Day 32: Chitwan National Park

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.

Our Canoe ride was in a boat like these
Dan and I having a chance at just being passengers for a change!

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.

4-5 year old Gharial Crocs. Almost ready for release. Since they started this program they have released over 1500 crocs into the wild.
Some of the breeding ponds within the centre.
The jungle flowers never cease to impress!
A family of Languor monkeys were caught at play, just outside of the compound area.

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!

The female is sunbathing beside the pond, and the male is just sticking his snout out of the water. You can see the bulbous end that has developed there is it matures.

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!

Our front guides in search of animals, and just passing a sar tree. These are large softwoods that grow in the forest and are often referred to as silk / cotton trees.
From a small road you could see a pond with a number of crocs sunbathing and lots of birds (egrets, pond herons, small cormorants etc)
Ken found a deer jaw; remains of a tiger’s lunch
A spotted deer grazing. Well camouflaged in the centre of the photo.
A small bridge we crossed. The jungle was full of watering holes and streams after the summer monsoons. That coupled with the long grass made it difficult to spot animals.
I came across this downed tree and thought it had taken on the characteristics of a croc just beautifully!
The hunt on foot continues!

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.

Jules and Ken behind us in the canoe, and another party of 3 Germans that walked with us in the second canoe.
March Mugger Croc. Mugger is actually a Himalayan term, and the English have adopted it as it refers to indiscriminate attacks! This croc will eat anything!
A gentler gharial croc sunning on the shore.
Three park rangers on patrol atop elephants. The park actually breeds these for the rangers, and once it has fulfilled it’s need it will begin releasing them into the park as well. The second elephant is a male. In the Indian elephant species, only the males have tusks.
A lesser adjutant stork taking off while it’s partner patiently waits and lets us pass.
An Indian one horned Rhino, having a cooling bath in the river.
A pair of Siberian ducks feeding in front of the hotel. These birds mate for life. Should one die, the other simply stops eating and dies shortly thereafter.

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!

Small roads, long grass and thick undergrowth made it difficult to see the animals!
The termite mounds we saw were fascinating!
A Sambar deer grazes on the far shore of the watering hole. While their sight is not great, she had a line on us by sound and was keeping a close eye!
We were able to see another ruby throated Kingfisher. Just gorgeous in flight with the brilliant blue plumage!
Many trees were attacked by this “strangler vine” which would coil around them from the left and grow up them until the original tree died.

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.

Our “Happy Hour” gathering hole!

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!

Categories: Himalayas: India, Nepal and Bhutan 2019


  1. I have read through this entirely but still waiting for the pictures to finish downloading – using train wifi on the way to Munich from Salzburg.


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