Where: Near Kathmandu, Nepal
Best Season: October – April
Nature: Monkeys, hyena, deer and the elusive Bengal tiger
Remember To Bring: Camouflage wear, sun protection and a flash light
Where It’s At
A paradise for nature lovers, the Royal Bardia National Park is a land of unexplored wilderness, perfect to explore high adventure and natural beauty at its best.
The park was initially a royal hunting reserve. In 1976 it was gazetted as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve with an area of only 250 square miles. In 1982 it was renamed as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve, which also included the Babai River Valley. Only in 1988 was it granted a status of National Park in order to preserve the dwindling species and rare ecosystem.
Meet the Wildlife
At present, there are more than 30 different mammals, over 400 species of birds, many snakes, lizards, and fish have been sighted and recorded in the park’s forest, grassland and river habitats. Among these are the langur monkey, hyena, jackal, sloth bear, blue bull or nilgai and the sambar deer.
The top animal that attracts tourists from all over the world is the matchless, and most elusive animal in the world: the Bengal tiger. Big game hunters shot tigers to the brink of extinction. It wasn’t until the park was set up that some of them could be saved. Now there are about 40 tigers here. Trekkers can spot them occasionally; the chances are almost 80% depending on the season.
Getting to Bardia National Park is not difficult. There are regular daily flights from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Upon arrival at the Nepalgunj Airport you have to drive for two hours to reach to Bardia Jungle Cottage. There is also a bus drive but it takes 16 hours one-way form Kathmandu to Nepaljung and Bardia. By private vehicles the drives is about 12 hours. This nature sanctuary is best visit between October and April.
Remember to Bring
A word of precaution: all visitors to the park should wear camouflage clothes that blend with the natural surroundings. Wearing clothes that contrast with the environment could invite trouble from the wild life. Also opt to wear comfortable shoes for easy movement while on safaris. Don’t forget to bring insect repellent, sunhat and some swimwear. A flashlight is necessary if you are travelling at night-time.
The official tourist board website for Nepal with lots of practical information on visiting the cities and its sites of interest.
By Nitasha Kulashreshtha
main image: courtesy of Paul Mannix, Flickr creative commons