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Summing Up – Satpura and Forsyth Lodge


We loved Satpura. It is a beautiful park, a good range of wildlife, lots of birds. The ability to do a range of activities in the core part of the park and in the buffer zone adds a lot to the experience. Although we did see Tigers, it is not really a park for viewing tigers.


Forsyth Lodge was superb – we rate it very highly and were very happy that we chose it.

The room was very good. The grounds were good for birds.


Part of the lounge area


Food was excellent.

Tea/coffee and biscuits delivered with wake-up call.

A light breakfast – sandwiches - when out during the morning. Water and tea/coffee carried by the guide.

Back for Brunch or Lunch. Two days we had lunch cooked by women from the local village – excellent. The other days we had brunch – which seemed to be breakfast plus lunch – also excellent.


In the evening meet at an open air terrace for drinks/snacks and then to a very good dinner.


Stairs up to the terrace


On one evening tables were set up outside, beautifully lit.


They cope very well with dietary requirements and were very careful (and there were a lot of combinations when we were there). The food is mainly Indian (though not very spicy hot) with some western dishes.


Meals are around one or two shared tables (depending on numbers) and each table is hosted by one of the guides (they take it in turns.)


Soft drinks are included in the price (we recommend fresh lime soda, no salt, no sugar).

Alcoholic drinks are extra. We only had one beer which was a reasonable price. Many people drank wine but I do not know how much it costs.


All of the activities ran very smoothly and we were very happy with our guide Sidanthe. Most of the “hotel” staff were recruited from local villages and trained by the lodge. The guides are recruited from a wider area and trained by the lodge. Forsyth Lodge (and Reni Pani) have also organised joint training for the forest guides with the lodge guides.


On our last day, we ended up with a later flight than originally planned. The manager was talking to us about what time we would be leaving. When we mentioned the time in the original itinerary, he said that is too early – you will wait around a lot at the airport. Let us get Sidanthe to some more birding around the lodge grounds with you.


When we said we would be very pleased to do that but wouldn’t it mean more work for our guide, he said ‘that’s what you’re here for (seeing the wildlife) and that’s what we’re here for’


That seemed to sum up their ethos and probably explains why we rate Forsyth Lodge so highly.

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Back to Delhi

So a 4 to 5 hour drive, road mostly good with one patch being re-surfaced and very dusty. It was interesting going through a number of small towns. As we arrived at Bhopal it was getting dark and we drove past a number of colourfully illuminated Wedding Gardens – it seems to be a major local “industry”.


The flight back to Delhi was fine., arriving at about 10.30pm.  We had decided to stay 2 nights in Delhi – it would have been perfectly possible to head off to Kaziranga the next morning but we wanted to relax rather than head off straight away on a very early flight (6.30am) . We stayed at The Claridges, had a lie in (relatively) and a very good breakfast. We then spent a leisurely day by walking to a local park called Lodhi Gardens


Lodhi Gardens

Popular with local residents, and also visited by @michael-ibk and @Atravelynn during their trip. It is a good place to walk, look for birds and enjoy people watching



Chinese Goose (a feral introduced species)




Red-whiskered Bulbul


Mongoose enjoying the sun


Black Kite - very common birds in Delhi


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School outing


Jungle Babbler


Rose-ringed Parakeet


House Crow


Palm Squirrel - very common


Spotted Owlet -we were very pleased to find these lovely birds


So a lovely relaxing way to spend a day in Delhi. We went back to the hotel and had a pot of tea in the grounds and later went out for a fine meal Then early to bed in preparation for another early start as we head towards Kaziranga.

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Enjoyed catching up on this very much! The Leopard sighting must have been super thrilling, and how cool about the Rusty Spotted Cats. Looking forward to Kaziranga!

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  • 2 weeks later...


@michael-ibk thank you


On to Kaziranga

Next day, an early pick up for a two and a half hour flight flight to (6.05) Guwahati and a long drive (4 hours or so) to Diphlu River Lodge and Kaziranga National Park.


Kaziranga is in the state of Assam, about 2000Km to the east of Delhi. We hoped to see the One-horned Rhino. If you do go, you would have to be exceptionally unlucky not to see them. We saw 3 of them as we were driving along the main road towards our lodge – so before we had even entered the National Park.


We had taken the early flight from Delhi so that we would get to Kaziranga in time for a late lunch and an afternoon game drive. After arriving at Diphlu River Lodge, we were shown to our room, and then had lunch.


We were introduced to our guide (Anuj) and our driver (Biru) and were pleased to find that we would have both of them for all of our activities. Most of our activities were game drives in different sections of the National Park. During the report I will attempt to give a flavour of what we saw.


Our jeep

Kaziranga has a range of environments. Most of it is more open than Satpura, with a lot of grassland. However there are wooded areas, rivers and lakes. To get to the different sections of the park you join the main road and drive along this to one of the different entrances.


