This trip has given me a greater appreciation for animals and I really enjoyed seeing all the wildlife in Borneo, so I was looking to a jeep safari around Chitwan National Park to spot rhinos.
We assembled a good group and set out in the early morning along with our guide; and driver into the park on a 4WD. We cruised through the grasslands, sal forest and hills and after not seeing much more than peacocks for the first couple of hours we spotted our first animal – a group of around 20 bison. As we were watching them eating we saw our first rhino too. It was huge and so medieval looking – like it was made out of huge armoured plates. We kept a safe distance in the back of the jeep and moved on to our lunch spot by the river where we saw a crocodile and turtle (not together) on the bank.
After signing in at another army checkpoint (they are throughout the park to protect the animals from poaching) the guide saw a glimpse of a rhino before it moved into the undergrowth. He stopped the jeep and we silently waited for it to reappear. Suddenly it popped its head out and rushed across the road ahead of us just ten metres away. We drove on past it to see it in close up but then it popped out and started charging us. The driver sped off and then stopped and then it began charging again. We were all nervously laughing as we couldn’t tell if the driver and guide did this all the time or if they were really scared. Eventually, it disappeared into the grasslands and we went on our way exhilarated.
On our way back we spotted some more rhinos keeping cool in a lake (bringing our total to 28 for the day) and saw some spotted deer whilst whizzing through the park hanging on to the back of the jeep!
The next day we went down to the river to witness the spectacle that is called ‘elephant bath time’. All the domesticated elephants that are used for jungle safaris and animal tracking come down to the riverside at 11am every day to have a wash and tourists are encouraged to join in.
After some persuasion I hopped on board a friendly looking one and proceeding to get completely soaked as it sucked up water in its trunk and spurted it over me on its back.