You can cover more ground by jeep but game drives on elephant back in Kaziranga National Park in Assam get you up close and personal with the Indian One-horned Rhinoceros.

The flat country and vast grasslands bordering the Brahmaputra River are the best place in India to see the endangered Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. It’s thought that there were as few as a dozen of them left at Kaziranga at the start of the 20th century but with careful management they now number around 1800, about 80% of the world’s population.

To view rhinoceros at close quarters we can arrange game drives on the back of an elephant. They are the best all-terrain vehicle and perfect mobile hide for getting up fantastically close to other animals, which barely seem to notice even when you are just a few meters away.

In the cold half-light at 6.30am, as you climb the steps to the mounting platform at the elephant stable the great height of your wrinkly steed suddenly becomes abundantly clear. The mahout smirks knowingly but makes sure passengers and howdah are balanced and secure before giving the command for your elephant to trundle into the unknown.

In the early morning the grasslands are enveloped in a thick ground mist that would equal traffic jams and the need for fog lights anywhere else, but the mahouts are wise to the rhinoceros’s habitual well-worn trails and you’ll quickly get so close to them you’ll be able to count the tubercles on their armour-plated flanks.