Chitwan National Park Safari

We arrived at Chitwan late at night, so we went right to bed in order to get up early for a full day safari. Chitwan National Park is 932 square kilometers of jungle in the south of Nepal, so we were really in the middle of nowhere. I didn't even ask if they had wifi... The next morning, we got up at 5 am to have breakfast before making the muddy trek down to the riverbank. We got in wooden canoes that were hollowed out tree trunks (and very wobbly--I don't even want to know what was lurking in the water had I fallen in) and set off downstream for some wildlife sighting. 20110902-051812.jpg
The canoe we used for the morning safari

We saw some kingfishers, herons, peacocks, and then something moved to my left. Something BIG. I look over (we had to be silent or else we'd scare the wildlife away) and there is a MASSIVE crocodile lying on the riverbank, maybe 10 feet away from the canoe. Had to be at least twenty feet long. You know that feeling of terror you get when you watch scary movies? (No? Just me? alrighty then) Well. I held my breath until we had passed the danger zone...those things are notorious for being deadly still until they strike, and then you have no chance. Seeing as it could've easily bit the canoe in half, I am very glad it prioritized suntanning over eating small Canadians. 20110902-052003.jpg
<Croczilla on the riverbank

After that hair-raising experience, we stopped by the elephant breeding centre in the park. It was kind of a let-down, as there wasn't much explanation given, and the elephants were all chained to posts in a row. Not sure what they're trying to accomplish here, but happy elephants is certainly not the priority. 20110902-052106.jpg
I did get some cool photos of the elephants, though...
My elephant bathing experience On our way home, we stopped by another part of the river and took an elephant bath. Now. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it quite literally means you sit on the elephant's back, and an elephant bathes you, by drawing water into his trunk and then soaking you. Or spontaneously dunking underwater and you hang on for dear life. Great fun, although I don't want to think about what was in the water I was being sprayed with... 20110902-053334.jpg
Getting dunked by my elephant.

We had some down-time for lunch before we headed back into the jungle that afternoon for an elephant safari. They set four of us on each elephant--let me tell you, boarding one of these things is not like getting on a plane. There is some serious maneuvering involved. Once it started walking, we quickly realized this would not be a tranquil activity. The lurching is so bad I had bruises on my arms from hitting the bars holding us in. Not sure what the maharajas were thinking when they decided to use pachyderms as their preferred method of transport... 20110902-053418.jpg
My attempt to board the plane...

Once you get over the motion of the ocean, so to speak, it's actually a really cool experience, because the elephants can just walk right through dense jungle that would take ages to cover on foot. we were really in the thick of it, but had been walking for a while, and there was no guarantee we'd see anything on this trip--the park ranger said the last time he saw a tiger was in February, and he lives here.

All of a sudden, there was movement in the bushes. We amble over and come face to face with the rare one-horned rhino, a mother and her baby. It was amazing--we came so close I had to lift my legs out of the way for them to walk by. Luckily, Ace Ventura did not make any appearances, so I'm 99% sure they were real rhinos. That made the entire trip worth it, and it's completely different seeing one of those in the wild versus at the zoo; it was such a spontaneous moment, we had no idea it was going to happen. No tiger sightings, but considering there's only eight of them in the whole park, I didn't get my hopes up anyway. Seeing the rhinoceros that close was enough for me.

A close encounter with a one-horned rhino We capped the evening off by watching the sun set over the river, thinking about how lucky we were to have seen what we saw today.




26 / only child / Canadian

21 Countries & counting

5 Continents

English Bulldog named Meatball


Food – Sushi

City – London

Country –  Nepal

Season – Summer

Experience – paragliding over Pokhara