By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.
Rolling on the balls of our feet, trying not to make a sound, we crept across a woodland floor strewn with dry leaves. Nobody spoke a word. Senses alert. Our seasoned guide, Boggart led the way, his bamboo lathi held high and ready. I eyed the stick doubtfully and, with his warning to climb a tall tree should a rhino charge ringing like a doomsday proclamation in my ears, I scanned the surrounding smooth, branch-free trunks for a likely candidate. As suspected, there wasn’t a single tree I could ever possibly climb. In a forest of rhinos, elephants and Bengal tigers, I was questioning my sanity.
Past giant footprints stamped in the dust and steaming mounds of fresh, fly-addled dung, we continued. Boggart stiffened suddenly and there he was. A rare Greater One-Horned rhinoceros. Massive, alert and mere feet away. Nobody moved. Nobody breathed. It was incredible. And then we backed away.
We tiptoed onwards through the high swaying grasses, not seeing but being seen.
On the traces of fresh tiger tracks, we continued, holding our breath. Deer leaped across the dirt tracks but, for better or worse, the tigers remained frustratingly elusive.
Unlike the rhinos. They moved like deadly mountains around us. Somehow managing to surprise us each time. Boggart, ever wary, waved us on rapidly, silently.
Being on foot in the habitat of rhinos, elephants, tigers, crocodiles and bears was hair-raising. I was thrilled and thankful for Nepal’s ‘relaxed” approach to safety. A shanks’ mare safari? Magical!