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Nepal National Parks Information

General Information
Langtang National Park
Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
Mustang Conservation Area
Royal Chitwan National Park
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Shey-Phoksundo National Park
Parsa Wildlife Reserve
Rara National Park
Royal Bardia National Park
Khaptad (Baba) National Park
Royal Suklaphant Wildlife Reserve
Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area
The Annapurna Conservation Area
Manasalu Conservation Area
Kanchanjunga Conservation Area

General Information

Nepal is a land of extreme contrasts in climate and geography, It has a unique topography ranging from lowlands with sub-tropical jungles to arctic conditions in the Himalayan highlands. Within a mere 150 kilometers the land rises from near sea level in the south to over 8000 meters in the North. This, together with the monsoon rainfall along the south facing slopes, has resulted in compacting virtually all climate zones found on planet Earth. As a result, Nepal has been endowed with a great diversity of life-zones providing a home for a large variety of plants, birds and animals.

The Terai lowlands are defined by a belt of well-watered floodplains stretching from the Indian border northward to the first slopes of the Bhabhar and the Siwalik Range. This is the richest habitat in the land with tall grasslands interspersed with riverine and hardwood sal forest . Here one can see wildlife such as the swamp deer, musk deer, black buck, blue bull, the royal Bengal tiger, gharial and marsh mugger crocodile and the last of a breed of Asiatic wild buffalo. This area is also rich in birdlife with a variety of babbles and orioles, koels and drongos, peacocks and floricans, and a multitude of wintering wildfowl. There are five protected areas in Nepal - Koshi Tappu and Parsa in the east, Sukla Phanta and Dhorpatan for hunting in the west and Shivapuri in the. mid-mountain region. The Churia, also known as the. siwalik, is the southern most range of the Himalaya. No where do they rise above 1,220 meters, This range is famous for fossil deposits of Pleistocene mammals, among them 10 species of elephants, 6 rhinoceros, hippopotamus, saber-toothed cats, various antelopes and primates such as the orang-utan, long extinct in the subcontinent, Situated north of the Churia are broad, low valleys of the inner Terai know as the Doons. These valleys are not unlike the outer plains with tall elephant grass, swamps and ox-bow lakes where the last of the one-horned rhinoceros survive. Royal Chitwan National Park in the Inner Terai of central Nepal is the first and best protected area in the kingdom. Once one of the most famous big game hunting areas in Asia. Chitwan now offers protection to a large array of mammals such as the. one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, sloth bear and the gaur (wild bison) as well as more than 400 species of birds.

Higher in the north between 2000 and 3500 meters lies the Mahabharat Range with its oak crowned crests. The hills of this midland are covered by a moist temperate forest of deodar, oak, maple and birch in which are found deer, ghoral serow, leopard and monkey, The gorgeous multi-colored lmpeyan pheasant (Nepal's national bird) is also found here with other endangered birds like the koklas and Cheer Pheasants. Protected areas in this zone include Khapted National Park in the Far-West, Dhorpatan Hunting reserve, North-west of Pokhara and Shivapuri Wildlife Sanctuary near Kathmandu.

Higher still, nearer the snowline, are the alpine mountain flanks which are the haunt of snow leopard, which preys on blue sheep and the Himalayan tahr. Rarely seen are the wolf, black bears and lynx. The Sherpas, Manabga, and Dolpa-bas are some of those who farm and graze their livestock on the high mountain pastures. Langtang, Sagarmatha (Everest), Shey-Phoksundo and Rara National Parks are the protected high altitude areas of Nepal.

His Majesty's Government of Nepal has set aside more than 13,000 sq. kms of protected areas that include as many bio-geographic regions as possible to assure conservation of the maximum numbers of wildlife species. These nature sanctuaries attract wildlife enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world and each park and reserve has its own attraction.

All National Park and Conservation Area permits can be issued and paid for at the ACAP office in Thamel, Kathmandu. It is located in the basement of the Sanchaya Kosh Bhawan shopping centre on Tridevi Marg. Open 9am - 4pm, Monday to Friday. Remember to bring your passport along with you, as they require your details.

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Langtang National Park

Introduction:

Situated in the Central Himalaya, Langtang National Park is the nearest park to Kathmandu. The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Langtang was designated as the first Himalayan National Park in 1970-71, and was gazetted in March 1976. While the main reason for the park is to preserve the natural environment, an equally important goal is to allow local people to follow traditional land use practices that are compatible with resource protection.

Details About the Park:

  • Langtang National Park encloses the catchments of two major river systems. One draining west into the Trisuli River and the other east to the Sun Koshi River.
  • Some of the best examples of graded climatic conditions in the Central Himalaya are found here. The complex topography and geology together with the varied climatic patterns have enabled a wide spectrum of vegetation types. These include small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000 m) Oaks, chirpine, maple, fir, blue pine, hemlock spruce and various species of rhododendron make up the main forest species. Above these alpine scrub and grass give way to rocks and snow.
  • The variations in altitude and topography along with the existing forest cover (approx. 25% of the total area) provide habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur. The Trisuli-Bhote Koshi River forms an important route for birds on spring and autumn migrations between India and Tibet.
  • About 45 villages are situated within the park boundaries, but are not under park jurisdiction. In total about 3000 households depend on park resources, primarily for wood and pasture lands.
  • Culturally the area is mixed, the home of several ethnic groups . The majority of people are Tamang, an ancient Nepalese race. The Tamangs, traditionally farmers and cattle breeders, are especially well known for their weaving. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The Helambu area, immediately north of Kathmandu, has many scenic villages inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who emigrated from Tibet.
  • Over the centuries the dependence of people on natural resources has influenced the environment. Their settlements, cultivation patterns, livestock grazing, and daily use of resources which, in combination with the diversity of flora and fauna and views to the Ganesh Himal, make Langtang an attractive national park.

Seasons:

  • From mid-October to mid-December and from mid-February until mid-April the weather is usually clear but cold at higher elevations. From mid-April to mid-June, it is warm but often cloudy with thunder showers, spring flowers are at their best. Summer monsoon lasts until the beginning of October. During the winter months daytime temperatures are low and snow may occur even at low levels.

Tourist Attraction:

  • The Langtang Valley, which is reached from the road end at Dhunche or Sybrubensi, offers an opportunity to explore villages and gompas (monasteries) as well as glaciers, with magnificent views of the mountains.
  • Permission from the lamas must be gained before visiting any gompas and a small donation is expected.
  • The Langtang Valley is the most visited part of the park and for those who do not wish to camp, accommodation in lodges is available.
  • Gosainkunda, an area of high altitude lakes, is reached either from Dhunche or from Sundarijal in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit these lakes during Janai Purnima festivals in the month of August. Gosainkunda lake is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva.
  • Simple lodging is now available along the routes from Sundarijal and Dhunche to Gosainkunda. National Park fuel regulations are strictly enforced so fuel and camping gear must be carried.
  • Outstanding views to Langtang Lirung (7246 m) , Himal Chuli (7864 m) are visible from the trail. The route from Dhunche passes a Buddhist monastery, Sing Gompa.
  • An alternative route from the Langtang Valley to Kathmandu crosses the Ganja La pass (5106 m) This pass is difficult and dangerous when snow covered. It is generally open from April to November, but unusual weather can alter its condition at any time. Essentials for crossing the Ganja La are a tent, alpine equipment, food and fuel as well as guide who knows the trail.
  • The Helambu circuit, from Sundarijal to Tharepati, barely enters the national park but is nevertheless an interesting route passing through several Bhotia villages and without ascending to more than 3400 m. From this trail it is possible to connect with Gosainkunda and eastern parts of the park (Panch Pokhari).

How to Get There:

  • Public bus or taxi reach Dhunche (Park H.Q.) via Trisuli Bazaar from Kathmandu (approx. 7-8 hrs. ) A seasonal road reaches Syabrubensi.
  • Alternative routes from Kathmandu are public bus to Sundarijal or Melamchighat . From either point, trek through Helambu to Gosainkunda via Laurebina pass or cross Ganja La pass (5106m) to reach Langtang Valley .

