Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari

Royal Couple Goes on Safari During India Trip
James Whatling/Splash News Online

04/13/2016 AT 01:15 AM EDT

Prince William and Princess Kate have really left the city behind now.

After a welcome party of a fireside harvest festival, and a quiet night at their lodge they set off on Wednesday for a morning safari – hoping to see a rhino!

They joined a Jeep convoy for a tour of part of Kaziranga National Park. Keen conservationists, they want to see the beauty of the wild but are also here to learn about what attempts are being made to manage the conflict between animals and humans.

After being given traditional scarves briefed on the safari, they hopped in their vehicle, hats in hand – Kate in her Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses, she handed William his pair too. Kate's cool cream blouse was by RM Williams which she teamed with brown Zara biker stretch pants.



Joining them was Mr. Yadava (on a seat behind them), a driver and a ranger armed with a rifle (loaded with tranquilizer ammunition). As they pulled away, Kate squeezed William’s thigh and said, "We’re all safe" and both of them grinned.

Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari| The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William

Tim Rooke / REX / Shutterstock





Before they headed off, they had already seen a big beast. An elephant behind the main park buildings caught their eye. It was one of two or three feeding and drinking right next to some homes. Later they saw wild elephants, a rhino and other species.

After being given traditional scarves briefed on the safari, they hopped in their vehicle, hats in hand – Kate in her Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses, she handed William his pair too. Kate's cool cream blouse was by RM Williams which she teamed with brown Zara biker stretch pants.

Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari| The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William

Danny Martindale / WireImage



Joining them was Mr. Yadava (on a seat behind them), a driver and a ranger armed with a rifle (loaded with tranquilizer ammunition). As they pulled away, Kate squeezed William’s thigh and said, "We’re all safe" and both of them grinned.

As the 4x4 got going, William quickly spotted a rhino mother and her baby wading in a marsh-like patch in the distance. "Oh wow," gasped Kate. The next animal spotted was a large monitor lizard, which Kate seemed tickled by as she was giggling when it was pointed out to them.

Possibly the highlight of their Kaziranga trek was a huge rhino blocking the road ahead. The couple gasped as they caught sight of the huge animal just 50 yards away from them. "This is amazing!" said Kate. "It's amazing to be this close," William added, before a ranger called out loudly to scare it off the road.

Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari| The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William

Samir Hussein / WireImage

Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari| The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William

Dias / Newspix International



After almost an hour of safari, the Duke and Duchess arrived at the Bimoli Anti-Poaching Camp in the centre of the park, where they were greeted by a group of rangers.

"It's been an incredible journey," William said of their safari as he shook the hand of a young ranger.

The park is situated on a flood plain and the vital annual floods drive animals up to the adjacent hills.

In between the park and the hills, however, are growing numbers of villages which are in the path of ancient corridors for elephants and rhinos.

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Prince William and Princess Kate Take on Indian Wilderness! Royal Couple See Wild Elephants, Baby Rhinos and More on Safari| The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince William

James Whatling / Splash News Online



The royal couple were told about how the floods make the area highly vulnerable to climate change as well, as reduced or increased snow melts from the Himalayas could have severe consequences for this ecosystem.



Inside the park, they met rangers who've had success recently with protecting its animal populations from poachers.

But there is now a rise in poaching with rhinos in particular danger as demand in other parts of Asia for their horns continues to rise. Indian rhino horn is now being marketed as 'fire horn' and lying about its increased potency when compared to African horn.

They also saw water buffalo and swamp deer.

At one point the couple saw a group of about 11 rhinos including a baby. Keen photographer Kate was "taking pictures all the time," with her Canon DSLR camera, a member of the convoy tells PEOPLE.
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