After Mera Peak trek and climb, I still had a few days in Nepal so had decided to visit Chitwan National Park in Sauraha district. I wanted my trip to be different compared to what regular tourists do when they visit Chitwan National Park. I was wanting to arrange a walking safari within Chitwan. Rajan Khatri from Visit Himalaya Treks was very helpful in organizing this trip. I was set to stay in Chitwan for 3 nights.
The next day early morning, we started for Chitwan which was a long drive from Kathmandu. It took around 5 hours due to some traffic on the way and stopping for lunch. On arrival at the hotel, I met up with Bishnu Mahato who is a nature guide from Sauraha. He is very knowledgeable about the birds and wildlife and highly recommended if anyone wants to visit Chitwan. Here it was suggested to go for a evening nature walk around Chitwan to spot various birds and probably get see wild Rhinos. After sorting out my camera gear, we left for our walk. With the help of the guide we spotted few birds like the Green Bee Eater and Red Vented Bulbul. We also saw some alligators basking in the sun.
Further up the trail, we could see movement coming from the other side of the river behind the dense grass. We knew it was a Rhino but we were hoping it came out in the open in clear view which it did. I had my camera and lens ready so snapped alot of pictures. However due to the number of people present at the scene, I don’t think it was comfortable in their presence. It did mock charge but since it was on the other side of the river, we were safe. It was getting dark as it was late evening so we returned back to the hotel.
The next day was a full day walking safari. We crossed the river from Sauraha check point in a small canoe and began our walking safari which was a 20km hike upto Ghatagain. We saw and photographed a variety of butterflies and also saw a few Great Hornbills. It was a quite a sight when they are in flight however not easy to photograph. We almost had bear sighting as it was hiding behind tall thick grass but then retraced back it steps from where it came.
It was a long day and stayed the night at River View Lodge in Ghatagain. It was here I had arranged to meet up with a friend who is also a keen wildlife and nature photographer and was wanting to further improve his photography. We therefore agreed to go on next days jungle walk together along with the two guides. We did share ideas and tips on how to take better photos, about equipment etc. Now regarding River View Lodge, I highly recommend this place, the host was wonderful and food was great. They serve local home made food and have some great beers. It is right next to the river and at night can hear the sound of jackals howling which adds to the wilderness. Rooms are quite basic but yet comfortable. Wifi connection is good as well.
The next day however we had many great sightings of various birds and animals such as deer and wild boar but sadly no tiger or rhino sighting but all in all it was great experience. We did try by waiting patiently at one spot within the park for about an hour but it did not appear in sight. According to the guide, this would be a common spot to see the tiger. Anyhow tiger sightings are not a guarantee when visiting national parks within India or Nepal and one must not come here with the hope of seeing only the tiger as there is an abundance of other wildlife within these parks.
We later returned back to the lodge via the same way and I had then to return back to Sauraha which was a one hour drive from Ghatagain. One handy tip is to have enough cash as sometimes the ATM machines do not accept international debit cards or a couple of the ATM machines were out of order. I had to try out four different cash points before I could withdraw any cash. I was scheduled to return back to Kathmandu next morning so we decided to go for a morning walk to spot birds and any wildlife. It was a good decision as I was able to photograph Kingfishers, Spotted Owls etc. Returning back to Kathmandu was not a problem as the roads were clear of any traffic.
I am in the stage of planning a photo trip to Corbett National Park later this year which is located near Nainital in the state of Uttarakhand. Photography enthusiasts or those who enjoy wildlife and nature are all welcome. Get in touch with me to discuss plans or even if you have any questions regarding gear, equipment, lenses etc.