Where We Be
|Self-photo of the two of us having a grand time riding an elephant on safari
|Chitwan Park, Nepal -- Elephant Safari
Time for our final Chitwan adventure -- an elephant
safari! We boarded our elephant from a “platform
tower.” Four of us sat atop each elephant, plus the
driver. Our home for the next 1½ hours was a box-
like container with cushions. Thick blankets rested
between the wooden box and the elephant. Ropes
and harnesses tied around the elephant kept the
box in place. Wooden knobs stuck up that gave us
something to grab onto. Each person straddled
one of the wooden knobs, feet dangling over the
side. Robin and I were in the first two seats, facing
forward, a Japanese couple behind. The elephant
headed off with a lumbering, rolling gait. It wasn’t
exactly comfortable; I found myself glad that the
safari was only expected to last 1½ hours.
Within the first minute or two we came upon two
rhinos very close at hand, a mother and her
youngster, in a grassy meadow near the entrance.
Because we were on an elephant the rhinos hardly
reacted at all. They kept munching grass and didn’t
seem to mind when the elephants walked right up
to them. The rhinos slowly ambled away from us,
but with no sense of concern.
We saw a third rhino towards the end of our safari,
and got so close Robin said, “It was almost under
me.” If she had jumped off the elephant she could
have landed on the rhino!
|These two siblings showed a lot of affection for one another!
|Seeing the baby elephants up close was great, but we weren't big fans of the shackles on their legs;
we did read that the elephants are able to graze freely in the jungle for part of each day
|A mom and her two babies chow down on dinner at the Elephant Breeding Center
|We passed lots of scenes of local village life, like these two oxen feeding from an enormous bale of hay
|During our last day in Chitwan we took a 3 km stroll out to the Elephant Breeding Center, past astonishingly green fields
|We bought a bunch of green bananas for 50 rupees which we fed to our elephant (named Champa) after our ride. As soon as we put the bananas
near her, her eyes lit up and she reached out with her trunk with obvious anticipation and ate the whole bunch, skin and all, in one bite!
|Our elephant (and the one across from us) tore into this downed tree, snapping off whole branches like they were twigs!
|You can sleep overnight in this watchtower
|Five elephants cross the river at once, drinking as they go
|Robin's loving every minute!
|C'mon, admit it! You've always wanted to ride an elephant!
|The elephants forded several rivers, stopping to drink along the way
|Every once in awhile we'd enter a broad clearing. We saw a third rhino up close in this clearing.
|Large portions of the safari were through jungle like this, where we saw several species of deer
|Getting really close to wildlife is a big benefit of doing an elephant safari
|We were nearly on top of this one! Robin couldn't hold back a cough, but the rhino just kept on munching.
|Rhinos don't seem to "see" the people on top, just the elephant, which they aren't threatened by, so we were able to approach very close indeed
|Within minutes we came across a mother rhino and her youngster
|The elephant handler uses his feet on the elephant's colorful ears to help "steer" the elephant
|So how do you get onto the back of an elephant? With the help of a wooden platform tower like this one.