This is the story of how we could have been run over by a rhinoceros or eaten by a bear … But let’s go back to the beginning. The day we arrive in Sauraha, a small village at the entrance to the Chitwan National Park, from where you can hire excursions, and you can even see animals from your hotel.
Starting off our travel to Chitwan National Park
We hired a cheap tourist bus, which was not touristy and was full of locals; that left at 7 in the morning from Pokhara and arrived at Sauraha about 1 in the afternoon. We had got it for 600 rupees and although it was not comfortable at least I had wifi.
The arrival was quite funny. We had not closed any hotel, but the owner of the Lake Breeze that of Pokhara told us that his uncle also had one in Sauraha that was fine and we could stay there for little money. We got off the bus, and the guy was waiting for us at the station if that can be called a station … We thought that he would have brought some kind of car to take us, no matter how shabby it was, but no! He had brought a local driver with a car that was falling to pieces thrown by a poor little mare with the name of a princess. We introduce you to Corina!
And we arrived at the Chitwan Village Resort. A group of huts where the members of a tribe lived with a mini building for the clients, with very large but hyper dirty rooms with a horrible look. I, Irene, the first thing I did was to vomit, because of something that had made me feel bad during the trip, but getting into that place did not help at all. We decided to stay one night because the owner gave us a lot of grief and got out of there the next morning. Yes, it cost us 600 rupees.
The town of Sauraha has nothing but a dirty street without any charm. It is much cheaper to stay there than in the same park in a resort. On that main street, there are cars, motorcycles, elephants, stray dogs, ladies who walk to the cows on a leash, souvenir shops, restaurants, and travel agencies.
At that time we saw everything very black, and I ended up vomiting in the middle of the town while some girls shouted at me: medicine! Doctor Doctor!! One arrives triumphantly, come on. The only good thing is that the town is close to the river and at dusk, you can see animals that come to bathe. That night we saw a crocodile, a rhinoceros, and some deer.
The next day we got up with another mood. I no longer vomited and we changed to the Hotel Hermitage, which is not the cleanest in the world but has a pool and some bungalows with decent bathrooms. Here they have a problem with cleaning. It’s like “Nightmare in the kitchen” when Chicote tells them that everything is full of shit and they see it great.
No matter how much they clean, there is always something that is dirty, and they are so careless that they do not plan to do it better. Those of the hotel have not been especially nice, but we spent a day and a half very comfortable resting in the pool waiting for Raul and Laura, who had to return to Kathmandu to collect the visa from India to come with us.
The thing ended up getting better when we went to see the sunset in a terrace on the banks of the river. An orange neon sun was disappearing into the undergrowth while a million dragonflies surrounded you. Spectacular.
Meeting face to face with the rhinoceros
Our fellow travelers arrived from Kathmandu, and we went to hire the tour in the national park for the next day. We have been foolish for 5 days in Chitwan, but with 2 it is enough if you make a shorter trip. We went to the agency ” Nepal dynamic eco tours “, and met Raj, the best Nepali we have met so far. It was lovely and he explained everything great. What most tourists do is take a canoe ride and a three-hour elephant safari. We are not very in favor of using the animals like that, so we hired the canoe and an 8-hour trek through the jungle.
In total you have to pay per head:
- One thousand six hundred twenty-five rupees to enter the park.
- Eight hundred rupees for the canoe ride.
- One thousand one hundred rupees for the trekking.
About 30-35 dollars per person. Raj introduced us to the one who was going to be our guide and took us for a walk in an area around the park to see if we could see any rhinos. On the way, we were asking him super important questions of the type: if there is a fight between an elephant and a rhinoceros, who would win? The poor man did not understand anything; it is clear that he has never played the game of “between these two superheroes” who would win?
We saw a rhino from a distance and some crocodiles. Then he took us to see the elephants that they use there to do the safaris.
We were very sad to see how they had tied the elephants there, and they told us that they feed them a kind of rice balls filled with rice that makes them add and when they escape for several days to the park they end up returning by themselves in search of their dose. Let’s turn them into junkies so they can work with them, as with the scavengers in The hundred (see series). We did not like the subject at all.