Important Points:

  • Local customs should be respected and shorts for woman are not acceptable attire.
  • Only local people are allowed to cut limited wood for fuel. Visitors are required to use kerosene or similar liquid of gas fuel, purchased in Dhunche or outside the park. Please make sure your porters also use kerosene.
  • Mountain sickness can affect anyone and must be taken seriously. To allow your body to become acclimatized to high altitudes, do not ascend more than 300 m per day above 3000 m.
  • There are no medical facilities in the park. Carry a comprehensive first aid kit including medicines for intestinal problems and chest infections.
  • Bring sufficient warm clothing so that you do not have to rely on fires for warmth.
  • There is a park sub-office in Shermathang on the south/eastern boundary in the Helambu area.
  • The Park has two lodges in Langtang Valley: at Ghora Tabela and Kyanjin. Both are run on a concession basis.
  • There is a radio at the Park headquarters at Dhunche and at the guard post in Ghora Tabela. At the Yeti Guest House in Kyanjin Gompa there is a satellite phone which can be used in an emergency. Helicopter evacuation is possible, but not reliable, and is only arranged at the patient's expense.

Entry Fees into Langtang National Park:

The park Headquarters is at Dhunche, and a check post at Ghora Tabela. All visitors must stop at either place to pay an Entrance Fee, and are required to show your passport.

  • National Park Fees per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 1000
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Be sure to keep your Entry Permit as it might be checked later by the park guards.
  • Further information and advice is available at the park HQ. and Entrance Station.

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Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park

Introduction:

Sagarmatha National Park covers an area of 1148 square kilometers in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The Park includes the highest peak in the world. Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest 8848 m.) and several other well known peaks such as Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamerku, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachyung Kang.

As Mt. Sagarmatha and the surrounding area is of major significance not only to Nepal but to the rest of the world, its status as a national park since 1976 is intended to safeguard its unique cultural, physical and scientific values through positive management based on sound conservation principles.

Geology:

  • According to the continental-drift theory, the Himalaya were uplifted at the end of the Mesozoic Era, some 60 millions years ago. The resulting young mountains of this region are still rising and the net growth is a few centimeters per century.

Vegetation, Wild Animals and Birds:

  • Vegetation in the park varies from pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods at mid-elevations, scrub and alpine plant communities higher up and bare rock and snow above tree line. The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during the spring (April and May) although much of the. flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August). .
  • The wild animals most likely to be seen in the park are the Himalayan tahr, goral, serow, musk deer and Himalayan black bear. Other mammals are weasels, martens. Himalayan mouse hare (Pika), jackals and langur.
  • The park provides a habit for at least 118 species of birds. The most common birds to be seen are the Impeyen pheasant (the national bird of Nepal), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, jungle crow, red billed and yellow billed coughs and snow pigeon. Fairly common birds are the Himalayan griffon, lammergier, snow partridge, skylark and many others.

Seasons:

  • The summer climate is cool and wet and winter is cold and dry. Almost all of the annual precipitation, averaging less than 1000 mm, falls during the summer monsoon, from end of May to September. Climatically, the best time to visit the park is between October and May, except for December to February when, daytime temperatures often drop below 0 C and there is heavy snowfall.

Local Inhabitants:

  • The park is populated by approximately 3000 of the famed Sherpa people, originating from Tibet in the late 15th or early 16th century A.D. Their lives are interwoven with the teaching of Buddhism. The main settlements are Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Khunde, Thame, Thyangboche, Pangboche and Phortse. There are also temporary settlements in the upper valleys where the Sherpas graze their livestock during the summer season.
  • The economy of the Khumbu Sherpa community has traditionally been agriculture, livestock herding and trade with Tibet. With the coming of international mountaineering expeditions in the 1950s, the region also attracted larger numbers of foreign trekkers. Today the Sherpa economy is becoming increasingly dependent on tourism.

How to Get There:

  • Fly in and out of Lukla, followed by 15 days walk.
  • Bus to Jiri and trek for 21 days, flying back to Kathmandu from Lukla.
  • Fly in and out of Phaplu and trek for 16 days.
  • Fly in to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu and a 10 day walk to the park.

Important Points:

  • There are trekker lodges with food available in places like Namche Bazaar, Thyangboche, Pheriche and Lobuche and along most of the main trekking routes the small villages have basic accomodation.
  • There is the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) at Pheriche which has medical facilities and also accepts credit card as payment.
  • The National Park ranges from 3000 m to 8000 m and above in altitude. Visitors need to be careful and aware of High Altitude sickness (HAS). Do not climb to fast or too high in one day, no more than 400 m in a day. Signs of HAS include: headache, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite, nauseousness and general tiredness.

Entry Fees into Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park:

At Monjo there is the Sagarmatha National Park enterance station where you will have to show your passport and pay a National Park fee.

  • National Park fee per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs1000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Introduction:

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve lies in Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung Districts in the Dhaulagiri Himal range in West Nepal. Putha, Churen and Gurja Himal extend over the northern boundary of the reserve. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve was established in 1983 and was gazetted in 1987. Management objectives of the reserve allow sports hunting and preserve a representative high altitude ecosystem in West Nepal

Details About the Reserve:

  • The reserve extends over an area of 1325 sq. km and is the only hunting reserve in the country to meet the sports hunting needs of Nepalese and foreign hunters of blue sheep and other game animals. The higher elevations remain snow-capped throughout the year. Altitudes vary from 3000 m. to more than 7000 m. The flat meadows above tree line (4000 m), locally known as Patan, is divided into six blocks for hunting management purposes.
  • The reserve is surrounded by villages on all sides except the north. Local people depend on the reserve to meet their requirements for wood, fuelwood, fodder, and pasture. The refugee camp near the reserve headquarters has put more human pressure in the forest. Every year livestock grazing activities begin from February and last until October. More than 80,000 livestock enter the reserve.
  • The majority of people belong to the Mongoloid race, including Magar. Thakali, and Gurung, Amalgamation of different ethnic groups has resulted in a mixed pattern of cultures.
  • Dhorbaraha, a Hindu religious place on the banks or Uttarganga River near Dhorpatan, is in Fagune bloc. Every year on the day of "Janai Purnima" in August, a religious fair is held here which is attended by many local devotees. The magnificent view of Dhaulagiri Himal from Barse. Dogari and Gustung blocs are exceptional. Snag and Sundaha bloc are rich in wild animals.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

  • The reserve is characterized by alpine, sub-alpine and high temperate vegetation. Common plant species include fir, pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper and spruce. Pasturelands occupy more than 50% of the total area of the reserve at higher elevations.
  • The reserve is one of the prime habitats for blue sheep, a highly coveted trophy. Other animals found are : leopard, goral, serow, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bears, barking deer, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur and mouse hare.
  • Pheasants and partridge are common and their viable population in the reserve permits controlled hunting.
  • Endangered Animals in the reserve include Musk deer, Wolf, Red panda, Cheer pheasant and Danphe.
  • A hunting license is issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife conservation.

Seasons:

  • The monsoon lasts until the beginning of October. Day time temperatures are very low during winter due to strong winds. Higher elevations remain covered by cloud in the morning, later cleared by the wind. Snow may occur even at low elevation until early April, however, it soon melts. The best time to visit the reserve is March-April.

How to Get There:

  • Public bus service is available from Kathmandu to Tansen and Tamgash Gulmi from where the reserve HQ. is a three day walk via Burtibang.
  • Flight service reaches Baglung from Kathmandu and Pokhara. The reserve HQ. can be reached in 4 days walk from Balewa, Baglung.
  • A public bus can be taken to Baglung from Pokhara followed by a 4 day walk via Baglung Beni-Darbang-Lumsum and Jaljala to reach Dhorpatan.
  • A helicopter charter may be available on request from Kathmandu.

Some Important Points:

  • Local people are allowed to collect limited quantities of fuelwood for their use. Visitors are requested to be self-sufficient with fuel before entering the reserve. Since no medical facilities are available in the reserves, it is suggested that visitors carry a comprehensive first-aid kit including medicines for intestinal disorders. Two hotels/lodges catering simple Nepali foods are located at Chhyantung near Dhorpatan.

