trekking in Nepal : the water buffalo showdown

21 Feb

Well, I can officially scratch “getting charged by a water buffalo” off my list of things to do in this life. It was certainly less fulfilling than one would think. Let me set the scene for you: Shree (our guide), Ann, Brian and I were walking along the winding dirt path. It was another eight-hour trekking day (oy), so we were taking it slow to conserve energy. We followed Shree and his colorful flower walking stick while listening to him sing a song that went something like this…“sometimes trekking, sometimes dating, sometimes a donkey, sometimes a monkey”. I couldn’t really tell you what this meant, so take what you will from it.


Considering Shree was much more adept at maneuvering the narrow uneven rock strewn paths than the three of us, he quickly picked up speed and his singing began to fade. This was normal though. Everyone walked at their own pace and eventually we all ended up in the same place. We walked along talking about our families and life back in the states. Ann was quickly becoming my favorite.

A few minutes later, we spotted the sweetest looking family of water buffalos walking in a row behind us. At this point into our Nepali adventure, we had seen our fair share of water buffalo. They were a common occurrence on the busy streets of Kathmandu,  mostly they could be found basking in the hot sun on the corners of the streets. But up until this point, I had never seen a whole family of them. How cute! Ever the photographer, Brian had to stop and take photos of them.


(the above picture was taken by Ann)

We let Ann go ahead of us while Brian snapped away. The water buffalo inched closer and closer and I began to think…well, now what? What the fuck are we supposed to do when they reach us? The path was so narrow and they were so big. I didn’t like the equation one bit.

So, I asked Brian, “well, now what?”

Brian calmly said, “honey, go ahead to the opening on the path and pull off to the side”

For some reason I heard, “Run as fast as you can to an opening and hide.”

So that’s exactly what I did. I was almost laughing as I took off down the path. I mean I wasn’t really that scared of them. In all my other encounters with them they seemed so docile.

There I was running away from a family of water buffalo in the mountains of Nepal! Was this real life?! Such an adventure!

I turned around to share my laughter with Brian but quickly stopped when I saw the head water buffalo, who also happened to be the largest, running, or rather, charging down the narrow path towards us. Poor Bri guy didn’t know what was coming either, as he slowly packed up his camera bag.

So I screamed, “Brian, RUN!!!”

Brian turned around, quickly took the scene in and began running too. Now we were both running from the huge water buffalo and I thought…now what?

So, I screamed, “Now WHAT?!!?”

Brian screamed, “Jump in the bushes!!!”

So that’s just what I did. I jumped my ass into the prickly bushes and crouched down. Brian jumped in shortly after me, hitting me in the head with his massive metal tripod in the process, accidentally, of course. But man, did it only make matters worse. Not only was I terrified but I was also seeing spots.

The water Buffalo approached, locking eyes with Brian and me and I whispered, “I’m scared” and Brian whispered in my ear, “Shhh, act small.” So we both crouched down even smaller and turned our heads away from him.

“I mean you no harm buffalo. I mean you no harm buffalo. I mean you no harm buffalo”, I whispered to myself.


The buffalo walked past us slowly, turning his head every few seconds to make sure we hadn’t moved. He had put us in check. We didn’t move an inch until the whole family safely passed and then we let out a huge sigh of relief.

Brian’s first words were, “Why the hell would you run from them?!?!? Don’t you know that that makes them think you’re being aggresive??!!”

I don’t know, Brian. It just seemed like the best idea at the time”, I said softly

And then we both burst out laughing. We laughed so hard we began to cry.

Only in Nepal.


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12 Responses to “trekking in Nepal : the water buffalo showdown”

  1. barbarapotter February 21, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    That was so funny. I’d like to see you what you would do with the Ostrich here at the ranch…though…they are behind fences…so you are safe. Someone should have filmed that episode of the adventures of Kate and Brian.

  2. cravesadventure February 21, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Great Post – loving the captures, especially the last one – ha! Happy Thursday:)

  3. rachel February 21, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    HAHAHAHA!!!! My favorite Nepal post yet! “I mean you no harm.” I can just see it!!! SO hilarious 🙂 xoxo

  4. sophiaharcourt February 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Okay that is hilarious….you know now that you are all safe and sound. I also would not have found that running from them would have been seen as a sign of aggression. I could see them getting scared themselves and following suit but not hunting you down into a bush. Maybe for next time you could learn how to “moo” like this guy and scare them off: 😉

    • katemcclafferty February 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Ahahahaahha! Next time I am totally trying that instead!!

