Great Himalayan Drive Day 17: When a rhino almost attacked me in Chitwan in Nepal

A pair of rhinoceros crossing a stream in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Valentine’s Day is a day of hugs and kisses from those who love you. Not one to be told there is no love lost between you and a rhinoceros.

Out for a jungle walk in Chitwan National Park, I was hoping to see some exotic animals and birds up close and personal. Even a tiger if I am lucky – not giving much thought to what happens when you see a tiger in the wild without being on a jeep or an elephant.

After some tame sightings, we came across a rhino lurking in the tall grasses about 20 feet from the track we were on. As I fiddled to get my camera settings right, I failed to hear some snorts from the big animal. I realized something was amiss when my guide started beating a stick on the ground, making some incoherent noises and gesticulating in the direction of the rhino. In what seemed a long time, the beast must have chosen to play it safe and walked away.

What was this all about? The guide told me the rhino was possibly going to attack us. It usually does not, but it may have felt disturbed for the wrong reasons. Maybe it was protecting its baby which we had not seen. Had it decided to attack, what should our options have been? Pray. Run in any direction. Pray more that it does not follow you. For you cannot outrun this animal. Even if you were in a jeep, it can easily overturn one by butting into it. It was our lucky day. The Gods loved us on this Valentine’s Day.

And during the rest of the visit to Chitwan too. I got some great sightings and pictures of rhinos during a jeep and an elephant safari I undertook. It was the first time I was seeing rhinos in the wild. They are impressive creatures. A joy to observe. What a beautiful world we live it. Hope we keep it safe.

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