Rhino and Tiger spotting - Chitwan National Park

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 16, 2007

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

We realise that this is a rather late travel pod. Its true when we say that we basically haven't had an internet connection since being back, aswell as at the end of the trip in India, to actually be able to get this pod out. If we did get it sent it would be without photos, but its here now So happy past tense reading if you are still interested!......
Well after another slow, bone crunching journey along another of Nepal's 'Fabulous highway's', we arrived off the bus into Chitwan from Katmandu, to a mass frenzy of shouting touts and over enthusiastic taxi drivers. It seemed that a drop of tourism to this area had caused a great deal of cut-throat competition amongst the guest houses and Safari Tour operators!! We more or less got herded (choice or not) to a waiting jeep/"free taxi"/"no obligation lift" to town and in a flash we found that we had inadvertently chosen 'a fantastic guest house' and had acquired 'the best safari guides in the area', belonging of course to our newly allocated guesthouse!! You've truly got to admire these guys underlying cunning! To be fair though, the Nepalese do it in a more charming and friendly way than the Indians and feels a lot less like a con and more like a favour.
Us with the Nepalese Family at Lodge in Chitwan
        So we arrived at our new home, in the form of a quaint and peaceful lodge called Sahuara Jungle Lodge (sounds posh huh?). Just to not feel like we had been railroaded into an unfavourable deal, we made sure that the room cost was to our liking (about a quid a night -a real bargain in the end) and all parties were eventually happy, as long as we considered eating at there place and using there guides and safari tours! Can't say fairer than that I guess!
         It turned out that the staff here (a family) were great people and the hospitality was that of not which found anywhere we have experienced. It seemed that they were not just being friendly for the potential income we may provide to them, which has been a rare thing in the past. They all became good friends by the end of our stay. We made a promise to keep in touch and send pictures etc. Anyway, the Guest house itself only had 4 rooms and wasn't luxury, but more than adequate. We were still with our Dutch friend and she had her own room, so everyone was happy with the set-up. This was until Sandra later informed me that there were some rather large spiders cohabiting her room and bathroom. We attempted to keep this from Lou as we assumed an immediate departure from our newly acquired digs, would be inevitable! The spiders were removed form Sandra's room forthwith and a thorough check was done on our room for any of these beasts
   Lou did later find out that Sandra had had these visitors, but seemed to accept the fact they we were in the jungle and they could potentially appear in our room at any time. Sod Hypnosis, just go travelling to remove ones fears it seems... If you can survive in Australia with Arachnophobia, then anything's possible.
   Anyway, as predicted the guesthouse staff were soon on to us regarding the booking of 'thier' activities for the National park. We did in fact book our activities with these people and it turned out the deal we received was very reasonable. This unexpected discount was mainly due to the fact that on the second day of being here, Dan had struck a good relationship with the staff. So much so, that Dan got involved in going to the bus park on the second day, to poach new arrival tourists into the guesthouse we were at, thus providing further business for our hosts. Dan succeeded with his given task in the form of persuading two Ozzy guys to stay at the guesthouse. So with 75% of rooms taken thanks to us, the staff we more than happy to offer a deal for us. Especially as Dan went back again to the bus station and touted another couple to stay. Before long we had named this activity as 'going fishing'. Dan was a real hit and they suggested that we should become permanent guests! But
we eventually got around to arranging the things we were really heSunset by the river  - Chitwan National parkre to do!

Our first activity, (with the 2 newly fished ozzies now in tow), was to be a jungle walk!!! It sounded rather pleasant to begin with. A stroll through the jungle in the hope of spotting wild Rhino and other large creatures. It took the questioning from one of us about the obvious danger of being on foot and being near a 2 tonne rhino! Having quizzed the guides further about this potentially unpleasant scenario, they cooly reassured us that they would be carrying 'sticks' to alleviate this problem. Somebody then pointed out that maybe a stick wouldn't probably faze or dissuade head on charge of this renowned grumpy animal!! The guides in true Nepalese style and eternal optimism, tried further put our minds to rest that by advising we would just climb a tree to also avoid this potentially fatal situation!! Well in that case all would be well!!!... Somebody did suggest maybe going on a bicycle to spot the Rhinos. But apparently nothing upsets a rhino more than a person on a bike!! So partially persuaded by safety issues of the walk,  we parted our cash and the next day we departed without the still sceptical LOU onto the walk. It turned out that the only danger we faced during this half day walk was running out of water and getting too hot. The Rhinos and other creature were nowhere to be seen. All wasn't lost as we saw Monkeys, a chicken and not to forget the 2 metre sunbathing Crocodile that we were 4 foot away from on a river bank. The guides led us ever closer and decided it would be fun to poke the croc with a stick. Naturally the croc freaked out and shot into the water like a flash. This led all of us to jump out of our skin and almost pooh ourselves, whilst scrabbling back from the riverside!! So without the sighting of any much keen to see Rhino's, we booked onto an elephant trek into the jungle. Apparently the chances are far greater on an elephant... something they hesitated to tell us before the walk. It was still worth doing the walk though.  This time the reassurance that we would be off the ground and on the elephants back made things a lot more relaxing. We struck the jackpot though!. We were nearly at the end of the trek and very disheartened, when we crushed through the jungle and stumbled upon a known watering hole for Rhinos! Well, there they were..... Mother and baby Rhino!!
Mum and baby Rhino
Totally amazing and an unforgettable experience to see this in the wild and on the back of an elephant. We as expected didn't get to see the ever elusive tiger, but we saw a half eaten deer, which was near enough proof they were there.. Check out the pictures we have added of our Rhinos. Didn't get one of the stinking deer corpse though! SORRY!..
     The next few days were spent relaxing. Sitting on the very tranquil river side, sipping cheap beer and watching the sun go down was more than acceptable for our last days of our entire trip.  Lou took part in elephant bathing in the river and we also visited the elephant breeding centre to check out some baby elephants. They were funny. On our last night, we were treated to a free, specially made Nepalese feast by our hosts, as a good bye present. What a great and kind effort. What amazing people the Nepalese are. With only a few days left of Nepal and the trip as a whole, we were sad to leave this great country and family! The country has so much to offer.
The scenery is breathtaking and the culture is fascinating and having the pleasure of being around such kind and genuine people are amongst the many reasons why we will definitely be returning!! But leave we must and we made our way, very slowly back to Delhi (India), but not without incident of course. -See the next and final pod for this brief story) There is a clear difference of what Nepal and India are like. For not just the country, but for the people. India certainly does lack in many things that Nepal has, so we were looking forward to our last few days of our trip in India before deaprting for Lovely England????????................. 
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Where I stayed
Sahuara Jungle Lodge
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