It had rained really heavy over night with significant thunder and lightning making us wonder what our day was going to be like?
Fortunately the rain had all but cleared and Day 2 of our Chitwan Natioanl Park adventure was taken up with a walk in the morning with our host (Sahodar) who did a great job of explaining the local Chitwan culture and history. Chitwan people first settled here after moving north to avoid the ongoing battles with Mongal tribes many centuries ago.
Another interesting fact is that the local Chitwans had become to malaria due to their diet (including drinking rice wine) and coating themselves in an ancient treatment.
The local houses were simple mud brick huts and in more recent times using concrete if you are one of the “well off”. All properties were supplied with electricity and were charged a minimum of 80rp per month which allowed for a simple light to be run.
Later that morning we were given an educational talk on elephants, which included feeding them their specially prepared food they require. Steve and I both took the opportunity to feed these magnificent animals showing them the respect they deserve. Unfortunately due to lack of funds they still used shackles to restrict the elephants movement which is something we highlighted to the park needs to stop. We later were shown a trial being funded by the WWF organisation that used a simple electric fence to contain the animals in a larger free roaming enclosure. Let’s hope this is a success and is rolled out more broadly.
Later that afternoon we were taken on a canoe ride down the Rapti river in locally produced wooden craft which took in observing crocodiles along the banks. We then Walked through a section of the jungle to a crocodile conservation facility which was set up in the early 1970’s.
On the walk back to the river we were forced to “sneak past” a rhino that was just ahead of us in the elephant grass. We were only about 20m away from this huge creature. This was truly amazing stuff for Steve and I, especially when the guide calmly pointed out tiger foot prints bigger than a grown mans hand in the sand! What was more concerning was that our guides were only armed with a large pole about 2m in length. I made a joke that I only needed to be the second slowest runner should a tiger attack which went down with a reserved laugh (don’t know why). The guides were taking their jobs very serious and on a couple of occasions we were asked to be quite!