Going on a tiger hunt

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
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27
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Trip End Dec 22, 2013


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Where I stayed
Rhino Lodge and Hotel Sauraha
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Nepal  , Central Region,
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day two of the tour started with meeting Josh (the truck) and loading him up with all our bags and then hitting the road for Chitwan. Riding in Josh brings a whole new different meaning to the African massages I often referred to during the drives in Africa.  While the roads are definitely in worse condition then Africa it's the added bonus(?) of dealing with everything imaginable on the roads and no real rules of the road to speak of.  So despite the potholes that give a deep tissue massage, the swerving or sudden stopping to avoid hitting something or being hit gives you the sensation you are on a roller coaster or the tilt-a-whirl ride at your favourite amusement park. It was to be a short five hour drive but turned into a bit longer (7.5 hrs) due to the fact that the sign for the lodge we were going to was taken down.  However once we arrived we had a nice but quick lunch and then were whisked off into Jeeps for a safari in the park before it got dark. 

Chitwan National Park was designated as a park in 1973 and covers an area of 1400m2. In the park the big three are wild elephants, rhinos and tigers (173 to be exact) but during our 2hr safari we saw none of them of course.  We did see evidence of them though by way of dung and tracks on the road.  Because the park is a thick forest and the jeeps were moving fast it was difficult to spot wildlife but we did manage to see spotted deer, crocodiles, wild boar, sambar deer, lesser adjutant stork , barking deer, and a crested eagle.  As the sun went down it didn’t take long for the temperature to drop and the fog and mist to roll in.

The fog and mist were still around the next day as we began our morning with a ride in a dugout canoe along the Rapti river.  It was a peaceful way to start the day though a bit eerie as we couldn’t see where we were going due to the fog.  We banked somewhere in the park and started a 2.5km hike back to the where we got on the boats.  Our walk took us through some pretty thick forest and our guide pointed out lots of recent evidence that rhinos, elephants and tigers had been in the area as recent as the night before.  But of course we didn’t see any which in hindsight is probably ok since we were on foot.  We did see some more spotted deer and a variety of different birds and tons of cotton bugs.  The fog and cold stayed pretty much till the end of walk when we got back to the river.  A quick ride in the canoe to cross the river and we were back in time to watch the elephant washing.  There is an elephant sanctuary in the village and every day they bring the elephants down to the river to be washed.  The elephants really seemed to enjoy being scrubbed by their handlers and being able to play in the water.  A few members of the group took the opportunity to climb on the elephant, ride it into the water where the elephant would then spray water on them and eventually lie down throwing the people of its back and into the water.

Relaxing for a bit at the lodge before lunch, one of the elephants and handlers strolled through the lodge ground, making their way back to the sanctuary.  In the afternoon we walked back through the village to participate in an elephant safari.  Climbing up to a platform and climbing on to a howdah, a seat for carry people on the elephants back, off we went.  It was a bit of a weird sensation at first, especially when the elephant had to go up and down some small hills but I quickly got used to the elephants rhythms.   Often the elephant would stop to grab some grass or branches to eat along the way.  Sometimes it was an easy quick grab and others she really had to use her trunk to break the branch.  I unfortunately was facing the back and she obviously ate something that didn’t agree with her.  Let me just say elephant farts are not a fun thing to witness from a noise or smell perspective.

Crossing the river again we went into some fairly thick brush and had to watch our heads for tree branches.  We didn’t see much in terms of wildlife, except another spotted deer and some birds and a domesticated baby rhino by the river with his handler.  Apparently the rhino had been attacked by a tiger and the mother rhino had abandoned it. It will be released back into the park when it’s a little older and rehabilitated

With the village of Chitwan being so close the park, they often get tigers, wild elephants, rhinos and sloth bears coming into the village to eat the crops.  In fact the night before we arrived there was a rhino in our lodge, and very early in the morning of the day we left we heard all the village dogs barking incessantly so something was definitely in the area.

Despite concerns of how the elephants are treated and there was some evidence of mis-treatment I’m still glad I took the opportunity to go for the ride.  In talking with our guides they said that this is one of the better places for the treatment of elephants and it would not be an activity on the tour if it wasn’t based on their responsible travel policy.  There are places in India that offer rides as well but they are not included as part of the tour due to treatment of the elephants.

In the evening we had our first of I’m sure many Indian meals and it was quite delicious, but I was starving so almost anything would have tasted good.  After dinner we were treated to some traditional Nepalese dancing that showcased their past and culture.  Of course we were invited to participate in the last dance which was good fun.  They kept changing the dance steps it seemed every thirty seconds but I was able to catch on each time.  Revved up from the dancing, a few of us decided to go to a local bar in the village for a drink and a shisha (hooka).  I enjoyed meeting a few of the locals and chatting with them for some time.  But the night was short as the bar closed at 10pm, which probably was just as well as we have a full day’s drive tomorrow as we enter India.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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Comments

JoJo on

You could add; Smelled Elephant Fart to the list of things that you did in your lifetime!!! Sure not many have done that!

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