Entry Fees into Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve:

  • Reserve fee per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years free

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Mustang Conservation Area

Introduction:

In March 1992, the 'forbidden' kingdom of Mustang was opened to the outside world. Now, for the first time in recent history, foreign travelers are able to visit La Manthang, the seat of an ancient kingdom dating back to the 15th century. The Kingdom of La is situated along the north central border of Nepal north of the main range of the Himalaya's in the upper reaches of Mustang District. Lo and the area directly to its south, called Baragaon, which both fall within Upper Mustang, can be claimed as one of the most outstanding areas of the Himalaya.

The people of Upper Mustang are called Bhotias and those from Lo are called Lobas. They speak various dialects of Tibetan. Historically, their art and culture flourished due to contact with traders, monks and religious masters passing between Tibet and India, or between Ladakh and Bhutan.

The climate and geography of Upper Mustang are nearly identical to those of Western Tibet and as such, they are dramatically different from the temperate and tropical areas of the south side of the Himalayas. The dry, wind swept ecology of this Trans-Himalayan region is extremely fragile. Fuel wood is virtually non-existent, water is scare, the agricultural land yields insufficient food grains and the marginal and grasslands support only limited numbers of livestock and wildlife. With the influx of tourists, the already pressured desert environment risks further degradation.

In addition, although the culture has flourished in contact with other religious and cultural centers of the Himalayas, its sudden exposure to other worlds beyond its high plateau may create a negative impact on the society.

In order to keep the destructive environmental and cultural impact of tourism in Upper Mustang to an absolute minimum, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to develop the area as a model eco-tourism area.

The Ministry of Tourism, has proposed that part of the revenue generated from trekking royalties to Upper Mustang, US$700 (per person) for 10 days and US$70 (per person) for each additional day, be earmarked for use in UMCDP to sponsor environmental and cultural preservation efforts and community development works. An Upper Mustang Development Fund has been established with the financial support of the Ministry of Tourism and the American Himalayan Foundation, to raise the living standard of the people living in Upper Mustang area. The main aim is to carry out development activities in the remotest villages. UMDP's areas of operations are centered around agriculture, animal husbandry, health and education.

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Royal Chitwan National Park

Introduction:

Royal Chitwan National Park stands today as a successful testimony of nature conservation in South Asia. This is the first national park of Nepal established in 1973 to preserve a unique ecosystem significantly valuable to the whole world. The park covering a pristine area of 932 sq. km is situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of southern central part of Nepal. The park has gained much wider recognition in the world when UNESCO included this area on the list of World Heritage Site in 1984.

Formerly, the Chitwan valley was well known for big game and was exclusively managed as a hunting reserve for the Rana Prime Ministers and their guests until 1950. In 1963, the area south of Rapti was demarcated as a rhinoceros sanctuary. In 1970, His late Majesty King Mahendra had approved in principle the creation of Royal Chitwan National Park.

The park consists of churia hills, ox-bow lakes, flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Churia hill rises gradually towards the east from 150 m to over 800 m. The lower but most rugged Someshwor hills occupy most of the western portion of the park. The flood plains of Chitwan are rich alluvial. The park boundaries have been delineated by the Narayani and Rapti rivers in the north and west, and the Reu river and Someshwor hills in the south and south-west. It shares its eastern border with Parsa Wildlife Reserve.

Vegetation and Animals:

  • The Chitwan valley is characterized by tropical to subtropical forest. 70% of park vegetation is predominantly Sal ( Shorea robusta ) forest, a moist deciduous climax vegetation type of the Terai region. The remaining vegetation types include grassland (20%), riverine forest (7%) and Sal with Chirpine ( Pinus roxburghii ) (3%), the latter occurring at the top of the Churia range. The riverine forests mainly consists of khair, sissoo and simal. The simal is with spiny bark when young and develops buttress at the bottom in older stage. The grasslands form a diverse and complex community with over 50 species. The Sacchrum species, often called elephant-grass can reach 8 m in height. The shorter grasses such as Imperata is useful for thatch roofs.
  • There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. The park is specially renowned for the protection of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, gharial crocodile along with many other common species of wild animals. The estimated population of endangered species of animals such as gaur, wild elephant, four horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard and python, etc.
  • Some of the other animals found in the park are samber, chital, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, common leopard, ratel, palm civet, wild dog, langur, rhesus monkey, etc.
  • There are over 450 species of birds in the park. Among the endangered birds found in the park are Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, black stork and white stork, Few of the common birds seen are peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. The best time for bird watching is March and December.
  • More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the park and some of which are marsh mugger crocodile, cobra, green pit viper and various species of frogs and tortoises.
  • The park is actively engaged in the scientific studies of several species of wild flora and fauna.

Seasons:

  • The park is under the tropical monsoon climate with relatively high humidity. The winter, spring and monsoon are the three main seasons. The cool winter season occurs from October to February. The spring begins in March and is soon followed by summer that ends in early June. The summer days are typically hot with 30 C on average day temperature. The monsoon usually begins at the end of June and continues until September. The mean annual rainfall is about 2150 mm and during this time of the year rivers are flooded and most of the roads are virtually closed.

How to Get There:

  • The park is accessible by car or bus on the Kathmandu-Mugling-Narayanghat Highway and or through Mahendra Rajmarg Highway from Hetauda. It is about 6 hour's drive from Kathmandu to Narayanghat. Local buses are available to Tadi Bazar which is about an hour drive form Narayanghat. A 6 km walk or bullockcart ride brings the visitors to Sauraha, the park entrance. Also air services from Kathmandu to Meghauli for US$82 each way and Bharatpur US$65 each way are available. Local buses are available form Narayanghat to Park HQ. Kasara.

Park Facilities:

  • Display Center, Kasara
  • Library at Kasara Sauraha
  • Visitor Center, Sauraha
  • Machans (View tower)

Activities:

  • Elephant ride
  • Canoeing
  • Guided jungle walk
  • Terai culture
  • Wildlife breeding projects
  • 4WD safaris

Enrty fees into Royal Chitwan National Park:

  • National Park entry fee per person per day:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC NAtionals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Elephant ride for about 2 hrs. - Rs 550 - (Nepali's Rs 100)
  • Fishing permit - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Camping per night per person - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Guided jungle walk - Rs 250/400 for half day/full day - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Canoeing - Rs 230 per person
  • 4WD safari - Rs 650 per person
  • Gharial crocodile breeding centre - included in the park entrance fee
  • Elephant breeding centre - included in the park entrance fee
  • Lodges offer all-inclusive packages for 2 to 4 days for those who want everything pre- organised by the lodge guides.

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Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Introduction:

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies on the flood plain of the Sapta-Koshi in Saptri and Sunsari Districts of eastern Nepal. The area is defined by the eastern and western embankments of the river.

Koshi Tappu Reserve, gazetted in 1976, was established mainly to preserve habitat for the remaining population of wild buffalo in Nepal.

Details About the Reserve:

  • Koshi Tappu is a rectangular shaped reserve, approximately 10 km wide and 10 km long, stretching northward from the Nepal/India border along the Sapta Koshi River. The Sapta Koshi is one of the three main tributaries of the Ganges.
  • Because of its destructiveness during monsoon floods and attempt has been made to control the waters by constructing 7-10 m high embankments parallel to the river. These prevent lateral spread of the enormous monsoon flow. Control gates at the Koshi Barrage on the border with India act as a dam and also contain the river.
  • Rapid and complete inundation of the reserve to depths ranging from 10 to 300 cm occurs during the monsoon. The river also changes its main course from one season to another.
  • The vegetation is mainly tall khar-pater grassland with a few pater grassland with a few patches of khair-sissoo (Acacia catechu-Dalbergia sissoo) scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverine forest.
  • The reserve offers important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The last surviving population (about 100 individuals) of wild buffalo or arna (Bubalus arnee arnee) are found here. They are distinguished from domestic animals by their much bigger horns. Other mammals occurring here are hog deer, wild boar, spotted deer and blue bull.
  • The reserve also assists the local economy by providing fishing permits and allowing the collection of edible fruits and ferns in season.
  • A total of 280 different species of birds have been recorded in the reserve. These include twenty species of ducks, two species of ibises, many storks, egrets, herons and the endangered swamp partridge and Bengal florican. The Koshi Barrage is extremely important as a resting place for migratory birds and many species recorded there are not seen elsewhere in Nepal.
  • The endangered Gharial crocodile and Gangetic dolphin have been recorded in the Koshi river.
  • Local villagers are permitted to collect grasses from within the reserve in January each year. These are used for thatching roofs and building house walls. Because of intensive agriculture the grasses can no longer be found outside the reserve. An estimated us $250.00 worth thatch grass was removed during January 1987.

