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Brahmaputra Cruise

Tour Code: IND02

A magical 14-day holiday to Assam in north-eastern India which includes a unique 11-day wildlife cruise down the Brahmaputra River aboard the RV Sukapha or RV Charaidew, visiting Kaziranga, Nameri and Orang National Parks, and taking in much of the local tribal culture.

14 days from £3595(inc flights) Land Only Price: £3195 SRS: £1995 + an optional 6-day extension


 

This wonderful wildlife holiday offers a unique perspective on the sights and sounds of rural Assam from the comfort of a fully-equipped riverboat as we navigate down the mighty Brahmaputra River. With visits to the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga, Orang and Nameri National Parks, outstanding wildlife viewing is assured, but the cruise also offers the chance to observe tribal villages and isolated fishing communities as we make our leisurely way along the river. Mammal highlights are likely to include Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian Elephant, Water Buffalo, Hog Deer, Hoolock Gibbon and the endangered Gangetic Dolphin whilst an enviable bird list may include such mouth-watering species as Pallas's Fishing Eagle, Bengal Florican and Ibisbill. The sublime experience of exploring one of India's greatest rivers from the comfort of a floating hotel is not to be missed!

  • Unique wildlife cruise on a luxury riverboat
  • Brahmaputra sunsets & Gangetic Dolphins
  • Assam’s finest national parks – Kaziranga, Nameri & Orang
  • One-horned Rhinos, Indian Elephants & wild Water Buffalo
  • Other mammals include Hoolock Gibbons & Capped Langurs
  • Tigers & Pygmy Hogs amongst previous sightings
  • Visit Hindu monasteries & the tribal village of Mising
  • Abundant birdlife, including Ibisbill, Bengal Florican & Greater Adjutant 
  • Enjoy the comfort, cuisine & service aboard our exclusively chartered riverboat
  • Learn from our two expert Naturetrek naturalist leaders
  • Plus local naturalist & ornithologist guides

Food

Included in the price, except for main meals in Kolkata. Allow £40.

Accommodation

For this voyage Naturetrek charters the RV Charaidew (Thursday departures). For vessel details see page 258 of our brochure. In Kolkata we overnight in a comfortable 3-star hotel, all rooms with private facilities.

Indian One-horned Rhinoceros (George Reekie)

Indian One-horned Rhinoceros (George Reekie)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Kolkata

Day 3/12 Fly Jorhat for 11-day Brahmaputra wildlife cruise

Day 13 End cruise; fly Kolkata

Day 14 Fly London

Anyone who has travelled through India by train or road will be amazed to learn that there is actually a form of surface transport through the country that offers total serenity and comfort: for it is possible to cruise for some 2,820 kilometres along the rivers of India, passing great cities, wildlife sanctuaries and historical monuments, and journey into the very heart of rural India by boat. Indeed once, such rivers as the Ganges, Hugli and Brahmaputra were all vital arteries for the East India Company, as for other empires before them, and British-run passenger boats plied these rivers from the early 18th century until competition from the railways became just too great by the end of the 19th century. Passenger boats on the Brahmaputra, however, continued to operate until the early 1950s when the tensions that emerged between India and Pakistan after Partition in 1947 finally spelt the end for river traffic. Until that time, daily passenger boats from Kolkata plied the Brahmaputra through Assam, aboard them a complement of tea planters, forest officers, soldiers and district magistrates; indeed, during the Second World War, they also played a vital role in bringing in troops and evacuating casualties during the great battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1944. Today, however, in association with a pioneering Indo-British cruise company, Naturetrek offers you the opportunity to re-live the experience of those days of the Raj, aboard a luxury 24-berth vessel exclusively chartered by us to provide a river cruise with a dedicated focus on the wildlife and national parks of Assam.

This 10-night cruise will include most of the highlights of Assam, with a particular focus on the wildlife, wilderness and tribal villages and cultures that represent the key points of interest along the mighty Brahmaputra, for often the riverbed is 20 to 30 kilometres across, an empty world of grass-covered and forested islands, sand spits and channels, favoured only by rural fishermen and a marvellous birdlife. We will also look out for mammals, especially when passing through Assam’s national parks, although throughout our cruise we may expect to see the endangered and enigmatic Gangetic River Dolphin, a real highlight of this journey.

