On our return to Suda Farm through the bazaar, we could see signs of the protests that had taken place during the day. The highway was still blocked in one place, but a short detour took us around this and back to the sanctuary of the hotel.
The following day, we started our return journey by driving to Nepalgunj, where we spent a very comfortable three nights’ stay at the new Soaltee Westend Premier Hotel. The next day, we decided to go exploring East of Nepalgunj, where the Rapti River disgorges itself into India, in search of ruins from the 4th Century BC. We did not find any ruins, but did stumble across Kanchanpur Forest, a beautiful patch of greenery amidst picturesque villages. We returned early to the hotel to enjoy a sauna and a plunge in the very cold swimming pool.
The next morning we left after an early breakfast and drove to the Kohalpur office of Banke National Park. There we purchased our tickets, samosas and pakoras before continuing to Obari, the Park Headquarters, where we picked up Game Scout, Gopal Chand, who was to be our guide for the day. He proved to be an excellent guide and was very knowledgeable about the Park and related conservation issues. Infrastructure is still a work in progress, but there were sufficient roads to cover a lot of ground and appreciate the beauty of this lovely wildlife sanctuary.
We did not see many mammals, but mainly monkeys (Rhesus macaque and Grey Langur) and deer and quite a variety of birds and came across fresh leopard tracks on a river bank. What animals we did see had not yet become accustomed to seeing vehicles and fled at our approach, but this will change over time and the park looks set to become one of the finest wildlife tourism destinations in Nepal. There are a number of waterholes under construction and several machan towers have been built throughout the area. We thoroughly enjoyed our day out.