Upon returning to the village, Raj, the agency, appeared and told us to run with him because a rhinoceros had crossed the river and was in an area of the town. He had told us that same day that his mother had been killed four years ago by a rhinoceros and despite that, we went there to approach about 40 meters from the animal. He was one of the greats and while he was in the water all right but suddenly the bug came out to eat some grass and started to walk towards us. I do not know how to explain that moment. You are between shit of fear and freaking to have him so close.
The first option of an escape route if I started running was to throw myself into the river, and when I thought about it, my intestines were turned upside down, not by the thousands of crocodiles in the river, no. If not because I had the iPhone in my pocket !!!!! In the end, we started to stroll back, and the rhino was there quiet eating. Quite an experience.
The trek through the jungle
We wake up in the morning to start the tour. We arrived at the travel agency, and there were our two guides equipped with a last generation weapon in case animals attacked us: A stick! We stayed much calmer and could approach a tiger that we had a stick to fight against him. Perfect.
The first thing we did was the canoe ride, which seems so safe but not so. You hardly fit your ass, and that moves like a rattle, so the water splashes all the time. And again the phone in your pocket. We are like that; we do not chastise.
We were sailing an hour and a half by the river where we could see a lot of crocodiles and exotic birds. The guide asked us to be silent and quiet, which cost us a lot, but in the end, we got it. The truth is that it was quite beautiful and relaxing.
We got off the canoe and climbed a liana several meters to enter the jungle. The first thing they did was explain what to do if they were attacked by one of Chitwan’s big five. This is what is supposed to be done:
– If a rhino comes to you, you have to climb a tree and if there is none, throw the backpack and run in a spiral.
– If a wild elephant comes, run hard for a while because they get tired very soon.
– If a tiger appears, you have to look directly at the eyes, take a step forward and then two backward without losing eye contact.
– As for the bears, you have to group as much as possible and make a lot of noise. These are the most feared.
– If a bison comes, you are in luck because in the rainy season they are not in these latitudes.
When the explanation ended, we were very calm. Overall, we had a stick …
The trekking began, and we spent hours walking under a scorching sun, opening our way between soaring plants with urticating leaves that cut, putting us up to mud for being the end of the rainy season and above without seeing any animal. There was a moment a little exasperating. If you do this at the same time as us, it is essential mountain boots, long sleeves, and capped neck. Our modern shoes ended up worse than in the Poon Hill trek. Guess who lost a shoe in the mud?
After 6 hours of walking where we had seen only monkeys and deer, the adventure became more exciting. First, we saw a bear with its two puppies far enough so that it did not get aggressive and close enough to see it with the binoculars of the guides. Later, when we had already lost all hope of seeing a large animal, less than 15 meters away, a rhino would emerge from a puddle and get in our way. You get scared, seriously. Especially because the guide began to make noise for the animal to look at us and we could take a picture. He stared at us and we, with our mouths open, could hardly react. The guide whispered that if he came toward us, all to the water. It is clear that we need aquatic mobiles.
After a few eternal seconds, one of the guides began to make noise, and the poor rhino ran to the other side much more scared than us. At least the excursion had been worth it just for that moment. It was incredible. The guides did not stop until we could see a rhino. They worked very hard, thanks Visnu and Jivan.
As it was a little late, we accelerated our pace to return to the village and at that moment. We saw the huge bear before our eyes. Compared to this, the rhino had been like finding a chihuahua puppy. With this, you did not have to play games or make us look for the photo. But he saw us. At the second the two guides took the sticks and began to strike against a tree to scare him. That was very cute, like drawings, but with one blow it kills you. The little bear got scared and left. Laugh you but in the end so much coña with the stick and it was the superweapon that saved us. Menudo moment, we arrived at the hotel with a bestial rush and that our legs hurt the 16 kilometers traveled.
We go to bed soon, and the next day we wake up calmly to celebrate a very important event, my birthday! The first time I spent it outside of Spain, but with a wonderful company. I feel very lucky. That night we had dinner at the best restaurant in Sauraha, the KC. A place recommended by Raj where they made me a personalized chocolate cake for the birthday occasion.