Thumper…

March 28, 2018

Nepal day 12 – Chitwan

5/4/17
Today was my only day in the Chitwan area because I got there so late yesterday.
Early in the morning, not sure if it was early enough though, I left on a canoe trip. The traditional wooden canoe seemed a little unstable, but they wouldn’t put you in it if it was going to capsize or tip, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride. The canoes are propelled by a punt – think of the images of Venice with a guy standing in the back, leaning heavily on his long pole, perfectly balanced, moving the boat swiftly, yet gently and silently through the shallow water that bubbled over the rocks. I didn’t need to do anything except sit back and take photos. There wasn’t much around – very few birds, no crocs, no animals. So I have a few photos of the bank, trees and birds in the distance. I did see a stork of some kind which was pretty cool.

A bird of some kind

A bird of some kind

From there we walked through the national park, although it may actually have been the buffer zone. Before we headed off I got instructions on what to do if we came across a sloth bear, tiger, elephant or rhino. I highly doubted we would see or get close enough to any of those, if there was any danger, we wouldn’t be there.

There was a couple of spotted deer, not a couple of herds, or a couple of dozen, just a couple of single deer in different places.
The vegetation was different though. It changed as we went along from taller trees and ferns and an almost tropical feel to open plains filed with elephant grass and some swampy marsh area. It was in this area, away in the distance, we saw something that looked like a pale looking rock. That was a rhino. Our guides decided we would go and have a closer look.

There was no danger here!

There was no danger here!

Surprisingly it didn’t move and we were able to get reasonably close – maybe 60m, nothing like how close we were to the lion in Uganda though. One of the guides headed away a bit further round and climbed a tree. The one remaining with me motioned to the tree and said if he comes closer, get in the tree. The rhino took a couple of steps, then began a little run (3 or 4 steps), so the guide tells me to get in the tree. So I find myself in a tree avoiding a rhino. It sounds good. That’s the truth. But really, there was no danger from the rhino, it still wasn’t that close and was probably an over reaction by the guide. On the other hand though, it did give me a much better view of him so I do have some better shots. I saw a peacock and asked if it was wild. He said they only had wild animals around here. (In Australia peacocks aren’t native, but they are in Nepal.) Otherwise, that was about the extent of the animals on the morning walk.

A stream crossing

A stream crossing

The afternoon was a jeep safari, 10 of us in a jeep, many jeeps, all following the same path. We stopped for a few spotted deer – in Uganda there’s so many deer (cob) you don’t even bother stopping for them. I think Africa has ruined me for any other animal safaris now.
We saw a few peacocks, large rocks aka rhinos away in the distance and a few monkeys. We stopped at the Gharial crocodile rehab and breeding farm, it was interesting seeing the different types of crocodiles.

Growing tall

Growing tall

On the way back we climbed a very rickety tower to get a closer look at a rhino away in the distance. It was getting closer to dusk, so was probably heading to the water. Slowly it started coming towards us. Too slowly and the guide told us we didn’t have time to wait for it. Maybe there’s a time when you have to be out of the park perhaps is the best option I can think of. The road through the national park was like our dirt roads in the bush, and the later we were the faster we got, which means the rougher the ride was.

The rickety lookout tower

The rickety lookout tower

By the time we got back to cross the river by canoe I think we were all glad it was over. The sunset again was a brilliant orange against the dusty backdrop of the national park.
I had another traditional Nepalese meal tonight before heading to a Tharu cultural dance. The Tharu are the local people of the area, the best dance was probably the one where someone was dressed as a peacock, imitating the peacock, or where the girl came out with a long full skirt and was able to get the skirt flowing like a wave as she made herself dizzy.

Sunset scenes, Chitwan National Park

Sunset scenes, Chitwan National Park

Advertisements

Blog at WordPress.com.