Tourist Attraction:

  • The best time to visit Koshi Tappu is between October and March when many migratory and resident birds can be seen at the barrage and on the main river channel. Several Himalayan peaks including Makalu (8475 m) the worlds fifth highest mountain, can be seen during this period of cooler clear weather.
  • The trail along the eastern embankment of the reserve provides places to observe birds and at dusk and dawn some of the resident animals.
  • The government Hattisar (elephant stable) at Koshi Tappu has the distinction of biding one of the few facilities in Asia where elephants breed regularly. His Majesty's Government maintains eight female elephants. A semi-wild male, named Ganesh Maharaj by locals, frequently visit and mates with the females, producing a total of nine youngsters so far. Ganesh Maharaj, named after the Hindu God, is considered sacred by local people. Visitors can arrange elephant rides into the reserve from the Reserve Headquarters.
  • Baraha Chhetra, located 5 km north of Chatara, is the site of an annual religious festival and is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.

Seasons:

  • The region of Nepal experiences three distinct seasons. Summer lasting from February through May is intensely hot with minimal precipitation. Shade temperatures can reach 40 C. The monsoon commences late May or early June with frequent and violent thunderstorms. Rainfall is greatest during July but high humidity and temperatures are experienced throughout the season. Winter lasts from October through January with unclouded skies and moderate temperatures.

How to Get There:

  • Buses leave daily from Kathmandu for Kaakar-Bhitta and Biratnagar. Visitors need to get off just before Laukhi and walk 3 km to the Reserve Headquarters at Kusaha. The road to Kusaha is marked by a signboard on the main road.
  • Royal Nepal Airline Corporation also operates a daily air service between Kathmandu and Biratnagar. Visitors flying to Biratnagar will need to travel by bus to the reserve entrance shortly after Lauki.

Entry fee into Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:

The Reserve Headquarters and entrance building are at Kusaha. All visitors must stop here to pay an entrance fee.

  • Wildlife Reserve entry fee per person per day:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Elephant ride per hour - Rs 1000 - (Nepali's Rs 100)
  • Fishing permit - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Camping per night per person - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Motor vehicle drive - Rs 100
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Entry permits should be kept in case they need to be checked by the Reserve Guards.
  • A small lodge at Kusaha is available for use by tourists and there is a small canteen where snacks and cold drinks can be purchased.

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Shey Phoksundo National Park

Introduction:

Shey Phoksundo National Park is situated in the mountain region of Western Nepal, covering parts of Dolpa and Mugu Districts. Gazetted in 1984, it is the largest national park in the country with an area of 3555 sq. km. The main objectives of the park are to preserve the unique trans-Himalayan ecosystem with its typical Tibetan type of flora and fauna and to protect endangered species such as the snow leopard and musk deer.

Much of the park lies north of the Great Himalayan Range. Kanjiroba Himal lies at the southern edge of the trans-Himalayan region of the Tibetan plateau. The high Dolpa plateau in the northeast of the park is drained by the Langu (Namlang) River. The southern catchment of the park is drained by the Jugdula and Suligad Rivers, which flow south and drain into the Bheri River. Nepal's second largest lake, Phoksundo, lies at 3660 m in the upper reaches of Suligad.

Vegetation and Animals:

  • The vegetation found in the park is diverse due to the influence of two different micro-climates. The southern river valleys along Suligad contain luxuriant forests mainly comprising blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch. The Jugdula River valley consists mostly of Quercus species. The trans-Himalayan area has a near-desert type vegetation comprising mainly dwarf juniper and caragana shrubs.
  • The park provides prime habitat for snow leopard and blue sheep. The blue sheep are mainly concentrated around Shey Gomba and Dolpo. Other common animals found in the park are: goral, Himalayan tahr, serow, leopard, wolf, jackal, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten and langur and rhesus monkeys.
  • The park is equally rich in birds. The commonly seen birds are Impeyan pheasant (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, red and yellow-billed choughs, raven jungle crow, show partridge and many others.

Seasons:

  • Spring season (March-May) usually has fine weather although high passes still remain covered with the winter snow. Being located behind the main Himalayan range, the park is little affected by monsoon rain from June until September and weather usually remains clear. The alpine flowers are at their best color during the months. The winter temperatures drop below 0 C. Occasional heavy snowfall in mid-winter closes the trails for several days.

Local Communities:

  • There are several settlements in the park, totaling an approximate population of 2000. The peoples lifestyle and culture are still strongly reminiscent of Tibet. Local inhabitants believe in the Buddhist religion but the community of Phoksundo area practices Bon, a pre-Buddhist sect. Almost all villages have their own communal gompas.
  • The local economy is heavily based on agriculture, growing mainly potatoes, buckwheat, mustard, beans and some barley. Animal husbandry is a main source of food and wool for weaving clothes. Trading is done with Tibet, exchanging food grains for salt and wool.

Tourist Attraction:

  • Shey is interesting for religions and wildlife. Phoksundo Lake also known as Ringmo Lake, it is the most interesting site of the park. The lake is drained by a waterfall from a height of nearly 150 m making it the highest waterfall in the country.
  • There are a few Buddhist monasteries near the lake in Ringmo and Pugmo villages.

How to Get There:

  • The easiest and shortest route to reach the park is to fly to Juphal airstrip in Dolpa from Nepalgunj or Pokhara. From there, it is an easy one day walk to reach the park guardpost at Suligad and three days walk to reach park HQ. at Sumduwa.
  • Alternate routes are to fly to Jumla and trek about 10 days to the Phoksundo and Shey areas.. An adventurous route begins in Dhorpatan crossing several high passes before reaching Dunai, the District HQ. of Dolpa.

Important Points:

  • Flora and fauna are fully protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Visitors should be self-sufficient in fuel supply entering the park. Use of firewood is strictly prohibited.
  • Rubbish must be buried or disposed of in a designated place.
  • Movement in the park between sunset and sunrise is prohibited.

Entry fees into Shey Phoksundo National Park:

All visitors must pay a park entry fee at Ankhe guard post of park HQ.

  • Natrional Park fees per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 1000
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Be sure to keep your entry permit as it might be checked later by park personnel.

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Parsa Wildlife Reserve

Introduction:

Parsa Wildlife Reserve was established in 1984 with an area of 499 sq. km. It occupies part of Chitwan, Makwanpur, Parsa and Bara Districts in Central Nepal. The reserve headquarter is situated at Adhabar on the Hetauda-Birgunj highway (22 km south to Hetauda and 20 km north to Birgunj).

The dominant landscape of the reserve are the Churia hills ranging from 750 m to 950 m, which run east-west. The soil is primarily composed of gravel and conglomerates making it very susceptible to erosion. The hills present a very rugged face with numerous gullies and dry stream beds. As the foothills are very porous, water flows underground and surfaces at a distance of about 15 km from the hills base.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

  • The forest is composed of tropical and subtropical forest types with sal (Shorea robusta) forest constituting 90% of the vegetation. In the Churia hills chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) grows and along the streams and river khair (Acacia catechu), sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo) and silk cotton tree (Bombaxceiba) occur. Sabai grass (Enlaliopsisbinata), a commercially important grass species, grows well on the southern face of the Churia hills.
  • The reserve supports a good population of resident wild elephant (Elephas maxinuts), tiger (Pantheratigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinnus), garu (Bos gaurus), blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus) and wild dog (Cuon alpinus). Other common animals are sambar (Cervus unicolor), chital (Zxis asis), hog deer (Axis porcinus), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjac), langur (Presbytes entellus), rhesus macaques, striped hyena (Hyena hyena), ratel, palm civet and jungle cat.
  • There are nearly 300 species of birds in the reserve. Giant hornbill, one of the endangered species, is found in certain forest patches. Peafowl, red jungle fowl, flycatchers and woodpeckers are a few of the other common birds found in the reserve.
  • Many kinds of snake like king cobra, common cobra, krait, rat snake and python are found in the reserve due to the hot tropical climate.

