Types of Safari in Manas National Park
There’s hardly anything else that compares to the experience of exploring the hearts of Manas National Park on the back of an elephant. The park houses a good number of elephants, which makes them an ideal choice for a ride.
You may experience some discomfort or awkwardness for the first few minutes, but it completely washes away as the beautiful forest's trails begin to unfold before you. The pace of your journey is quite slow, which only gives you more time to observe and explore, unlike jeep safaris.
The highlight of elephant safaris is that you get to wander into areas that are restricted to cars. These are the areas where a lot of wildlife resides, upping your chances of spotting them. Though an elephant safari is an unmatched experience, it is advisable that you ensure that the elephants are well cared for, and not abused in any way.
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One of the most conventional yet thrilling ways to explore Manas National Park is via a classic jeep safari. The park has jeeps that they rent out to visitors, and they can be obtained from the Field Director’s Office.
Typically, you will have a guide with you throughout the safari, who will direct you to the places where wildlife sightings are maximum. These guides are well aware of the countless routes that wind through the forest, and they make sure you don’t lose your way. You can spot peacocks, langurs, rhinos, wild pigs, wild elephants, and many more rare species of wildlife en route.
Timings of the jeep safari: 09:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM every day.
Safari Timings and Duration at The Manas National Park
Exploring the deepest parts of Manas National Park is a truly unequalled experience, given the richness and diversity of wildlife and other floral and avian species that it houses. Owing to the sheer number of species that thrive here, it is really a treasure trove for nature and wildlife lovers.
Hop on your safari, and get going to spot great species including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild Water Buffalo, Sambhar, Wild Pig, Chital, Black Panther, Golden Langur, Assamese Macaques, Sloth Bears and Smooth-coated Otters.
The jeep and elephant safari at Manas can be done through the winter i.e., from the months of November to April.
The timings for safari are:
Morning: 09:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Evening: 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Charges for safari: INR 120 per head or Indians and INR 750 per head for foreigners.
Best time for Tiger Sighting
The intention of preservation and safeguarding of tigers that Manas National Park was born from has earned it the privilege of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides being a prominent elephant and tigers sanctuary, the park is also a recognised Biosphere Reserve.
The best time for tiger spotting at Manas is during summer, i.e., the months of March and April, when more and more animals leave out their hiding spaces in search of water sources. This means your chances of spotting tigers and other wild fauna increase considerably. May is also a great season for tiger spotting, but the park shuts down partially. Moreover, the elephant grasses are deliberately burned down during the summers, in order to mitigate the risk of forest fires.
If the wildlife part of the national park is what lures you in, try for a summer visit, as tourism is less active (since everyone usually prefers winters), leaving you more chances to spot tigers. During winters though, you will see that herds of bird watchers flock here seeking a few glimpses of the most elusive and exotic avian species.
Best Time to Visit Manas National Park
During monsoons, especially from June to September, the park remains completely shut due to heavy rainfall (North East India receives the highest amount of rainfall every year). It opens up partially in October and receives the highest amount of tourists between November and April.
During winters, the park is open every day. Throughout the year, tourists can enter the park only during the daytime. But the exact opening and closing hours of the park vary according to the time of sunrise and sunset every season. During the winters, the park allows visitors only till 04:30 PM to 05:30 PM, depending on the weather.
Manas National Park - Biodiversity
The kingdom of Manas National Park is held together by a fine blend of beautiful Terai grasslands and the Bhabhar grasslands, breeding several beautiful floral species that dot its length. The singularity of its landscape makes the park one of the richest biodiversities in the world.
There are over 540 various species of flowers and trees that thrive here, including trees like Aphanamixis Polystachya, Syzygium Cumini, Syzygium Formosum, Cinnamomum Tamala, Syzygium Oblatum, Bombax Ceiba, Mallotus Philippensis, Terminalia Chebula, Bridelia SPP, Terminalia Bellirica, Gmelina Arborea, Careya Arborea, Lagerstroemia Speciosa, and many more!
