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February 22nd, 2011 | Asia

Jeep Safari into Chitwan…

We were poled across the river to meet our jeeps on the far bank...

Our jeep was in the process of receiving some "running repairs"...!! Seems it had a small problem with a side shaft...!! We wondered how far we were going to get...!!

I had come to Chitwan hoping to see a Tiger in the wild…

But long before I arrived there, I had already been told that less than 1% of people visiting the park ever get to see these elusive animals…

“Any chance of seeing Tigers…? some hopeful soul asked…

“I am not sure….” the guide replied… “Maybe…”

“Then I suppose a Yeti is also out of the question too…!!” I quipped…

The guide was not amused, although I did get a few roars of laughter from my fellow passengers…

Tigers, like Leopards, are solitary animals, and only come together to mate… There are said to be about 125 Tigers in Chitwan, but on the day we visited, they had clearly decided that they did not want to be seen…

A large part of the bush we rode through had recently been burnt... Tendrils of smoke still hung over the reeds and bushes...

Whoa....!!! Look Dudes... It's a monkey...!! And it's sitting still...!!

Bloody Hell...!! There's another...!! Our group broke into the first few bars of "Lucky days are here again"...!!

One of the more disturbing things we noticed, was the huge number of military personnel in the park…

We encountered small patrols of between five and ten soldiers every fifteen minutes, and with so many humans wandering around, I am not surprised that the Tigers and most other animals are rarely seen…

Seems there has been a tremendous amount of poaching in the park in recent times, and the soldiers are there to prevent this… And just maybe, taking the odd animal for the pot themselves…!!

I managed to take but one photo of a Spotted Deer, and a few of a small troop of Langur Monkeys that clambered about in a tree next to the track we were driving along… Apart from that, all we ever saw was the arse-end of animals, apparently hell-bent on getting as far away from the jeep as possible…!!

A large portion of the marshland we drove through had either recently been burnt, or was on fire…!! This does not make for great game-viewing…!!

"Heeeere... Kitty, kitty, kitty...!!" Had absolutely no effect...!! Works in the Kruger...!!

The only way you would see an animal in this thick bush, was if it ran up to you to ask for directions...!!

"Ah...!! But wait...!! Nah... It's the bloody soldiers again...!!

To alleviate the intense boredom, we stopped at a crocodile farm to see the endangered Gharial Crocodile... At least they couldn't run away...!!

And this is the Grandaddy of the bunch...!! "Why the long face...?? I asked...!! "With a nose like this...?? What do you think...??" came the reply...

Most of the luggas and riverbeds are crossed using rickety wooden bridges...

Finally....!! A pair of short-sighted Spotted Deer stood still long enough for us to take a quick photo...!!

If it had not been for the company of my Dutch friends, it would have been an exceeding boring afternoon… We managed to crack jokes during the long intervals where all we were seeing was trees and thick bush…

Another military checkpoint... The soldiers did not take kindly to being photographed... They were after all on a highly secret mission...!!

Our guide rode on the back of the open vehicle with us, and I could not for the life of me see what he could interpret by having his head below that of ours…

By standing up behind the cab of the jeep, I managed to spot Tigers tracks on the road ahead of us, and excitedly told the driver to stop…

“Boy’s ” I said to the rest of the guys on the jeep… “Climb down and take a look at these… This is the closest you are going to get to seeing anything remotely to do with a Tiger on this drive…!!”

Tiger tracks in the mud, a few days old, but at least this confirmed that they were out there... Somewhere...!!

I snapped off the few photos above of our ride in Chitwan, and would seriously recommend that you either take a quiet walk in the forest, or an elephant ride, rather than waste time and money on a jeep safari in Chitwan…

As we exited the park, we came a cross another so-called "controlled fire"... Only problem was, there was not a soul in sight...!! "Light and run", more like it...!!

©GBWT 2011

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