My daughter’s elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

My 16 year old daughter recently returned from a school trip during which the group of teenagers did some treking in Nepal, spent time on a community project at a local school in the mountains and finally visited the Chitwan region where the group went crocodile spotting by canoe and got close to a rhino and her baby on an elephant safari. Here’s Sophie-Anne’s story…

To end our journey in Nepal we headed down near the Indian border to the Chitwan region. Chitwan is very tourist friendly, and as we personally discovered, there are lot of nice hotels there to cater for the tourist demand. The first settlers in the region were the Tarau people and within the village we were welcomed to look inside their traditional mud huts with straw roofs.

Canoe trip in Chitwan, Nepal

Canoe trip in Chitwan, Nepal

Like all cultures, the Tarau have traditions such as dancing or their distinctive tattoos and have managed to preserve this successfully. In Chitwan there is lots on offer to do, and we managed to fit in quite enough to exhaust any teenager, child or adult! We started our day in the canoe on the river, spotting crocodiles amongst other wildlife. It is exactly how I imagine Pocahontus’  (from the Disney film) daily life feeling like!

Elephants in the river in Chitwan,  Nepal

Elephants in the river in Chitwan, Nepal

After we had battled with the canoe in the quest to get out without falling in (trickier than you’d imagine) we began to trek through the jungle. Unfortunately our familiar friend the rain cloud had appeared and what was supposedly jungle felt more like a swamp.

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Finally we emerged sodden out of the jungle to find ourseleves now at an elephant breeding ground. I suppose you can imagine how excited a group of girl teenagers were at the sight of baby elephant, but in our defence they are very very very cute. There was also a visitors centre filled with lots of interesting information about the elephants working lives, how they were trained and so on.

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

There was also a visitors center filled with lots of interesting information about the elephants working lifes, how they were trained and so on. After lunch, we finally got to ride the elephants! Four people were allocated to each elephant and we sat in a basket type area on the elephant’s back. During the safari we saw a rhino and her baby, deer and lots of other interesting creatures.

Rhino with baby in Chitwan, Nepal

Rhino with baby in Chitwan, Nepal

I hate to admit it but I must confess despite it being an amazing choice of travel for the Nepalese it is not the smoothest. It is almost like being swayed side to side very slowly whilst trying to dodge branches up ahead!

 Read about Sophie-Anne’s other adventures

My daughter’s teenage trek in Nepal
My daughter’s community project in the mountains of Nepal

You may also enjoy

Elephant encounters in Chiang-Mai in Thailand
Exploring the ‘Abode of Snow’ in the Indian Himalayas
My Indian Sponsor Child


heatheronhertravels' Nepal - school trip photoset heatheronhertravels’ Nepal – school trip photoset

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  • Reply
    My daughter's community project experience in Nepal | Heather on her travels
    August 20, 2011 at 9:07 am

    […] My teenage daughter’s trek in Nepal My daughter’s elephant safari in Nepal […]

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    A teenage trek in Nepal | Heather on her travels
    August 20, 2011 at 9:09 am

    […] My daughter’s community project in the mountains of Nepal My daughter’s elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal […]

  • Reply
    Elephants encounters at Chiang Mai - in Thailand | Heather on her travels
    August 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

    […] You might also enjoy; A culinary trip to Thailand A pet monkey in the rainforest in Ecuador My daughter’s elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal […]

  • Reply
    August 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Sophie-Anne seems to have inherited the writing gene!

    (All we got was a school trip to Paris … which put me off the place for a long time! 🙁 )

  • Reply
    August 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I was reading the whole way thinking they look way more comfortable on those elephants than I did during my trek and that maybe I needed to give it another shot. So I especially appreciated the comments at the end! What a great adventure. I love her sense of humor!

  • Reply
    Jeffrey Willius
    August 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    What an amazing experience — I envy you!!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Another amazing blog from Sophie! She needs to keep it up; she really has a talent.

  • Reply
    A Lady in London
    August 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Heather! It was great to finally meet you in person last night at the London Bloggers Meetup. I enjoyed your talk! Hope to see you again soon!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I don’t want to be a downer, but I stumbled across this and had to check it out because of the elephants. I spent a month in Thailand volunteering at an elephant nature park and have to let everyone know that riding elephants like that is terrible for them and the people who lead them around practically torture them. Notice what they’re holding while they ride them? Those are hooks to hit the elephants so they do what they want them to. Most tourists don’t know this, so I’m not judging… but if you love elephants you wont do it again.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    @Kristen – thanks for your advice. From the article I wrote about the elephants in Thailand, I learned from my friend who helps out at this elephant sanctuary that some places do take care of their elephants and hope that this is also the case in Nepal, although I haven’t had the chance to see for myself. It’s important that visitors are aware of these issues and try to judge whether the operator they use is employing high standards of care with their elephants.

  • Reply
    My Gap Year
    August 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Always wanted to ride an elephant, another one to add to the bucket list!

  • Reply
    Mack Reynolds
    August 31, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    What a very well told story about the adventure. I think this was an excellent way of retelling such a big trip in her young life. Was she afraid of the mama rhino, or was it relaxed enough to leave well enough alone?

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      September 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks Mack, I think that from the back of the elephant the girls were pretty relaxed about seeing the rhino so close up

  • Reply
    Mack Reynolds
    September 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Well, they’re braver souls than me. Elephant versus rhino… I don’t know about that one!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      When you’re 16 it seems nothing phases you – cool to get so close to a baby Rhino though

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Daniel McBane - Funny Travel Stories
    December 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I never went to Chitwan, despite being in Nepal for around eight months. I don’t really know why either. I would have loved to see a rhino, but I don’t think I would have gone for the elephant ride. I’m not a big fan of riding animals (more accurately, they don’t seem to be big fans of me riding them) and the way elephants are trained to prepare them for a life of service is pretty brutal.
    Daniel McBane – Funny Travel Stories´s last blog post ..Who Says Trekking in Nepal Has to Involve Lots of Walking?

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 23, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      @Daniel, yes there is a lot of controversy around whether these tourism elephant rides are good for the elephants

  • Reply
    December 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    You and your daughter have any plans to go to Nepal any time soon?

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      @Bishal Sadly this was a one-off trip, I’d love to visit Nepal myself some day but no plans in 2013

  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Most people do not realize how much elephants suffer during the domestication process and how harmful it is to ride in cages on their backs. Please everyone do thorough research before giving money to elephant trekking camps. Places that really care about the elephants well being do not offer elephants rides, or entertainment of any kind.

    Several articles to consider:

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 17, 2013 at 8:47 am

      @Cathy Thanks for your comment – I know there are divided views on whether it is right to use elephants for rides for tourists – I think that if you want to do this as a visitor it is important, as you say, to do a little research and ensure that you find the places that have the welfare of the elephant at heart

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