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
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation in Kaziranga, Nameri, Dirang
- Accommodation in Lama, Bompu and Sunderview
- All meals as specified in itinerary
- Airport transfers and all local transport
- Jeep, elephant safaris in Kaziranga National Park
What is NOT included in the tour
- Any meals not specified in itinerary
- Air travel
- Travel Insurance (if any)
- Any additional beverages like alcohol
- Any personal purchases
- Discover the elusive Bugun Liocichla at Eagle Nest Sanctuary
- Experience the simplicity of life in the wild at Lama Camp
- Spot some amazing birds and wildlife on an elephant safari at Kaziranga
- Experience the thrill of rafting on the Jia Bhoroli River
- Spot over 500 varieties of birds in Eagle Nest Sanctuary
- Arrive at Guwahati Airport where our staff will receive you at the airport. From here we drive for 6 hours to Kaziranga National Park. A premier sedan/SUV will be your ride for the dur ation of the tour. Complimentary hot towels and mineral water bottles are provided en route to help you freshen up after your journey. The drive takes us along a winding route and you can see the topography changing as we leave the confines of the city and make our way into the countryside. We reach Kaziranga in the evening and check into a local hotel near the park. An early dinner is followed by a brief about the next day’s itinerary after which you can retire to your rooms for an early night.
- Have an early breakfast at the hotel and leave for a jeep safari to the Eastern range of Kaziranga National Park. Some of the bird species commonly seen in this zone include the Crested Serpent Eagle, Greater Adjucant Stork, Bengal Florican, Whistling Teal etc. We return to the hotel for a couple of hours to freshen up and have a quick lunch before setting off for our second jeep safari of the day. This time we head to the Central or Western range of the park. Your tour guide will take you to some of the best viewing points in the park. Make sure to carry your binoculars and long lens cameras on the safari. In the evening we return to the hotel. We have a very early start the next day, so after dinner and the customary briefing for Day 3, you can retire to your rooms for the night.
- Wake up before dawn for an early morning elephant- back safari inside Kaziranga. Spot exotic wildlife like the Indian elephant, swamp deer, Asiatic wild water buffalo, sloth bear, Indian and Chinese pangolin, nine different species of primates, Golden jackal, Bengal fox etc. The safari begins at 5:30 in the morning and we return to our hotel in time for a quick breakfast before setting off for Nameri National Park. The drive takes 3 hours and we reach Nameri in time for lunch. The park is situated at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas with the Jia Bhoroli River passing through it and provides the perfect setting for bird watching. Post lunch we set off for Jia Bhoroli River. Rafting is one of the most popular activities in Nameri. Besides the thrill of the sport, it provides an excellent vantage for spotting birds that flock to the river for a drink. Expect to see exotic species like White-Cheeked Partridge, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, White-Winged Duck, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Horned Lark and more. The rafting stretch begins in the south- east range of the park and stretches for 13 kilometres. The trip usually takes about 3 hours and leaves you feeling tired but exhilarated. We return to the hotel in the evening and retire early to be prepared for the next day’s adventures.
- Today we will spend a couple of hours in the early morning, birding in Nameri on foot. It’s fascinating to walk through the semi-tropical foliage and deciduous forest th at is home to over 400 species of local and migratory birds. After a quick breakfast back at the hotel, we will set off for Dirang. Located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Dirang is an ornithologist’s paradise. The drive from Nameri takes a little over 5 hours and takes us along a scenic route towards higher ground. Packed lunch will be provided en route and you can enjoy your meal watching a mesmeric kaleidoscope of changing vegetation and topography. The natural geography of Dirang makes it an ideal nesting spot for a variety of local and migratory birds that flock here during winter. Some of the species you can spot here are the Bhutan Laughingthrush, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Eagle etc. We reach Dirang in the early evening and check into a hotel for the night.
- Today, our tour takes us to the picturesque Sangti Valley characterised by beautiful orchards of apple and kiwi trees. Sangti is also the breeding ground of the Black-necked Crane that flies in from the south of China in the winter months of November and December and flies back in April and May. The people of Sangti valley refer to these birds as the tung tung ka uk. Have breakfast at your hotel in Dirang and then drive to Sangti. This is a full day’s birding outing that you can pace out as you like. We will take some time to explore the surroundings before our tour guide takes you to the viewing points. Some of the other bird species you can find at Sangti include the Black- tailed Crake, Brown- breasted Flycatcher, Slender- billed Oriole etc. Enjoy an al fresco lunch enjoying the serenity of the surroundings before setting off for another spot in the valley. We return to Dirang in the evening where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure before dinner.
- Wake up before dawn today and drive to Sela Pass. Located at an altitude of 4170m Sela Pass is known as the gateway to Tawang Valley and a place of exquisite beauty. Trekking in Sela Pass is an indescribable experience. High up in the Himalayas where Heaven meets Earth, you can walk across winding trails that take you into the hidden corners of the mighty range. The area is also a flocking ground for rare and exquisite birds. Several species of migratory birds from Southern China and as far north as Siberia fly into Sela Pass to wait out the winter before flying back to their homelands in the summer. Some of the bird s pecies you can expect to see at Sela Pass include Blood Pheasants, White-bellied Redstart, Himalayan Monal, Beautiful Rose Finch, Grandalas etc. We spend the day walking around Sela Pass, visiting some of its other attractions as well. The region is said to be home to 101 lakes, some with ancient religious and mythological significance. Paradise Lake is among the most famous of these lakes and a sacred site for Buddhist pilgrims. It is also a popular destination for migratory birds that flock to the lake for a drink. A picnic lunch is set up by the side of the lake and you can take a few minutes to just sit back and soak in the beauty of the surroundings and get lost in your thoughts in its serenity. After a full day’s excursion in Sela Pass, we return to our hotel in Dirang in the evening.
- Today we set off for what is arguably the best birding region in the world. Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary located in the West Kameng district was named after an Indian Army regiment of the same name that was stationed here and borders the Pakhui Tiger Reserve. Eagle Nest stretches across altitudes ranging from 500m to 3150m. Lama Camp is one of the only accommodations available in the sanctuary and this is where we will spend the night. We approach Eagle Nest from the small town of Tenga and follow a steep 22 km dirt track to reach Lama Camp. This is a simple tented accommodation situated on wooden stilts and offering basic amenities. There is no electricity at Lama Camp and you get a chance to experience life in the wild without the ministrations of modernisation. We spend the full day birding in Eagle Nest. There are nearly 500 species of birds found here, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Bird watchers from around the world come here in search of the Beautiful Nuthatch, Satyr Tragopan, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Ward’s Trogon, several varieties of Warblers, Flycatchers, eagles, etc. In fact, Bugun Liocichla, a rare species was found and christened at Eagle Nest. After a full day’s outing we retire to our tented accommodation for the night.
- Today we will explore another part of Eagle Nest Sanctuary. Located at an altitude of 1940 m, Bompu Camp is the ideal spot for birding. We will set off from Lama Camp after breakfast and carry packed lunch to have on the way. Once we reach Bompu, its back on foot to explore the sanctuary and the avian found in this region. Expect to see the Oriental White Ibis, White- headed Shrike Babbler, Maroon- backed Accentor, Rusty- bellied Shortwing, Red-faced Liocichla etc. We will trek until sunset and then return to the campsite. Tented accommodation is provided on single and twin-share basis. The arrangements are simple but clean and like Lama Camp give you an authentic taste of life in the wild. There is no electricity in Bompu Camp either. Instead, the camp uses solar-powered lamps in the tents at night.
- The Sunderview Birding Lodge is a convenient stop between Lama and Bompu and serves as a great point for exploring Sessni. Today, after breakfast at Bompu, we will drive to Sunderview. The visit to Sessni Camp is subject to clearance from the Forest Department. The region is noted for such species as Kaleej Pheasants, Wards Trogon, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Purple and Green Cochoa etc. In case clearance cannot be arranged, we will spend the day at Sunderview instead. There are eco- friendly bamboo cottages at this lodge that are available on a twin-share basis. Enjoy a full day’s outing in this part of the sanctuary before retiring to your cottages for the night.
- Today we make our way back to Lama Camp for another day’s excursion and birding in the higher altitude zone of Eagle Nest Sanctuary. For those of you who missed good sightings on our first day here, this is your second chance. Spend the day trekking to the best viewing points near Lama Camp. This is the last day of the tour and we spend the evening enjoying a special bonfire at the campsite where we can look back fondly on the last ten days’ adventures.
- Have an early breakfast at Lama Camp and then depart for Guwahati. This is a long day’s drive that takes us between 9- 10 hours. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant on the way before continuing our journey to Guwahati. Our car drops you off at the airport where the tour comes to an end and you can continue your onward journey.