I have been to India numerous times before and it goes without saying that the main draw is the largest of the world’s cats, the tiger. However, there is so much more on offer in this remarkable country and earlier this year I visited a state I had not previously been to, Karnataka.
I led a non-photographic trip, acting as a naturalist guide, in Nagarhole National Park. This is without a doubt, one of the finest reserves I have been to on the Indian subcontinent, a forest reserve that plays host to a staggering array of species. There are tiger here, needless to say, but it is the chance of seeing a black leopard that draws many to these foothills to the Western Ghats. When you throw in traditional leopards, Asian wild dog, wild Asian elephant, sloth bear and countless bird species, it really is a wildlife-lover’s paradise.
As it wasn’t a photographic trip, I only managed to get some quick snaps, but hopefully these following images give you a real taste of what is on offer here …
What a place Nagarhole is. All I can really say is that you need to book on to a Wildlife Worldwide’s Nagarhole’s Tigers, Wild Dogs & Leopards trip for 2020.
Today was our final day in Kaziranga National Park and we had arranged and elephant back safari to get really close to the Rhino. The weather today had taken a turn for the worse and it was rather cool with heavy rain. The forecast for the next few days was the same so everybody who had waterproofs took them and those that did not took umbrellas. Assam is the wettest place on Earth so a little rain is to be expected, even in the dry season.
We went out on the Elephants and got close to a number of the Rhinos but after an hour or so with everyone soaked through, legs stretched from straddling the elephants and rather cold we disembarked our four legged friends and went in search of breakfast. On the elephant backs we were lucky enough to see a Bengal Florican, these birds are on the brink of extinction so it was a real privelege to see one. We went to a nearby lodge for breakfast before transferring for about an hour to the Western range were we had another jeep safari lined up for us.
The weather had decided to clear up a little for this outing, much to everybody's relief. We got some great sightings of the Rhinos, one was actually closer to us than when we were on the elephant back safari.
In the evening when we were back on the boat I managed to electrocute myself after turning on my room's light. I flew across the room and hit the other wall, this was not a pleasant sensation at all and for the rest of the evening my left side was dead.
Today was our second day exploring the unusual landscape of Kaziranga. This park consists of tropical lush forest and large tracts of grassland. This grassland is primarily made up of Elephant Grass, which as its name suggests is as tall as an Elephant. Once an animal moves into this grassland it is nearly impossible to see it until it decides to show itself. This time we were visiting the central range of Kaziranga which was over an hour drive from the boat.
Today we got much closer to some wild Asian Elephant and I was able to get some photographs through the extremely high Elephant Grass. The Rhinos also decided that today they would co-operate a little better and I was able to get some nice photographs of a mother and her calf before a vehicle spooked them and they disappeared in the wall of grass. The light was not particualrly favourable as the Sun was rather bright at this point but it was a wonderful moment anyway.
After our drive we headed to a nearby lodge for lunch and we were able to give a tame elephant a bath, or in my case photograph the bath. On our way back to the boat we visited a tea plantation and stocked up on some Assam Tea and fresh Peppercorns.
In the evening the local villagers came to show us a traditional dance which was both very loud and also a rather colourful affair.