stop laughing, that too in the middle of the jungle.
As we entered the jungle we first came across the habitat of the monkeys. Monkeys in large numbers were out in the open soaking in some morning sun and busy with their activities. We also saw a rhino family grazing in the distant and a wild buffalo across a stream of water.
After a while we encountered a rhino from up close and since we were on the lead, I was really scared. But the elephants went in herd and there was a certain technique mahouts follow to keep danger away. The rhino was surrounded in a semi-circle by the herd of elephants forcing the rhino to move away.
Soon after our safari came to an end. The interiors of the park were not covered in the route, and the time taken was around 1 hour. Though it was a chilly December morning, the sun came out bright by the time we finished our safari. We fed some bananas to our elephant and bowed in respect and thanksgiving.
Jeep safari is also available in Kaziranga National Park, which treads much into the interiors of the park.
Where to stay :
There are many hotels, resorts, lodges and homestays in the Kohora range of the Kaziranga National Park, but the Bagori range has comparatively much less options. From the Kohora range it’s another 30 mins drive to Bagori.
1. Bonroja Motel and Restaurant: This is the nearest hotel in this range just next to the entry gate of the Bagori range Elephant Safari point. It is next to the national highway too.
2. Bagori Resort: This is the resort we stayed in. It has 23 rooms with an in-house restaurant and very friendly staff. It’s just a 4 mins drive from the safari point.
Kaziranga National Park is open from November to April, and closes down during the monsoon season.
Also read : Kaziranga National Park