Saturday 28th October (day 31)
Day of the Safari 😮
We had breakfast at 6am and were picked up at 6.30am by Raj’s sister Doma in a jeep. They took us to the riverside where we met our guide Yam Mahato. He had been guiding for 12 years. He took us on a boat across the river to the jungle entrance and we got into another jeep. 10 seats but only us three in it and the driver.
We were the 2nd jeep to enter the jungle and it was misty. Eerie. Completely open air…
Through all of my questions to Raj and Yam, learnt that it is very rare to see a Tiger as they were normally quite shy and don’t bother humans. The bigger dangers were Rhino’s, Elephant’s and sloth bears.
It was a 5 hour jeep ride and we saw monekys, huge spiders, wild boar, spotted deer and paw prints from Tigers. It was slightly disappointing, but no one can guarantee wildlife. We had a walk in the afternoon to “look forward to” .
We had a stop in the middle of the jungle where locals were having a laugh hitting tree branches with a stick, attempting to get these green “berry-like” fruits. They gave me one and told me to drink water after. “makes water sweet” they said.
I bit into it and it was extremely sour. I drank some water and it was beautifully sweet! Crazy!
Yam promised “I will show you a Rhino on foot” 😐
After lunch, we headed back to the safari office to meet Yam and get our walk started. We put on life jackets and got into a canoe with Yam, our second guide Shiva and our canoe driver/paddler. The water was so still and calm and it was so quiet and peaceful.
Yam was telling us about the crocodiles that were in the water. One being ‘The Mugger’ that ate PEOPLE. As he is explaining this, we keep seeing children and families swimming at the waterside. Yam said “someone gets killed, they don’t swim for a few days and then they forget and they are back in the water”. It was so sinister as we saw a ‘Mugger’ crocodile on the waterside and then 20 meters down the riverbank, children swimming and playing. We saw so many bird species and water buffalo and after half an hour pulled into a mud hill into the jungle. I guess we were here and I was officially shitting my pants.
The guides and no one in fact are allowed to carry guns or spears in the jungle. They had a bamboo stick each to “make noise” 😐 Whilst Yam went for a wee, Shiva gave us safety instructions…
- Rhino’s – They charge. If they charge, they can reach 60km per hour. Don’t run. Climb 😐 “OK”…
- Elephants – the male is very angry and charge. RUN.
- Sloth bear – they are 3m big until standing on their hind legs. Then 6m big. They charge. We all stay together. Look big. Make noise. If they don’t back away, we decide what to do next… 😐 “OK”
- Tiger – They should just walk away, but if not, we look in their eyes and back away slowly.
We start walking through elephant grass and can’t see what is watching us. After 15 minutes, Yam has seen something. “A RHINO! QUIET!” I can see its ears around 40m away. Apparently, they can’t see past 20m but their hearing is incredible. As our feet crunch on leaves as we get closer, the Rhino’s head was still and its ears were pointing right towards us. We finally get full view of it and its horn, head and huge body is pointing right at us
“Come closer” says Shiva. “No thanks” I said
Shiva and Yam point out a tree suitable to climb… IF NEEDED
We wait for 10 minutes which seemed like a lifetime as this Rhino was in our path (HOW VERY DARE HE) but he didn’t move. So we slowly crept back to the riverbank and “Look! Another Rhino across the river!” It was running. WOW. They move fast… Oh… its getting in the river… No, hang on… Its crossing the river… Its coming this way… Shiva and Yam point out another tree. This time they want us to climb it.
Me and Nick were up in the tree whilst they checked out the area. Nervous laughter was all we had. 🙂 Anyway, the Rhino went in the opposite direction and we were allowed to get down from the tree (I’m positive Shiva and Yam were having a good old laugh at the English tourists being up in that tree for 10 minutes after the danger had passed but I was quite happy to be up there 10 minutes after the danger had passed).
We continued walking and they showed us paw prints, scratch marks on trees, wild boar, Rhino trails etc. We stopped at a cliff edge and sat on a tree branch like Tarzan overlooking vast grassland only to be told we were about to walk through that grassland were tigers “loved to be”.
That was eerie and Yam and Shiva told us that they were both to be in front now in case there was anything in front.
Erm, so your gonna leave us at the back?!
I could only imagine paranormal activites or Alien vs predator where people were swiped in the dark before their friends could turn around.
We got through OK and walked another hour to a view point where we sat and rested and left not long after. We got back at 6pm and went next door to the tour office for a large beer each and Momo’s.
WE WERE ALIVE!!!