Travels in Nepal # 62 Canoe trip

Canoe ride on the Rapti River, Nepal

Canoe ride on the Rapti River, Nepal

On the second afternoon during our stay at the Royal Chitwan National Park we were driven a short distance over a very rough track in a rather dilapidated old 4WD vehicle to an upstream section of the Rapti River. A canoe, together with a canoeist, was waiting for our small group to take a half hour trip down river.

The man operated the canoe with a long pole along the same principle of a gondolier. The river in this section was flowing quite rapidly and so he only had to guide it along. This section of my overseas trip was the best birding of the whole trip and it only lasted half an hour. I managed to add no less than 19 new species to my life list. (A ‘life list’ is a list of all the birds I have ever seen in my life.)
Our guide for the afternoon was Kamahl, also a keen birder. He was able to point out and name the birds we saw as we went along. My list would have been much smaller if he hadn’t helped me.

Although the trip was fantastic, there were a few problems. Too much, too quick and all too soon the boat trip was over. I had to juggle the following:

  • Looking at the birds
  • Looking at the scenery
  • Looking at the field guide to identify the birds
  • Taking photographs
  • Using my binoculars
  • Writing a list of birds seen in my notebook
  • Trying to keep my balance in the canoe
  • Trying not to be scared of the man-eating Mugger Crocodiles on the sand bars just metres away!

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