Friday 27th October (Day 30)
First thing, we had our inclusive breakfast and then we went for a walk. We walked to the Ncell shop to get our simcards and then continued down the road. We could see on google maps there was a river nearby. On our way, we saw a tour company we had seen good reviews online ‘Nepal Dynamic eco tours’. We walked in and a guy called Raj was really friendly and told us all about their safari’s etc that they offered.
He wasn’t pushy at all and just gave us information. I had a lot of questions to ask about the ‘walk in the jungle’ safari and how many tourist deaths there had been. “Since 1973, only 9” K I don’t know if I felt better or not…
I was nervous but knew it was the anxiety and not me. I’ve always wanted to do this and my nerves were more than the time we went scuba diving in Egypt (and I’m terrified of the sea). He told us most deaths were local women that ventured into the jungle to collect herbs and medicines and wore their colourful native dresses which stirred the animals anger. Raj’s mum died from a Rhino attack. He said that it made him and his sister want to get into guiding and learn and teach about the jungle and its animals.
Anyway, we said we would have a think and get back to him later that evening. He asked us where we were staying and told us that not far from our hotel, Rhino’s bathed in the River and ventured onto the roads after 4.30pm. He offered to show us the way back thrugh the grassland and along the river and to show us some crocodiles.
Literally off the beaten path and we saw a few crocodiles in the river chilling. Government elephants were being led through the grassland to the river for a cool down (they had one man on each elephant riding bare back). “They patrol the jungle” Raj said. He pointed out where the Rhino would be bathing and then walked us to the road near our hotel. It was a 15 minute walk and he pointed out bee eaters and kingfisher birds and was generally lovely. He sold the safari to us based on this 15 minute walk. Not literally but just from his kindness and seeing his knowledge.
We went back to the hotel and relaxed/ate and went back to Raj around 3.30pm to pay for half a day jeep safari and then half a day canoe and walking safari. 23,000 Rupees (£160 for both of us) all in. Pretty good we thought for such a once in a lifetime experience. We told Raj we were going to KC’s for dinner and he took my number and said he would call when the Rhino’s were bathing (should be within the next hour).
We went to KC’s and I had vegetable Thali which was great. The restaurant was beautiful and green and we watched the owners pug run around like a maniac whilst stealing flipflops and teasing the staff. Just as we finished our food, Raj called “Meet me in 10 minutes! They are here!”.
So we paid the bill and rushed to meet Raj wondering what we were about to see and how close in fact this Rhino would be. Raj had obviously called another couple of tourists too as there were 6 of us following him there. 2 Guys that were going to be headin gout on a 3 day walking tour of the jungle and a couple that were also looking into doing the same! True to his word, there was a Rhino’s ears and horn poking out of the river 20 meters away from us.
We stayed there for 30 minutes watching it roll around in the water. It was so happy. The and elephant with tourists on top slowly edged into the water towards the Rhino. I thought we were going to see a massacre but Raj said that Elephants can get very close without any issue. The Elephant ‘driver’ kept tapping the elephant to get closer and the poor thing looked apprehensive. The Rhino stood and instantly you could see the size of it and its armour-like skin. The elephant ‘driver’ slowly turned the elephant away and they left.
Raj told us we should leave not long after that as more Rhino’s would start to come and head towards the roads. So we did. Don’t ask us twice. We had to be up at 5.30am the next morning for the safari.