The tropical jungles of Nepal’s Terai preserve some of the best wildlife habitats of South Asia. A thrilling excursion into the deep forest to view such wildlife and natural atmosphere will be a remarkable experience of a lifetime. There are several exotic wildlife national parks and reserves teeming with diverse wildlife and exotic birds. Exploring them on Elephant, 4WD vehicle, dugout canoe or on foot with qualified naturalists is an amazing experience. Here you will find the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger, Marsh Mugger Crocodile, the rare one-horned Rhinoceros, four-horned Antelope, striped Hyena, Dolphin, hundreds of different bird species both local and migratory and much more!
Among several national parks & reserves Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve are the most accessible ones and worth visiting for your safari holidays.
Chitwan National Park (World Heritage Site)
Chitwan National Park is the first and most famous national park in Nepal, covering an area of 932 sq. km. Lying in the subtropical inner Terai (plain and lowland) to the southern part of central Nepal, the park was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. This park includes hilly areas of the Siwalik range covered by dense Sal forest and carpeted with grass, savannah and riverine vegetation. The park is home to 56 species of mammals, 49 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 525 species of birds. Besides the endangered species like the one-horned Rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal Tiger, there are 4 species of Deer, Gaurs, wild Elephants, four-horned Antelopes, Leopards, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Rhesus Monkeys, Langurs, Wild Dogs and many other smaller animals. Cobras, Kraits and Pythons are also found here. Gharials and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles caper in the river water.
Bardiya National Park
Situated in the Far-Western lowland of Nepal, Bardiya National Park is one of the largest and undisturbed wilderness areas in the Terai, covering an area of 968 sq. km. The park, a sub-tropical jungle, is densely forested with Sal trees and carpeted with grass, savannah and riverine vegetation. The Churia Hill Range borders the North, the Karnali River the West, while the Babai River cuts its course almost through the middle of the park. On the southern border are the villages of the indigenous Tharu people. Considered as one of the most picturesque national parks in Asia, the Bardiya National Park teems with rich and diverse flora and fauna. The park is home to more than 30 different mammals and 350 species of birds that make the park a true bird-watcher’s paradise.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (Ramsar Site)
The reserve, covering 175 sq. km of wetlands, was established in 1976 and designated as a Ramsar site in December 1987. It is the largest wetland site in Nepal, draining 7 major rivers from the great Himalayan belt into the Sapta Koshi River, a tributary of the Ganges. The vegetation of the reserve is mainly characterized by mixed deciduous riverine forest, grasslands and marshy vegetation. In the extensive wetlands, some 514 species of plants are found including Kapok, Sugarcane, Reed, Cattail, Imperata Cylindrica, Eel Grass, and species of Eichornia, Hydrilla, Azolla and Lotus. The reserve is habitat for over 280 species of birds recorded so far, including 20 species of Duck, Ibises, black-necked Storks, Indian Skimmer, Swamp Francolin, Herons, Egrets, Bengal Floricans, and many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal. Likewise, 200 species of Fish, 2 species of Toad, 9 species of Frog, 6 species of Lizard, 5 species of Snake, 11 species of Turtle as well as Gharial and Mugger Crocodile also inhabit the protected area.
One of the best ways of viewing the wildlife is atop an Elephant, a traditional way of exploring the jungle. You can see over the high grass and discover the animals there from the elephant’s back.
A 4WD drive through the jungle is popular among other wildlife activities since it provides more animal sighting opportunities that might be expected otherwise, because it goes deeper into the jungle, usually beyond the beaten track.
A jungle walk is certainly the most exciting way to see the wildlife. Exploring the area on foot is always best for watching birds, animals and plants.
Chitwan National Park and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, one of the most rewarding places in the world for spotting and study birds. The best way to explore and study the birds and their activities is to walk with an experienced nature guide.
Most canoe rides involve 1-2 hours of floating down the river in a dugout canoe. It is an experience that is unsurpassed. The canoe ride is not only the best way to view the riverside scenery, but also best for the sighting of crocodiles and other aquatic creatures.
Tharu Village Tour
The indigenous local people of Terai, the Tharu, have the dubious privilege of serving as an additional attraction alongside the rhinos and the tigers. A guided walk through the Tharu village along the road to the park boundary covers the culture, history and religion of the people.
Tharu Cultural Dance
A melodious tribal dance performed by men and women at the rhythm of drums and the clashing of sticks. The dance shows how to keep away the Rhinos and other wild animals from the human habitat and their farming land.
What to Bring?
Walking shoes, rubber sandals, modest swimwear, sunglass, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, personal medicines, flashlight, camera, binoculars, sweater and jackets (for winter: November-February) and cotton clothes for the evening (for rest of the months). The raincoat is recommended during the rainy season (June-August).