Though yesterday afternoon was very hot and dry when we arrived here, this morning it’s very rainy. But however the weather is bad, the planned elephantride of today through the jungle is on, so we prepare to get very wet. From our lodge, the Riverbank Inn, we walk to the place where the elephantride starts. For me it is the first time to sit on top of one of those gigantic monsters, I’m very curious. My brave sister is the first to get in the basket of the huge male elephant we are travelling with, but since she was here before, everything looks smooth when she gets in. Nieneke and I follow in the heavy rain and the ride can begin. In the jungle we spot several deer, a monkey and three rhinos (one of them is even a baby). There is the feeling of being in a real wild environment on the back of our “taxi”, I like it a lot. After 2 hours we return to our starting point. It is still very rainy and we are wet everywhere, but it was really worth it. Maybe the name rainforest is not only because of the many times it rains, but also because everything is very vivid and beautful in the rain here.
After having breakfast and changing our clothes after the elephantride of this morning, we watch the elephants wash themselves in the river. It is a funny sight, especially when the small one is throwing sand and plants all over himself, probably to cool down and relax. They earned it after the two hours of carrying today I think.
In the afternoon we take it easy and make a boatride on the river that runs near our hotel. There should be some crocodiles in this water, so we hope to see one. The boats we use are made of wood from a single tree, very impressive to see. There are small 6-person boats, but also huge 15-people boats made out of trees that must have been at least a hundred years old. Since we are with 6 persons (Me, Fenna, Nieneke, Prakash, an official guide and a boatman) the boatman decides to take a small boat for our trip, just enough for the 6 of us. After just 100 meters downstream we already feel this was not the best decision he made, because every time someone moves, the boat shakes dangerously close to the watersurface. Especially with the flesh eating crocodiles in this water not everyone is amused with this fact. On our advice the boatman goes back to get a bigger boat and a few minutes later we are back on track, happy and smiling.
Unfortunately we do not see much wildlife this afternoon, besides some special birds and elephants at the elephant breeding center, but the boattrip was very relaxing and really worth the effort.
In the evening we arranged a special activity; this night we will sleep in a watchtower in what is called “the bufferzone”. This is a tower with bedrooms in a jungle-like area between the village and the jungle, so there is a very good possibility to see some really interesting animals here. At 19.00 we take our positions 7 meters above ground and have dinner in the almost dark forest. We see a lot of fireflies that evening, hear some rhinos and in the night, at about 02.30, we spot two rhinos just a few meters away from the base of the tower. I try to make a picture or video but it is too hard in the very dark to get a shot of what is down there with only a few small flashlights. It is really special to be in the middle of the jungle at a night like this, with all the wild animals and jungle-sounds you hear. I think we all are a bit wilder after today!