Road sign


Distant Rhino with baby


Wild Pig










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First morning we went to the Eastern Section.

We were delighted to see


Capped Langur





We were joined by a forest ranger and this also allowed us to go on a walk.


Giant Squirrel



Anuj with Park Guide.

Another family and their guide from the lodge joined us for the walking part of this activity. This was fortunate for us –as we were having the same guide and driver for all out activities, we intended to tip at the end so stupidly did not bring any money out with us. Luckily we were able to borrow some money from this family so that we were able to tip the Park guide.


Rhino footprint - fresh


Tiger footprint









Herd of Buffalo





Edited by TonyQ
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After a return for lunch, we were out early (first photo at 1.30pm)



Controlled burning is one of the ways the grasslands are managed


The bird flying above the flames is an Indian Roller. Apparently they fly in to catch insects that are forced in to the air to escape the fire.





After the burning


803478530_TRKazElephant-1.jpg.5603a166ef907e287ddcb6514b67ebad.jpgOur first Wild Elephant





1217591361_TRKazElephant-3.jpg.8defd3afb693316206588973b5d2d183.jpgFamily group






While watching, Anuj spotted


A family of Otters





Getting dark , watching us watching them.

Edited by TonyQ
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And more elephants....






In the later stages of pregnancy


We really hoped to see Wild Elephants, so were delighted to have such good views of them




Getting wet, but the elephants didn't mind. (We had a canvas roof that was put on to protect us!)

As we began to head towards the exit to the national park, we began to have a problem with one of the wheels. When we reached the exit, another jeep was waiting for us. Anuj had phoned through so that one would meet us, so no problem to us. Our jeep was fine for the rest of the trip.

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Love the otter and ele photos @TonyQ

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Thank you @Towlersonsafari


Diphlu River Lodge

During our stay at Kaziranga we were based at Diphlu River Lodge -  very nice lodge.


View showing some rooms and the dining area - all buildings are on stilts because the area floods each year


Dining area


Our room


We had a river view room. A fairly famous couple had stayed in the room a couple of years ago, and the Lodge were very proud of that. We were pleased that we were not the first Aston Villa fans to stay there.



Views from room




The day starts with a cup of tea in the room

Proper tea, not tea bags!


There were tea estates along the main road, so it seemed appropriate to go for the Assam Orthodox


and then breakfast at 6.00. Breakfast was a buffet but also fresh cooked eggs. Then head out to the park. Return at about 11.00, lunch at 12 (buffet, mostly Indian with some western dishes. Good selection of vegetarian, fish and meat. Head out at about 1.15/1.30 (depending on which sector you are going to). Evening meal about 7/7.30. Tea and coffee was free, soft drinks and alcohol were extra. Water was provided. Dining was at individual tables, which I think would be a disadvantage if travelling alone.

We enjoyed the food and thought there was a good selection. Assamese food tends to use less chilli than many other areas of India.

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A few more sightings in the National Park


People are very proud of their Rhinos



Great Hornbill


Black-necked Stork




Another family of Otters



Some more elephants


Reaching for a wild fruit that looks like an apple but is much harder








Big powerful animals, looking quite different ot African Rhinos


Sambar male




Edited by TonyQ
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I will try to forget you are Villa fans @@TonyQ   -the rhino looks very prehistoric-have they been dehorned? and some more otters-do you know what species?

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@Towlersonsafari At least we have one thing in common with Prince WIlliam:D


I am not sure if the Rhinos are de-horned. Our guide didn't mention it and we didn't think to ask! Some appear to have a horn.

The otters are (I think) Smooth Coated Otters.



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We had planned to make a visit to the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. ( @michael-ibk and @Atravelynn   discussed a successful visit in their trip report).This would involve a very early start, but worth it for a chance to see Gibbons. On the afternoon/evening before we were due to go there was very heavy rain. We discussed our trip with our guide Anuj and he said it would be very wet and muddy in the forest. In the end we opted out, and following discussion with Anuj and Diphlu’s manager, we decided to do some birding around the lodge before breakfast, and then to look for local Gibbons and do more birding in the local area.


The plan worked well for us


Small Niltava



After a quick breakfast, we headed out to search along the main road. Anuj said that Gibbons are sometimes seen in particular areas. He was right!


Female Gibbon

All of these next photos were taken from the vehicle as Anuj and Biru follwed them and kept pace with them


Baby holds tight as mother moves through the trees


Male walks up tree trunk - it was fascinating to watch their different ways of locomotion




When they were swinging from their arms they moved really quickly


We found it interesting to see their feet - with many hand-like features


Female swinging with firmly attached baby



So we were thrilled with our morning outing, and were very excited to see the Gibbons so well



Edited by TonyQ
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We did some more local birding, and then returned to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we visited the National Park agin and enjoyed sightings of a range of wildlife.


