North-eastern India is an area of astonishing biodiversity, which has beckoned wildlife enthusiasts for generations.  This tour will take us to some of the most iconic of the region’s reserves and national parks, including Manas and Kaziranga, two of Asia’s most impressive wildlife areas. This tour offers a unique perspective, as we will be accompanied by James Champion, grandson of one of the founding fathers of the Indian conservation movement, FW Champion OBE IFS. James will provide an intimate insight into some of north-eastern India’s most iconic habitats and species, as well as giving a historical overview to wildlife conservation in the National Park. He has travelled extensively in India and neighboring countries and has explored this area in detail, and he will be sharing his knowledge of the birds, butterflies and other wildlife of this remarkable corner of the country.

Before venturing out into the wilderness, we will sample one of India’s most visually shocking wildlife experiences, the immense, stinking rubbish dump close to Guwahati.  This may seem an extraordinary place to start a wildlife tour, but the dump is home to a large proportion of the world population of the critically endangered Greater Adjutant Stork.  The birds come here to feed on the rotting detritus from the nearby city, patiently awaiting their turn after the human scavengers have had their share. This example of wildlife adapting to its environment is a stunning sight to behold so close to the urban buzz of Guwahati.

Our next destination, Manas National Park, was formerly the hunting ground of kings, but was declared a protected area in 1928.  It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, but it suffered rampant poaching and terrorist activity to such an extent that it was classified in 1992 as a “World Heritage Site in Danger”.  However, since then it has had a remarkable turnaround, and now offers an unparalleled wilderness experience. This park incorporates an extraordinary variety of habitats, ranging from Himalayan subtropical deciduous forests to open expanses of Terai grassland, coupled with the Manas River, which forms in part the border with Bhutan, on whose territory an adjacent national park exists, creating a much more extensive area than just the Indian park.

Having experienced the bird and wildlife delights of this amazing area, we return to Guwahati for an overnight stay, followed by a journey to another of India’s wildlife crown jewels, the world-renowned Kaziranga National Park, home to perhaps 80% of the world population of Great Indian Rhinos.  It is possible sometimes to see up to 40 of these prehistoric-looking creatures in one go, as they graze peacefully on the grasslands of this very special place.

Our days here will be spent enjoying safaris in the different areas of the park, offering varied viewing experiences, with watch-towers to overlook the wetland areas and jheels (ponds) that teem with migratory wildfowl, alongside wild water buffalo, swamp deer and other large mammals.  On one of the days, we will venture to the shores of the mighty Brahmaputra River, in search of the highly endangered Gangetic dolphin and other riverine and riparian species.

On our last day here, we will travel to the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, an isolated patch of native forest surrounded by tea gardens.  This remarkable place provides a home to six species of primates, including India’s only ape, the Western Hoolock Gibbon.  The park has a very high biodiversity, and additionally hosts more than 200 species of bird.  It will provide a fitting finale to our great north-eastern experience before we fly back to Delhi and complete our tour.

James conducted his own exploration of Assam in 2014, visiting the sites that feature in this tour, and as such he has firsthand experience of the birds and wildlife of this fascinating state. He will be delighted to share his passion for its landscape and wild creatures with you on this fascinating journey.

Itinerary:- Delhi – Guwahati – Manas National Park – Kaziranga – Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary – Guwahati – Delhi

Number of nights: 12 nights and 13 days

Fixed departure: 24th January 2024 to 05th February 2024

Tailor-made itinerary: We will be happy to tailormake this itinerary as per your best suited time, number of days you have or species that you have in mind. Do drop us an email.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 2:- Arrive in Delhi

Arrive in Delhi. Our representative will meet you at the airport and will accompany you to your hotel close by to ensure a speedy check-in. The remainder of the day is at leisure after a long-haul flight. Depending on your flight timings and your inclination to explore, we can organize some city sightseeing or birding during the day.

Overnight in Delhi.

Day 2:- Delhi to Guwahati and Manas National Park

Morning flight to Guwahati. We will be welcomed and assisted by a travelling naturalist and, after the customary visit to the rubbish dump to look for the rare Greater Adjutant Storks that frequent this unusual wildlife site, we will be driven to Kukurmara to search for Gangetic dolphin. Traditional lunch in a local house followed by drive to Manas National Park.

