We visited the gharial breeding center at the halfway point of our jeep safari -- what an odd-looking creature!
This is a gharial, a crocodile-like reptile that is critically endangered
Where We Be
During our jeep safari in Chitwan we finally got to see a rhino up close and personal in the wild
Chitwan Park, Nepal -- Canoe/Walking Safari
The rhino was close to the road and ours was the first jeep to come upon it
Even on safari in Africa we had only seen rhino from a distance, but this one remained close to the road, munching on wet grasses
We banked our canoe and began a two-hour walking safari through the heart of Chitwan National Park
Vine twisting around tree
During our one-hour canoe safari we saw macaque monkeys (adults and babies) drinking at the water's edge and one gharial (submerged except for its eye-knobs)
The rhino sniffed the air and kept a wary eye on us, but after a moment it went back to grazing
Earlier that day we took a canoe safari down the river
A great egret waits motionless for its prey in the shallows of the Rapti River
Our hotel offered a central location near the river and elephant bathing
An elephant and rider make their way down Chitwan's main street
We ate at KC's Restaurant twice -- great Indian food and lovely atmosphere
This riverside restaurant became our hangout each evening -- it was just a few steps from our hotel
All four evenings at Chitwan we watched the sun set behind the Rapti River and felt wonderfully happy
Happy hour on the banks of the Rapti River became a favorite part of each day
Two men ahead of us pole slowly down the Rapti River
After a relaxing early-morning canoe safari, we
banked our canoe and began a two-hour walking
safari back towards home through the heart of
Chitwan National Park. This was scarier than we
had anticipated. Our guides led us and two others
through elephant grass that was taller than we
were in search of hidden creatures that could
possibly kill us: rhinos, Bengal tigers, sloth bears,
leopards, and wild elephants. (“And poisonous
snakes and mugger crocodiles!” Robin adds.)

Our guides carried bamboo sticks, but these
probably wouldn't be much help against a charging
rhino, which our guides helpfully informed us
could run 30 mph. "If one charges, run zigzag and
look for a tree," they suggested -- but there were
no trees near the elephant grass. Hmm. Maybe we
should have read the brochure better. Every year
a handful of people do get killed by wild animals
here, so a chance encounter of the wrong kind
could be fatal. But obviously it wasn't. We saw
plenty of rhino tracks and even some Bengal tiger
tracks, but spied nothing more ferocous than a
family of wild boar and some macaque monkeys.
We figure it was a fair trade: no rhino but no dead!