Nepal’s rhinos and tigers and bears

From the Wall Street Journal:

Nepal is known for its Himalayan mountain trekking and India for its historic sites and teeming cities. But both countries offer inexpensive safaris in several national parks that, considering how chaotic life in Nepal and India can be in other respects, are surprisingly professional and well organized, though their ideas of protecting visitors may not be yours.

I didn’t think I was in Africa, where vast herds of many species surround you. But from the back of a Nepalese elephant I saw two crocodiles, a peacock, lots of deer and, most importantly, two rhinos. In the world of safaris, viewing a one-horned Indian rhinoceros is a real accomplishment. There are only about 2,500 left in the world, almost all of them in Chitwan and Kaziranga National Park in northeast India.

The rhinos seemingly had no fear of elephants; they let us get right next to them. The tourists climb a special mounting platform and sit on the elephant’s back, protected by wooden rails. The ride took us through beautiful forests, lakes and, appropriately, plains of 10-foot-high elephant grass. All-inclusive, the South African safari I took two years ago cost more than $500 a night, but in Nepal, there was no way I could have spent $500 in a week. More:

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