Having decided to get an early start today, we were having breakfast at 6am so that we could start out canoe trip at 6.30. Walked down the road with Ram and Pradesh in silence as all four of us slowly started to wake up. Climbed into a very narrow wooden canoe with low down seats and set off down the river. I didn’t feel particularly comfortable as we floated down the river – the canoe required you to constantly balance it by rocking from side to side and, coupled with the rock hard low seat which I couldn’t get comfortable in, my back began to really hurt. Ram pointed out lots of wildlife and, as we came to the end of our canoe ride, we saw a one horned rhino drinking from the river. Pulled up on the opposite bank to take some photos and leave the other tourist behind before heading back to the other side of the river to begin our jungle walk. Today’s protection against deadly attacks from tigers, leopards, bears and charging rhinos… Two bamboo sticks and a man who would crumble like a piece of paper if the wind blew too strong!!! Made me miss the Kumli guard who kept dropping his gun when we did a jungle trek in the Western Ghats! The walk was hot and humid but lovely as we found tiger prints in the dust as well as claw marks in the tree. Found a crocodile nest, where Pradesh tried to get the crocodile to stick it’s head out (thankfully, unsuccessful) before we headed to a viewpoint. Looked out into the grass for ages before continuing.
Jayne and Ram used our ‘protection from tigers’ to reinact a scene from Star Wars as we crossed a rickety wooden bridge. The end of the walk brought us to the elephant breeding centre (EBC – see what they did there?!?). Was equally nice and sad to see young and old elephants although the babies were free to roam around (as I guess they can’t do TOO much damage at around 100kgs!!). One of them was so cheeky, heading into each mothers section and playing with the grass that the keepers had clearly laid out for their dinner later! There were also three pregnant elephants and it was really weird seeing the babies move around inside them! Back at the hotel for lunch before we were out again for our jeep safari. Walking down the road the wind started picking up and we had massive amounts of dust being blown around and it looked like it was snowing from all the cotton coming from the trees. Got to the river bank as the skies opened and it began chucking it down with thunder and lightning too!! Waited to see if it was going to die down (it didn’t!) before jumping in a canoe to cross the river before getting in an open topped jeep to begin our safari. A very wet safari!! Spotted a rhino hiding in a pond, lots of deer and wild boar. Stopped after about 2 hours for a leg stretch and to visit the crocodile breeding centre. Was nice to see how they’ve managed to raise the numbers by reintroducing all their babies (unless they are injured).
Back in the jeep and a further two more rhinos in the hour and a half as we slowly made our way back out of the national park. Headed back to the hotel and went to make more food parcels for the elephant. We totally lost track of time and someone had to come and find us to tell us it was dinner time… Oops!
Wednesday 4th May 2016