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.
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.
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”
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 …
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.
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 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!