Seasons:

  • The reserve has a subtropical monsoon climate with relatively high humidity. The main season are winter (October-December), spring (January-March), summer (April-June) and monsoon (July-September). Summer days are characteristically hot with average temperatures ranging from 30 - 35 C.

Tourist Attraction:

  • Kailash (Bhata) - a religious place and scenic viewing spot on a hilltop is 29 km away from Adhabar (the Reserve head quarters).

How to Get There:

  • The reserve is accessible by bus via the Kathmandu Birgunj highway or the Mahendra Rajmarg highway. The reserve headquarters is an 8 hour drive from Kathmandu. Simara airport is 7 km away from the reserve headquarters. It takes only 15 minutes to reach Simara from Kathmandu by plane.

Important Points:

  • Flora and fauna of the reserve are fully protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Rubbish must be buried or disposed of in a designated place.
  • Movement within the reserve is prohibited before sunrise and after sunset.

Entry fees into Parsa Wildlife Reserve:

  • Wildlife Reserve entry fee per person per day:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Camping Fee per night per person - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
  • Vehicle Fee - Rs 100 - (Nepali's Rs100)
  • Elephant ride per hour per person - Rs 650 - (Nepali's Rs 100)

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Rara National Park

Introduction:

Rara National Park is located in northwest Nepal about 371 km air distance from Kathmandu. The park headquarters is about 32 km north to Jumla. Most of the park including Lake Rara lies in Mugu District, with a small area in Jumla District of Karnali Zone. This is the smallest park in Nepal (106 sq. km) with the country's biggest lake (10.8 sq. km) at an elevation of 2990 m. The lake is oval shaped with an eastwest axis and has a maximum length of 5 km and a width of 3 km. The maximum depth of the lake is 167 m. The park was gazetted in 1967 to conserve the unique beauty of Lake Rara and to protect a representative sample of flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region.

The elevation of the park ranges from 1800 m to 4048 m, Chuchemara Lekh is the highest point. The lake is in a deep basin, the northern and eastern rims which form part of the park boundary. The lake drains to Mugu Karnali River via Nija Khola. The lakeside pasture in the south gives way to the steep slopes of Gurchi Lekh, its crest culminating at Chuchemara in a horse-shoe shaped opening to the south drained by the Jiun River. On the west, river valleys cut through a ridge which form the natural boundary to the park.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

  • The park contains mainly coniferous forest. The area around the lake is dominated by blue pine (Pinus excelsa) up to 3200 m, Rhododendron (Rhododendron arboretum), black juniper (Juniperus wallichiana), west Himalayan spruce (picea smithina), oak (Quercus semecarpefolia) and Himalayan cypress (Cupressus torulosa) are other species. Above this elevation the vegetation is replaced by a mixed coniferous forest of pine, spruce and fir. At about 3350 m pine and spruce give way to fir, oak and birch forest. Other deciduous tree species found in the park are Indian horse-chestnut (Aesculus indica), walnut (Junglans regia) and Himalayan poplar (Populus ciliata).
  • A small portion of the park serves as an ideal habitat for musk deer. Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus), leopard (Panthera pardus), musk deer (Moschus moschiferous), goral (Nemorhaedus goral), jackal (Canis aureus), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), yellow throated marten (Martes flavigula), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), common langur (Presbytes entillus), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and common otter (Lutra lutra) are other species found in the park. The resident Gallinaceous birds and migrant waterfowls are of interest to park visitors. Coots (Fulica atra) are plentiful in the lake, many staying year-round. Great-crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), black-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), red-crested pochard (Netta rufina), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), common teal (Anas crecca), merganser (Mergus merganser) and gulls are seen during winter. Other common birds in the park are snow cock (Tetraogallus himalayenis), chukor partridge (Alectoris chukor), Impeyan pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus), kalij pheasant (Lophura leuco elana) and blood pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus).

Seasons:

  • Summer is pleasant, however, the winter brings cold temperatures and heavy snowfall (up to one meter). The best time to visit is October to December or March to May. The winter is quite severe with ground frost occurring from October.
  • December through March is the time of snowfall with the temperature dropping to below freezing point. High passes remain closed by heavy snowfall during this time. The month of April brings the warmer weather and monsoon season is June to August.

Local Settlements:

  • There are no settlements inside the park. Residents of two villages, Rara and Chhapru, were moved out in 1976 and resettle in Bardia District. Villages around the park are Jyari, Pina, Topla, Tuma, Ruma and Murma. The local economy is based on agriculture, primarily potatoes, buckwheat, beans, barley and wheat. Hindus dominate the community composition.

Tourist Attraction:

  • Lake Rara is the most beautiful and interesting site in the park. Bird lovers enjoy winter with the migratory birds. Hundreds of varieties of ground flowers form a colorful carpet in summer. Conventional currents do not allow the lake to freeze in winter. Chuchemara Peak (4048 m) on the southern side of lake presents a magnificent scene with the gleaming blue water within a basin of well forested hills. Other summits are Ruma Kand (3731 m) and Malika Kand (3444 m) to the north of the lake. From these peaks one can enjoy the view of the lake, peaks to the south and beautiful Mugu Karnali River valley to the north.

How to Get There:

  • Rara National Park can be visited either from Jumla (2.5 days trek) or from Surkhet (10 days trek).

Important Points:

  • Flora and fauna are fully protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Visitors entering the park should be self-sufficient in fuel supply (kerosene). Use of firewood is strictly prohibited.
  • Camping inside the park except in designated areas is strictly prohibited.
  • Movement inside the park before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited.

Entry fees into Rara National Park:

All visitors must pay a park entry fee at Bhulbhule guard post or at park HQ

  • National Park fees per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 1000
  • Children below 10 years Free
  • Be sure to keep your entry ticket with you as it might be checked by the park personnel.

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Royal Bardia National Park

Introduction:

Covering an area of 968 sq. km, Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the mid-Far Western Terai, east of the Karnali River. Originally set aside in 1968 as a Royal Hunting Reserve, the area was gazetted in 1967 as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve with an area of 368 sq. km. It was renamed as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve in 1982 and extended to include the Babai River valley in 1984. National Park status was gazetted in 1988. The main objectives of the park are to conserve a representative ecosystem of the mid-Western Terai, particularly the tiger ad its prey species.

Details About the Park:

  • Royal Bardia National Park is the largest and most undisturbed wilderness area in the Terai, providing excellent habitat for the following endangered species:
  • ENDANGERED ANIMALS : Rhinoceros , Wild elephant , Tiger , Swamp deer , Black buck , Gharial crocodile , Marsh mugger crocodile , Gangetic dolphin.
  • ENDANGERED BIRDS : Bengal florican , Sliver-eared mesia , Sarus crane , Lesser florican.
  • More than 30 different mammals, over 250 species of birds and many snakes, lizards and fish have been recorded in the park's forests, grasslands and river habitats. The more commonly seen are:
  • MAMMALS: Langur monkey, Rhesus monkey, Common leopard, Jungle cat, Fishing cat, Large and small Indian civets, Palm civet, Hyena, Wild dog, Jackal, Sloth bear, Otter, Porcupine, Bandicoots, Blue bull (Nilgi), Sambar deer, Hog deer, Barking deer and Wild boar.
  • BIRDS : Flycatchers , Babblers , Sunbirds, Drongols (7 species), Eurasian thicknee ruddy , Shelduck, Warblers, Bulbuls (5 species), Woodpeckers ( 10 species), Barbets (4 species), Bee-eaters (4 species), Kingfishers (4 species), Parakeets (4 species), Doves (5 species), Pigeons (3 species), Red-wattled lapwing, Common peafowl, Red jungle fowl , Merganser duck, Black-necked stork, White-necked stork, Painted stork, Egrets (4 species), Herons (5 species) and Cormorants.
  • The Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, forms the park's western boundary, while the crest of the Churia range (Siwalik Hills) demarcates the northern limits. Along the southern edge a forest road forms the boundary, in the east it is formed by the Nepalgunj-Surkhet road. Part of the very scenic Babair River valley is included within the park. The approximately 1500 people who lived in this valley have been resettled else where in Bardia District. Since agriculture increased in the Babai valley, the regeneration of natural vegetation is increasing rapidly, making it an area of prime habitat for wildlife.
  • About 70% of the park is covered dominantly with sal (Shorea robusta) forest with the balance of mixture of grassland, savanna and riverine forest. The altitudes vary from 152 meters on the Terai to 1441 meters at Sukarmala on the crest of the Churia range.

