A day in Chitwan National Park
15.03.2016 - 15.03.2016 29 °C
After a thorough drenching the previous afternoon, I had high expectations for a fresh, green day in Chitwan. It began with a cool, early morning walk along the Rapti River, which forms the national park boundary.
The birds were already out in force, but as the sun began to take the chill off the air, larger creatures started to become visible in the distance too. There were lots of rhino sightings, but admittedly only the part they leave behind on the ground…
At the end of the walk I was given a very different perspective of the river, taking a ride in a shallow-bottomed boat back to the starting point.
From the boat, I was amazed at how much more I could see. Birds, animals including a highly-photogenic mugger crocodile sunning itself on the bank, people collecting rocks from the riverbed, and even the snow-capped Manaslu peaks in the distance.
In the afternoon I entered the park-proper. Based on probability, I had my fingers crossed for a rhino, but I knew a tiger-sighting would be highly unlikely.
The crocodile conservation centre got me up-close and personal enough with loads of gharial crocs, which were quite a novelty for me with their long, slender snouts. It’s hard to imagine them doing any damage, but when you see what they can sometimes do to each other, you would never take the risk.
A couple of hours into the jeep safari through the sal forest, I’d seen lots more of the park’s diversity – peacocks, kingfishers, a few species of deer, a turtle/tortoise (?) righting itself after an unfortunate flip – and then the jackpot! A female one-horned rhino just maybe 10-15m from the side of the road. She was so close, you could see her lashes fluttering with the naked eye.