Mammals - Indian Rhinos at Kasiranga and Birds of Assam and Bhutan with Greentours
The Himalayan foothills of Bhutan and the floodplain of the mighty Brahmaputra are home to the greatest range of mammals and birds in all Asia. Famous Kaziranga, Assam's premier reserve, is home to fifteen hundred globally endangered Great Indian One-horned Rhinos.
Mother-calf pairs make fabulous photographs with the silvery trunks and red flowers of Silk Cotton Trees as a backdrop. As layers of mist ripple against the rising sun elephant rides take us even closer to these leviathans. Wild Indian Elephants, endangered Bengal Floricans and frequent sightings of Smooth-coated Otters are other attractions. We'll see colourful Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, Green Magpies and Blue-naped Pittas near our hotel and there's fabulous butterflies too – Red-base Jezebels, Indian Fritillary, Peacock Pansy, Bright Sunbeams and the strange little Apefly whose caterpillars are carnivorous. Out in Kaziranga’s extensive wet grassy meadows impressive wild Water Buffalo bulls stare back us, vegetation draped over their unfeasibly long horns, Swamp Deer pause as a Pallas’s Fish Eagle flies overhead, and Hoolock Gibbons call crazily from gallery forests. Hog Deer, Sambar and Wild Boar are common inhabitants of the grasslands providing food for the big predators and sightings of Tiger are likely though not guaranteed – there’s also a chance of Leopard, Leopard Cat and Gaur.
Across the mighty Brahmaputra the Himalaya rises swiftly to snow-capped peaks – the landscapes in this part of the subcontinent are on the grandest scale! On the edge of the great river’s floodplain and extending from India high into the Bhutanese mountains is Manas one of Asia’s most important and perversely little-visited national parks. We are sure the latter will soon change! We’ll spend the second week exploring the Bhutanese side, over a thousand square kilometres of superb habitat from the mossy montane forests near the stunning Zhemgang Monastery to the lowland monsoon and dry deciduous forests of Panbang. Tigers occur here too and Manas also holds no less than seven other species of cat however seeing any of these will a huge bonus – but we’ll try! We’ll certainly look for Binturong, Bhutan Giant Flying Squirrel and various Civets on night trips. In daylight we’ll see the fabulous Golden Langur, one of the world’s rarer and more beautiful primates. Five species of elegant Forktail frequent streams where butterflies such as the Common Imperial, Large Yeoman, Great Windmill and the brilliant Purple Sapphire congregate. Red-headed Trogons sit quietly as noisy groups of Blue-winged and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes course though the vegetation. Yellow and black Sultan Tits form feeding parties with Long-tailed and Beautiful Sibias whilst Assamese Macaques and Capped Langurs enjoy a buffet of wild mangoes. We’ll also look for the newly described Arunachal Macaque. Everywhere are gorgeous birds - Long-tailed Broadbill, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Beautiful Nuthatch, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird - and spectacular ones too - Wallcreeper, Rufous-necked Hornbill and Collared Falconet. Butterflies on the wing at this season include the Knight, Powdered Baron, Spotted Sawtooth, Western Centaur Oakblue, Common Tit, Punchinello and the fabulous Indian Purple Emperor – beauties every one! A marvellous holiday for photographers who seek close-up shots of some of the world's great mammals and the chance to capture many stunning images of the colourful and exotic birds of Assam and Bhutan.
Mammals, Birds, Butterflies and Landscapes. Also Culture.
Phil Benstead, and Local Leaders
Very easy. No more than two or three miles in any one day, and always at a relaxed pace ideally suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in India and Bhutan. The Bhutan visa. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, the India visa, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
Maximum group size is 6.
We'll start and finish at the excellent Atrio Hotel close to the airport in Delhi. At Kaziranga we'll have 6 nights at the excellent Infinity Resort. The spacious rooms look into gardens full of flowering shrubs surrounded by tall trees – there’s plenty of birds and butterflies around just outside your room. In Bhutanese Manas we’ll be staying in guesthouses and small hotels that are rather more basic, though still reasonably comfortable. In Gelephu we stay at the comfortable Kuku Hotel for a night and in Tingtibi we have two nights in a pleasant local guesthouse, and four nights in the Eco Lodge in Panbang, which is really more of a small hotel. The guesthouse in Gongphu (1 night) is the most basic, the plain rooms with just a bed. This tour has en suite facilities throughout except for the 1 night in Gongphu where there is one bathroom between every two rooms.
UK return flights are from London Heathrow to Guwahati via Delhi or Mumbai. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Very pleasant. Mornings are cool and days pleasantly warm though it can get quite hot at Kaziranga. Humidity levels medium. Though it is the dry season we can expect occasional rain in Bhutan.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Mammal, bird and butterfly checklists are available.