Nalkeri Reserve

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    • Day 7

      In the Jungle

      November 24, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌧 24 °C

      Ani arranged for a car to pick us up from Bengaluru to drive us the 3.5 hours to Mysore. After a stop for coffee at his usual rest stop, we got to his parent's house at a little after 10am. We met his parents and brother and got to see the place where he grew up.

      After a short rest, the five of us (everyone but Ani's brother) headed for the jungle. The Nagarahole Tiger Reserve was about a 90 minute drive away, and we were going to go on safari. Ani and his dad were very insistent that we get a jeep - with fewer people, there would be less noise to startle the wildlife. But when we got there, the jeeps were taken - leaving a packed bus. So they called around and found a free jeep at a nearby lodge, so we hightailed it there. Unfortunately, by the time we got there (like 5 min later), the jeep had been booked! Sounds shady. So we ended up in the lodge's open-air bus without about 6 other people.

      At 330, we set off into the reserve to find some animals. And we had amazing luck. Also, it helps that Ani basically has eagle eyes - he spotted several animals from so far away that I had trouble seeing them even with binoculars!

      We first saw some blackface monkeys and spotted deer. Then a crested eagle - its crest made it look like it was wearing a fez! We also saw two other animals in the deer family: a barking deer (they apparently bark) and a sambhur. We saw a giant squirrel called a Malabar, as it scurried through the trees. Ani spotted a sloth bear - super rare to see - as it was casually walking away. Then we got to see a monitor lizard! It was enormous! And some terrapins sunning themselves nearby. And then we got to see an elephant in the distance, deep in the trees.

      At this point, amazing safari, and the sun had set so I thought we were basically done and just driving back to the entrance. And then we saw a huge cow called a gaur, aka an Indian bison. The largest cow. It was just standing there staring at us as if it was contemplating attacking us - and then just walked away. After that, we saw four more elephants right at the side of the road! When we drove past, one of them even trumpeted right at us! And then we saw a whole mini-herd of gaur, maybe 8 of them, including a small calf.

      The only thing we didn't see was a tiger.

      Whole experience was amazing. Got to observe lots and lots of wild animals in their natural habitat. So much better and more exciting than a zoo. We didn't even know if we would see anything, so seeing as much as we did? Super lucky. Ani was super thrilled too. Great start to our Southern India trip.
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    Nalkeri Reserve

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