UNCONVENTIONAL HOOLLONGAPAR GIBBON WILD LIFE SANCTUARY
If you are going off via Kolkata then see if you can fly out of Jorhat. (Or into Jorhat) Then on the last day of your tour in Kaziranga you could profitably visit Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. It does not take long to do Gibbon sightseeing. Usually people do it Ex- Kaziranga, they take a hired vehicle to go to Gibbon WLS and leave very early 4 am so they reach the place 128 km (2 and half hours) and then Gibbon activity is over by 9 am and they come back to visit Eastern Range in Kaziranga on same day. The place is 30 odd minutes from Jorhat airport and so on last day of your client's 3 night stay it is fruitful to visit this very small sanctuary.
Jorhat airport it is 90 km (you have to go further 30 km and return 30 km to airport). The background info I am giving to you for your information.
HOOLLONGAPAR GIBBON WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: 20. Sq km Sanctuary. It is now a small tropical wet forest. Actually it is the oldest miscellaneous plantation having Dipterocarpus and Mesua as dominant species and is easily accessible and has 7 species of primates. Walks are allowed and Hollock Gibbon easily sighted. There is a presence of pig tailed and stump tailed macaque which can be sighted with moderate luck. In winter (starting late October) it is good for forest birds several species of forest butterflies and giant squirrel. More than birds in the main road cutting through the small sanctuary more than 100 species of butterflies can be identified in the months of Oct and November as also in March-April.
Though a plantation it looks like a natural forest with all storeys’s of canopy extant. It’s a natural looking rain forest and surely worth a visit. The sanctuary is now insular and has no connectivity with larger forest belt. But earlier it had contiguity with Disoi Valley Reserved Forests (RF) Disoi RF, Tiru RF and Geleki RF bordering Nagaland and was the natural abode of all these primates. Due to large scale human induced degradation especially from Nagaland the Gibbon Sanctuary is what is left. A pocket herd of elephant is largely resident in this sanctuary and leopards are also found. Sighting of the groups of primates requires prior arrangement with forest authorities tracking them. (we will do this) in this unique forest It is the best place for orienting a naturalist to the representative rain forest habitat condition coupled with interesting primate sighting especially the Hollock Gibbon which is the only ape available in India. Photographers usually try their luck and are successful.
Can I stay places near Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary?
Of course you can stay in places near Gibbon Sanctuary also. Besides the Hollock there is the capped langur more sure in Gibbon then in Kaziranga (you get capped langur sighting in Kaziranga best is in Kanchenjuri (see note on Ghorakati Range) but not as sure as in Gibbon (90% sure) But real best capped langur sighting is in Nameri National park 125 km from Kaziranga you get it in the Eco Camp which is a tented camp place to stay in Nameri National Park.
Staying in the Inspection Bungalow in Gibbon is the best. It’s basic but okay. You can do it Ex-Kaziranga as suggested. As the area is only 30 minutes from Jorhat airport your clients can do on day of departure as I have already written above if your clients are flying out of Jorhat All flights usually leave Jorhat around 1.30 pm. The IB in Gibbon costs Rs 800 per room. We send a driver and a guide along to do the cooking etc also so two rooms will be required and the car needs to be at disposal.
Next place to stay near Gibbon is 45 minutes away is best though pricey known as Thengal Manor it’s very good but pricey. Thengal is an old residence of a tea planter called Rai Bahadur Shiva Prasad Barooah, who in the 1930s was the richest Indian tea planter, and he built Thengal House as his personal residence in 1929. His son H.P.Barooah renovated it in 1964. ‘Dainik Batori’ was published the first Assamese daily newspaper from this mansion in 1935. The house was built in the old bungalow style of North India (not like ones built in Assam) that was used by the British for the administrative offices, with passages right around the building to resist humidity and keep the interior’s cool. Chinese masons built the mansion with its thick brick and lime-mortar walls. The mansion is situated in a five acre plot near an Assamese village and a prayer hall is situated in the compound. The rooms are airy and each of them has the old style fireplace. It is under the aegis of Welcome Group of hotels. Thengal is 15 km from Jorhat airport takes 30 minutes. It takes about 2 hours 10 minutes to reach Thengal from Wild Grass. (Both are under Welcome Group of Hotels).
Another place is Tea Garden Bungalows two of them one is known as the Burra Sahib Bungalow and The Gotonga Bungalow owned by the same people who own Thengal Manor. The Gotonga Tea Estate (757 hectares, more than half the area under tea) has a factory, which allows visitors and conducts factory visits for those who stay in Thengal and Burra sahib Nowadays Burra Sahib is known as Kaziranga Golf Club as the owners built an 18 hole golf course there. Both are a bit pricey. Kaziranga Golf Course is 38 km from Gibbon because of road it takes about 55 minutes. Rates of these places are at par with Thengal.
There are some basic and neat places near Gibbon where you can halt also Gibbon Guest house 5 rooms and dormitory. It is all round best places in a simple manner stay if you have no luxury issue for Gibbon.
Also bed and breakfast B & B “Puroni Bheti Lodge “is another option for back packers.