The day before yesterday we enjoyed riding elephants into the jungle. We saw a couple of rhinos, some spotted deer and several birds.
There were also the disturbing sights of elephants loaded down with four tourists per basket. Some of these people were quite loud but thankfully we were able to stay away from them except when gathered around to see the rhinos.
The ethics of the ride remain controversial. At the moment, this is the only way the owners can afford the expense of keeping their elephants. These are domestic animals so unless a sanctuary is created for them, there aren’t a lot of options. One can but hope that one day there will be the will and funds for these animals to retire to an open living natural environment.
The elephants that live here at Sapana Village seem well treated and have ample free time.
We’ve spent the better part of today watching the young bull, in particular, knock down small trees and generally be a rambunctious child. He’ll push a tree over. Straddle it. Walk along it then let it snap back up once he’s clear. This seems to amuse him as he does the same or similar manoeuvre over and over.
Yesterday we ate an early breakfast and left here in a Jeep at 7 am. We waited at a river crossing for an hour while our guide got tickets to enter the national park. We waited again at the river for a dug out canoe to ferry us across the crocodile infested river. There was only one croc in evidence.
Once on the other side we finally climbed onto the back of a pickup truck outfitted with three sets of tiered seats. Thus began a long day of bumpy driving along narrow roads through Chitwan National Park. We drove about 35 kms into the park and were finally rewarded with a black rhino sighting. It was a large beast placidly standing shoulder deep in a pond. Other than that we saw a large snake skin – snake thankfully not in evidence as we were told it was the skin of a king cobra. Made us all look around very carefully when we had our comfort stops!
There were some spotted deer, some spiders, a monitor lizard, a wild elephant and a few birds. The jungle itself was interesting with varied vegetation but it was quite a lot of driving for not much excitement.
Hanging around here today was much more interesting. I’ve already sent pictures of the rascally little bull elephant. He provided hours of entertainment.
Brenda has just arrived – time for happy hour.