When we wake up in the watchtower in the morning (05.30, really jungle times) we spot the two rhinos we saw last night at a little bigger distance ut now by daylight. Luckily they are close enough for my videocamera to appear fullscreen.
We go back to the resort, take a shower, have breakfast and then the next special activity begins. Today we go on jeepsafari, what means driving in an open jeep through the dense Chitwan jungle and hopefully spotting some wildlife. Only risky thing is that it is a two hour drive to the entrance of the park and we might not be possible to go in because of the monsoon and the bad conditions of the road in the park. Plan B is to just go to the entrance, visit the crocodie breeding center and return through a bufferzone. We hope plan B won’t be necessairy.
When we arrive at the park entrance it soon becomes clear that there is no possibility to enter the park by jeep, too bad! The roads are too bad and even the next month there will be no jeepsafari here they say. Being sorry for the disappointment, Prakash however comes with a new plan B. We first visit the Crocodile breeding center and afterwards we walk through the jungle to an observation tower. From there we can have a good view on a part of the park and on the way we might see some wildlife. There is some danger though, because rhinos, crocodiles, elephants or tigers can appear everywhere and they are not always nice animals. After a small discussion we decide to take the risk and make the jungle walk. “I live on the edge” (first heared from my good friend Haiko van Alebeek) is a quote I use for about a year now and it sometimes really helps to make this kind of decisions.
The crocodile breeding center is interesting to see. There are two kind of crocodiles here in Chitwan, the Mugger and the Gharial crocodile. The Mugger crocodile eats mostly (small) animals like birds and mammals, but can also eat bigger animals or even a human being. The Gharial only eats fish and is very recognizable by his very long but slim snouth. In the breeding center there are crocodiles of every size, from 30 cm to almost 4 meter.
After the visit to the breedingcenter we start our junglewalk. The two guides we have both carry a stick in case they have to defend us. On the way we understand why this walk can be so dangerous, on each way of the path there is very dense and high greenery (like 4 meter high plants). On many places you see a hole in that greenery made by a very big animal, mostly a rhino. There is a chance you run into one of those and he attacks, then you have to run very quick and try to hide behind a big tree. But there are not many trees here and the path we walk on is very muddy and slippery. After all not the most comfortable junglewalk you can imagine, but in some way I really enjoy it.
Halfway we suddenly hear a very big animal moving in the bushes next to us. It moves quickly when it notices us, luckily in the other direction. The guides are very alert instantly and they later tell us it was a rhino.
The view from watchtower is good, but the only thing you see is the very high greenery. Even an elephant wouldn’t be seen because of that according the guide. We continue our way and after an hour we reach the jeep by canoe. The whole day it was tropical hot, but now the rain starts falling like emptying a bucket. The weather is really unpredictable here. On the way home we drive trough a bufferzone and see many deer and special birds. We make a stop at 20.000 lakes and spot a Mugger crocodile swimming around.
When we had a shower again and have dinner in the evening, we hear some bad news; tomorrow we have to go to Gorakhpur (India, a 6 hour drive) but there are strikes in Nepal and no local bus or taxi is moving. Officially only government vehicles, emergency verhicles and tourist busses can drive, but since there is no tourist bus driving to the indian border, we have a problem. Finally Prakash finds a taxidriver that is willing to take the risk of people trowing stones at his car or put his car on fire, but he only leaves after 16.00 when the strike is almost at his end, to minimize the risk. We agree, even though this taxi is 60 euro instead of the 10 euro bus and the approximate arrival in Gorakhpur of 22.00. Also we have to cross the border in the dark at around 20.00, but we don’t have much choise since we have to catch the train in Gorakhpur the next day at 06.35. Tomorrow will be an interesting day I guess.