If you’re a botany enthusiast, Manas National Park, with its unmatched range of floral wonders, is an unmissable destination for you. The favourable climatic conditions coupled with the exotic, unprecedented composition of soil and grasslands in Manas make it the perfect breeding ground for rare floral species.
It is no wonder that wildlife lovers from around the country flock here every year. Housing many residents as well as migratory avian species, it is also a bird watcher’s paradise. The reserve affords you a rare opportunity of observing these exotic wildlife species in their natural habitat.
Given the climate of North East India, the diversity of animals here is richer than what you would see in other popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of India. Your jeep safaris and elephant safaris in Manas will bear you promises of spotting at least some of these great species!
Places to Stay in Manas National Park
Musa Jungle Retreat
Musa Jungle Retreat spans about 8 acres and is housed in touching proximity to the south of Manas National Park. It carries a flawless blend of luxurious comfort and rustic vibes of the wilderness to make your stay truly memorable.
It is one of the most eminent jungle retreats around Manas National Park. Moreover, the excellent amenities that the retreat boasts of has endeared it to visitors every year. Rooms are classified into 3 - Stripped Panthera, Grazing Rhino and Bansbari Villa, according to different budgets and facilities.
Access for wheelchairs and the differently abled
Multi-cuisine dining (including Bodo and Assamese delicacies)
Besides, the retreat also offers you stimulating activities like jungle and elephant safari, nature trails, river rafting, cycling, and cultural shows.
Location: Musa Jungle Retreat, Gyatigaon, P.O. Barengabari, Bansbari, Assam 781315.
Birina Tourist Lodge
Housed amidst lush tea gardens, the Birina Tourist Lodge is another favourite pick amongst tourists. Surrounded by the wilderness of Manas National Park, the lodge hosts variety luxury tents and rooms for stay. The rooms and tents are well equipped, and the staff hospitality knows no match.
Whether you’re seeking the warmth of homely comfort or a quiet getaway into the wild, Birina Tourist Lodge promises you an experience to remember. Spend some time cuddled up in warm beds, admiring the natural beauty, or go off for long walks amidst nature, and along offbeat trails. The rooms and tents may not be very spacious, but bring you the cosy comfort that makes you feel right at home! The highlight of Birina is that their tents and cottages are eco-friendly.
Location: Manas RF, Raghabbil, Assam 781315
Skirting Manas National Park, The Sikhiri Cottages is seated along the banks of a beautiful, gurgling stream that leads out of the park. One of the most frequented stay options in Manas National Park, Sikhiri houses three luxurious cottages which are fully furnished and well equipped.
Prioritising your privacy and comfort, each cottage carries a private dining area, along with a verandah, a lawn, and a bonfire area. The property also harbours a beautiful botanical garden, which is home to numerous floral species from all over the globe. During your stay, you can indulge in peaceful activities like hiking, elephant rides, and river rafting over the calm waters of the Manas river. Experience the touch of comfort amidst the alluring wilderness.
Location: Sikhiri Cottages, Barangabari, Baksa District, BTAD, Assam
Forest Lodge is the sole means of accommodation that is actually in Manas National Park. Surrounded by the beauty of the reserve carrying a backdrop of the magnificent Eastern Himalayas, no other retreat compares to Forest Lodge, given its favourable location. It is located about 22 km deep within the hearts of the park, at Mathanguri.
The property is home to merely six classic rooms, but let that not deter you, for a single night spent here, amidst lush wilderness, is worth much more than any other resort can guarantee you. The lodge also features a small but convenient canteen that takes care of your meals during your stay. The tariff per room is INR 1,200 per night.
Bringing you hospitality that matches international standards, Florican Cottage is an opulent, yet cosy little retreat in the laps of Manas National Park. They offer a stunning line of tents and cottages that strike a perfect balance between luxury and wilderness.
Imagine waking up every morning to a mesmerising sunrise over the hills, and golden colour skies that greet you right outside your window. If you’re a nature lover, Florican Cottage is ideal for you, with its undeniable rustic charm and blanketing comfort. Florican Cottage sits somewhere deep inside the heart of the wild and is a gateway to some of the most untouched nooks of the park. You can also participate in various activities like jeep and elephant safaris, river rafting, nature trails and more.
