I slept in Nepal close to the border and got a bus to Kathmandu in the early morning, but get out at Narayangarh where I took a local bus to Sauraha. I was actually the first in the bus and little wondering how long I should wait but the bus quickly started, stopped many times where more and more people were getting in so that it was completely overcrowded: I let my sit to a woman at some point and finally get out to finish on the roof! Nice ride!
I stayed in a nice resort in Sauraha but in the dorm, cheaper than a room in any other local place. Instead of taking the standard package “3 days 2 nights” where you have actually only one full day with many activities, I booked whole days “Jungle walk”. The tricky part there is you must pay a permit per day (Rs 1500) and must have 2 guides! (at least Rs 1000 each per day). And I was alone in my group. The first day taking the canoe down in the river, we saw many birds and crocodiles. We got out in a high grass place along the river where we saw a rhino! Again, I wanted to get closer than the guides told me. Walking deeper in the forest side, we saw later many deer pretty far and afraid of us and 2 other rhinos as well as other crocodiles and birds. The almost 1000 sq km park is supposed to host 503 rhino and 125 tigers. If I initially planned to go a full 2nd day deeper in the park to check for the tigers, I quickly understood it would be very unlikely to see one, my guide saw only 8 within the last 4 years! So the second day, we walked back to Sauraha along the park, avoiding to pay the permit again. We saw however many fresh tiger footprints, they more likely get out during the night. Before starting the safari, I checked for the cheapest guides in Sauraha to finally get some employees of the resort. A bad idea: the guides were very friendly and one quite good with a clean English but also very young (20!) so obviously they can’t have the experience of older guides! It played also a role in my decision to short cut the safari since I felt it would be difficult to track the tigers.
Another trigger was time: with this shortcut, I could take the bus to Pokhara in the next morning.