We begin our cruise, after a night in the fascinating old colonial city of Kolkata and a domestic flight, near Jorhat in Assam. Our first point of call will be the Gibbon Sanctuary at Mariani, where we will walk in the forest in search of Hoolock Gibbons, India’s only species of ape, and a wealth of birdlife. Next stop will be Majuli Island, reputedly the world’s largest river island and short-listed for future UNESCO World Heritage status on account of its rich culture. Here we will visit some of the island’s unique Hindu monasteries (famous for their dance drama performances), experience a typical Mising tribal lunch in a stilted bamboo hut, and enjoy the birds of Sakuli Bheel (lake). On other occasions we will spend time gently cruising down the Brahmaputra, relaxing and birdwatching from the sundeck, perhaps with a visit to a tribal village.

On our fourth day Kaziranga National Park will appear on the left bank and we now have a chance of seeing wild Asian Elephants and wild Water Buffalo from the boat, perhaps even a Tiger! During the next three days we have the pleasure of India’s finest national park alongside us, and in it will enjoy an elephant ride and jeep safaris. Kaziranga is a 430 square kilometre park, consisting of broad tracts of tall elephant grass interspersed with evergreen forests, shallow lakes and reedbeds. It is probably the best place on Earth to observe the very rare Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros and it is possible to encounter as many as 40 of these prehistoric-looking beasts during a day in the field. Asian Elephants and wild Water Buffalo are also plentiful, as are Sambar, Hog and Swamp Deer, and Wild Boar, the prey of the Leopards and Tigers which roam the park, although amid so much cover they are always hard to see. We may even chance upon some of the more elusive residents such as Gaur, Leopard Cat and Sloth Bear, whilst the rare Capped Langur, Assam Macaque and Hoolock Gibbon form a trio of primates that inhabit the woodlands. Despite the profusion of mammals, the birdlife is not eclipsed and a tremendously diverse bird list features many rare or local species such as Bengal Florican and Adjutant Stork.

Leaving Kaziranga, we will next explore Nameri National Park (which lies in the Himalayan foothills an hour’s drive north of Tezpur) both on foot and by means of a raft journey through the park. We will also visit Orang National Park, which lies alongside the Brahmaputra, exploring it by means of a smaller boat which we will take up a tributary into the heart of the park where we will search for birds and mammals by jeep.

Towards the end of our river cruise we will explore a range of jungle-covered hills and visit the idyllic and isolated village of Ganesh Pahar where we will take a birdwatching walk through rice paddies and unspoilt forest. These pretty hills, or the Golden Langurs of Peacock Island, are likely to be amongst our final memories of the stillness and beauty of the mighty Brahmaputra, before we must disembark at Guwahati and commence our journey homeward. For tour members wishing to extend their holiday, we recommend a post-tour visit to the Sunderbans, the world’s largest delta and mangrove swamp, renowned for its waterbirds and man-eating Tigers!

