Chitwan Tiger Safari Review
by Grant Olsen
We saw several rhinos, which was AMAZING! These massive beasts would come crashing through the trees like bulldozers. They are so prehistoric looking with their armoured skin. It was an incredible experience to see these rhinos and it left us absolutely content with our tiger-less safari.
Operator Performance & AccommodationWe travelled with the Island Jungle Resort, which is based out the Chitwan National Park. Our tiger safari took place entirely in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
We have family friends in Kathmandu who highly recommended the Island Jungle Resort. And boy, are we glad they did!
It is an amazing little operation. Located deep in the Chitwan jungle, the lodge is situated right on the shore of a beautiful river. There are a couple large buildings used for meeting and dining, then about twelve small bungalows where visitors stay.
We spent our entire stay in the aforementioned bungalows. They were quaint and comfortable. We had reasonably soft beds and mosquito screens on every window. No complaints!
The itinerary was pre-designed. Initially, I thought maybe I would have preferred to have a say in it, but as it turned out, our guides were total professionals and obviously knew what would be the best activity at any given time. I'm glad they were so well prepared.
We worked with a handful of guides during our stay and each of them was wonderful and exceptionally friendly. Very kind and friendly people who knew how to make you feel welcome. They helped my sister and I have a wonderful time.
Here's the biggest indicator of how great they are: we never saw a single tiger, yet we consider the trip a success.
They were so kind and happy that we thoroughly enjoyed every moment we stayed there and have no regrets, even though we never saw the very tigers that had inspired our trip. I would HIGHLY recommend the Island Jungle Resort to my friends!
FoodEach meal was an experience to remember. Delicious local fruit combined with rice and beans. There was always a meat, usually chicken or pork.
Many of the traditional dishes were absolutely delicious, but unfortunately I don't remember their names to include them here. Needless to say, the food was marvellous.
TigersWe travelled on elephant back. It was my sister and I on one elephant and usually 4-5 other elephants in the group. The group-size usually worked fine, but sometimes we were paired with loud tourists who chatted the entire time and dramatically decreased our chances of seeing a tiger.
No tigers... but we did see pugmarks, which was a thrill in and of itself.
Typical DayWe would wake up around 6:00 am, eat a fresh breakfast and then head out on our elephant. Our guide would take us to likely tiger haunts and we would explore for a couple hours.
Then we would take a scenic ride back to the lodge, eat lunch and head out again. The afternoons were often spent hiking through the jungle and visiting small villages.
Dinner would be back at the lodge, then we'd sit around the fire and chat with the other guests. Sometimes we would sing. Wonderful times at the Island Jungle lodge, that's for sure!
It rained often during our stay, but it was usually a warm rain and didn't pose much of a problem. Quite frankly, the misty, rainy weather only added to the beauty and mystique of our jungle surroundings.
We did a fair bit of hiking through the jungle. We also went bird watching, which was wonderful. We also had lessons on how to ride an elephant.
DisappointmentsI don't have a single regret... even though we never saw a tiger. That's how marvellous our friends were at the lodge.
Tips and AdviceBe prepared for rigorous conditions. Even though the Island Jungle Resort is a very professional operation, my sister and I both got a bit sick from the food. Make sure you have the proper medicine to handle a bout of dysentery.
Also, realize that tiger habitat is very rugged, so dress appropriately. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are advisable because of the roughness of the brush.
Don't forget your camera. No matter what happens, you are going to see AMAZING sights! The photos that I took will be cherished for the rest of my life! The best "shooting" you will ever do on a safari will be with your camera.
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