Exploring Chitwan National Park
09.12.2010 - 10.12.2010 25 °C
9th December 2010
The alarm woke us at 6:20am and Jen was first in the shower but there was no hot water so she opted for a quick cold wash. Stew heard a little squeal from the bathroom and ran in to see Jen staggering around with a soaped up face unable to open her eyes, and trying to work out what had happened to the water as it had just vanished. Her only option was to use a towel and that was as far as either of us got to having a wash as the water didn’t reappear!
As we still had some cakes left from the day before, we opted to have those for breakfast with a coffee before rushing back to the room to grab our cameras. We jumped into our jeep and headed for the meeting point for our Elephant Safari.
Each Elephant took four passengers and the Mahout (driver!), and our Elephant (whose name we couldn’t pronounce let alone remember so we named her Nellie!) looked really old but it turned out that she was only 25 which is fairly young for an Asian Elephant. We climbed up some wooden steps to get on her back and we each sat at a corner of the wooden pen fixed to her back by ropes. It was uncomfortable but great fun. Our mahout took us deep into the jungle, sometimes trying new paths resulting in us being smacked in the face and head with thick branches and wet leaves with the odd spider’s web thrown in for good measure! If the path was blocked Nellie would simply snap or uproot the tree to clear the way, stopping only to take the occasional dump and to pee a river! Despite being dragged through a hedge backwards (literally) we managed to see some Spotted Deer, Peacocks and a few lazy Crocodiles. Sadly, no tiger!
After saying our goodbyes to Nellie, we made the short trip back to our hotel so Jen could get ready for her bath in the river with another Elephant, something she was really looking forward to!
The Elephant she was to wash, with Audrey, was huge and it knelt down so that both girls could clamber aboard and then they were off to the river a very short distance away. The elephant very carefully walked down the muddy bank (after stopping to eat an overhanging tree branch!) and waded slowly into the water, before unceremoniously dumping the girls into the cold water amid a cacophony of girly screams!
There then ensued a comedy act where Jen, Audrey and the mahout would manage to clamber back onto the elephant’s back, only for it to deliberately roll over and throw them off again! Now and again, she would fill her trunk with water and squirt it over the girls! It was great fun to watch, but even more fun to do! Jen was then given a large pebble to rub over the elephant’s skin, not forgetting to clean behind the elephant’s ears of course, and everyone seemed to love every second, including the elephant! So much so, in fact that, once nicely scrubbed, the elephant decided to take a dump, and produced a load of dung balls, each the size of a football which the mahout proceeded to pick up and throw further down the river! Almost immediately, the elephant decided to roll over, throwing Jen into the river of brown.....Nice!! Good job Jen had her mouth closed!
The fun soon came to an end, and the girls climbed back onto the elephant and made the short journey back to the hotel where Jen headed straight for the shower....
Lunch was quickly devoured before we were jumping into a couple of Jeeps and heading out for our Jeep Safari where we were hoping to see a Rhino and/or a Tiger! Jen mentioned something about hoping to see a Giraffe, but we told her she’d need fantastic eyesight to see Africa from here! We did manage to see some Monkeys, some old Deer and a Boar! And that was just the occupants of the Jeep....! As the Jeeps were open backed, it got quite cold after nearly 5 hours of driving through jungle and we were quite happy to be back to the pickup point, crossing the river and heading home to our hotel. The Tiger and Rhino would have to wait for another time, sadly.
After a quick shower we were back in the restaurant for dinner for 6:30pm and then we all had a little chat and a laugh around a big fire before saying our goodnights and hitting the sack for a very well earned kip!