Thursday, January 31, 2013

Enjoy A Day Of Jungle Safari In Royal Chitwan National Park

Tall elephant grass, large swamps and dense forest, often referred Royal Chitwan National Park as jungle. This 932 sq km spread jungle is a home to number of beasts such as tiger, great one-horned rhinoceros, leopard, gaur, sloth and wild bear, sambhar, hog, civer, barking deer and numerous species of birds.

I always feel to visit forests in winter because it’s the best time to see some wilds, moreover, forests climate is often hot, humid and uncomfortable, and hours of jungle safari will make you tired and exhausted. Chitwan is best visited in month of October to March where the weather is pleasant and hardly any rainfall. There are three options of Jungle Safari: 

a)    Jeep Ride – Jeep ride is comfortable but due to rising level of river, it is literally impossible to tour the whole park by Jeep.

b)    Elephant Safari – Elephant safari is the easiest way to wander around the forest. However, tall grass minimizes the vision the wild animals hide in the bush. Beginning in late January, local people cut the grass inside the park for thatching and fodder. This time is the best chance to capture some glimpse of rhinos, tigers, leopards and other animals.

c)    On Foot – You can go by foot on your risk. It is impossible to cover the entire park by foot, but you can stroll a bit here and there, sit somewhere with your binocular, and read or write in the silence of forest.

What to See Inside Royal Chitwan Park?

Elephant Safari is the best way to explore the jungle
Chitwan was declared as a National Park in 1973, and from then laws have been imposed against poaching and unauthorized conversion of forest to farmland. Conservation projects have saved and increased a large number of endangered species.

The most dominate wildlife in the park is one-horned rhinoceros. It is estimated that one third or half of rhino population is found in this park. This calm and extremely moody animal can live up to 45 years. They grow up to 2m in height and weight around 3 tons. They are dangerous because they can attack you at a speed of 45 kmh.

Mother rhino with her toddler
Rhinos are enemy of local farmers because they often visit Sauraha and other villages for late night dinner of crops. Although poaching is banned, still rhinos are prized animal for their horns and blood. The horns are used to make some traditional medicine; its blood is consumed with some herbal cocktail to eliminate diseases related to gynecological problems.

The second wild animal found in the park is Elephant. Outside the park, there is a government elephant breeding center where animals are trained for riding and other works. A small number of wild animals are believed to live in the eastern part of the park.

Spotted deer in Chitwan forest
The signature attraction of the park is Royal Bengal Tiger. This elusive animal’s population is around 100, though hardly seen by tourists.

The most common sightseeing is deer, and sometimes sloth and leopard. There are various species of deer such as swamp deer, spotted deer, barking deer and hog deer. They are often seen in herds of up to 100 or more.

The swamps and rivers are home to various reptiles including crocodiles, snakes, turtles, marsh mugger and the gharial. The King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation conducted multiple conservation projects to save Gharials.

Chitwan National Park Gharial
Chitwan is home to around 400 species of birds. Some of them are migrants attracted by the rivers and wetlands. Most visible birds are storks, colorful parakeets and kingfishers, various singing and laughing species, and birds of prey.

A farmer with his boat in River

Important Travel Tips

•    Chitwan is not a zoo, so in the interests of your own safety it is essential to maintain the utmost respect for the animals, which cannot distinguish an interested visitor form a hostile intruder. Fatalities are mercifully rare, but they do occur.

•    Compensating for their poor eyesight, rhinos have a highly developed sense of smell. It is therefore advisable not wear perfumes or other strong fragrances. They can swim and have been known to visit Sauraha and other villages.

•    The sloth bear is among Chitwan’s most dangerous animals, and is known to demonstrate far from slothful characteristics in launching defensive, but vicious and also unprovoked attacks on other animals and on humans.

•    Leeches are unattractive little creatures, especially prevalent during monsoon. An irritation to trekkers and Chitwan visitor alike at this time, they sway on the ground or on bushes and twigs waiting for a passerby and get in boots when you are walking. Put some salt, or hold a lighted cigarette to it, which will make it quickly fall off.

•    If an elephant ride is not included in your package, it is best to book through your lodge and well in advance in peak season. If you don’t want to go through the lodge, start queuing at the office at the park entrance by 0600 the previous morning and get a slip of paper with a number written on it.

Where to Stay in Chitwan?

Chitwan Lodges are comfortable stay inside the forest
Lodges inside the park are more expensive and more exclusive. Most offer 4 or 5 star comforts and rates usually include accommodation and meals (not alcohol) plus entry fee, camp activities. Some people stay up all night to watch and listen as wildlife comes foraging and feeding around their lodge, and many consider it the experience of a lifetime.

Those who cannot afford the expensive lodges, however, stay at Sauraha. This was once a traditional Tharu Village, but with the promotion of Chitwan as a major tourist destination it has been rapidly developed into an agglomeration of budget and mid-range hotels or lodges. 

Some Lodges Inside The Park

•    Al Machan Wildlife Resort
•    Al Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge
•    Chitwan Jungle Lodge
•    Gaida Wildlife Jungle Camp
•    Tiger Tops Tharu Village Resorts

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