Life and Death in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath

In Kathmandu, death and funerals are very public, especially if you are a Hindu. On Saturday, we experienced this first hand while visiting the Hindu Temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River. Pashupatinath is where the Hindus of Kathmandu and larges parts of Nepal are cremated after death in a ceremony involving close family members and the general public. Ten bodies per hour may be cremated here, the bodies first being washed in the river by a close family member before being taken to a platform where wood and straw await. Families say their goodbyes and then …

Trip Report: Shivapuri National Park, Nepal

Shivapuri National Park, Nepal November 29, 2013. Total Species:59 Shivapuri National Park, located just north of Kathmandu, offers an excellent variety of high and lowland bird species. Because of its close proximity to the capital, Shivapuri is especially practical for individuals with time constraints. We were guided by local expert Shankar Tiwari, who is a human identification machine when spotting the birds high up in forest canopy. He is an excellent conversationalist and an engaging host. Entrance to Shivapuri National Park costs 250 Nepali Rupee per person. The pond located to the left of the park entrance at Shivapuri is …

Random Observations from Nepal

With the election over, we are finally free to travel again. Yesterday we visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, which is somewhat ironically located in a very Muslim part of Nepal. The world heritage site features temples erected by the many nations who practice Buddhism, including Austria! The Lotus Temple, erected by the Germans, was the highlight however. What a gem! • We have seen some hilarious knockoff brands. Our favorite so far being for Target, a general store here in Nepal. I took a horrible photo, please fee free to smile along with us. • Nepali people have the …

A Spot of Bother in Nepal

After departing Delhi, we headed East towards Nepal via Nainital, a small lake town in India’s Northwest. Letting the weather dictate our itinerary, we reasoned that heading to Nepal sooner than later would be a safe bet, in order to enjoy reasonably warm weather before winter sets in. This proved to be a wise decision, at least in the Western Terai region of Nepal where we have so far enjoyed warm temperatures in the mid 20s, albeit with very cool temps at night. Our goal: visit Nepal’s Western National Parks in the hopes of spotting one-horned rhino or perhaps a …

Delhi Belly- Great Food, Limited Visibility

Delhi was an experience! Bad, good, incredible, shocking, offensive, interesting and heartbreaking. Welcome to India! The sounds are overwhelming on the streets thanks to the incessant beeping of car horns. Whereas in Europe you would almost never hear a car horn, in Delhi not a second goes by without a honk! …. But we were very well fed. Random Observations from Delhi: Trusting people in Delhi is hard. You want to get close to the people, to speak and learn from them, but there are so many touts and cheats that this proves overwhelming. Service at our hotel was amazing. …

Big Cats! But Etosha Still Cheetahed Us

Big cats were on the agenda these last few days! Once again we popped the tent and headed out into Etosha National Park for three more nights, looking for lion, leopard and most especially cheetah. We saw the first two, but in the end the cheetah slipped through our fingers. I was, of course, inconsolable during the drive back to the farm on Friday. I hope we have more luck next week in India looking for tiger! Thursday was our big wow day. Twice we found ourselves in the path of passing elephants, the first time on the road east …

Mahango Find Some Exotic Birds!

Mahongo Reserve, part of Bwabata National Park, boasts Namibia’s highest bird count. The park is a true gem for independent travelers. Unlike Etosha, Mahango is very green. The park is fed by the Okavango River System and features large populations of elephant and hippo, as well as giraffe, zebra and various species of antelope. It even has the big cats, albeit in smaller numbers than in other parks. We spent two wonderful afternoons driving around the park, taking occasional breaks to rest in the shade, read, or take quick naps in the back of our pick up truck (the bakkie!). …

Smoke on the Water

Manu and I spent three wonderful nights camping at the Guma Lagoon in Botswana. This was the Okavango Delta experience that we were looking for, complete with crocodiles, hippos, elephants and a maze of channels leading to hidden lagoons, swamps and hippo pools. As evening closed in on the second day, Manu and I sat on the deck overlooking the lagoon, watching small trails of smoke in the distance while chucking to ourselves about the fire we had experienced at the farm during our first days in Namibia. While we spoke, the wind picked up, turning grey smoke signals into …