Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Canoeing, Jungle trekking and Elephant Safari

So today was an early wake up call, and we headed out to the river for a local canoe ride downstream to view the crocodiles that lived int he river. Me and Tiffany happened to be with the same guide which was nice so we spent the day together. It was basically a hollowed out tree trunk and we had to make sure we didn't move much otherwise the boat would lose its balance. We saw lots of crocodiles which was awesome to see, some close up and some on the banks. Once we made our way downstream we pulled up at the entrance to the jungle and started our jungle trek a little deeper into the forest.

Our guide began by telling us how to avoid wild animals like rhino and tiger should we encounter them, and then told us that a tiger killing had actually happened last week!! A local woman had gone herb picking in the outskirts of the jungle and the tiger mauled her and killed her. NICE! So because it was a tiger that had attacked a village before they decided for the safety of the local communities living close by to shoot that particular tiger because, as they say, once they taste human blood, they always come back for more. So there were tiger around but I highly doubted we would see any as the grass was too high and it was the wrong season - too hot and muggy so they mainly come out at night.

So we began our trek and upon the first few steps we spotted a tiger paw print, so little growly must have been down for a drink recently! We also saw Rhino poo and prints. We then veered off away from the other groups to go deeper into the woods away from the larger groups as there was less chance of seeing wildlife with their noise, but this also meant lots of puddles, mud to get stuck in, leeches and high grass to trapse through!

We came to a clearing where a herd of deer were - it was like real-life Bambi! So we watched them for a while and took pictures, then moved forwards where we caught up with a couple from Sri Lanka - the guy was fucking hilarious! They had just been attacked by leeches and me and Tiffany began to get worried as we had been ok so far. During this time I had a hallucination that there was a tiger behind a bush and started to worry so called our guide over...turned out it was a fecking deer! lol! I think after the leech attack we had all started to become delirious!

So we continued and I was attacked by a super leech, I swear I've never seen one this huge hanging from my leg! So the guides got their salt and lighters out as it was obvious this wouldn't be the last attack...and it wasn't...the poor Sri Lankan woman was attacked the most bless her! So instead of spotting wildlife it turned into I'm not a celebrity but get me out of here, leech spotting contest. We were most definitely paranoid by this point. The guy even had leeches on his stomach under his top - how the feck did they get there?! I had them all stuck to my socks and shoe laces which is slightly better!

So trapsing a little further we entered mud zone, but it was cool as we saw a massive herd of about 50-odd deer in the clearing, just before we got to the elephant breeding centre. At this point I was talking about the weather and that it had been pretty good so far. The Sri Lankan guy said that I had basically cursed us, and yep, sure enough, the rain came 2 minutes after - never saying that again! The elephant breeding centre wasn't really much - I think I am forever spoilt by volunteering with them in Thailand, nothing will ever beat that. We were then ushered across the river and back to the hotel where we had some free time before lunch, so I spent some time by the pool, sunbathing and swimming, and chatting to a Canadian and Egyptian guy who both live in Dubai and were over here on an expat tour holiday. I then had lunch and some more free time before our elephant Safari. The weather was looking better but I had high predictions that it may rain on the safari. As it was monsoon season and the rain was pretty much every day, jeep safaris had been cancelled until better weather so it was just the elephant safari's running.

So we were taken down to the elephant sanctuary and we hopped on our elephant with two of the russian girls from our hotel. It was a tight fit and a tad uncomfortable but you get used to it. We then went on a walk into the jungle. After about 15mins we came into a clearing...and we saw some Rhino! A mummy and her baby it was soooo cute! And so awesome! We then went further into the jungle getting smacked by branches from trees, lead into bushes because our elephant decided he wanted food etc. About half an hour into the trek we saw a total Bambi moment, a mummy and her baby sheltering under a bush - and it turned into a Bambi moment, for literally, seconds after seeing them, - drip drip drop little april showers! Though this was no april shower, this was a monsoon rain complete with massive storm, in the middle of a jungle, on an elephant, holding umbrellas, with metal bars around us kinda shower! It pelted it down, and no poncho or umbrella could save us from getting absolutely drenched...and then our mahoots decided this wasn't enough, oh no, we aren't going to stay in the jungle, where at least the trees were trying to shelter us, instead we are going to go completely out in the open, by the river, in this raging storm and wait it out HERE...HERE?! REALLY?! So we did, and by this time I was so wet I may as well have just sat in the river...

After the storm we headed back into the jungle and of course, didn't really see any more wildlife as they were probably all doing the right thing and sheltering in the jungle, unlike us. We saw some vultures and some more deer, but this was about it. So we headed back, and sloshed back to the bus after feeding the elephants. We then had time to freshen up and shower before dinner, where yet more amazing food awaited us and I stuffed myself silly again. Then I had a lovely last night chilling in my amazing room, packed for the next day and told reception I wouldn't be up for bird watching in the morning so I could have a small lie-in (hehe). Tomorrow I was headed to the lakeside retreat of Pokhara - 6 hours by bus - where I am to spend around 2 weeks. So I enjoyed the best nights sleep ever and was lovely and well rested - I am going to miss this hotel!

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