Our first excursion out of Bangalore landed us in Coorg this weekend. Coorg was a welcome change from the city life of Bangalore. Coorg is a smaller community up in the mountains with a rain forest feel. Our hotel was tucked up in the mountains surrounded by nothing but trees and fog, it was beautiful.
Our first outing in Coorg was to the Dubare Elephant Sanctuary. We took a boat across the Kaveri river to get to where the sanctuary was located. We pulled up to the island to see three huge elephants bathing in the water. The elephants were all sprawled out as their trainers gave them a thorough scrubbing. After their bath time they impressed the crowd with some tricks like blowing water out of their trunks onto us. One of the rebellious elephants wasn’t into command performances and let out a frightening noise I didn’t know an elephant was capable of making.
We then headed over to the feeding area where we could feed the elephants and touch them. I must say elephants are definitely not the most enjoyable animals to touch, but nonetheless it was incredible to be so close to them. We watched as the baby elephants stuck right next to their mothers sides trying to eat whatever scraps of food they could. The elephants made their way out of the feeding area to a more open area where guests could really get up close with these beasts. I must’ve pet 6 different elephants in this area and got some amazing pictures (one of which I’ve included below). I also got hit by a baby elephant’s tail which was surprisingly painful.
After the elephant experience, we headed back across the river to go rafting. I have been rafting once before in America and was unsure of how this experience would compare. I got to sit in the front row of our raft which was a thrill that I definitely welcomed. Some of my other raft mates were a little uneasy as we approached the first rapid but I assured them they would be fine (and that if they fell out they could take me with them). The first rapid was intense as we dodged branches and rocks, trying to listen to our guides instructions along the way.
We all survived our first rapid, thankfully. After floating in some calmer water for a while, a couple of us decided we wanted to take a dip. We launched ourselves out of the raft into the warm, muddy water. I would say we definitely started a movement because the rest of the group followed our lead and at one point we all found ourselves floating down the river in our life jackets. Getting back in the rafts was a part we didn’t necessarily think out so well. Our poor guide struggled to drag us all back in the raft. Eventually we got a strategy down and we all safely got back in. We did not find out until after our little swim that there are crocodiles in this river. Thankfully we all made it out without any crocodile bites!
We then tried what is referred to in the rafting community as “surfing”. Surfing basically is when everyone in the raft paddles against the current into the rapid, while one lucky individual is laying on the front of the raft looking into the rapid. Then at some point the raft will tip into the rapids waves and a huge wave will come over the person hanging off the front. I watched horrified as Liz was brave enough to try it first. It then became quite fun and we ended up going through 5 times with each person in the raft taking a turn up in front. I went last, as soon as the wave overcame me and I accidentally swallowed in way too much river water, I knew I was going to get sick. Sure enough, the next day I had a fever and sore throat. Still glad because I can now say I surfed the Kaveri river though!