Seasons:

  • As with the rest of Nepal the park's climate is affected by the summer monsoon. The best times to visit are between October and early April when weather is warm and dry. From April onwards the temperatures rise, peaking at around 45 C in May and pre-monsoon thunderstorms continue until late September. During this time most roads and rivers become impassable.

Tourist Attractions:

  • Within the park are several open grassland areas (phanta) where game viewing is excellent. Blackbuck, found in a wild state only in Bardia, are frequently seen in Khairi Panditpur about 30 km south-east of the park HQ. Many forest roads throughout the park also offer excellent game viewing.
  • The great one-horned rhinoceros was reintroduced to Bardia from Royal Chitwan National Park in 1986. Indications of the success of this translocation became obvious when a rhino calf was born early in 1988. The rhino's are usually seen in the western part of the park. In 1991, 25 great one-horned rhinos were also translocated to Babai valley from Royal Chitwan National Park.
  • The Karnali River, one of Nepal's largest, borders the western edge of the park, providing excellent fishing for mahseer, a large game fish. The endangered Gangetic dolphin is also frequently seen.
  • Sukarmala, the highest point on the crest of the Churia range, can be reached on foot from Karnali, Chisapani or Khairbhatti. From here there are excellent views north toward the Surkhet valley and south over the Terai. Another high point, Telpani, can be reached from Danawatal.

How to Get There:

  • The park can only be entered by road. There are regular flights from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj, from where public buses serve the far Western Terai. To reach the park headquarters at Thakurdwara, it is necessary to alight at Motipur and walk 8 km north of Lihalpur on the Nepalgunj-Surkhet road and drive west along the fair weather road inside the park to reach Thakurdwara. This usually takes 3-4 hrs. by 4 WD vehicle. The Mahendra Rajmarg is the main highway which crosses the park.

Important Points:

  • As there are no medical facilities so it is advisable to carry a comprehensive first aid kit including medicines for intestinal problems. There is a radio at the park headquarters for use in emergencies.
  • If you are travelling by your own vehicle make sure that you have ample amount of fuel, as there are no filling stations in the park area.
  • Tourist accommodation within the park is at a tented camp on the banks of the Karnali River, although it is not cheap, the price includes all activities and meals. There are also lodges just outside the park at Chitkaiya, near the park HQ.

Entry fees into Royal Bardia National Park:

The park HQ. is at Tharkurdwara. There is also a sub-headquarters at the eastern entrance to the park at East Chisapani. All visitors entering the park must stop and pay an entrance fee.

  • National Park fees per person per day:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years Free
  • Be sure to keep your permit as it might be checked later by park guards.

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Khaptad (Baba) National Park

Introduction:

Khaptad National Park is located in the mid-mountain region of Far-Western Nepal at an air distance of 446 km from Kathmandu. The core area is situated at the cross point of Bajhang, Bajura, Doti and Achham Districts of Seti Zone. The Park HQ. at Khaptad is about 50 km and 32 km walking distance respectively from Silgadhi town (Doti) and Chainpur town (Bajhang).

The park covers a unique ecosystem of the mid-mountain region of Western Nepal and is situated at around 3000 m elevation. The upland is a rolling plateau with grasslands intermixed with oak and coniferous forests.

The summer is cool and wet, whereas, the winter is cold and dry. The monsoon begins in June and ends in September with rainfall averaging less than 1000 mm. Occasional snowfall in winter with chilling wind is another characteristic.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

  • There is a great variety of vegetation type ranging from sub-tropical forest in the lower altitudes (Jhingrana and Chaikot of Dopti) to temperate forests on the Khaptad plateau. The most common tree species are chirpine (Pinus roxburghii), spruce (Picea smithiana), fir (Abies spectabilis), maple (Acer pictum), birch (Betula utilis), alder (Alnus nepalensis) and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.). Dense bamboo stands (nigalo) and wide varieties of medicinal herbs occur in the park.
  • The most common fauna in the park are leopard (Panthera pards), Himalayan yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula), Himalayan black bear (Sus scrofa), jackal (Canis aureus), musk deer (Mochus moschiferus), goral (nemorhaedus goral), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), wolf (Canis lupus) and common langur (Presbytis entellus).
  • The common bird species include the Impeyan pheasant (danphe), Nepal's national bird (Lophophorus impejanus), chukor partridge (Alectoris graeca), Kalij pheasant (Lophuralleucomelana), Monal (Tragopan satyara), red and yellow-billed blue magpie (Cissa erythrorhyncapa & c. flavirostris), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryooatactes), flycatchers (Muscicapa & Muscicapella spp.), thrushes (Garrulax spp. & Zoothera spp.), Himalayan griffin ( Gyps himalayansis), cuckoos (Cuculus spp.), forktails (Enicurus spp.), tits (Parus spp.), wagtails (motacilla spp.) and eagles (Aquila spp.). A wide variety of colorful butterflies, moths and insects are also important features of the Khaptad ecosystem.

Seasons:

  • Climatically the best times to visit the park are during spring (March-May) and autumn (October-November). The temperature during these times range from 10 - 20 C.

Religious Zone:

  • A meditation zone has been set aside at the core of the park, containing religious sites and the ashram of Khapatad Swami, a renowned spiritual saint. The important religious sites are Tribeni, Sahashra Linga and the ashram. The religious center is considered as a place for meditation and tranquillity. Therefore, smoking, chewing tobacco and consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Similarly slaughtering of animal or killing any animals or birds are also prohibited.

How to Get There:

  • Plane flight to Bajhang (Chainpur) from either Kathmandu, Nepalgunj, or Dhangadhi followed by a two-day walk.
  • Plane flight to Doti (Dipaya) from places mentioned above, and a three-day walk.
  • Plane flight to Bajura (Kolti) from above mentioned places and a four-day walk.
  • Plane flight to Accham (Sanphebagar) from above places and a two-day walk.
  • There is a fair weather motorable road from Dhangadhi to Dipayal via Bhasu Lekh. From Dipayal is a three-day walk to reach the park HQ. at Khaptad.

Important Points:

  • No one should walk within the park after sunset or before sunrise.
  • No one should stay overnight or use alcoholic beverages, eat meat, smoke or violate the peace of the meditation area in any way.
  • Flora fauna of the park are fully protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Visitors should be self-sufficient in every way, especially in fuel, before entering the park.
  • Rubbish should be buried or disposed of in designate places.
  • Trekking in Khaptad National Park is very interesting. Porters are usually available at the trek starting points with some exceptions. Trekkers should be self-sufficient with tents, fuel and food as there are no commercial lodges available inside the park.

Entry fees into Khaptad National Park:

An entry fee as per park rules should be paid at the entrance gates.

  • National Park fees per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 1000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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Royal Suklaphant Wildlife Reserve

Introduction:

The Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is situated in the southern part of Far-West Nepal in Kanchanpur District. The reserve lies between 80o 25' east longitude and 28o 35' north latitude.

The reserve had been a famous hunting area for many years and was declared a Royal Hunting Reserve in 1969. The reserve was gazetted in 1973 as Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve. It began as an area of 155 sq. km, today the reserve covers an area of 305 sq. m after completion of an extension.

The riverine flood plain of the reserve comprises of hill wash and alluvial deposits. Sal (Shorea robusta) is the dominant tree species. Extensive grasslands (locally called phanta) provide an ideal habitat for swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli). The species is endangered and there is a population of about 2000 in the reserve.

Seasons:

  • The reserve has typically four seasons, winter, spring, summer and monsoon. The months of December and January are fairly cold and misty with occasional frost. Temperatures during the winter range from 10 to 12 C, gradually rising up to 22 to 25 C in February and March. In the pre-monsoon period (April-June) the temperatures range form 30 to 32 C and sometimes reaching as high as 42 C with increasing humidity.

