Nameri National Park is a hidden gem for wildlife and nature enthusiasts and far away from the crowded (but fantastic) Kaziranga. An hour drive from Tezpur in Assam it is one of those national parks where there are no jeep safaris. To explore the Park you must either go on foot or river rafting (very docile rapids most of the year). The rafting is done on the Jia Bhoroli river which is the lifeline of Nameri and also a tributary of the Brahmaputra river.
Crossing the Jia Bhoroli River
To trek in to the forest, you have to cross the Jia Bhoroli river in a country boat accompanied with a guide and an armed forest guard. Armed, because Nameri has elephants. The forest guards are locals who possess deep knowledge of sensing the presence of elephant(s) and other wildlife before you and I can. If they sense the presence of animals they guide us away quietly from them so that both humans and wildlife can explore Nameri, peacefully. For more photos on the wildlife of Nameri and other national parks, please visit and follow our Instagram page.
In search for the elusive White-winged Wood Duck
The Park is best visited from November to March, April onwards the monsoon season starts swelling up the river making the trek not so enjoyable due to leeches and the muddy forest floor. Rafting too becomes un-predictable due to increasing water levels in the river. As with most parks, the best time to visit the Park is in the morning.
Getting to Nameri is not easy, you must have a taxi to take you there and back. Tourist facilities are near to nothing so plan to get packed food, water, money to pay for tickets and tip to guides / guards etc. When buying tickets, you have the option to trek for half a day or from sunrise to sunset. Due to lack of tourist facilities especially a canteen inside the Park, visitors have to exit the Park by crossing the river and then drive back to the ticket office. There are some home-stays near the office that serve food (basic) but this going back and forth makes you lose precious time in Nameri.
So, if you want to maximize your time exploring the forest then carry some food and water with you from the get go. You may not see a dustbin near the forest camp in Nameri so please eat and drink responsibly and take all your trash back with you.
The nature trail for visitors inside Nameri is about 5KM long. It’s more like a loop and can take you a full day to complete if you have encounters with wildlife. When I visited I had full plans to do the entire trek in three hours, that did not materialize at all and for good reason. I was extremely lucky to spot a pair of White-winged Wood Ducks. The excitement was uncontrollable and every step that I moved closer to them was a huge adrenalin rush. Thanks to the 200-600mm Sony camera lens I was able to get decent shots, without disturbing then. It was stunning and bizarre at the same time to see these ducks in this kind of habitat. This species unlike other ducks prefers shady marshes with stagnant water. Whereas most waders that I have come across can be seen in plain sight in open water bodies!
Walking safari in Nameri National Park
White winged Wood Ducks in Nameri
Besides the ducks, I also spotted a pied falconet, one of the smallest birds of prey in the world. It was perched very far making it impossible to get a clear photo. There were several other birds that I spotted besides these two. I also saw a barking deer and fresh signs of a herd of elephants.
One of my most memorable moments in Nameri was listening to the Great Indian Hornbill calling out for a mate. The clock – clock – clock sound made by male perched on the highest branch of the tallest of trees was loud and clear and there was no stopping this huge bird from going all out looking for his lady.
Great Indian Hornbill Calling for a Mate
Armed guard and amazing naturalist in Nameri
All in all, Nameri far exceeded my expectations. I would have loved to spend more time treading in the forest, but some things are just meant for another visit!