Day 6:Jungle Walking, Jungle Driving (Part 1)

We were in bed early on the fist night in Chitwan. Not only because we were tired, but also due to the lack of electricity severely limiting the chance of doing, well, anything but sitting around sweating in the dark or reading by candlelight. By the crack of dawn we were fully slept and reading for some canoeing and a walk in the Jungle.

After a short jeep ride we were back by the river and climbing into carved river canoes for a trip down the Rapti. By 7am Chitwan was already baking hot, so the light breeze across the river was a welcome visitor as our oarsman expertly inched us closer to points of interest or along channels of rapid water.
Chitwan Canoes
Click for full size.

Along the way we saw plenty of birds and monkeys alongside the ubiquitous elephants and buffalos bathing in the cool river. We also passed a few crocodiles taking in the morning sun, which our guide insisted on bringing us terrifyingly close to before revealing there were mostly harmless. Needless to say, my camera spent very little time away from my face.
Basking
Kingfisher
What You Looking At?
Click any Photos to Enlarge

Eventually our canoe pulled up to a bank of the river inside the park boundaries and we jumped off for a walk through the jungle. After a quick, and hilarious, briefing on what to do if we get attacked by rhinos, bears, tigers or wild elephants (most involve running like a lunatic and climbing trees) we set off into tall elephant grass. Our nerves still a bit raw from the chat about staring out tigers, we disturbed a group of boar who rocketed across our path sending the 12ft high elephant grass rustling in every direction in a scene straight out of the series ‘Lost’. This was fun! Thigns rapidly calmed and despite not seeing many large mammals on the trip we did get poo thrown at us by monkeys, visit some watering holes sporting fresh rhino prints and we even found a few tree trunks that had obviously been used by scratching posts by a rather large tiger. Then there were the insects. Once again, my camera was close at hand:

Infested
Scratching Post
Tiger Prints
Forest Mushrooms

As we emerged from the jungle, back onto the river bank opposite where the canoes had departed this morning I was about ready to tear off my shirt and jump in the river. In fact, I was more than ready so I handed my bag to Chuda and dragged Samantha in and we swam excitedly across to where we noticed some rather exciting activities taking place. Then came the highlight of the whole trip…

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