Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan and the Rhino encounter

Chitwan and the Rhino Encounter

 

Continuing our travel adventures in Nepal, we took a boat ride along the Rapti River, followed by a jeep safari.

Anthills in the jungle
Anthills in the jungle

Driving along, we spot lots of deer (the Bambi type) so sweet!

Monkeys jumped through the trees and I imagined I could hear David Attenborough whispering tales of this meandering secretive and somewhat threatening jungle.

hitching a ride on buffalo

 

Canoeing in Rapti River
Canoeing in Rapti River

In the river, we noticed a crocodile who had taken full advantage of a wild baby boar that stopped for a drink.  I couldn’t help but think of the Disney song:

“Never smile at a Crocodile”

Canoeing Rapti River
Canoeing Rapti River

We have already learned that the Park Officials are forbidden to carry any weapons, however, there is an  army presence in place to guard off any poachers.

The army carry large intimidating  looking weapons – we avoid all eye contact – its all too much – jungles, guns, wild animals …

Crocodiles in the water
Crocodiles in the water alongside us!!!

On we went, continuing our journey.  Suddenly, we spot the one-horned rhino lurking in the bushes  about 12 ft away – How exciting to observe this magnificent animal.

The jeep stops so that we may witness this special moment.  The rhino is oblivious to us and continues  on his way  towards us –  munching and crunching through the dense jungle bushes. We look on in awe, gently whispering to each other in case he might somehow become aware of us and make a charge.

The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle – too close for comfort

He gets  dangerously closer!

The driver, now shifting in his seat, sweat appearing on his brow, a look of utter anxiousness in his face,  breathes uneasily with the uncomfortable proximity of the rhino and  starts up the engine.

The engine  coughs and splurts and reduces itself to a whine.

He tries again – it refuses to start.  He tries yet again – no go!

Again and again – He’ll flood the damn engine and then what will we do?

Rhinos have been known to charge and kill and we were reminded by one of our group that a rhino had made a charge in Thailand the year before and tourists were killed!

The official at the back of the jeep jumped out and swiftly gathered up some heavy rocks.

The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle
The Great One Horned Rhino in the jungle – we could almost reach out!

 

The rhino is now about 5ft away from us and there is a moment,

  • a moment when he notices us,
  • a moment when he looks up at us sitting there totally vulnerable,
  • a moment when our lives hang in the balance

 

The official hurls the rocks and the first one hits the rhino,

then  another rock –  it  hits him again ….

The rhino, all 700 kg for just a moment, it feels like he is looking us directly in the eye, making a decision – charge or retreat?

Slowly he turns right around having somehow decided we’re not worth the hassle!

He returns to the jungle – phew!

Base Camp had been contacted by mobile and they soon arrive to offer assistance.  People gather at the back of our jeep and push, push, push!.  The jeep coughs, coughs again …  on it goes!

Back to base, what a relief, what a story!

What a thin line we crossed – our lives in the balance!

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Author: Donna McGee

Capturing and sharing the timeless beauty of the Irish landscape in paint !

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