Vegetation and Wild Animals:

  • Predominant sal (Shorea robusta) forest is associated with asna (Terminalia alata), semal (Bombaxceiba), and karma (Adina Cordifolia). Khair, (Acacia catechu) and sissoo (Dolbergia sisso) forest is found along the river side. The main grass species of the phantas are Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum heteropogon which are extensively used by the local people for thatching.
  • The reserve provides prime habitat for swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli). An estimated population of 2000 is found in the reserve. Other wild animals in the reserve are wild elephant (Elephas maximus), tiger (Panthera tigris), hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus), leopard (Panthera pardus), chital (Zxis axis), hog deer (Zxis porcinus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa).
  • A total 268 species of birds has been recorded in the reserve. Many grassland birds along with the rare Bengal florican can be seen in the phantas. Marsh mugger crocodile, Indian python, monitor lizard and snakes like cobra, krait and rat snake have been recorded in the reserve.

Tourist Attraction:

  • The extensive open grasslands of Suklaphanta are worth visiting for a breathtaking view of the largest herd of swamp deer in the world and other grassland birds including Bengal florican.
  • Wetlands such as Ranital, Sikarital and others in the extension area like Kalikitch Lake, Lalpanital and Taratal, support a healthy population of many kinds of waterfowl, reptiles and other wildlife.
  • Ranital, 18 km. from the reserve HQ., is a beautiful lake for viewing waterfowl, with machans (viewing towers).

How to Get There:

  • The reserve is accessible by road as well as by air. The reserve will be easily accessible by road from any parts of Nepal with the completion of the far-western sector of East-West Highway. There is once a week flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi which is 51 km. far from the park headquarters. There is regular public bus service from Dhangadhi to Mahendranagar taking 3 hours drive and the reserve headquarters is 8 km south-west of Mahendranagar. The reserve can be reached by East-West Highway through Nepalgunj-Dhangadhi-Mahendranagar.

Important Points:

  • Movement inside the reserve is restricted between sunrise and sunset.
  • Flora and fauna are totally protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Rubbish must be either carried away or disposed in a designated place.
  • Do carry a comprehensive first aid kit with you, including medicines for intestinal problems.
  • A small information center is maintained at the reserve HQ at Majhgaon.

Entry Fees into Royal Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve:

  • Entry fees per person per day:
  • For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
  • Children under 10 years free.
  • Camping in comfortable tents - US$175 per person, including all meals, wildlife drives and walks. Visit to local Tharu villages can also be arranged.
  • For vehicle Fee - Rs 2000
  • Elephant ride per hour per person - Rs 1000

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Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area

Introduction:

High in the heart of the eastern Himalayan, seven valleys radiate from Mt. Makalu, the world's fifth highest peak. These valleys, particularly the Barun valley, treasure some of the last remaining pristine forest and alpine meadows of Nepal. From the bottom of the Arun valley, at just 435 m above sea level, the Himalayas rise to the snow-capped tip of Makalu 8463 m within a 40 km distance. Within this wide range of altitudes and climates, the Makalu-Barun area contains some of the richest and most diverse pockets of plants and animals in Nepal, elsewhere lost to spreading human habitation.

Nestled in the lower reaches of these valleys are communities of Rai, Sherpa, and Shingsawa (Bhotia) farmers. Though economically poor and isolated, they retain a rich cultural heritage. They hold the key to the preservation of the unique biological and cultural treasures of the Makalu-Barun area.

The Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area was established in 1992 as Nepal's eighth national park and the first to include and adjacent inhabited conservation area as a buffer. A new park management approach encourages local people to become actively involved in protecting the forests and natural resources upon which their lives depend, and in conserving their own rich cultural heritage. Traditional resource management systems, such as community controlled grazing and forest guardianship, are being strengthened and low level technologies introduced where appropriate. Working in collaboration with an American NGO, Woodlands Mountain Institute, His Majesty's Government, Nepal is striving to improve local living standards through infrastructure, educational and income-generating activities.

Covering 2330 sq. km Makalu-Barun is a vital component of the greater Mount Everest ecosystem which includes Nepal's 1,148 sq. km Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park to the west and the 35000 sq. km Comolangma Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north.

Details About the Park:

  • Most of the Makalu-Barun National Park is a remote wildness, with just two small settlements and seasonal herding in high pastures. Historically, few foreigners have visited the area except for the occasional climbing expedition.
  • The incredibly steep topography and abundant monsoon rains (1000 to 4000 mm per year) of the eastern Himalayan support unusually diverse bioclimatic zones and a rich storehouse of medicinal and useful plants. Alpine pastures above 4000 m contain the religiously important dwarf rhododendron and juniper, aromatic herbs and delicate wildflowers, including 47 different varieties of orchids. Subalpine forests of fir, birch and rhododendron, and temperate stands of oak, maple and magnolia thrive between 2-4000 m. Luxuriant orchids drape the chestnut and pine forests of the subtropical zone (1-2000 m) and sal forests reach their northernmost limit within Nepal along the banks of the Arun (below 1000 m).
  • The park has 400 species of birds, including the spotted wren babbler and the olive ground warbler. These two species have never been seen in Nepal before.
  • There are many wild animals including the endangered red panda, Himalayan black bear and the clouded leopard. Other wildlife found in the park are: ghoral, tahr, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan marmot and weasel, common langur monkey and the serow.
  • The Arun River gushing through the park has around 84 varieties of fish including salmon.

Strict Nature Reserve:

  • The inaccessible lower Barun valley, a glacier-fed tributary to the Arun river, and its tributary the Saldima, flow through the most pristine area in the Park and thus have been designated as a Strict Nature Reserve, the first in Nepal. Here natural ecosystems and processes will be protected in an undisturbed state for scientific study, environmental monitoring, education, and the maintenance of genetic resources.

The Conservation Area:

  • Some 32,000 people of ethnically divers backgrounds live in the Conservation Area. The majority belong to various tribes of Rais and practice an ancient religion which reinforces harmony with nature. Shingsawas and Sherpas. Bhotia people originally from Tibet, live at higher elevations and carry on Buddhist traditions. A handful of other hill tribes including Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Newar, Brahmins, Chhetris and occupational castes live in the lower elevations.
  • These people live in isolated villages much as they have for centuries. As farmers, herders and seasonal traders, their livelihoods depend heavily upon forest resources for animal fodder, fuel, food, housing materials, fertilizers, medicine and other creative uses, clothing spun from allo (nettles), paper made form lokta (daphne bark) and countless items made from bamboo including furniture, containers, baskets, musical instruments, raincoats, and aqueducts.

How to Get There:

  • Fly from Kathmandu to either Lukla, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Bhojpur and Tumlingtar airstrips, and then trek to reach the park.

Entry fees into Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area:

  • National Park entry fees per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 1000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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The Annapurna Conservation Area

Introduction:

The area has been a smash hit in the world of conservation. Perhaps this is the area that pioneered a successful conservation without armed personnel. With the help of the local people, this highland could be well protected. With a trekking circuit from mid hills to the foothills of the Himalayas - Annapurna region covers an area of 7629 sq. km. Beginning from 790 m, the highest altitude reaches 8091 m of the Mountain Annapurna 1. This is the most visited trekking area in the mountain region. More than 60000 visitors every year.

Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) has been running it's programs in the area with an aim to conserve nature and it's local community. (For more information visit our ACAP page)

Vegetation and Wild Animals:

  • The Annapurna Conservation Area offers innumerable sights of water falls, mountains, natural flowers and rural settlements. If you trek from the west you will be travelling along the Kali Gandaki River.
  • Apart from natural sights, the area is rich with flora and fauna. There are above 1200 plants with around 40 orchids and 9 species of rhododendron - the national flower. There are around 100 mammals including the rare snow leopard and blue sheep in the upper sub-alpine area, 478 species of birds such as the protected multi-coloured Impheyan, koklas and blood pheasants. 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians and many types of butterflies in the area.

