We got a 5:30 wake up call this morning to start our activities. It was still dark out when we left the cabin for tea at 6:00 and it was damp and misty.
Our first scheduled event was another elephant ride in the jungle. Given the wetness, it wasn’t long before our legs were completely soaked from romping around in the underbrush. Since I’d not brought a hat (dumb, but true. This is the jungle, I didn’t expect it to be cold) I was wearing my Buff (I got it to use for covering mouth an nose in Kathmandu but it serves good double duty) as a hat. Walking through trees it quickly got yanked off my head by and errant branch. I’d though sure it was gone but the elephant driver turned around and the elephant managed to sniff it out in the undergrowth an pick it up. Pretty amazing really.
In terms of wildlife, it was another productive morning. We started almost immediately with a wild boar. This was followed shortly with another sighting of rhesus monkeys and to top it off yet another rhino sighting. Apparently, we’ve been quite lucky so far with two rhino sightings. Some people come several times before they see a rhino.
This one was “bathing” in a mudhole when we saw him. It was quite the effort for him to pull himself out. And of course it had to mark its territory! With all the mist, it was really a surreal sight.
As we made our way back to get off the elephant, the driver let Anne take a turn “at the wheel”. She hopped on up front and enjoyed a couple minutes riding the elephant all by herself!
The elephant ride was succeeded by a walk in the jungle and a boat ride to see crocodiles. We got a short safety briefing from the guide about how to behave (basically everything here is dangerous and will kill you somehow. For sloth bears you stay together and make noise. For rhinos, you get behind or climb a tree. For tigers… just pray) before heading off. Our guide himself walks with a limp due to a rhino attack. Apparently his party stumbled on a rhino and it tossed him like a rag doll, breaking his collar bone and messing up his leg pretty badly.
Alas, we saw no big game but we did see a nice list of smaller things: intermediate egrets, ruddyshell ducks, white throated kingfishers, tiger territorial markings (from this morning no less), gharial crocodiles (from shore), black ibis, white kingfishers, woodpeckers, warblers, storks, vultures, an eagle, and an osprey. And all this before lunch!
With a couple hours of downtime, we grabbed some masala tea and just flaked our for a while. From the porch of our cabin we can see a large tribe of rhesus monkeys on the other side of the river, drinking and playing. There’re also a couple spotted deer at the rivers edge eating and drinking. It’s quite the jungle experience!
Next, well be going on a birdwatching walk. We didn’t bring a pair of binoculars, so the guide’s going to grab us a pair. With the wide range of species around, it should be a great time.