Our day started with an early breakfast because we were off to do a canoe ride across the river, then a hike through the jungle.
We met up with our new acquaintances from yesterday and headed down to the canoes. These are dug out canoes, made from a single tree trunk. Far more stable and comfortable than they look!
We crossed to the other side of the river, then got out and began our hike. Our first stop was at the breading centre, where they mainly are trying to increase the population of Gharial Crocodiles. These are a passive fish eating, fresh water croc that have been on the endangered species list. It takes about 4-5 years to grow the crocs to the size where they can release them.
Interestingly, you cannot tell the sex of the crocs until they are mature and the male grows a large fleshy lump at the end of his nose. Another trivia note on this species is that is it the temperature of the habitat that influence the croc to be either male or female! Who knew!
Once we left the breeding centre we began our jungle walk. We took trails and paths through the jungle after being taught what to do in the event of meeting a tiger, a Rhino or a sloth bear…you don’t want to know about the rhino!
We walked through the jungle for about an hour before breaking out onto a road. We promptly started shaking off our clothes to get rid of ticks, and checking our ankles for leaches. Of course, I had a small one on my leg, which the guide quickly flicked off! And no, I didn’t scream…I just tolerated blood trickling down my ankle for a while!
After that adventure, we met the canoes for a slow paddle down the river and back to our hotel. We saw lots of activity doing this. Lots of birds, some crocs, (marsh muggers and Gharials) a rhino bathing in the river and park rangers riding 3 Indian elephants while they patrolled the park for poachers.
Once back at the hotel we had a lovely lunch, and then got ready for our jeep safari. This was just the 4 of us (Jules, Ken, Dan and I) plus our guide and our driver.
We crossed the river by bridge and entered the park at an army checkpoint. Yes, a battalion (1,000) do soldiers do a 3 year patrol stint in the park – again protecting the animals from poachers!
Once inside the park we drove along many tracks in search of animals. While we saw a few, the tall grass and lush jungle overgrowth made it difficult to spot them. It was still a great drive and interesting to experience this jungle park!
We made it back to the hotel in time for “Happy Hour” and joined Jules and Ken for a drink on the outdoor patio overlooking the river.
Dan and I then went up to the “Slideshow” at the interpretive centre and spent an hour listening to the background of the park, and viewing some of the animals via slides. Our biggest learning was that rhino’s copulate for about 4-5 hours straight when breeding, and mom’s gestation period is about 17 months!
Once the presentation was over, we headed off to the restaurant for dinner. Tonight was authentic Nepali Thali. Just a delicious combination of dal, curries grilled veg and rice. Another great meal!
And with a full stomach and satisfying day, we headed off to our rooms. We have another day in the park tomorrow – until then!