What makes a jungle safari in Nepal so special? To answer this question, let’s look at the incredible places that make up this unique ecosystem. Two areas stand out in Nepal. Indeed, the world is exceptionally rich in biodiversity. The first is Chitwan National Park, and the second is Bardia National Park. Located in the south-central area of Nepal on the border with India, Chitwan National Park covers roughly 930 square kilometres. This sub-tropical paradise was established as the first national park in Nepal and was granted World Heritage Site status in 1984.
Abundant with an extreme amount of wildlife, this is one of the few places in the world to provide a habitat for the fabled Bengal Tiger. Though almost impossible to see, they are keeping your eyes and binoculars ready to catch a flash of this elusive creature is always a favourite activity. The other famous inhabitant of Chitwan National Park is the endangered One-horned Indian Rhinoceros. From the brink of extinction, the population has recovered progressively since 1973. They have also been translocated to Bardia National Park to protect the people and ensure their survival. Many other faunas are inside the park, including sloth bears, clouded leopards, otters, honey badgers, deer, monkeys, and many other species, too numerous to list here. The bird, fish, and reptile population is as varied as the park’s ecosystem. If you go far to the west of Chitwan National Park along the border between Nepal and India, you will come to Bardia National Park. Like Chitwan, it is just north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain in Nepal’s Terai ecosystem. The park covers almost 1000 km2 and, combined with the adjacent Banke National Park, spreads out over 2,200 km2 through subtropical forests and alluvial grasslands.
Along with the Bengal tiger, One-horned Rhinoceroses call this park home. However, one of the unique inhabitants of Bardia is the Gangetic Dolphin. This species is also endangered, but it may be possible to see if you decide to enjoy a river trip. Because this park has forests, and grasslands and is home to the Karnali-Babai river system, there is an incredible flush of wildlife to be seen here as well. So to answer the question, what makes a jungle safari in Nepal so unique? Brilliant wildlife, distinct ecosystems, and unforgettable adventures for everyone, regardless of your passion. Bird watchers, exploration seekers, and families will find many activities to provide memorable encounters. Here are some top favourite activities to whet your appetite for adventure.
- The premier way to experience this park is with elephants! Many have concerns about animal welfare, and these concerns are well placed, so researching who provides responsible treatment to these majestic creatures is essential. Several companies have now responded to these concerns and provided excellent opportunities to interact with elephants. In the past, riding on elephants was the norm. Still, because of the overwhelming evidence of the brutal methods used to accept riders on their backs of them, many companies offer chances to walk with them instead and watch them bat in the rivers.
- Some of your time might be spent on the park’s periphery, so cycling tours are fantastic for seeing the countryside and having cultural interactions with the Tharu farming communities.
- One of the most relaxing ways to experience the park and have to opportunity to press deeper into the heart of this diverse ecosystem is by canoe. Both the Rapti and Narayani rivers afford to view chances for all kinds of wildlife.
- Enjoy a wildlife walk with a licensed guide. The guide will provide you with the best places to view wildlife while giving you time for photos and enjoying the scenery.
- Bardiya National Park also has elephant encounter options. Again, it’s essential to do your homework for this adventure.
- A four-wheeled drive is an excellent opportunity to cover an immense amount of ground and see the diversity of this ecosystem. It is a perfect option, too, if you find yourself less desirous to be ambulatory.
- Rafting on the Karnali River can be an exciting way to explore the park. Take a day and enjoy nature’s highways.
Whichever park you choose and whatever activity suits your passions, please don’t forget a few essentials. You should get a complete list from the agency you book through for any specific needs for your tour. Here are a few things to get you started.
Packing Checklist Jungle Safari
- Bug repellent, something containing DEET, is best.
- Clothes: quick-dry t-shirt, quick-dry pants and shorts, bathing suit, underwear that’s easy to clean and dry quickly, one long sleeve light shirt, and for women, please keep in mind the cultural difference, so be aware modesty is essential.
- Rain jacket
- Hand sanitiser, toiletries, small camp towel
- Headlamp and extra batteries
- Sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat
- Sturdy well, broken-in walking shoes and flip flops
This is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a good start. So go out and explore a whole new habitat in a whole new way on your next vacation in one of the most incredibly diverse countries in the world!