National Parks & Sanctuaries

Khaptad National Park

Khaptad, Nepal's Newest Park Area, Is In The Middle Hills Of The Far-West Of The Country. The 225 Sq Kms. Area Of The Park Is Situated Where The Districts Of Bajhang, Bajura, Doti And Achham Meet. Khaptad Is Plateau Of Grassland And Forest Cover At An Elevation Of About 3,000 Meters. The Mixed Conifer And Broad-Leaf Forests Are An Excellent Example Of The Vegetation That Once Covered Much Of West Nepal's Middle Hills. The Forest Consists Of A Mixture Of Tall Fir, Yew, Rhododendron, Oak, Dense Strands Of Bamboo And Smaller Shrubs. This Habitat Provides Good Cover For Bear, Leopard, Barking And Musk Deer, As Well As Birds Like The Impeyan, Koklas And Kalij Pheasants. This Park Is Special Because It Represents One Of The Few Remaining Mid-Mountain Ecosystems In Nepal Himalaya. At The North-Eastern Corner Of The Park, A Small Serene Lake And Swampy Area Called Khaptad Daha Is Religious Site Where Hindu Pilgrims Come To Worship Shiva On The Full Moon Of July-August Each Year. Here Lived The Ascetic, The Khaptad Baba, Who Was Known And Revered Throughout Nepal.

Royal Chitwan National Park

Nepal's First And Most Famous National Park Is Situated In The Chitwan Doon Or The Lowlands Of The Inner Terai. Covering An Area Of 932 Sq Km. The Park Includes Hilly Areas Of The Siwalik Range Covered By Deciduous Sal Forest. One Fifth Of The Park Is Made Up Of The Floodplains Of The Narayani, Rapti, And The Reu Rivers And Is Covered By Dense Tall Elephant Grass Interspersed With Riverine Forests Of Silk Cotton (Kapok), Acacia And Sisam Trees. This Ecologically Diverse Area Is The Last Remaining Home In Nepal For More Than 300 Of The Endangered Asian One-Horned Rhinoceros And Harbours One Of The Largest Populations Of The Elusive And Rare Royal Bengal Tiger. Besides Rhino And Tiger, Chitwan Also Supports A Great Variety Of Flora And Fauna. There Are Four Species Of Deer, Including The Spotted Chittal, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Rhesus Monkey, Grey Langur Monkey, Wild Dog, Small Wild Cats, The White Stockinged Gaur (The World's Largest Wild Cattle) And Many Other Smaller Animals. The Swampy Areas And Numerous Oxbow Lakes Of Chitwan Provide A Home For Marsh Crocodiles. In A Stretch Of The Narayani River Is Found One Of The Few Remaining Populations Of The Rare And Endangered Fish-Only Eating Gharial, Or Genetic Crocodile. Here Also Is Found One Of The World's Four Species Of Freshwater Dolphins. For The Ornithologist And The Amateur Bird-Watcher The Park Offers Excellent Possibilities With More Than 450 Species Recorded. Some Of The Resident Specialities Are Several Species Of Woodpeckers, Hornbills, Bengal Florican, And Red-Headed Trogons. Winter Birds Such As Waterfowl, Brahminy Duck, Pintails And Bareheaded Geese, Amongst Many Other Cold Weather Visitors Are Drawn By The Sanctuary Of The Park's Rivers. In The Summer The Forest Is Alive With Nesting Migrants Such As The Fabulous Paradise Flycatcher, The Indian Pitta And Parakeets.

Royal Bardiya National Park

The Royal Bardiya National Park Is Situated On The Eastern Banks Of The Karnali River, About 400 Kms. West Of Kathmandu. The Park Is 968 Sq Kms. In Area And Extends From The Churia Hills Southward To The Gentle Slopes Of The "Bhabhar'. The Higher Grounds Of The Churia Have Dry Deciduous Forest Of Mostly Hardwood Sal. The Porous Slopes Of The Bhabhar Support Large Open Grasslands Known Locally As 'Phantas'. These Are Some Of The Last Remaining Grasslands That Once Covered Much Of The Genetic Plains.

