Chitwan National Park, NepalNovember 5, 2017 in Nepal
Whit and I did a two day jungle safari trek in the Chitwan National Park. The park is teeming with wildlife and almost entirely surrounded by a meandering river sprinkled with large crocodiles on its banks. Our safari group was just Whit and I and two local guides wielding stout bamboo staffs as our sole protection against whatever nature threw at us.
We entered the park by a lazy hour long canoe ride down the river. During our two day trek we encountered herds of deer, wild boar, elephants from afar, and several rhino (both in groups and alone). We found fresh tiger sign (poop and footprints) and followed this into 5m tall elephant grass hoping for a chance encounter (apparently this is what safari trekkers desire?!). Unfortunately (or maybe fortuitously?), we didn't encounter a tiger but it was surreal and terrifying to hear animals all around you without being able to see or anticipate them. On the second day of our trek, we came across a huge lone male rhino about 20m away from us with nothing but trees between. Our guides quickly spread out, closed the gap (with us in toe), and proceeded to get the rhino's attention. At one point, the rhino started making moves toward us (seriously) and our guides whacked their bamboo sticks on the ground multiple times to scare him off. We followed this magnificent animal for about 15 minutes before, much to Whit's and my relief, going our separate ways.
We stayed one night in a small village on the opposite side of the park and spent part of the evening listening to the sounds of the jungle and attempting to see animals cross the river by moonlight. Evidently some had crossed without us noticing because at one point there were hundreds of deer grazing in a paddock 50m from our vantage point. The next morning we toured the village bustling with activity. The trek was an amazing, terrifying, and exhilarating experience we recommend everyone does.Read more