On a gentle incline in the foothills of the Himalayas, where wooded hills give way to alluvial grasslands and tropical forests, the Manas sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species including tiger, pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant.

Overnight at Manas National Park (B, L, D).

Day 3, 4 & 5:- Manas National Park

Our exploration of Manas National Park begins and there will be two organized safaris on each of these days. Covering an area of 39,100 hectares, this park spans the Manas River and is bounded to the north by the forests of Bhutan. It lies alongside the shifting river channels of the Manas River. The site’s scenic beauty includes a range of forested hills, alluvial grasslands and tropical evergreen forests and provides critical and viable habitats for the rare and endangered species mentioned above, as well as Bengal Florican, a small and rare species of bustard. Manas has exceptional importance within the Indian sub-continent’s protected areas, as one of the most significant remaining natural areas in the region, where sizeable populations of a large cast of threatened species continue to survive.

Overnight at Manas National Park (B, L, D)

Day 6:- Manas National Park to Kaziranga National Park

Situated on the flood plains of the Brahmaputra, the UNESCO World Heritage reserve of Kaziranga is spread over an area of 430 sq. km. Kaziranga is most commonly known as the home of the largest surviving population of the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. Due to the high quality of its wildlife viewing opportunities, this wonderful reserve has often been compared with African parks. It boasts about fifteen species of India’s most severely threatened mammals. The topography of Kaziranga is very picturesque and the habitat consists of tall grassland, marshy swamps and tropical wet and semi-evergreen forests.

Tiger heads the list of predators, followed by Leopard and lesser cats including Jungle and Fishing Cat. Other mammals include the Asian Elephant, Wild Buffalo, Hog Badger, Smooth-coated Otter, Wild Boar, Sambar, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer and Indian Muntjac. Reptiles found in the park include Water Monitor, Indian Python, Common Cobra and the famous King Cobra. Kaziranga also boasts primates including Capped Langur and Hoolock Gibbon.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B, L, D)

Day 07: Kaziranga National Park

Almost 478 species of birds (both migratory and resident) have been recorded in the park, including 25 globally threatened and 21 near-threatened species. Specialities we may hope to see are Lesser Adjutant, Bengal Florican, Black-necked Stork, Swamp Francolin, Finn’s Baya, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Great and Wreathed Hornbills, Indian & Blue-naped Pitta and hosts of migratory birds which flock to Kaziranga during the winter months.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B, L, D)

Day 08:- Kaziranga National Park

We continue to explore Kaziranga today, with morning and evening Jeep safaris, visiting parts of the Park that we have not yet sampled.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B ,L, D)

Day 09: Kaziranga National Park

Our exploration of Kaziranga continues. In the morning we visit the Agaratoli zone in the east and then return to the central zone (Kohora) in the afternoon.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B, L, D)

Day 10:- Kaziranga National Park

This morning we change pace and go hiking in the Burapahar area of Kaziranga. This is a great opportunity for birding and finding primate species. Evening at leisure to unwind and enjoy the lodge and gardens.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B, L, D)

Day 11:- Kaziranga to Gibbon Sanctuary and back

Early morning transfer by road to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary near Jorhat.

Located in the south of the Brahmaputra River system near Jorhat town in Assam, the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary has played a very important role in the conservation of primates. An isolated patch of 21 sq km, Hoollongapar Reserve Forest was declared a sanctuary in 1997 as it supported a substantial number of Hoolock Gibbons, the only ape species found in India.

The sanctuary has since been renamed the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, the only wildlife park or sanctuary in India named after a primate. As well as the Hoolock, the Gibbon sanctuary supports six other primate species: Stump-tailed Macaque, Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Capped Langur and Slow Loris, which is nocturnal.

Overnight at Kaziranga National Park (B, L, D)

Day 12:- Kaziranga National Park to Guwahati to Delhi

After breakfast, transfer by road to Guwahati airport for a flight to Delhi airport and transfer to Delhi hotel. Depending on our arrival time, there may be an opportunity to do some sightseeing, shopping or even some birding.

Overnight at Delhi (B).

Day 13:- Departure

After breakfast, transfer to IGI airport and flight.

Please note: this and all the tours advertised on this website are organised and run by Rural Traveller. All participants must purchase adequate travel insurance to cover cancellation, medical treatment and possible repatriation. 

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