The northeast is a treasure trove of rare and exquisite flora and fauna. Home to seven of India’s major national parks, the cluster of eight states offers some of the best wildlife safaris in India. Whether you’re a seasoned ornithologist looking to spot some rare birds, or a photographer hoping to get a few good shots or even just a nature enthusiast interested in exploring wildlife in India, the northeast is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the country. Kaziranga and Manas alone are enough to attract droves of tourists every year for a sighting of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, found exclusively in these parts. So, if you’re looking for some great wildlife tours in northeast India, here’s everything you need to know!
Northeast India is an ornithologist’s paradise. The abundant forest cover and the many pristine lakes in the region make it a popular choice for migratory birds that come to nest here for the winter before flying back to their native lands of Siberia or Southern China. Every year, groups of avid bird watchers travel to the northeast in search of some rare and exotic birds that can be spotted here. Some of these birds are local and exclusive to their natural habitat. The Bugun Liocichla was discovered and christened at Eagle Nest Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh and is not found anywhere else in the world. Our 11- day Bird Watcher’s Delight tour takes to you Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on a quest to find some of these spectacular bird species. Our journey begins in Guwahati and takes you to Kaziranga, Nameri, Dirang, Sela Pass and Eagle Nest Sanctuary. Get a taste of life in the wild and spend the night in tents with just basic amenities at Lama Camp. Drive to Sela Pass and be mesmerised by the beauty of the land of 101 lakes. This is an intensive trip into the hinterlands of the northeast with the promise of great sightings, enchanting locales and an unforgettable adventure. Best time to visit: November to March
Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO conferred World Heritage Site with the world’s highest population density of tigers and home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Experience the thrill of spending a night inside the park surrounded by the nocturnal cries of wild animals. Visit the neighbouring tea estate of Addabarie with the echoes of colonialism still ringing in the ancient British bungalows. Kaziranga National Park also has the largest orchid garden in India with several hundred varieties of rare and exquisite orchids. Make a trip to Majuli island to visit some of the ancient satras (neo- Vaishnavite monasteries) and discover the traditional art of mask making practised by the Mishing tribe. Stop at the town of Jorhat for a visit to the oldest burning oil lamp in the world and discover relics of the ancient Ahom dynasty in Sivasagar. Best time to visit: November to April Please Note: Any changes to safari timings or park closures are at the sole discretion of the Forest Department. Ahom is not responsible for the cancellation of any safaris made by the park authorities and will be unable to provide any compensation for the same.
Are you an avid birdwatcher? Do you travel to remote locales in search of that elusive bird that flew in for the winter? Do you enjoy roughing it out for a week or two, trekking in forests by day and camping out in tents at night? If your answer to all three questions is an emphatic ‘Yes!’ then this Tour is just the thing for you. Ahom’s intensive 14-day Namdhapa- Saikhaowa- Kaziranga Birding Tour takes you on a journey into the three national forests of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Over the course of two weeks we explore the forests on foot, by jeep, by boat and even on elephant-back to find as many species of birds as we can. Our tour begins in Dibrugarh from where we drive to Namdhapa National Park in Arunachal Pradesh. After spending the first six days here, our tour continues to Dibru- Saikhaowa and finally to Kaziranga. Our guides are experienced bird watchers determined to get you the maximum number of sightings. The White-cheeked Hill Partridge, Pale- headed Woodpecker, Blue- Naped Pitta, Snowy- throated Babbler, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Crested Kingfisher, Beautiful Nuthatch, Northern Lapwing, Black-hooded Oriole, Great Egret, Smoky Warbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Spot-billed Duck are just some of the feathered friends you will be meeting on this tour. So pack your bags and let’s go birding! Best time to visit: November to March
Manas National Park is one of the largest among the seven national parks in Assam and like Kaziranga, has been a UNESCO conferred World Heritage Site since 1985. Manas National Park is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas in western Assam and is spread across seven districts. Discover varied species of exotic flora and fauna on elephant-back, jeep safari or from a raft on a tour of Manas. Visit neighbouring tribal villages for an insight into the lives of the indigenous Bodo people. In Guwahati, discover ancient temples of the Ahom dynasty dating back to the 18th century as well as the sacred Kamakhya temple. Soak in the beauty of the landscape on a cruise on the Brahmaputra River. Best time to visit: November to March Please Note: Any changes to safari timings or park closures are at the sole discretion of the Forest Department. Ahom is not responsible for the cancellation of any safaris made by the park authorities and will be unable to provide any compensation for the same.
