The Manas National Park is located at the border to Bhutan. It is different to Kaziranga because almost no tourist finds the way to this national park. We organized a jeep for a safari for the next morning. We already guessed that it might become a special day when we realized that we not only had a driver; we also had a guide and a guard with a rifle. Should we be so lucky to see a tiger in the wild? It should become an exciting trip which we always will remember.
We just entered the park when we saw a rhino only a few meters away from us. It was cold that morning. Covered in warm clothes we drove through narrow paths of the forest. With some luck we could also see elephants here but according to my guide book you have to be very lucky. From a watch tower we could see water buffalos and the majestic mountains of the kingdom of Bhutan. It was a peaceful morning. We had the park for us alone; only from time to time a national park guard crossed on his elephant our road. We drove deeper and deeper into the forest. Suddenly we took a path which you hardly can describe as a path. The jeep was now driving very slowly. The guard in the car prepared his rifle. I could smell the smell of animals. Our guide whispered: This is the area of the tiger. Several days ago we spotted here three tiger. My heartbeat went up. Damn, that’s exciting! I really feel the presence of the tiger. The breath stands still. Come on, where are you?
For now we couldn’t see any tiger. We continued a little bit disappointed but later we saw a seldom Himalaya Squirrel, monkeys and deer. Well better than nothing right? We crossed a dry river as the car stopped unexpectedly. “There look! Tigers!” the guide yelled. About hundred meters away from us in the dried river we could see three tiger! Wow! I took nervously my camera out of my pocket when the guide eventually mentioned “oh no. These are wild dogs… But they are very rarely as well!” We shouldn’t see any tiger this day.
We had breakfast at an idyllic spot close to the river which is in between India and Bhutan. Then we went back. For the last time we left the main road to look for wild animals. A good decision! While the rest of the car was with their thoughts already at home I spotted something grey in the forest. It was a big grey animal. No two! No three! Wild elephants! They went deeper into the forest when they heard the jeep breaking. We could barely see them now but we could hear the elephant calls from the forest. “That must be a group of elephants. Lets continue a little but, maybe we can see up there some more” proposed the guide. And he was right. Right next to the path we could see another three wild elephants. With a lot of force they took the leaves of the banana trees. We are watching wild elephants! How lucky we are! “Tooreee Toooreee” Some elephant calls from the other side of the road. “They elephants are calling each other. They must cross the road any moment” said the guide. The guard prepared his rifle. “Elephants with baby can be very dangerous. When they attack we should get out of here and as a last resort we have to defend ourselves.” I couldn’t breathe. How exciting! And then it happened. A young elephant came from the bushes, saw us and ran over the road followed by the mother elephant. That was only 50 meter away from us! The absolute highlight of the day! We were very happy to have seen that!