The Sukapha and sunset (John Mitchell)Male Hoolock Gibbon (Bret Charman)Female Hoolock Gibbon (Bret Charman)Crossing Assamese marshland (Bret Charman)Female Hoolock Gibbon (Bret Charman)Hindu Monk (Bret Charman)A storytelling dance performance by young Hindu Monks (Bret Charman)Traditional Mishing stilted house (Bret Charman)Assamese Children (Bret Charman)Brahmaputra River (Noburu Komine)Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Bret Charman)Barasingha, Swamp Deer (Bret Charman)Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and calf (Bret Charman)Naturetrek Clients (Bret Charman)Brown Fish Owl (Bret Charman)Wild Asian Elephant Herd (Bret Charman)Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Bret Charman)Hog Deer (Bret Charman)Drongo (Bret Charman)The RV SukaphaDinner (John Mitchell)Rhino watchingBengal Tiger (Khalid Pasha)Sunset over the Brahmaputra (Bret Charman)One-horned RhinoWild Indian Elephants (John Mitchell)Elephant safari (John Mitchell)Jeep safari (John Mitchell)The SukaphaLocal trading (John Mitchell)Sadhu (John Mitchell)Fisherman beside the Brahmaputra (John Mitchell)Bicycle salesman (John Mitchell)Harvesting Assam tea (John Mitchell)Assamese villagers (John Mitchell)Twin cabinSundeckThe loungeFisherman on the Brahmaputra River (Bret Charman)Black Kite (Bret Charman)Golden Langur (Bret Charman)Greater Adjutant Stork (Bret Charman)Cattle Egrets (Bret Charman)
T.B.
Clwyd
A memorable holiday with fantastic guides and boat crew. The trip could have been repetitive but each day was different and memorable for different reasons.
E.W.
Kent
A fascinating exploration of wildlife and the way of life of local people on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra. The Sunderbans extension was well worth the additional days.
P.K.
Devon
Sujan's ability, together with Imran and the local guides, to spot and identify species of birds and mammals, then to pinpoint them in the telescope, enabled us to see clearly what we otherwise might have missed, especially since my skill with binoculars is lacking! His humour and wealth of stories kept us entertained and we commend his organisational talents.
Mr & Mrs H.
Essex
The two guides, Sujan Chaterjee and Nick Acheson, were out of the top drawer and made this such a great wildlife holiday. Their knowledge of the area and its wildlife, together with their good humour, made this a trip to remember for a long time.
J.K.
West Yorkshire
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday from start to finish. I did not want to come home. Far and away the best Naturetrek holiday yet. I cannot praise the staff highly enough. Nothing was too much trouble and they went out of their way to provide extra experiences. Just the right mix of wildlife and culture.
R.L.
Kent
This was a fantastic holiday. Well organised and plenty of advance information supplied by Rajan. The boat and its crew were top class in terms of accommodation and the service provided. The local naturalists and cultural guide were also excellent and very kind. Sujan and Bunty were also excellent and Sujan in particular was a very pro-active leader and great fun as well as being knowledgeable. We had high hopes of this holiday, but they were exceeded - a fantastic combination of wildlife, culture, the boat, guides and India!
H.W.
Hertfordshire
The content and organisation of the trip was first class as was the knowledge and friendliness of Sujan and Bunty.
V.G.
Surrey
The holiday was wonderful and the leaders were excellent. Sujan and Bunty made a superb team - the one larger than life and extrovert and the other more thoughtful; both were extremely knowledgeable and very good company. They organised a tour of Kolkata (for those who wanted) before our flight home, and came with us - I love to make the most of my time on holiday and this was a real bonus.
Mr. H.
Northamptonshire
It was a wonderful tour made special by Nick, Sujan, Babajan, Imran and Niv, whose great efforts and smiling faces made a great holiday even better. The crew of the boat led by Pratik deserve great credit in the way everyone looked after us -nothing was too much trouble.
Mr. & Mrs. W.
Suffolk
We cannot speak highly enough of the team looking after us. We could not have had better leaders than Nick and Sujan. Their ability to impart their incredible knowledge, with such enthusiasm, patience and sense of humour helped make the holiday truly unforgetable
Mr & Mrs R.
Kent
The leader had a great sense of fun which made him very easy to talk to and we enjoyed our time spent with him.
P.S.
Gloucestershire
The tour leaders were exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble and they maintained good humour throughout. Rajan, in particular, was quietly and cheerfully wonderful!
D.F.
Worcestershire
The cruise was outstanding. The crew of the boat could not have been more helpful and we were particularly impressed with the food that was provided. Sujan, Tika and Rajan went out of their way to make the experience of Assam as interesting and enjoyable as they possibly could. They all worked hard to ensure we had a fabulous holiday. We were very grateful.
J.T.
Norfolk
We could not have had better leaders/guides than Sujan and Tika – very knowledgeable, approachable and good company. The local nature guides, Imran and Babjan, and Udit, the culture guide, were also excellent, as were the whole crew of the Sukapha. The accommodation and the food on the Sukapha was very good.
A.P.
Hampshire
Nick and Sujan had got remarkable eyesight for spotting birds! They were both very knowledgeable and looked after everybody very well, as well as taking our teasing and banter with grace! I would recommend them to everybody.
N.L.
Devon
A most enjoyable holiday with a really good mix of wildlife and culture. All staff and guides did a wonderful job. Can’t praise too highly the enthusiastic and cheerful guides.
S.L.
Devon
Altogether a well balanced and above all a very interesting holiday.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Thu 26th February 2015 - Wed 11th March 2015

FULL

£3595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3195 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: SunderbansMore info

Thu 10th December 2015 - Wed 23rd December 2015

YES

£3595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3195 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: SunderbansMore info

Thu 31st March 2016 - Wed 13th April 2016

YES

£3595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3195 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: SunderbansMore info

Visiting: India

Detailed tour map

Tour Extensions

If you wish to prolong your holiday we offer the following extensions.

Sunderbans

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Rajan Jolly
Operations Manager

Email Rajan

01962 733051

Tour Focus

CruisingCulture

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

A memorable holiday with fantastic guides and boat crew. The trip could have been repetitive but each day was different and memorable for different reasons.
T.B., Clwyd