Friday 7 November 2008

Chitwan National Park

5th to 7th November 2008


I've just been down to Chitwan National Park for a few days to relax and spend time with the elephants.

It took around 7 hours on the bus from Kathmandu down to Sauhara where you access the park. The first afternoon we spent some time checking out the local village life of the Tharu tribe who inhabit the region.

On Thursday we had a full day of jungle activities that included an elephant ride through the forest where we managed to round up a single-horned rhino plus baby rhino which felt all a bit Jurassic Park. Then later we rode the elephants into the river where we all took a bath, with many hilarious attempts to climb back onboard a large slippery moving elephant. In the afternoon we took a serene wobbly ride down the river in a dug-out canoe, the higlight being a breath-taking cruise past a man-eating crocodile basking on a sandbank only metres away, with jaws slightly ajar. Needless to say, everyone was very quiet as we coasted past.

We also visited the elephant breeding centre with dozens of Dumbos chained to posts, and were later entertained by the Tharu tribe performing mesmerising stick dances.

This morning we did some misty early morning bird-watching, where within minutes we spotted dozens of exotic species of hornbill, woodpecker, oriele, bulbul, flycatcher, treepie, shrike, babbler, and many others.

Another hot and sweaty 7 hours on the bus, and I'm now back in Kathmandu enjoying the mayhem of Thamel for one last evening before flying out to Delhi tomorrow afternoon for the trip home via Dubai.

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