AsiaNepalChitwan

Southern Nepal: crocs, rhinos, and elephants.

Chitwan Travel Blog

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Crocodiles, rhinoceroses, and elephants: animals I've always associated with Africa. So, it was with a bit of bewilderment that I decided to head down to Southern Nepal with Charlie and Leveena for a jungle-safari type adventure. For the incredible price of $60, we were set for a 2 night/2 day adventure that included our accommodation, food, an elephant safari, and a host of other little adventures. Can't say the price wasn't right!

We kicked things off early on Monday by catching a 5.
5 hour ride from Kathmandu to the jungles of Southern Nepal. This is a land where the main modes of transportation are still horse-drawn carriages, elephants, and bicycles; where fields are still being plowed with oxen. There are mud-walled houses with thatched roofs (I learned these will last up to 2 years!), and there are some really wonderful people.

Most of the journey was made alongside a big river that ran through a stunning gorge. I counted 5 different waterfalls in the span of an hour at one point. The downside was that only about 80% of the road was paved, and the unpaved 20% was made up of 50-150 meter "patches" where we'd roll along at 5 or so miles an hour. Average speed of the trip.
In Chitwan
... well, 110 miles, 5 hours.... 22 mph? Believe it. (Coming back took 7 hours due to traffic, ugh!)

Compared to Kathmandu, Chitwan (the national park/jungle where we stayed) was balmy, over 90 degrees with 100% humidity. And of course, 60 bucks doesn't buy air con.... After a lunch, we headed to an elephant breeding center where we got up close and personal with about 16 elephants. While driving back, our main man Krishna spotted a wild elephant across the river, and then a crazy looking crocodile type thing on the banks. Mr. Eagle Eye. It was great. After that, we were treated to a traditional "stick dance" from the local Tharu peoples. It was alright, but nothing spectacular.

The next morning we kicked things off bright and early with a 3k canoe ride down the croc infested river, and then spent about 1.
Elephant breeding center
5 hours walking back through the jungle. We saw some rhino tracks and tiger scratch marks, but the only animals were some monkeys and deer. Krishna told us not to worry, though, as he could almost guarantee that we'd see some rhinos later that day on the animal safari.

After that, we were treated to an amazing experience: elephant bathing. Charlie and I hopped onto a giant beast of an elephant who then proceeded to walk down into the river to "bathe" (not100 meters downriver from where a giant croc was sunning on the riverbank!) We spent about 15 minutes trying to hold onto the elephant as it sprayed us and rolled around in the river. Being on the back of something so big and powerful was....daunting. Feeling its skin and muscles and movement....wow, all the while thinking that this animal could crush me if it sneezed the wrong way.
Sunset
Unreal. This was one of the elephants from the breeding center and they're pretty well taken care of, so no worries about mistreatment.

And the adventure didn't end there. Later that afternoon, we took a 3.5 hour elephant safari. This was not exactly comfortable, and two days later I'm still a bit sore, but it afforded us an experience that could hardly be duplicated with any other mode of transportation. Our elephant was a good 12 feet high, and this position allowed us to see over the tops of the ten foot grass we eventually made it to. After a couple of false leads (moving grass), we saw a rhino. We had a 15 second or so sighting before he disappeared, and then we found two more! Incredible! These two were a mother and baby (a big baby) that were feeding. The beauty of an elephant is that it allows you to come right up upon the animals.
Elephant bathing
These two continued eating as we got closer and closer, until finally we were no more than 15 feet away as they grazed. Such an amazing experience. I couldn't decide whether to take pictures or just stare in awe ( I finally managed to get a few shots). We continued on home and arrived soaking wet (we had a good 20 minute monsoon like rain shower half way through) and a bit soar, but I for one, was extremely satisfied.  

Later, Charlie and I had a nice bit of Nepali tea with a shopkeeper named Shanty. She didn't go to highschool (only 7% of the students make it past grade 10) but was adamant that her daughter got the best education possible, so paid $70 bucks a month to send her to the private English school in town. A really nice and interesting lady, and a nice experience to cap off a really good outing.
Mother and child!


On Wednesday we arrived back in Kathmandu and I had just enough time to send off a load of laundry before a bit of a "Goodbye Nepal" dinner and a few drinks with Charlie. I had a really fantastic time in Nepal, met some great people, and saw some amazing sights. A highly recommended country for anyone that likes the outdoors.

This afternoon I arrived in Delhi, India, so stay tuned for more adventures.
In the meantime, I'm thinking about my lovely Jiyoung as we celebrate our one year anniversary while we're so far apart. This adventure is not without sacrifice...
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In Chitwan
In Chitwan
Elephant breeding center
Elephant breeding center
Sunset
Sunset
Elephant bathing
Elephant bathing
Mother and child!
Mother and child!
The elephant Id spend 3.5 hours o…
The elephant I'd spend 3.5 hours …
A wild rhino!
A wild rhino!
Driving southwards
Driving southwards
After a days work in the jungle.
After a day's work in the jungle.
Chitwan
photo by: sandra_s021