Adventures in Wayanad Wildlife Park
29.01.2009 - 29.01.2009 22 °C
We had great hopes for today having spent all yesterday travelling from Kochi up in the mountains to Sultanbatheri from where we would explore the Wayanad Wildlife Park today. Waking up in a modern featureless hotel devoid of any other toursits apart from ourselves we soon realised we might have chosen the wrong location from the guide book!
However we arranged a guide who took us in his jeep to the wildlife park. Outside the park we spotted our first monkeys, who appeared very friendly even jumping on to the jeep. Also saw a posionous 'Boa' snake, thankfully the guide saw it first as to us it just looked like a tree branch. The park is over 400 sqkm and apparently only has 10 tigers so the odds of seeing one where slim! Driving along the tracks we saw countless Spotted Deer which although nice where nothing special. The tour guide who came in our jeep kept saying 'Bambi, Bambi' every time a deer came in sight was a but disconcerting because the batteries in our camera were running out and we didnt really want to waste it on deer in case Tony the Tiger came along. We drove around all the watering/bathing holes that the elephants used but to no avail, there were signs of a tiger though with his fresh footprints in the sand. At this point we stopped and the guide went for a walk towards some rustling in the bushes, wasn't sure this was the best idea but we followed cautiously, and found nothing.
Towards the end of the trip the guide was informed of elephant movements ahead and we came across 7 elephants with a baby washing and drinking from a nearby lake. They can become very aggressive if you go near them so we kept 100m away and took some great photos. It was amazing to see elephants wild and free and just to watch them. On the way back we gave a lift to a disabled tribal woman, Gem had to sit in the back with her and she said she said scary red teeth.
In the afternoon our guide took us to some caves which although disappointing in themselves did provide us with some much needed exercise to climb to the top of the mountain they were on. The views on top were great as it was the highest mountain in Kerala (Everest won't be a problem!). To celebrate reaching the top we opened our pick'n'mix selection of Indian sweets. Unfortunately though we seemed to have bought giant spicy gobstoppers that we couldn't break, bring back Woolworths I say!
Sultanbatheri was definetly not on the tourist trail and made for a nice change to escape to a traditional mountain village.
More of Gem's silly facts, this time about elephants:
- Elephants travel in matriarchal packs, and gestate for 22 months
- Elephants can communicate over a distance of 50km
- Elephants can either be right-handed or left-handed
- Elephants can find their home, years after they've left
- Elephants know when they are close to dying and make their way to a river-bed for nature to take it's course
- Elephants bury their dead and grieve.