Wednesday 4 April 2018


Elephants and crocodiles

We were off quite early on day two of our trip. The scenery started to change from dusty brown  vegetation with some palm trees to the most beautiful range of greens. We were surrounded by rice fields, lots of palm tree plantations and lots of trees that we didn't know. The green colours were startling and vibrant.

On the way we stopped for some fresh coconut from a road side seller. Earlier, we (Arjun) had struggled to find a gap wide enough to overtake a truck with what looked like a hay stack balanced on the top of it. It was as tall as it was wide. As we were enjoying the coconut at the side of the road, the flipping truck went past, bits of hay flying in the wind! It meant we had to repeat the overtaking process again, much to the amusement of the boys.

We managed to get by and the game of 'chicken' continued for quite some way as Arjun negotiated the roads and the oncoming traffic. Basically, if you don't look out of the front of the car your nerves remain more intact.

After about two hours, we went off the main road and onto a bumpy track. In the distance, we could see a tranquil lake set amongst some low hills. At the end of the track was the most beautiful hotel. We piled out of the car to be greeted by bird song and trickling water. It was so hot, just like the butterfly house at Natureland.

Our rooms were enormous and facing the swimming pool and the lake. The bathroom was huge with a large double bath. As I looked longingly at it, imagining a relaxing soak listening to the Archer's,  Andrew read my mind and reminded me about the lack of water everywhere, so that scuppered that plan! The boys were pleased as they now believed that they didn't have to wash for a while! We quickly pointed out the shower to them.

We had arrived just in time for quick swim before we had lunch. Mainly Indian food, which was really lovely and a tureen of pasta for those who can't manage a curry!

There was a river safari trip at 3 pm so we decided to book it. A little boat, with comfortable seats, set off from the hotel to go two minutes up the lake. We then transferred to a safari boat with a small motor board on. As we got on the boat wobbled and we were all given a life jacket, not a good sign or so we thought.

How wrong we were! We chugged along the lake , being splashed by the water coming over the edge of the boat and by the fishes attempting to jump on board. Then, in the distance the guide, who was with us, and the boat driver, spotted our first wild elephant. It was so exciting! He was huge and was scraping the ground with his foot to disturb the soil for food.

We carried on up the lake and saw at least 40 elephants in various herds or on their own. Many were just at the water's edge. We even saw a baby no more that a month old being protected between the females legs.

Then the driver got excited as he spotted a crocodile. It was difficult to see but by the third crocodile there was no problem. It was enormous, at least 3 metres, resting on the bank with its mouth open. We got really close before it slipped into the water and disappeared somewhere under the boat!

The Big Croc watching us!

There were many different types of birds including an osprey, but I was too busy looking for the elephants and crocodiles so if you're interested in birds, I'm sorry as I've forgotten what they were!

After 3 hours we returned , desperate for a drink and a biscuit. The staff in the hotel were waiting patiently for us all ( about 10) with tea, coffee and juices.

The evening meal was just as good as lunch but all the fresh air and excitement meant that we were exhausted and we needed to go to bed early as we needed to be up at 5am to get the jeep safari.

Which was just as thrilling ! Three hours of being driven around a forest in a very bumpy, open sided jeep was like being on a fairground ride. The guide would suddenly cut the engine, we would all sit in silence and stare at the vegetation, looking for tigers. Then he would start it quickly and shoot off again. We saw lots of monkeys, wild dogs, birds (peacocks and other things!) mongoose, but no tigers. We managed to stop and visit the loo, which was an experience, and then set off to go back to the hotel.

But as we were going along the 'main road' through the jungle, a male tiger just casually strolled across in front of us. There were about 6 jeeps in total and the drivers just slammed the vehicles to a halt down the grass verges so people could watch.

The tiger was so confident and calm and not bothered in the least by the commotion behind it . It then disappeared in the scrub only to emerge a short distance away where he sat down and looked around. After a short while, he slowly got up and padded away into the forest.

The journey back meant that everyone had smiles on their faces and a calmness that even the racing track driving couldn't remove.

Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...