Travel Notebook

In Search of the One-Horned Rhino

Like glimpsing a mythical unicorn, the two times I have seen the rare and elusive one-horned Asiatic rhino in the wilds of Nepal’s Chitwan National Park were sublime and left an indelible imprint on my animal-loving traveler’s heart. Each time I saw the beauty of these prehistoric wonders up close, I was not only amazed by the beast itself, but reminded of the work, commitment and sacrifices others have made to allow the rest of us the opportunity to see them in the wild.

Recently, I devoured The Soul of the Rhino, given to me by a friend I met in Nepal, a frequent traveler to the country. I hadn’t yet found the time to read it and now, as I tore through it in two days, I cried, laughed and recited facts and figures that are presented in a highly digestible manner. I was immediately homesick for Nepal and taken right back in my mind to my visit to Chitwan National Park. The backdrop of the Himalayas, from almost sea level to the world’s highest peaks, doesn’t even seem real – it’s as if painted on a canvas. The park itself is a World Heritage-listed reserve and is also home to deer, monkeys, hundreds of bird species, leopards, elephants, sloth bears and the rare and royal Bengal tiger.

I could wax poetic for pages about the myriad reasons to visit Nepal – but having the chance to see one of the 600 one-horned rhinos left in that country, and neighboring India, is remarkable on its own. With Taj opening their new lodge in the area just over a year ago, there are now exquisite accommodations in the region – though, truth be told, I do love the barefoot comfort of some of the other lodges, like Kasara, that offer great access to Chitwan. There are opportunities to trek, to search for the one-horned rhino, to experience rural village life with the local Tharu people and so much more.

For a wildlife experience to Chitwan or greater Nepal, allow us to connect you with Ventours, our client who has been operating within the country for close to 30 years. And I wish you your own sublime moments as you hopefully meet one of the wildlife wonders of our world.