Charged by a Rhino

December 19-23, 2013

Charging Rhino at Kaziranga
Charging Rhino at Kaziranga

I didn’t expect to get charged by a rhino.  He just happened to unsuspectingly slip out from the elephant grass where our jeep was parked for bird watching. Surprised the shit out of everyone.

Rhino hiding in Elephant Grass
Rhino hiding in Elephant Grass

Do your homework when you decide to go on a safari,  The weather was dry and vegetation was green, but the grass was so high, it hid the animals.  In Behind the Forgotten Front,  Merrill’s Marauders and the Mars Task Force pushed through this grass; nervous that at the next bend they’d walk into the barrel of a Japanese gun.

Water buffalo crossing in elephant grass opening
Water buffalo crossing in elephant grass opening

Moral of the story: go when it’s most uncomfortable for you, it may be the best time for a safari.  I also learned to not depend on Google for weather predictions. The closest weather station may be a hundred miles away. Look at photos of the locals or those who traveled there the same time you plan to visit.

Mahouts at Manas who's elephants have red "third eye"
Mahouts at Manas who’s elephants have red “third eye”

Next, decide which class you want to travel.  I traveled 3rd  class, which did not have a lot of luxuries but I got to meet many locals.  If given the chance I’d take a tent over a bamboo thatched basha any day; tents are warmer.

naturehuntoverview

Don’t forget, the animals are wild and not accustomed to our paparazzi obsessions. We stopped for a New Zealand tourist to take a photo of a family of monkeys.  Before she could focus, the alpha male was pounding on the hood.

Assault by monkey on hood of car
Assault by monkey on hood of car

In Behind the Forgotten Front, I had domesticated and wild elephants.

Domesticated elephants
Domesticated elephants

The difference, you ask?  Domesticated elephants back’s don’t slope down and the wild Indian elephants are extremely shy.

Family of wild elephants
Family of wild elephants

The best way to find an animal is to track it by its dropping and their prints.  As you can imagine, elephants have rounded feet whereas rhinos have cloven hooves.

Rhino cloven hooves
Rhino cloven hooves

You’ll find the Rhino Dungplant only by old rhino droppings

Rhino Dungplant
Rhino Dungplant

Tigers are nocturnal.  I wasn’t lucky enough to see one, but going to their haunts, like a stream is your best bet of finding one.

Tiger Prints
Tiger Prints

I really appreciate you visiting my web page. It means a lot to me. In the comments box, I’d like to hear what you think about my posts – tell similar stories – share other blog forums.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message