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6 hours “only” from Pokhara by bus, to reach the highest of the lowest Nepal peaks, here it culminates at 150 meters! This is the subtropical Terai region, one of the few remaining habitats for the Bengal tiger, soon wiped from the map because of poaching for traditional Chinese medicine, the reduction of its living area, and the killing of its main prey species.
Sauhara village on the edge of the Chitwan reserve, extends over several kilometers, ocher ground, small homes of clay and straw roofs, fronts of doors carefully swept daily, with a straw sweeper. Darker skins, clothes more colored and vivids, this could seems a little piece of Africa, isolated in Asia. The winter mist is enveloping the forest andthe savannah from dusk till noon. On the menu of activities: elephant safari, jungle walks, descending the river in a canoe … and start again in loop!
I was able to test the traditional elephant safari, from the village, very crowded by many tourists, and a wilder version, by staying two days in an isolated hotel right in the middle of the forest, no electricity, rooms illuminated by a petrol lamp!
The wild way, even if it requires more financial and physical investments, is worth the effort: the savanna is well preserved, no tourists, wild animals are far more numerous. We encountered the graceful spotted deer like Bambi, prey of choice for our venerated Bengal tiger, which maybe can be seen if you remain around ten years there, if I believe the guides experiences! I had to be satisfied, to read the fresh footprints the giant feline leaves every morning on the small forest paths. We also cross some wild boars, other species of deer, few unicorn rhinoceros, rare species of crocodiles (very shy animal, but maybe it’s better this way), and many birds of all kinds …
One night spent in an observation tower, did not permit to see much more, except for some adults wild boars and some deers far away, nothing incredible.
Back in Sauhara since this morning, before heading to Bakhtapur historical city, I still have one day to visit the elephant breeding center.