Tourist Attraction:

  • Reaching beyond the Himalayas, both on foot or by flight, this is one of the most fascinating expereince while trekking in the Annapurna Circuit.
  • Trekkers beginning their adventure either from the west or east starting point, reach behind Mt. Nilgiri as they near Jomsom, the District Headquarters of Mustang.
  • While you celebrate your victory for having reached behind the Himalayas you can see the above 8000 m mountains like Dhaulagiri standing right infront of you.
  • Ghandruk will be your first expereince where you will see the locals have conserved ecology and at the same time have earned their livelihood through tourism.
  • Past Ghandruk you will reach Ghorepani from where you can sight a panoramic view of the Annapurna ranges to the north on top of Poon Hill.
  • Descending from Ghorepani, as you go towards the north, you reach Tatopani where there are natural hot water springs, that offer an excellent place to relax and bathe.
  • As you proceed further towards Jomsom you reach a place called Kalapani. From here is where Mt. Dhaulagiri stands on the same ground you are standing on!
  • Jomsom is a popular place for visitors where you experience many cultural sights. Annapurna region has around 120000 human population from 10 different ethnic cast groups.
  • For more nature and cultural sightseeing go towards the north at Kagbeni, where you can continue onto explore the Upper Mustang - the once forbidden Kingdom. Or trek towards the Muktinath Temple, the Hindu pilgrimage at the height of almost 4000 m. Further ahead is the Thorung La Pass at an altitude of 5410 m. If you want to climb over the pass it is better to do it from the east side, going around the circuit anti-clockwise, makes climbing the pass alot easier

How to Get There:

  • The Area is easily accessed from Pokhara. A three hour bus drive to Beni in the west and start trekking into the area, or a one hour bus drive to Besi Sahar in the east to start the Annapurna Circuit trek. A one hour bus drive to Naya Pul (Birethanti) to start the trek to Annapurna Base Camp or Jomsom, or fly to Jomsom from Pokhara and trek back down.

Important Points:

  • There are many small lodges/teahouses along the way which will provide food, drinks and accomodation.
  • Government regulations prohibits lighting camfires in the conservation area. You need to carry kerosene and sufficient warm clothing.
  • Visitors should carry out what they carry in. Place rubbish designated palces.
  • The flora and fauna in the area are fully protected. They should not be disturbed.
  • Do not wear revealing clothing.
  • Respect privacy. Ask before photographing people or religious sites.

Entry fees into the Annapurna Conservation Area:

  • Conservation Area fees per person per entry.
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 2000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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Manasalu Conservation Area

Introduction:

This is yet another conservation area in the mountain region. Bordering the Annapurna Conservation Area to the west and Tibetan Plateau on the north and the east, the Manasalu region lies in Gorkha District to the west of Kathmandu.
Basically a trekking area, the regions altitude rises from a mere 600 m to 8163 m, the summit of Mt. Manasalu - the eighth highest peak in the world.

To make conservation a success story the government has joined hands with the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) and the Asian Development Bank. The Manasalu Eco-Tourism Development Project has been on in the region since 1997.

The projects main objective is to deliver tangible benefits from tourism to the local community while minimizing adverse environmental impacts through the development of eco-tourism.

The project has proposed seven Village Development Committees, totaling an area of 1663 sq. km in the Manasalu region, to be turned into a conservation area within five years.

Tourist Attraction:

  • The area offers a classic setting for trekkers. Visitors here will have the opportunity to experience both nature and culture that would have otherwise disappeared had there been no conservation efforts.
  • The region is full of pristine nature beckoning trekkers to explore more of it. The trekking route in the region follows the Budi Gandaki River before reaching the Larke Pass (5106 m) and crossing over into the Manang District of the Annapurna Conservation Area.
  • As trekkers trudge through the rugged terrain, they can see the towering snow covered mountains to the north.
  • The region harbors a mosaic of habitats for 29 species of mammals, including the rare snow leopard, musk deer and the Himalayan Tahr.
  • There are over 20 species of birds and three species of reptiles. What provides cover to these fauna is over 200 species of plants, 11 types of forests, and over 50 species of useful plants.
  • More than 7000 people live in the seven V.D.C's in the area. The major ethnic group, the Gurungs, has been a strong attachment towards its traditional Tibetan Culture Heritage.
  • Monasteries and chhortens dot the trekking route. These are the places where festivals and traditional dances take place.
    After visiting the area, if visitors wish to extend their trek they can easily do so by reaching the Annapurna region in the neighborhood.

How to Get There:

  • Trekking to the Manasalu region generally starts from Arughat, between Gorkha and Dhading.
  • Arughat can be reached by bus from Kathmandu. This is also where an information center of the Manasalu Eco-Tourism Project is located. The head office of the project is located ion the Park V.D.C of the Manasalu Conservation Area.
  • Another starting point to the area is Daraundi in Gorkha from where you will have to hike to Sirdiwas reaching the normal trekking trail.

Important Points:

  • Like in any protected areas, the flora and fauna in the conservation area is fully protected.
  • Visitors should be equipped with camping gear and fuel supply.
  • Carry rubbish away with you or put in designated area.

Entry fee into Manasalu Conservation Area:

  • Conservation Area entry fee per person per entry
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 2000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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Kanchanjunga Conservation Area

Introduction:

Just below the looming Mountain Kanchanjunga (8586 m), lies the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area. Spread in an area of 2035 sq. km, the area is made up of alpine grass lands, rocky outcrops, dense temperate and sub-tropical forests, and low river valleys with the Kanchanjunga as its crown.

Situated in north eastern Nepal in Taplejung District, the conservation area is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region-China in the north, Sikkim-India in the east and Sankhuwasabha District in the west.

In 1998, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and WWF Program together launched the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area Project to implement biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Details about the Conservation Area:

  • The Kanchanjunga Conservation Area can be synonymized as a repository of flora and fauna.
  • During the spring season, the area has an excellent display of flowering rhododendrons, orchids, lilies, primula and many other flowers.
  • The lowlands are full of tropical hardwoods. These get replaced by oaks and pine as the elevation increases. Further higher is the vegetation including larch, fir and juniper up to the tree line.
  • The conservation area is where you will see 15 of Nepal's 28 endemic flowering plants. Almost all the 30 kinds of rhododendron species are found here. This is also the area where you get to see 69 of the 250 orchids found in Nepal.
  • Kanchanjunga Conservation Area harbors rich diversity of wildlife including the endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and red panda. Other animals in the area include the blue sheep, and many others.
  • Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo are some of the many birds found in the area.
  • The conservation area has a lot of ethnic diversity and culture. As the original settlers of the Upper Tamur Valley, the Limbu are the dominant ethnic group in the lower regions. The Sherpa/Lama people are in the higher altitude where they arrived from Tibet more than four hundred years ago.
  • These Sherpas have a distinct culture and tradition from those in the Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Region. Also Rais, chhetris, Brahmins and others live in Kanchanjunga.
  • Monasteries, chhortens, temples, prayer-walls are the icons of the conservation area's cultural heritage.

Tourist Attraction:

  • For an excellent view of the Mountain Kanchanjunga, you should reach the North base camp where a place called Bangpema is the excellent point for observation of the mountain.
  • To make a circular trek you will have to pass through the Celele Pass at an altitude of about 4000 m to drop to Tseram from where you head toward the South base camp, another excellent observation point of Mt. Kanchanjunga. On the way back, you will have to pas through Yamphudiun village to reach Sukheter from where you can fly to Biretnagar.

How to Get There:

  • You can reach the conservation area by bus through Dharan. From here you will have to walk to Kunsa inside the conservation area.
  • Royal Nepal Airlines has its morning flights everyday between Birantnagar and Sukhetar. And there are everyday flights between Kathmandu and Birantnagar. Some private airlines operate from Kathmandu to Sukhetar.
  • Another way to get to Kanchangunga Conservation Area is Birtamod in eastern Jhapa District. From Birtamod and travel by local bus to Taplejung Bazaar, this road is seasonable though.

Important Points:

  • To get a permit to this conservation area you need to be pert of an organized trekking group.
  • Visitors should be equipped with camping gear and fuel supply.
  • Carry out non-biodegradable items and dispose in a designated area.
  • Flora and fauna in the park is fully protected, do not disturb them.
  • Do not buy anything made from wildlife products.

Entry fees into Kanchanjunga Conservation Area:

  • Conservation Area entry fee per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs 2000
  • Children under 10 years Free

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