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Kaziranga National Park - Day 1

===It's Rememberance Day in Australia - a minute's silence at the 11th hour for our fallen in battle - Lest We Forget===

Up and on our first safari by 6:00am to the West section of the Park. Camera fees are Rs 500 ($US10) for still cameras & Rs 1000 ($US20) for video camera per trip. Each vehicle gets an armed Parked ranger to ride shotgun in the event of trouble.

The areas consists of tall grass with the occassional large waterholes...there is a wide variety of animals including rhinos, tigers, elephants, buffalo, hog deer, marsh deer, wild boar and the ever present array of birdlife.

10mins into the trip up a dirt and bumpy track & Polus our guide calls a stop and indicates there is a tiger somewhere in the 'long grass' beside the track. 'Long grass' is about 18-20 ft high and like a wall so it's pretty hard to see anything beyound the edge of the road. We played the 'waiting game' for 20 mins, but the tiger refused to come out, so we moved.

The rest of the drive is spent looking at the changing scenery....a herd of buffalo in a waterhole and a solitary rhino on the floodplain (unfortunately a bit far away.
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Back after another 20mins only to find a set of 'pug marks' in the dirt crossing the road.
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Our guide, Polous is visibly upset that he failed to be patient, however we assure him that if we see a Kaziranga tiger we would consider that a bonus to our rhinos.

On the way back to Wild Grass, we stop at the nearby tea plantation and watch the pickers.....that is hard work for the women.
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The afternoon drive commences at 2:30pm since it's dark by 5:00pm. Straight through th 'horde' of vehicles containing sightseers and visitors who have to shout at the top of their voices despite the sign - SILENCE WHEN IN PARK - NO HORN

Polous takes us out into the far back tracks in the hope of getting a rhino to ourselves. After about 20 minutes of watching monkeys, birds, buffalo, we stop beside a waterhole to watch a lone hog deer.

A movement in the long grass to the side catches my interest & I quietly signal a warning. To our surprise a large 1 horned Asiatic rhino emerges like a heavily armoured tank no more than 50m away
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Our contact lasts for 15 minutes till the setting sun forces us to head back to the main entrance. We are absolutely awed by being so close to this wonderous animal.
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Posted by Australia0811 21:05 Archived in India

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