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Old 31st January 2011, 15:20   #16
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Default Re: In search of Indian One-horned Rhinos

Superb log Sir. Exceptionally good. Very informative. Lodge is very attarctive.
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Old 31st January 2011, 21:12   #17
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First Day First Show :

On arrival at the camp, we were briefed about the program. The activities were quite packed - we had an elephant safari in the afternoon shortly after the lunch which would be followed by an wildlife orientation show. We quickly finished the lunch at the Golghar and went straight to the observation deck. The deck was quite crowded with westerners. We met with several wildlife enthusiasts from Netherlands, US, UK, Germany and France. We were the only Indians. It was surprising to notice that most of them never visited any wildlife park in India, even though they visited Golden triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) and Kerala. Many of them visited safari parks in Eastern Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) and South Africa - so they shared their stories while I tried to inspire them for Kanha / Bandhavgarh / Ranthambore / Kabini... by sharing my encounters with Indian wildlife. Hope some of these inspirations will translate into tourism $$ for India in coming years :-)

The observation deck overlooks a huge waterbody which attracts wild animals of all sizes and tribes. The deck itself is built on stilts over the waterbody. Our very first Rhino sighting happened within 10 minutes (see the photo above) - it was completely submerged in the water with only its ears visible. We later came to know that Rhinos spent 75% of their life in water, only 25% in land. Can you believe it ?

"Elephants are waiting for you. Please follow me." calls the naturalist. The crowd starts following him to the elephant boarding point which was about 500m walk through a jungle trail.
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Old 1st February 2011, 01:27   #18
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Elephant safari experience is completely different from jeep safari. In India, we generally use jeeps for safaris in most parks. Elephants are used in limited capacity, for very limited duration and for very specific purpose (like tiger shows at Kanha/Pench). Jeeps are much faster, cover much more distance and are less expensive. But elephants have a significant edge that jeeps don't - elephants can go deep inside the bushes, can negotiate the densest forest trails and can take you as close to the wild as it is possible.
We were told by the naturalist that the elephants are trained such that they consider morning safari as a breakfast tour and afternoon safari as lunch tour. So they are more eager than the tourists to go on safari. All along, they will be eating whatever greenish come on their way ... continuously. Most animals respect elephants and they know that elephants don't harm them (unlike the ones sitting on top of elephant) - so they neither attack nor run away when facing an elephant. They just continue doing their usual work. This makes the sighting more natural.

We were at Chitwan in early November, right after monsoon. The forest was at its densest, especially the elephant grasses. The height of these grasses were so high that even the fully grown elephants were vanishing under them. Even if there is a tiger or rhino hiding just a few feets away, it would not be possible to locate them, the grass was so high and so dense. The park authority allows the villagers to cut and take these grasses every year in February. After the grass-cutting is done, the visibility improves and hence March onwards is the best time to visit Chitwan.
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Old 1st February 2011, 02:00   #19
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A little bit more on lodging options inside the park :

As I mentioned earlier, there are seven private concessions inside the park and these are the best places to stay while at Chitwan, though these are more expensive than the ones outside the park.

If I arrange these lodges from East to West on Chitwan map, the order would be something like below :

1. Machan Wildlife Resort

This one is located at the far eastern side of the park. This lodge is popular with bird watchers. Though technically it is inside the park, but I heard that it is at the fringe of the park and not deep inside. This is one of the cheapest one among the seven lodges

2. Chitwan Jungle Lodge

This one is close to Sauraha village and is also said to be on the fringe of the park. Accomodation appears to be very basic. Rapti river separates this lodge from the villages. Traveller reviews are mixed about the overall experience including sightings.

3. Gaida Wildlife Camp

In the same region as Chitwan Jungle Lodge. Traveller reviews are similar to Chitwan Jungle Lodge.

4. Tiger Tops Tented Camp

One of the best located camp deep inside forest. Centrally located with access to Riu river. Sighting is one of the best. Operates as a satellite wing of the main Tiger Tops lodge. Priced too high for Indians

5. Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge

The pioneer wildlife lodge not only in Chitwan but in whole of Asia. A lot of their original concepts were copied by many wildlife lodges in Nepal and in India and may be in other countries too. They have some of the best naturalists and their location is also very good. True to their name, their tiger sighting statistics are possibly the best in the park. Priced too high, may be even for the westerners.

6. Island Jungle Resort

Located in the western side of the park in an island over river Narayani. Traveller reviews are not very impressive.

7. Temple Tiger Jungle Lodge

Located at the far-western side of the park. Deep inside forest. Rated almost at par with Tiger Tops, but priced lower.
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Old 1st February 2011, 10:37   #20
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We were told during the dinner that we would get a wake up call very early in the morning for the morning elephant safari. Being inside jungle, there were several night-time restrictions. No movement was allowed without an escort. Kerosene lamps were kept in front of every cottage to deter wild animals, especially elephants. We were given a torch and were asked to flash it to attract guards' attention in case of emergency - but under no circumstances, we should come out of the cottage on our own in the night. There were no electricity - so not much to do after dinner. We decided to retire early after a really hectic day. On our way back to the cottage from the Golghar, we spotted a wild boar family moving around our cottage.
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Old 1st February 2011, 15:10   #21
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Default Re: In search of Indian One-horned Rhinos

Great going so far... Looking forward to the rest of the photos. Have been seeing Rhinos since I was a child and still cant get enough of them. Have been chased in the Gypsy and an Ambassador once in Kaziranga (when they used to allow personal cars in) They are huge but very fast. The last time I was charged the Rhino was doing speeds of 60 km/ph as I was looking at the sppedo of our Gypsy and the driver was at 60 while the rhino's nose was almost touching us!

You should visit Kaziranga as well. Its a beautiful experience. I go there every year!
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Old 2nd February 2011, 16:49   #22
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Default Re: In search of Indian One-horned Rhinos

Superb Jungle expedition. Good going sir. Waiting for the rest.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 14:11   #23
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Next day was packed with activities. We waked up early for an early morning elephant safari which was followed by a quick breakfast before we headed again to deep forests, this time in jeep. Jeep safari was followed by a boat safari on Narayani river which was followed by another round of jeep safari. In the evening, we went for a safari on foot with only a wood-stick as our personal defence. The walking safari was quite thrilling as we were tracking pugmarks and other tiger-terriotorial marks on our way though we were not lucky enough to see the tiger itself.

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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:17   #24
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Ab iske baad kya hua?
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