  5. amelie88 February 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Was that close up of the water buffalo taken while you were in the bush?!?! hahaha hilarious story yet I’m happy you and Brian are okay!

    • katemcclafferty February 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

      YES!!! Doesn’t he look angry?! It’s a pretty funny memory NOW:)

  6. michelle February 22, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    haahaa Love it Kate, couldn’t stop laughing reading it although I’ve heard the story.

  7. Shambhu Thapa June 18, 2013 at 3:32 am #

    What Is a Trek?

    Whether you begin your trek at a road head or fly into a remote mountain airstrip, a large part of it will be in the Middle Hills

    region at elevations between 500 and 3000 meters. In this region, there are always well-developed trails through villages and across

    mountain passes. Even at high altitudes there are intermittent settlements used during summer by shepherds, so the trails, though

    often indistinct, are always there. You can easily travel on any trail without the aid of ropes or mountaineering skills. There are

    rare occasions when there is snow on the trail, and on some high passes it might be necessary to place a safety line for your

    companions or porters if there is deep snow. Still, alpine techniques are almost never used on a traditional trek. Anyone who has

    walked extensively in the mountains has all the skills necessary for an extended trek in Nepal.

    Some treks venture near glaciers, even cross the foot of them, most treks does not allow the fulfillment of any Himalayan

    mountaineering ambitions. Nepal’s mountaineering regulations allow trekkers to climb 18 specified peaks with a minimum of formality,

    but you must still make a few advance arrangements for such climbs. Many agents offer so-called climbing treks which include the

    ascent of one of these peaks as a feature of the trek. There are a few peaks that, under ideal conditions, are within the resources

    of individual trekkers. A climb can be arranged in Kathmandu if conditions are right, but a climb of one of the more difficult peaks

    should be planned well in advance.

    Trekking in nepal take you through a country that has captured the imagination of

    mountaineers and explorers for more than 100 years. You can meet people in the mountain villages whose lifestyle has not changed

    still in generations. Most people like and trust foreigners. Nepal is in-depended country.

    Adventure Holidays in nepal
    Many of the values associated with a hiking trip at home do not have the same importance during a trek in Nepal. Isolation is

    traditionally a crucial element of any wilderness experience but in Nepal it is impossible to get completely away from people, except

    for short times or at extremely high elevations. Environmental concerns must include the effects of conservation measures on rural

    people and the economic effects of tourism on indigenous populations. Even traditional national park management must be adapted

    because there are significant population centers within Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) and Langtang national parks.

    The Himalaya are extended from eastern India Assam west to Afghanistan. It is a chain of the highest mountains on earth and it

    covers a region of deep religious and cultural traditions as well as an amazing diversity of people. Trekking in Nepal is a special mountain experience.

    Adventure Trip in nepal Villages embrace many ethnic groups and cultures. The

    terrain changes from tropical jungle to high glaciated peaks in only 150 km. From the start, the towering peaks of the Himalaya

    provide one of the highlights of a trek. As your plane approaches Kathmandu these peaks appear to be small clouds on the horizon. The

    mountains become more definable and seem to reach impossible heights as you get closer and finally land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport.

    • jack (@vishanets) September 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

      Hi thank you for sharing this story with us, very nice post and it is a rain drop post and I would like to tell you one thing, do you really need a guide to trek in Nepal?
      Basically for doing famous trek like Everest, Annapurna Circuit, Sanctury…you really don’t need a guide……if you want you can hire easily consulting with any trekking agency.
      But if you are going for some not famous trekking trials have very less tourist. Then you need a guide. And enjoy the trekking in Nepal.
      I will suggest you if you finish your journey in Nepal please must go for Trek in India. I hope It will be awesome experience to you.


  1. Journey of transformation in Nepal: the fulfillment of a dream in the Himalayas · WWW.MINFOWIZ.COM - February 25, 2013

    […] } favorite things about trekking in Nepal : the groupThe Highs and Lows of Trekking in the Himalayastrekking in Nepal : the water buffalo showdown .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 […]

  2. check-in | - March 7, 2013

    […] in Nepal / Kathmandu / Patan / the monkey temple / Bhaktapur / trekking: the group / trekking: the water buffalo / trekking: the starry […]

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