Rhinos, elephants and more
Trip Start Feb 20, 2008
22Trip End May 08, 2008
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Arriving in Sauraha we were met by a friendly gent offering us a jeep to his hotel which turned out to be the one recommended to us by someone we met along the way
There were some very funny moments before the trrek actually as we were advised of what to do if charged by an animal (it does happen). For bears its best to shout loudly and wave your arms, running is no good as they're faster, climbing a tree no good as they're better. For tigers stay looking directly at them as they don't attack from the front (unless with cub). For rhinos drop something to distract them then climb a tree. So when we saw the rhino and approached a little, still about 60m away, we started looking for trees only to realise that, while plenty of them around, none had branches within 10 ft of the ground! Bit of a problem with that advice then
Anyway at the end of the day, feeling very tired from the heat and all the walking (about15km) we reached Lami Tal, a small oxbow lake where the animals come to drink at sunset, and where we climbed a watchtower to wait. Our hopes were dashed slightly by the presence of local villagers gathering cattle fodder, illegally. Eventually they left to carry their remarkable loads home on their heads adn we settled down to see what could happen. Just when we were contemplating leaving there was a rustling in the grass on the other side of the lake. After a couple of minutes a horned snout appeared and gradually a large rhino emerged to drink. This was impressive enough until a calf followed a few seconds later, and we were able to watch them graze and drink for about 20 minutes before they shuffled away again. While we watched them our guide pointed out a crocodile waiting in the
water near the drinking point, just lurking there, snout showing
slightly. What a great sight in all. Luck of the draw as there are no guarantees with nature and wildlife so we were delighted.
The following morning we completed a fast 4 hours walking through a forest buffer zone across teh river from the national park and saw some deer and a mongoose, arriving back at Sauraha for lunch. THe walk was cool overall although tiring and while there were no tigers at least we saw a few animals in their natural environment. We were slightly late in the year as the grass had begun to grow back thickly by this time, aroun 6-7 ft in most places
We spent 4 nights in Sauraha enjoying the mellow village atmosphere. We did some elephant bathing where you sit on their back and they spray you with a trunk full of water then shake you off before you scrub him a little. That was great fun. We went to the elephant breeding centre too although that was fairly ramshackle. The 3 month old elephant was good though and a generous Welshman gave us some bread to feed the young ones. Then to round off our elephant experiences we took a 3 hour elephant back safari on the biggest elephant we saw in the whole place. From there its possible at times to get close to animals as the elephants don't scare them and we were fortunate to come on 7 rhinos grazing in a pasture, with the elephants going right beside them. We then moved into the forest then and while we saw no more animals (I think the ridiculously loud Koreans in fornt may have scared them away) but it was really nice and Maria even got to sit in the drivers place.
Eventually we left for Kathmandu and another rooftop ride, this time of 7 hours, one of which was pure traffic congestion but eventually we made it.