Sauraha’s Elephant Breeding Center

They must be doing something right at the Elephant Breeding Center because there were quite a few little elephants running around….some of them a little naughtier than others.

Baby elephant at Elephant Breeding Center, Sauraha, Nepal

This little guy wasn’t chained up and was “hamming it up” for all the visitors.

Chitwan Elephant Breeding Center follow the leader

Follow the leader.

The Elephant Breeding Center is a short bike ride from “downtown” Sauraha and it’s a pretty bike ride too…through rice paddies and traditional villages. A glimpse into Nepali life.

Nepal Chitwan Rice Paddy

Rice Paddy on the way to the breeding center.

Nepali Girl Feeding Chickens, Sauraha

Feeding the chickens.

GIrls at the river Chitwan

I have no idea what these girls were gathering, but they were at the river the entire time we were at the elephant breeding center.

And there is a fun bridge you get to cross too.

Bridge at the Elephant Breeding Center in Sauraha

The bridge crossing to get to the Breeding Center

If you’re planning on going to the breeding center make sure you go at feeding time. During the day the elephants head out to the fields to eat, collect feed, etc. I don’t even think they’ll let you in to the center outside of feeding time, so ask around about the schedule. I feel like we went in the late afternoon. It’s pretty fun to watch the babies eat….they get food everywhere.

Elephant breeding center feeding

Messy elephant!!! Food all over the place….just like a human baby.


A bike rental for a couple hours should only be a dollar or two (remember to bargain) and the entrance to the center is pretty cheap too…just a couple of bucks, but I don’t remember the exact amount.

Royal Chitwan Wildlife Safari

For some reason I thought being on a “safari” meant sitting on your ass with binoculars in hand…..”safari” in Nepal means something completely different…it means getting close to dozing rhinos (don’t worry if you’re upwind or is it downwind?), chasing after sloth bears (why are we running?) and napping in head high grass (are we baiting tigers with our own bodies?)….somehow I lost my ability to keep my own safety in mind. I’m sure our guides were perfectly capable of protecting us with their walking sticks.

Rhino Chitwan NP

Hello Rhino…we’re friends right?

Well…we picked the worst day of the year to go on safari….it poured, and I mean poured. We were soaked within minutes, maybe even seconds… and this was within the first hour. Apparently when it’s cool the animals don’t like to come out. Fortunately, this “friendly” rhino caught our attention when we were on our 2 hour canoe trip…we also saw a couple of spotted deer, a crocodile, and a handful of peacocks.


Spotted Deer at Chitwan National Park

Between storms we took breaks at a couple of different places….one was a viewing platform set high above the grass complete with sloth bear scat!!! Maybe it was from the same sloth bear we saw in the forest. Anyway, the sky eventually cleared and we were able to walk through the grass plains in search of animals.

Chitwan Elephants

A male elephant escaped form the Breeding Center, so we saw a few different groups of Park Rangers out with their elephants searching for him.

Although the Terai grasslands started to heat up in the afternoon sun, the animals weren’t coming out…and we searched high and low.

Chitwan Angie and Steve

We aired out our feet…

Our guide in a tree at Chitwan National Park

while our guide climbed a tree.

With no luck in the grasslands we headed back into the forest to search some more….then we went to the river to search some more….no tigers, but I was pretty thrilled to see all the other cool animals in the wild: rhino, sloth bear, peacocks, crocodiles and spotted deer.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of the sloth bear. Unfortunately it is hard to focus a camera while running though the forest at a moving target. Sloth bears are even more rare than tigers in the park…in fact, there are so few and they’re so elusive that they aren’t sure how many are still around. (NOTE: Sloth bear does not equal Sloth)

Red Cotton Bug at Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Red Cotton Bug

Rhino at Chitwan National Park, Nepal


Note: Headed to Royal Chitwan National Park? All the accommodation within park bounds is now closed. There are TONS of places for EVERY budget in Sauraha. We stayed at a cheapie called Wendy’s on the road into town for about $5/night for 3 people. Our room was definitely spacious, but was unbearably musty, but we didn’t spend much time in our room anyway.

Also: We booked our guides through the guide cooperative. We had two guides, both were very knowledgeable and the younger of the two had great eyes. He could spot animals from really far away.

Also, bring some money for a tip….the guides will suggest you tip the boatman (a couple hundred rupees will do) and if your guides do a good job, they’ll appreciate the extra money too.

Also, pack your Rain Jacket and make sure it is actually waterproof, my Nepali made “North Face” that I picked up in Pokhara after a mouse chewed through my Patagonia jacket held up surprisingly well, while Steve’s Columbia Jacket was soaked through within minutes. Be prepared for mud and puddles too. All of our boots held up pretty well….our feet got wet, but it was from the rain running down our legs and filling our shoes from the top….wish I had rain pants too…lol.