Looking for rhinos in Assam

This item appears on page 76 of the April 2011 issue.

I toured northeast India with Spirit of India (Mill Valley, CA; 888/367-6147) in October ’08 (land-only price is $4,295 for 18 days).

While in Assam state, we stayed in Kaziranga National Park, where we had luxury camp accommodations with gourmet meals and enjoyed watching traditional dances. The highlight, however, was riding elephants to look for rhinos. These we saw in abundance because of conservation efforts; in the last census, 1,856 Asian rhinos were counted. There were about eight elephants carrying three to six tour members each, depending on the size of the elephant, with babies trailing in order to stay with mom and learn the job.

The rhinos generally ignored us, but if we got too close there would be some “words” between the rhino and the elephant. Later, on jeep safaris, we saw wild elephants and wild buffaloes as well as various deer and other wildlife, but nothing could beat riding on elephants right in close to the wildlife.

Avoca, MI