Kaziranga to get boat safaris from April

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Guwahati, Oct 1 (UNI) Tourists visiting Kaziranga National Park(KNP) from next year will be able to cruise around the park in luxury boats.

Boat safaris will be introduced in KNP next year onwards, extending the tourist season in this world famous home of the one-horned rhinoceros to almost the entire year.

An official of the KNP informed that surveys were being conducted and the boat safaris are likely to be introduced by April.

The presence of a number of water bodies in the park make many regions of the KNP non-navigable during the monsoons and the entire park is closed for tourists for several months between May to October annually.

Besides the Brahmaputra, two rivers Dhansiri and Difolow flow through KNP. A number of beels(small ponds) are also scattered throughout the park.

However, with the introduction of the boat safaris, the park would be open almost the entire year, except during high floods, which do not last for more than a few weeks at a stretch.

The floods cause much damage to the park annually and the animals, which move to the hills across a national highway of the park, regularly fall prey to poachers or speeding vehicles.

In this year's flood, more than five bridges and 17 culverts were and 360 kms of the regular safari routes rendered unusable.

With the boat safari, destinations that were unreachable during monsoons will also become open for tourists.

Presently, there are jeep and elephant safaris in the park. The KNP official informed that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had taken personal interest in the boat safari project and was keeping tab on the development in this regard.

''Feasibility reports are being prepared by experts and the route will soon be finalised,'' the official said and added that the boat safaris, to be introduced by April, will be run by private operators.

Altogether, 77,073 tourists visited KNP last season, of which 4,711 were foreign tourists. As much as Rs 76 lakh was collected as revenue from the tourists.

UNI

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