In our view, this is simply the best place to stay if you come to Kaziranga. This is partly because of their team of naturalist guides, but also because of the comfortable yet rustic rooms, beautiful location and friendly ambience.
Kaziranga is one of those parks that few people have heard of. It’s not exactly on the beaten path. However, it is a remarkable and important park which is home to 70% of the world’s one-horned rhinos, a strong breeding herd of the increasingly rare wild Indian elephant, and two other species you won’t find in central India parks: gibbons and giant hornbills, plus other exciting wildlife, such as capped langurs, Malayan giant squirrels, and water buffalos. It is also home to the highest density of Bengal tigers in any protected area (though we recommend you treat any sighting as a bonus rather than making tigers the reason to come here as they can be hard to see here). Add to that the fact that BirdLife have classified it as an Important Bird Area since it has over 470 species including the great Indian hornbill, Blyth’s kingfisher, jungle fowl, fish eagles and vultures, parrokeets, sunbirds, bee-eaters and more, and you have reasons a-plenty to consider a visit.
If you decide to come, we’d strongly recommend that you stay at this lovely little place. Diphlu River Lodge is, in our view, the best choice in the whole of Kaziranga. It’s one of the most expensive lodges, but it’s worth it. It manages to offer comfort in its own rustic fashion and it has a calm, friendly ambience which is all the better for being small – just 12 rooms. The location on the banks of the Diphlu is lovely for those times you just want to sit and watch the river go by, perhaps with a drink in hand.
Read Amanda's blog about her stay here in March 2019.
Open: All year, though most international visitors tend only to stay when the park is open, from November to the end of April (can vary depending on the rains).
Location: Diphlu overlooks Kaziranga National Park at the other side of the river. It is just a 10 minute drive west of the western park gate, or about 25 minutes from the central gate. It is just off the main road going past the park, but this is rarely noisy at night.
To get here, you fly to Guwahati airport (from Delhi or Calcutta) then drive east for about 5 hours. Alternatively, fly to Jorhat Airport then drive 2½ hours west , or fly to Dibrugar airport and drive 3½ hours west. The last two options are less reliable options due to the airlines that fly here being more prone to cancellations.
Rooms: There are 12 stilted rooms, including two that interconnect for families. They are quite rustic – made from wood, bamboo and thatch on a concrete frame - but very comfortable, with aircon and ceiling fans, a fridge with cold drinks, kettle and tea/coffee, safe, and an en-suite bathroom with an excellent walk-in shower. Each room has a verandah either looking over the river or the central area which is often planted as a rice paddy.
Activities: Game-viewing in Kaziranga National Park (open roughly November to April – can fluctuate with the rains). Boat rides on the Diphlu River to spot Gangetic dolphins.
Facilities: The main restaurant is indoors (air-conditioned), but there is also restaurant /bar/lounge area with lovely views over to the park. There is a ‘machan’ seating area too. They have a good team of naturalist guides.
Dining: This lodge is usually sold on a full board basis. Meals are mostly buffet service. There is a good mix of Indian and European dishes so most people will find something they like. The meals are good quality, though since they mostly cater for a western clientele the ‘spicy’ dishes are not as spicy as you might expect.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wifi in the bar/lounge area. Mobile signal is fine here.
Explore the pine forests and unique living root of bridges of Meghalaya followed by safaris in Kaziranga National Park, home to two thirds of the world's one-horned rhinos.
Diphlu River Lodge is a member of TOFT (Tour Operators for Tigers) and the Ecotourism Society of India. Most of the staff are from villages in or near Kaziranga and are trained by the lodge. Men and women from the neighbouring villages are responsible for all the woven objects in the lodge. They grow their own organic rice, vegetables and mustard.
"We spent three nights at this lovely lodge. It is comfortable, with all you need and has a homely feel to it which is helped by the friendly staff. Sitting in the bar that overlooks the Diphlu River to the park, a drink in hand, you feel close to the nature you’ve come to visit, despite the main road being at the other side of the lodge (it’s quiet at night). The food was good, though I sometimes wished they’d not taken as much of the spice and flavours out of the Indian dishes, presumably in a bid to tempt western palates. The naturalist guide we got was great and he ensured we saw all the key species while here – all except tigers, which we missed by 10 minutes on two days running! Sadly, the jeeps are not that comfortable, but there’s nothing the lodge can do about that as all lodges must hire them (with drivers) from the jeep association at the park."