The Western End Of The Bardiya Is Bounded By Numerous Water-Ways Of The Karnali Which Have Created Many Large And Small Gravel Islands. These Islands And Much Of The Lower Ground Area Covered By A Mosaic Of Grassland And Riverine Forest Of Acacia, Sisam And The Large Buttressed Silk Cotton Trees. In Spring, The Silk Cotton Blooms And The Forest Comes Alive With Scarlet Flowers.

Bardiya Is The Home Of A Wide Variety Of Animals, Many Of Which Live In And Around The Phantas. These Open Grasslands Such As Baghora And Lamkoili Are The Best Places To View Animals. The Most Conspicuous Of Which Is The Spotted Deer. Other Ungulates Include Black Buck, Hog Deer, Samber Deer, Wild Boar And Barasingha Or Swamp Deer. Two Species Of Monkeys, The Langur And The Rhesus Macaque Are Also Present. The Park Is Famous For Its Small Herds Of Wild Elephants Which Are Rarely Seen. The Park Also Boasts A Small Population Of The Rare Gharial, The Marsh Mugger Crocodile And The Genetic Dolphin. The Island Of The Karnali River Harbours The Sub-Continent's Largest Antelope Species, The Nilgai Or Blue Bull. The Karnali And Babai Rivers Attract A Large Number Of Wintering Waterfowl Along With Resident Species Such As Herons, Kingfishers And Wall Creepers. More Than 350 Bird Species Have Been Recorded In Bardiya, Truly A Bird Watcher's Paradise.

Rara National Park

Situated About 370 Km. North-West Of Kathmandu, Rara Is Nepal's Smallest And Most Scenic National Park Covers 106 Square Km. Much Of The Park Is At An Altitude Of About 3,000 Meters Forested By Conifers. The Park Was Established In 1976 And Protects Some Of The Most Beautiful Alpine And Sub-Alpine Ecosystems Of The Himalaya. The Centrepiece Is The Pristine Lake Rara, Also Known As Mahendra Tal, The Biggest Lake In Nepal. The Lake Is Surrounded By Richly Forested Hills, Chuchemara Danda At 4,087 Meters Is The Best Vantage Point To Get Stunning Views Of The Lake And The Thickly Forested Hillsides And The Snow-Capped Peaks Around It. Other Summits In The Park Area Are Ruma Kand (3,731 M.) And Malika Kand (3,444 M.), Situated To The North Of The Lake.

Rara Comes Within The Catchments Area Of The Karnali River, One Of The Three Main River Systems Of Nepal. The Habitat Supports Animals Like The Red Panda, Black Bear, Yellow-Throated Martin, Ghoral, Serow And Musk Deer. There Have Also Been Reported Sightings Of Leopard And Wolf. The Lake Attracts Migrant Wildfowl Like Teals, Pochards And Mallards. Resident Birds Include The Impeyan, Kalij And Blood Pheasant As Well As Others Like The Chukkor Partridge.

Shey Phoksundo National Park

Shey Phoksundo Is Nepal's Largest National Park And Covers 3,555 Sq. Km. Sitting Astride The Dolpa And Mugu Districts Of Western Nepal, The Park Was Established To Protect The Trans-Himalayan Ecosystem Found Only In Few Areas Of The Kingdom. The Unique Park Includes The Kanjiroba Himal, With Many Peaks Of Over 6,000 Meters, As Well As The Famous Shey Monastery, The Phoksundo Lake And The Langu Gorge.

The Flora Of The Area Include Pine, Walnut, Willow, Oak, Poplar And Cypress In The Lower Southern Parts. In The Higher Reaches, Pine, Spruce, Juniper And Birch Pre-Dominate. The Alpine Areas Are Vegetated By Berberries, Wild Rose And Caragana. The And Trans-Himalayan Mountains And Grassy Alpine Meadows To The North Are Almost Devoid Of Trees But Have Caragana And Dwarf Juniper.

The Wildlife Of Shey Phoksundo Include A Good Population Of Blue Sheep And Ghoral, Musk Deer, Leopard, Wild Dog, Wolf, Marmot, Weasel, Mouse Hare, Rhesus And Langur Monkeys. The Higher Reaches And The Haunt Of The Elusive Snow Leopard. The Adjoining Tibetan Region Is Home To Such Rare Animals As The Great Tibetan Sheep, