Available from October - April
This tour has been specially created for the ardent wildlife enthusiast. In an experience of a lifetime, for 16 days you will encounter the great biodiversity that is found in the forests of Northeast India. Altogether, you will visit 5 national parks and 2 wildlife sanctuaries; large tracts of protected areas where conservation efforts have seen credible success and kept the wilderness safe and growing.
From grasslands to marshlands, river islands, and tropical rain-fed forests – such diversity in vegetation and topography has helped Northeast India become one of the most important and sought-after biodiversity hotspots on the planet. Teeming with an awe-inspiring wide array of species of animals and birds, this tour is sure to leave you thrilled with the action and mysteries read mostly in fabled books about tropical jungles. The protected areas you will cover are:
Manas National Park
The Manas National Park was once a hunting ground for kings. The park is located in the foothills of majestic Himalayan ranges. The area is flat and the river Manas flows gently to the west of this park. In December 1985, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site, and in 1992, it was declared as a World Heritage site in danger by UNESCO, due to the rampant poaching and terrorist activities that took place in the nineties. Lately, wildlife has returned to these jungles and Manas is once again seeing its glory days. The sanctuary has recorded 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. Out of this wildlife, 21 mammals come under India's Schedule I list of protection and 31 of them are threatened. The park is well known for its rare and endangered wildlife which is not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, and the pygmy hog.
Nameri National Park
Undoubtedly one of the most scenic national parks of India, Nameri is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur District of Assam. It is adjoined by the Pakhui Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh on the north-eastern side. The park experiences tropical monsoons causing an average annual rainfall of 3400 mm. The variety of fauna found in the park is also very rich, with over 30 species of mammals including the elusive Bengal Tiger. One of the rare species of fauna found in this park includes the capped langur and the great hornbill. The park is home to over 400 species of birds making it a haven for avian lovers.
Kaziranga National Park
The world-famous Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the heart of Assam. It was declared a reserve forest in 1905, and since then, the park has set a commendable example in areas of conservation, as in a span of 100 years, it has increased the population of Indian rhinos from a mere 100 to more than 2000 today. The park hosts about two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses and also holds the record for protecting the highest density of tigers in the world. Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, of which 15 are considered threatened. Nine of the 14 primate species found in India occur in the park. Kaziranga is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, raptors, and resident birds. Featured in countless documentaries and magazines, Kaziranga's charm can be experienced in the many wildlife activities available in the park such as elephant safaris, open jeep rides and nature walks.
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
The primate paradise - Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is classified as the 'Assam plains alluvial semi-evergreen forests' with some wet evergreen forest patches. The sanctuary is pretty small and isolated being surrounded by tea plantations on all sides. With rich biodiversity, it is home to the only ape species in India, the western hoolock gibbon, as well as the only nocturnal primate found in the Northeast Indian states, the Bengal slow loris. Other primates include the stump-tailed macaque, northern pig-tailed macaque, eastern Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, and capped langur. Also found at the sanctuary are elephants, tigers, leopards, jungle cats, wild boars, three types of civets, four types of squirrels, and several other mammals. About 219 species of birds and several species of snakes have been recorded from the park.
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Located in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River, Dibru – Saikhowa National Park is one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, which makes it even more popular among travelers who visit all year round. Dibru – Saikhowa National Park mainly consists of semi-wet evergreen forests, canebrakes, grasslands, and tropical moist deciduous forests and is home to some of the most endangered species in the world. Some of the extremely rare species found here include around 300 migratory and endangered avifauna. There are also several species of herbs, shrubs, and plants with medicinal properties that can be found in the forest.
Namdapha National Park
Located at the easternmost tip of the Indian Sub-continent lies the biggest national park in India. The Namdapha National Park covering an area of 2000 sq. km is situated in the beautiful valley of the Noa-Dihing. This rugged terrain formed by tropical rain forests of incredible biological diversity boasts of more than 1000 plant species, over 500 bird species, and a diversity of animal species that is still climbing steeply. Namdapha National Park spans an altitude range from around 200m to over 4500m. This altitudinal range has given rise to many different forest types. The lower reaches are covered in extensive Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests. At higher altitudes, one can witness Sub-Tropical and Temperate Broad-leaved forests, and Pine forests, into Alpine Meadows, and frost. One goes from the land of the Clouded Leopard to the abode of the Red Panda – and perhaps the elusive Snow Leopard. Namdapha is among the very few national parks in the country where one is allowed to camp and stay inside the forest premises. The forests are among the densest in the world, and to camp inside them gives the traveler a chance to live in absolute wilderness. Greener Pastures recommends Namdapha as a really important wildlife site, and it is one of our prime objectives to showcase this amazing place to our travelers, and in-turn help in the preservation of this land.
Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary
Dehing Patkai, the only rainforest in Assam, stretches for more than 575 square kms in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Sivasagar. It falls under the category of Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests. Being a completely virgin rainforest, this sanctuary is very rich in terms of biodiversity. It is an ideal habitat for primates. To date, 42 species of mammals, 40 species of reptiles, and 30 species of butterflies have been listed here. The rainforest is a bird-watchers delight, known to harbor about 293 bird species, belonging to 174 genera and 51 families. The majority are residents (63.7%), some are winter visitors (23.1% ), and very few are summer visitors (2.5%). The birds of Dehing Patkai Rain Forest thrive in the diversity of microhabitats in the predominantly evergreen forest such as dense evergreen forest, rivers & streams, evergreen forest edge, swamps, and the semi-open evergreen forest that include logged areas where openings are present and proceed into agricultural and habitation areas. Orchids are literally the jewels of this forest. They lend beauty and charm to the landscape due to their bewildering variety of flowers, many showy, colorful, and exquisitely beautiful.