Kaziranga and Manas Trip: help in planning please

#1 Feb 13th, 2014, 20:21
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  • Supra is offline
#1
Hi,

I'd appreciate your advice on my planned trip to Manas and Kaziranga later this year. I have plans to travel to Kolkata in December and hope to have a spare week between business. I'l be travelling alone and I'm keen to experience a bit of peace and solitude (staying in small eco resorts) and definitely some birding under a naturalist's guidance.

I plan to hire a car for my entire trip starting from Guwahati airport and dropping me off either at Jorhat or back to Guawahati airport.
I believe special permissions can be obtained for full day jeep safari within Kaziranga from the authorities.
Would I be allowed to take the hired car for the jeep safari in Kaziranga or do I need to go with an approved driver only?
Similarly for Manas : can I take the hired car for a whole day safari or again need to arrange car separately?

Regarding trekking at Kukurkata/Panbari forest: do I need to organise the permit from range office in advance or can I just turn up?

Is Nameri worth the trip? I reckon I should have plenty of birding opportunity in Manas so what extra would Nameri offer ?

The draft itinerary looks like this:
Day 1: Kolkata-Guwahati flight, reaching by mid-morning. Meet up with driver-- drive to Manas.
Stay at either Mathanguri bungalow or the Manas Jungle camp ( run by the NGO, I'm very impressed with their effort). Jeep travel within park as much as possible depending on daylight.

Day 2: Possibly Elephant safari in the morning and Jeep safari for rest of the day and just relaxing.
Day 3: Guided walking,rafting and more birding, may be another elephant safari.
Day 4: Manas to Kaziranga. I believe this is a six hour drive. Is there any place interesting on the way to break the journey?
Stay at Agarotoli Eco resort near the Eastrn range office. There are only 3 reviews at Tripadvisor but the resort looks nice and the eastern range certainly looks a lot quieter than the central range.

Day 5: Morning Elephant safari into the Eastern range and rest of the day jeep safari.
Day 6: Hiking through Kukukurkata if permit obtained. That is apparently 11 km in hilly slopes so not sure I can lug along with all my photo gear. Would shorter Panbari range be a better alternative?

Or should I visit Nameri today? Google map is suggesting 2.5 hrs drive so not too bad fro a day trip. Worth the trouble?
Day 7: Early morning safari and then off to Guwahati/Jorhat to catch flight back.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Regards
#2 Feb 15th, 2014, 23:02
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  • WanderlustUnend is offline
#2
Hi Supra!
Nameri has an eco resort. There used to be an annual anglers' meet there but i think that has been stopped now. Apart from that, it offers rafting. Also, you can arrange to share a meal with a local family in their cottage on stilts. We had done so once, and their amazing hospitality left a very deep impression. And more often than not, you end up meeting some interesting and like minded people there. So..if you have enough time on your hands, you may want to go and stay there for a day or so.
Both manas and kaziranga, i believe, require you to hire their vehicles for the safari.
Good places to stay at kaziranga are Iora(3 star comfort), Wild grass(nature oriented) and Jupuri Ghor (meaning cottages literally)
Hope this helps.
#3 Feb 16th, 2014, 03:37
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  • Supra is offline
#3
Thanks very much Wanderlust for your suggestions. I'll certainly try to fit Nameri for a day, especially encouraged by your comment about meeting like minded travellers.
I don't mind if I have to hire an authorised vehicle as long it comes with a good guide.
#4 Mar 13th, 2014, 05:08
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  • roadjunkie is offline
#4
Hi Supra,

I would rather take a taxi to the resorts and let resort staff organize a jeep safari for me. That way you don't miss anything you should and the hired taxi might not be allowed even if its legal. Resorts organize amazing safaris in Kaziranga. Try 'Diphlu River Lodge'. Its comfortable and the river facing cottages are really nice. This place is lovely and worth staying, slightly expensive. Another place in Kaziranga worth staying at is the 'Wild Grass Lodge'. An old old horse, managed well with magnificent service. You could also consider Nature Hunt Eco Camp. Nice people to hangout...


In Manas, Try 'Banasbari Lodge' (owned by the guys at 'Diphlu River Lodge). Good Service. Mathanguri Rest House is another lovely option. Although a little run down ! Manas is beautiful ! Simply stunning !

You could try Nameri on the last day but It might be a little too hectic. Also, Nameri deserves more than a day. The 'Eco-Camp' is a great experience with all the bonfires and happy faces all around Another option in Nameri is the 'Jia Bhoroli Resort'. I haven't been there yet but its definitely on my list !

You might consider staying at of the Tea Bungalows around Kaziranga, instead of Nameri. Most of these Bungalows are more than a century old. Stay in one of these and get pampered like a "Saheb" ! Stay at the 'Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow' or 'Chowkidinghee Heritage Chang Bungalow' (Both in Dibrugarh) or in the 'Masheer' (In Balipara, near Tezpur).

Guwahati Airport ------> Taxi-------> Nameri National Park ------->Taxi-------> Kariranga National Park ------------->Taxi-------> Nameri --OR--- Tea Bungalows ------>Taxi----->Guwahati
They do not know very good Latin, these botanists.!!!
#5 Mar 20th, 2014, 01:21
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  • Supra is offline
#5
Thanks roadjunkie for your advice.
Sorry I didn't visit this forum for some time.
I have decided to include Nameri and currently working with a very knowledgeable birder from Calcutta who also organises tours. I can't promote him here but anyone can PM me for his details.
I am planning to stay at the NGO (MEWS) run Florican Cottage at Manas entrance, at the Manas Maozegendri Association run eco camp at Kokilabari range ( hot spot for the elusive Bengal Floricans), Nameri Eco camp and Jupurighar cottage at Kaziranga.
They all look a safe distance away from the usual tourist route.
Tea bungalows sound great but perhaps at some other time.
Cheers
#6 Mar 21st, 2014, 04:27
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  • roadjunkie is offline
#6
Looks good Supra..Have a lovely time in Assam !!

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