CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
The most popular of the Jungle National Parks of Nepal is Chitwan National Park. Located only six hours by first class bus from Kathmandu, it is a world unto itself. Here Royal Bengal Tigers, one horned rhinos, wild elephant herds, two varieties of crocodiles and more all live in this sub-tropical land near the Indian border.
The park was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The park was first established in 1973 and covers 932 square kilometers. The Rapti River runs through the park, providing a permanent water source for the animals. Joined by the Narayani and Reu rivers, the land is at the base of the foothills of the Himalayas. The mountain streams become lazy rivers in this flat part of Nepal, forming oxbow lakes and secret marshes that are home to hundreds of varieties of birds.
The park is connected to the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, creating larger space for the animals to not only live, but to thrive. Since the creation of this park, the numbers of tigers and rhinos have actually increased, making Nepal one of the great success stories in the area of animal conservation.
SEASONS: Unlike the rest of Nepal, the Terai region has three basic seasons: winter, spring and monsoon. It has much higher temperatures than Kathmandu. Spring season can be quite warm, with temperatures approaching 45° C. This, however, is the best time to see tigers as water holes are drying up, bringing all of the animals to the fewest number of locations. The Summer season runs from March until the start of monsoon season in June.
June through September is monsoon season. Temperatures drop into the mid to upper 30s. The region gets around 215 cm of rain during the season, swelling the rivers and closing some roads. While it rains daily, the sun still shines on most days, and the land is so incredibly greats.
Winter season is the coolest time in the Terai, beginning in October and running until March. Temperatures are very pleasant, often between 25 and 30 as the daily highs. It does not rain in the winter season, and nights are great for sleeping.
VEGETATION AND ANIMALS: The Chitwan valley is sub-tropical vegetation that covers 70% of the land. The area around the park is traditional farms inhabited by the Tharu tribal people. There are more than 43 varieties of mammals in the park along with many endangered species. Over 450 varieties of birds make their home in the park as well as 46 species of snakes and lizards.
WHAT THERE IS TO DO: Take an elephant ride, do a jeep safari, take a tour of a traditional Tharu village, watch a cultural dance or participate in the elephant bath. You can take a ride down the Rafti river in a dugout canoe looking for crocodiles, including the rare fish-eating Gharial. And if that isn't enough, do some bird watching, trek in the jungle with an experienced guide or simply relax at your lodge.
WE PROVIDE:Once you arrive in Kathmandu, we can put together a three day, two night package that includes transportation, choice of accommodations, meals and activities.
TWO NIGHT/THREE DAY PACKAGE: This is our most popular package, giving you the full range of activity in a short period of time. Viewing of wildlife is usually best in early morning and late afternoons.
DAY ONE: Arrive after a relaxing ride from Kathmandu where you will be taken across the river to the resort. The afternoon features opportunities for a boat ride, an elephant safari or simply a jungle walk. There is also a nature trek that combines a boat ride.
DAY TWO: Wake up early as you prepare for an early morning activity. Many choose to do the jungle safari as the sun begins to rise above the grasslands of the Terai. Return for breakfast, and then do a walk to the crocodile breeding center where you can get a close-up view of both the marsh mugger as well as the rare Gharial crocodile. The farm has been successful in reversing the decline of the Gharial numbers. The afternoon again offers a choice of the elephant ride, or a visit to the observation tower with a nature walk or boat ride. Follow up afer dinner with the Tharu cultural program.
DAY THREE: Again, an early wakeup call, and an early morning trip into the jungle. Plan to do whatever activity you haven't done yet, then enjoy breakfast before departure. You can also work in the opportunity to help bath the elephants in the Rapti river. These pachyderms are people friendly, and enjoy the opportunity to have you take a bath with them!
WHAT OUR PACKAGE DOES NOT COVER: We don't cover your bar bill, personal expenses or any private transportation outside of the basic transportation we provide as part of the package.
WHAT TO BRING: Bring your camera, a set of binoculars, some insect repellant and comfortable shoes for ease of walking. Jackets may be needed in early mornings during the winter season. Clothing should blend into the surroundings in order to give you better opportunities to see the animals. Green and brown colors are preferred.