My love for elephants had only increased after playing with the baby at the Elephant Breeding Centre in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, and when I was told that I could go and watch the elephants going for their bath in the river, I jumped at the chance.
When we arrived at the river, there were a handful of other tourists there watching the half a dozen elephants in the water. They had their mahouts with them, who were taking them out into the water for a dip, while others lay on their sides closer to the bank, where they were being washed and scrubbed down. I was amazed at how calm and happy the elephants seemed, and the looks on their faces as they got scrubbed down seemed to be of pure pleasure.
The bank of the river where the elephants enter was a nice sandy beach, and I noticed a few tourists down there helping to wash the elephants. It was something that I definitely wanted to be apart of, and after asking one of the mahouts if I could come down to participate, he offered to let me ride on the elephant with him into the water!
Before I knew it I was being helped onto the back of the elephant, where I rode her bareback into the river. I couldn’t quite believe that I was actually on one of these magnificent creatures, touching her leathery skin and the coarse hair on her head.
She slowly wandered into the river, and as I sat there marvelling at her, she sucked up a trunk full of water and spurted it up all over me!
The Mahout joined me on the elephant and started talking to her, and before I knew it she shook her large body and we both went flying off into the water. With his help, I climbed back onto her back where she continued to spurt water up and throw us off. I could tell that she was thoroughly enjoying her self in the river, and I have to say it was a whole lot of fun!
After being thrown off a few more times, I suddenly remembered about the crocodiles that I had seen in the river earlier in the day, and thought that it was probably a good time to get out.
Once I had shaken myself off, I tipped the mahout, which I handed to the elephant, who then passed it on to him.
Bathing with the elephants in Chitwan National Park was one of the highlights of my trip to Nepal, and I think it’s a much better way to interact with these amazing creatures than by going on a trek. An elephant having a bath is a happy elephant.