Sunday, 21 December 2008

Crocs and tigers and bears, oh my!

I promised Tane months ago that if he joined me in Nepal we could go to Chitwan Park, an area near the Indian border that has all sorts of beasts hanging out in the jungle. I regretted that promise as soon as we booked into our guest house and realised that I was sleeping a mere croc-infested river away from about 80 tigers. A worker at the guest house told me not to worry, he's only seen tigers in the guest house area twice. And, a guide went to great lengths to reassure me that I'd be perfectly safe as it had been a full two weeks since a tiger had killed anyone in Chitwan. Needless to say, I did not feel much better.

This morning we travelled along the croc-infested river in a dodgy canoe. The canoe rocked (perfect for tipping me out into a croc's mouth), the river was in mist (perfect for croc's hiding ready to attack) and the guide told me not to worry as the man eating creatures only attack the canoes "sometimes". He then went on to list the things the crocs eat, such as fish, humans, dead bodies etc. I did not enjoy the boat ride at all after that.

We then walked through the jungle back to camp. The guide said that we were safe, the person attacked by a rhino 15 days ago didn't die, and he had been mauled by a bear and was fine now. I armed myself with a stick just in case, and felt true fear when the guide pointed out a set of fresh tiger prints in the dirt. Ug.

Tane hung around to take this photo of the prints. I on the other hand moved as fast as I could in the opposite direction the prints were facing.

We didn't see any tigers or crocs, but did see lots of monkeys, some rhinos and elephants. It was awesome, once I got over being terrified it felt quite cool hanging out somewhere where tigers and rhinos do and seeing animals in their natural habitat.

A monkey chillin' in the jungle

The highlight of our time in the park was a trip back through the jungle on elephant back. We were closer to the monkeys and higher than the rhinos, which enabled us to get really close to them. Elephants are cool, although seeing ours bash through the jungle I still wouldn't want to meet one in a dodgy alleyway on a dark night.

Rhinos as seen from elephant back

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