Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday November 22

The Lodge provided us with biscuit and tea or coffee at 5:45am, so we could leave on the elephant safari at 6:00, a nice touch.

It was a bigger elephant than the ones we rode before and was 50 years old and could accommodate 3 passengers. The mahout was very knowledgeable and helpful and tried to show us the birds and animals that the area is famous for.

We saw a solitary rhino, Hogg Deer, and birds.Apparently the main purpose of the elephant safari is to see rhinos. We decided to try and change tomorrow's elephant safari to another jeep safari or better yet an all day safari as suggested by Kishak Pathak, the assistant manager of the lodge.

After breakfast, the Lodge provided us the services of a naturalist guide, Umesh who took us on a long nature walk for bird sighting. He kept telling us that we would have seen many more birds if we had come early morning. The walk was very scenic and we saw several species of ducks. The best was the Brahmini Duck pair on the fork of Manas river, they flew out and got caught on Sudip's camera, that made his day. A beautiful sight and photograph.

The day warmed up quickly and ultimately got too hot for me to walk anymore, so we came back, freshened up and went in for lunch. The manager came back just prior to us going in for lunch.

The lunch was a tasty buffet and we were the only ones in the dinning room.Towards the end of our meal, an Austrian couple came in and a large group from Guwahati.The lodge is not stark or dusty as my first impression was. It is a rather well kept two story bungalow.

Yesterday I was thinking that I wish there were more guests in the lodge but the peace and quiet was wonderful and hope it will remain as such even with more guests. Nayan came with his Gypsye to pick us up and then we picked up our escort from the Forestry Service who carried a rifle and 5 bullets (as per requirement). There was a tiger cage in that compound. This Gypsye was going to be our safari vehicle today and tomorrow.

We went and spend about 3 hours and did not see anything beyond Hogg Deer. Unfortunately Nayan is not a naturalist or a guide and didn't know where to look for the animals or what the different kinds of birds were. This was rather disappointing.

It is a beautiful forest but rather frustrating. It got quite chilly at the end of the trip and I am glad I had my fleece with me. After we came back Mr. Dutta, the manager of the lodge suggested that he provide us a guide otherwise it will be a worthless trip again tomorrow. We readily agreed since we were concerned about driving aimlessly for a whole day without any sitings.
After much discussion back and forth with Compass and Puroshottam, we were finally able to exchange the two safaris for one all day jeep safari.

The plan is to have coffee and cookies at 5:45 and leave by 6:00 with packed lunches. We will be going to Methanguri at the Bhutan border and can walk across the border to Bhutan. Dinner is planned for 7:30 PM

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