Our downstream adventure begins at Neamati Ghat in Jorhat, the ancient capital of the Ahom Kingdom. Sail the Brahmaputra for an unforgettable experience of travelling on the mighty river. Our Brahmaputra river cruise gives you access to unparalled experiences with nature, wildlife, culture, luxury and life adjacent to the river. Feel like royalty in the land of the Ahoms and discover the many charms of Assam in style. From elephant-back safaris in Kaziranga to trying your hand at tea picking at a plantation, to visiting the relics of the Ahom dynasty at Sivasagar - do all this and more while enjoying top class comfort. Best time to visit: February to April
Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park, both in Assam are UNESCO conferred World Heritage Sites. It is encouraging to see how much these parks are doing for the upkeep of endangered animals, letting them thrive in their natural habitat. Kaziranga is also a recognised tiger reserve and is said to have the highest population density of tigers among the world’s protected areas. Manas National Park is home to over 20 species of endangered animals that you can spot on a Manas wildlife safari. Arunachal Pradesh is home to four different species of big cats including tigers, snow leopards and clouded leopards in addition to varied other animals. Take your pick of Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Namdapha National Park and Kane Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal. Regardless of where you go however, the common feature that will stand out is the care that goes into the preservation of these animals.
Wildlife tours in the northeast are interesting because they are not restricted to safaris alone. Instead, they provide a holistic experience of the region by letting you discover different facets of its geography, culture and people. A trip to Manas National Park for example, lets you enjoy rafting on the river Manas from which the park gets its name. Some trips to Manas also include a cruise on the Brahmaputra and a visit to the adjoining villages of the Bodo people. Likewise, at Kaziranga you can visit the Kaziranga Orchid and Bio-Diversity Park, which is the largest orchid park in India. You can also choose a combo Kaziranga tour that takes you to the neighbouring Addabarie Tea Estate for an insight into the intricate process of tea making.
The northeast with its diverse topography of rolling tea plantations, cascading rivers and dense forests is a photographer’s paradise. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, the cluster of eight is home to some of the most exquisite flora and fauna in the country. The hidden trails and dense foliage of these parts provide the perfect setting for nature photography tours. Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur is the only floating park in the world. It constitutes a swamp of biomass known as phumdis, that floats on the surface of Lake Loktak and is also where the endangered bow-antlered deer is exclusively found. The park is a favourite haunt for photographers for its natural assets as well as the remoteness of its location which helps preserve its purity.
The northeast attracts hundreds of migratory birds every year. The number of rare birds that can be spotted in these parts is so high that ornithologists from across the country can be seen here every year with their binoculars and long lens cameras. Bird watching is such a popular part of northeast wildlife tours that tour operators now offer exclusive birding trips Namdhapa National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, Saikhowa National Park in Assam and Khonoma Tragopan Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagaland are popular destinations on these tours. The Black-breasted Parrot bill, Himalayan Griffon, Snowy-throated Babbler are among the rare birds that you can spot on these tours.
Experience the thrill of spending a night in the forest surrounded by the cries of wild animals. Most national parks including Kaziranga and Manas have accommodation inside the reserve. For a truly authentic experience of wildlife in India, you have to get as close to the animals as you can. Nothing compares to the adventure of being in the natural habitat of animals, cut off from the real world as you know it, at close range of real and palpable danger. It is also captivating to see the changing face of the forest with the passing of day. With the fading light, the colours of the forest give way to shadows and the trees come alive with the chorus of birds returning to their nests and the stirrings of nocturnal creatures waking up for their nightly prowl.
One of the thumb rules of a northeast wildlife tour is to follow the guidelines of the sanctuary. The proper maintenance of the reserves is due to a strict policy of adherence to rules set out by forest authorities. The parks promote a non-intrusive approach to the animals that respects their space. Any kind of littering is strictly prohibited with clear guidelines about the disposal of non- biodegradable waste material. Most parks in India require visitors to provide valid id proof before entering the park. This is for security reasons and non-negotiable. So make sure to carry id before you leave for your trip.
The northeast offers many attractions for the discerning traveller. Home to some of the best wildlife in India, the northeast is a Mecca for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. With improved connectivity most north eastern states are now easily accessible with flights from all major cities. So come and explore the northeast for yourself and be amazed by the many treasures it has to offer.