Chitwan jungle safari treks come with several options
After living in west Africa for several years I’m not overly excited about jungle excursions. I’ve been in Chitwan during hot season which is another problem. I’m here because Africa taught me this is the best time to see wild animals. They should come out to watering holes now.
But this is not Africa. This is Asia, or more to the point Nepal. It seems the best time to see Wildlife here is in December or January which is dry season in Chitwan. I’m also told March is quite a good time.
Right now it’s very humid and the animals are deep in the forest. If coming to Chitwan National park June/July/August is not the best time unless you like the idea of melting in humidity.
With that in mind I had to choose my options carefully.
Popular Chitwan jungle safari trek options
After getting to know this area very well I found the best prices and so I sat with Ali my guesthouse owner and looked over my options for this time of year.
- Half day trek – you probably won’t see much.
- Full day walking safari tour – Rhinos, birds, crocodiles are pretty certain.
- Two day overnight jungle safari – Same as one day but with night safari to see bats.
- Five day jungle safari – same as day one but a higher chance at seeing a tiger.
- Then came the half 4×4 jeep and trekking tours. The prices were crazy and my gut told me there was an air of BS about it all.
- Here’s a full list of things to do in Chitwan.
Not knowing what an actual jungle safari would be like in Nepal and knowing how humid the jungle can get I opted for a full one day jungle trek. If it was good, I could always fork out the cash for longer trek later. I made the addition of adding in a canoe boat to take us down stream early in the morning to get in as deep as possible to the jungle.
Ali had mentioned there were some Korean tourists arriving that night and I could go with them instead of alone with a guide. The price would be considerably cheaper. I waited to see them first but arriving late I was already asleep for our early start.
Rapti river tour goes from group to solo
Starting pre-dawn I met Parakram one of our jungle trek guides fully kited out in beige jungle pants and vest. Everyone was eager to get going. Except that is for the Korean tourists who were still struggling to eat breakfast.
I suggested to Ali that I head off first and maybe he could then tell them that they would miss their boat. It seemed to work.
First down to the Rapti river Parakram was arranging for thin canoes when the Koreans arrived. It again took longer than it should. Something about two of them still not being ready. This had disaster written all over it.
I called Ali on the phone and said we were already an hour late and it wasn’t going to work out. I would prefer to go by myself tomorrow. After a brief talk with Parakram there was a hustle of action. The next thing I know it was me and Parakram alone on a boat going down the river. I waved bye-bye to the Korean group who were left with a new guide who had shown up.
Solo tour after all!
If there’s one thing I really wanted in Chitwan but could never find it was a good map. With that in mind I’ve drawn up a map of Chitwan that’ll show you how to get to the various locations of interest. Including the jungle trekking zones, canoe ride & elephant breeding center.
Spot the crocodile on the Rapti river in Chitwan
Paddling down the tranquil Rapti river Parakram began pointing out various birds along the shore. The boat rocked unsteadily as he shifted positions to point out things from his excellent knowledge of the area surrounding the river.
“Snakes, crocodiles and many birds are always present,” he said listing out some ornithological names. “There! Crocodile!”
I looked over to my right along the shore. Nothing. A white bird. But knowing I’m not the most observant at wildlife spotting I took Parakram at this word.
“There big crocodile!”
I spun to the left and Parakram pointed to the other shore. He was right. I struggled with my 50 mm lens to spot it so switched to my 300 as it seemed nothing was going to be up close. Not a bad thing considering the size of our paddle boat.
Then just as I was changing my lens Parakram shouted again. “Big Crocodile over there!”
This time it was to our right again. Slowly slipping from a muddy shore into the river before I had my lens on.
“I missed it.”
“No, it’s up here now.”
“Where?” I said struggling to peer out at the distant shore through my camera.
“No there beside you.”
Camera down my stomach lurched as the dark spined back of a crocodile rose silently above the water a mere four feet from our little boat. I uttered several profanities in a hushed manner as Parakram paddled away from the crocodile. Now with my 300 lens I wished I had my 50. A wasted photo but one heck of an adrenaline rush.
I’ve seen and photographed crocodiles before in Africa and The Philippines. But never have I been so close to a wild crocodile in a small rocking paddle boat in the water. It’s a very different feeling.
Into the Chitwan jungle we go
On dry land once again we waited a short while for Parakrams apprentice Shaan to arrive by paddle boat. Apparently due to the Korean delay I would actually be joining them on a “Guide training / and find something like a rhino for the Koreans to spot later” jungle trek. No objections here!
Both guide and apprentice gave me a rundown on what to do in the event of coming face to face with a dangerous animal in Chitwan.
If we spot an elephant we should back away slowly. If we spot a rhino we should climb a tree. If we spot a tiger chances are we’ve already been stalked by them and should be okay. But just in case we should huddle in a group.
Finally should we spot a sloth bear, the most dangerous of Chitwan creatures, we should get ready for a fight.
Apparently Sloth bears are fearless bears about the size of domestic dog who will not back down from any fight. In fact they will aggressively attack you until death. The two guides held up their mandatory wooden trekking poles and said the only defense is to hit them until they die. If you haven’t been clawed to death first.
We turned to a wall of tress and Pakaram said we were always being watched in the jungle. And sure enough through the dense jungle our first creature was there watching us enter its domain …
Rhino’s in the wild and tracking Tigers in Chitwan
Liked this post?
|Never miss a post!
Subscribe to my free newsletter now for weekly updates. (Get my ebook & mobile app for free! )