We were without internet while in Bandipur National Park, so let me catch up here. We left Mysore in the morning and headed to Bandipur, but on the way, we stopped to have a little fun – Ben was swinging from the roots of the banyon! Ha.
We arrived in the national park on Tuesday a spent two days there in the wild. On our first night there, we went on a jeep safari ride- just me, Ben, and our driver flying down the trails, he knew them well it seemed. It was a bumpy ride for the whole two ours, but well worth it. We saw peacocks, bison (known as gaur here), spotted deer, Samba deer, two types of monkeys, and two wild elephants. Everyone must have been crossing their fingers and sending us good vibes because we saw a tiger! And I don’t mean off in the distance, we got up close and personal. Just at dusk when we were wrapping up the ride and giving up on the totally wild and rare chance of actually seeing a tiger, out comes a full grown male sauntering in front of the jeep. He moved slowly without much care of us being there, and walked along the jeep with us for about three full minutes before disappearing into the understory. He was majestic and awe-inspiring, and the driver turns around and tells us that we are very lucky; tigers are good luck.
The next day we go for a trek early in the morning and hike around the area. Bandipur has been described as dry and scrubby, but only as compared to neighboring parks. It is still lush and full of diverse plants and animals. Our guide gives Ben and I a few common names of plants, and we can recognize a few ourselves. Most of the understory is made up of lantana thickets. I have never seen so much lantana! A few other things catch our eye – flame of the forest, porterweed, and large bamboo stands that tower over everything else.
On Thursday, we are off to Mudumalai National Park, maybe about an hour drive from Bandipur.