Location: Baksa, Assam 781315
Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp
Lapped in the forests and tea gardens of nudging Manas National Park, the camp offers excellent amenities and facilities that ensure that you’ll want for nothing, while also minimising the impact on the environment. You can choose from three kinds of tents - cottage tents, outdoor tents and Machan rooms. Cottage tents are more luxurious, while machan rooms are your classic type of accommodation. If you’re seeking a full-fledged outdoor experience though, outdoor tents are you calling.
Tea garden walks
Cycling - village & tea garden
- Cultural dance show
Essential Things to Keep in Mind
The closest pharmacies, ATMs and petrol pumps are in Barpeta, the nearest town.
There’s decent phone reception outside the park, but it gets a bit tricky once you’re inside. In
Mathanguri, however, there is no network coverage at all.
Keep your cash handy, as there are no ATMs near the park. Make your withdrawals in Barpeta.
Throughout your visit/stay, make sure to leave behind no traces. Do not leave behind anything you may have carried inside, and strictly do not litter.
Avoid visiting the park in monsoons, as the trails are muddy and slippery. Recipe for disaster.
If you’re in it for the wildlife part, remember that summers are your best best. Try visiting Manas during March or April for maximum sightings.
Distance and Routes from Major Cities
By Air: Manas National Park is situated at a distance of roughly 180 km (5 hrs drive) from the Guwahati Airport. The airport is well connected to major cities of the country like Bagdogra, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa and Jaipur. Frequent flights ply.
By Rail: The nearest and the most convenient railway station to Manas National Park is Guwahati, from where you can take a shared cab or a bus to get to the park. Another option would be to board another train from Guwahati Railway Station to Barpeta Railway Station, which is about 45 km away from Manas. Regular trains ply from the major cities of the country.
By Road: Manas sits about 176 km away from Guwahati by road, making for a 5 hours journey via the National Highway 31. You can hire a cab from Guwahati, or board a bus to get to Manas.
By Air: From Shillong, you can board a direct flight to Guwahati airport, which is situated about 180 km away from Manas National Park. You can find frequent flights that ply between Shillong and Guwahati, from where a shared cab or public transport (bus) will land you at Manas in about 5 hours. Practically though, taking a flight to Guwahati from Shillong, and boarding a bus to Manas is not only very time consuming, but also expensive.
By Rail: The nearest and the most convenient railway station to Manas National Park is Guwahati. Board a train from Shillong to Guwahati station, from where you can get a shared cab or a bus to reach Manas.
Another option would be to board a train from Shillong to Guwahati Railway Station, and then change trains to reach Barpeta Railway Station, which is about 45 km away from Manas. Regular trains ply from the major cities of the country to Guwahati, but Barpeta has not direct connectivity to cities, not even to Shillong.
By Road: The most convenient option to reach Manas National Park from Shillong would be by road. Board a direct bus to Manas, making for a roughly 5 hours drive.
By Air: From Darjeeling’s Bagdogra Airport, you can board a direct flight to Guwahati, which is situated about 180 km away from Manas National Park. There are frequent flights that ply from Bagdogra to Guwahati and vice versa. The flight duration is about 1 hour. From Guwahati airport, a shared cab or public transport (bus) will land you at Manas National Park in about 5 hours.
By Rail: Board a train from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri to Barpeta Railway station, which sits only about 50 km away from Manas National Park. The train ride is about 5.5 hrs long, and the frequency of trains is good. From Barpeta, you can take a shared cab or a bus to get to Manas.
Another option would be to board a train from New Jalpaiguri to Guwahati Railway Station, and then change trains to reach Barpeta Railway Station.
By Road: The most convenient option to reach Manas National Park from Darjeeling would be by road. Board a direct bus to Manas, making for a roughly 7 hours drive. Not only is it cheaper than the other modes of transport, but also more time-saving.