Oriental Pied Hornbill


Grey-headed Fish Eagle




Not a great photo, but it does show the environment and numbers of some of the wildlife




Elephant and baby crossing river

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We were pleased to see some more otters (always a treat!)








Kaleej Pheasant



Buffalo youngster suckling

And some more Rhino






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Changeable Hawk Eagle



More Rhino - this one with quite a large horn ( @Towlersonsafari )






Elephant crossing the track


Elephant Sunset

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Beautiful photos Tony

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@Earthian @Zim Girl  thank you!

Another trip to the park -


Indian Roller (a different sub-species to that found in Satpura)


Golden-fronted Leafbird


Chesnut-headed Bee-eater


Osprey with large fish - always distant if seen in the UK, but possible to get much closer here


A large tusker cooling off

And again we see a family of otters - a real pleasure on this trip to see so many otters and to have good sightings


On land and in the water


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One afternoon we went on a boat trip in an attempt to see River Dolphins. Setting out after lunch, it is about an hour’s drive through interesting villages to reach the river. Unfortunately we only saw a couple of splashes! Another family from the lodge had been the previous day and watched dolphins for about half an hour as they splashed up from underwater.


The river was much wider than we had expected (basic research!) so when travelling up and down the river we tended to be a long way from the banks.


Fishing boat on the river - showing how wide the river is


A few birds were seen but they tended to be very distant. So a bit of a disappointing activity really.



But we did see a Long-legged Buzzard as we returned to our car


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Next morning at the lodge


Black-hooded Oriole – seen from our balcony!

Then heading into the park


Long-tailed Shrike


Buffalo in long grass


Bar-headed Goose – amongst the highest flying birds in the world, they migrate across The Himalayas


Asian Openbill


Blossom-headed Parakeet

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White-rumped Shama


Crested Serpent Eagle




Some final elephants – still a treat


And a final rhino.



Kaziranga and Diphlu River Lodge –summing up


Kaziranga has a variety of different environments which make for an interesting range of game drives. Some sections were busy near the main entrance gates, but none were busy once we moved away from those areas. Most of the time we were on our own and really enjoyed our time in the park.


It is possible to do Elephant rides to view Rhino, and these are popular. (One woman in our lodge had come to Kaziranga to specifically do an Elephant ride). We decided not to as we have come to the view that the whole process is cruel. This is not a criticism of people who have chosen to do them – indeed we have in the past in other Indian Parks. It is just our choice now.


Although Tigers are found in the park, and sometimes seen, we did not see any (and did not expect to). If your aim is to see tigers, it is not a good choice, but you will see Rhino and Elephant and a range of other wildlife.


A main road runs alongside the park. You are not really aware of this when in the park, but you do have to travel on it when going to or returning from the park. In the morning and during the middle of the day the journey is interesting. At night as it gets dark it is not so pleasant. In Assam, most lorries are only allowed to travel at night, so as it gets dark lots of lorries that have been parked up during the day take to the roads making the journey back potentially very busy.


Diphlu River Lodge was very good, comfortable rooms and very good food. Our guide was good and we were pleased to have him for all of our activities. Guides are from local villages and are trained by the lodge. We were happy with our choice.



Edited by TonyQ
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After lunch we drove to Guwahati for a flight to Delhi, arriving late evening.

Another night at The Claridges, and excellent breakfast and we are picked up at 8.15 for a  roughly 4 hour drive to Bharatpur and our stay at the Birder’s Inn.


We were going to Bharatpur to visit Keoladeo National Park to do some birding. We arranged the transport through The Birder’s Inn, and also got them to arrange a guide for us.

The plan was to have lunch when we arrived, then spend the afternoon in the park. We would also spend the next morning in the park before returning to Delhi.


The Birders Inn





We had a very nice room The food was good (2 lunches, evening meal and breakfast).

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The Inn is about 200m from the entrance gate of the National Park. We were picked up by our guide (Dillip) and taken to meet the cycle rickshaws that are the means of transport in the park.



There is a long straight track down the centre of the park, with many pools at either side. There are also a number of side tracks where you walk rather than use the cycle rickshaw.


The main track with cycle rickshaw


We were slightly late in the year for peak numbers of migrating birds, but there were still very large numbers of birds present, and many of them could be approached closely.


Grey Francolin


Spotted Owlet


Green Bee-eater


Spot-billed Duck


One of the pools showing landscape


Brahminy Starling






As we were leaving as it was getting dark, we were delighted to glimpse a Golden Jackal on a side track


We benefited from having a guide, but it is possible to do it without one – the Rickshaw Drivers know where a lot of the birds are and can recognise many of them.


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