December 19-23, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Behind the Forgotten Front, I had domesticated and wild elephants.
The difference, you ask? Domesticated elephants back’s don’t slope down and the wild Indian elephants are extremely shy.
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.
You’ll find the Rhino Dungplant only by old rhino droppings
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.
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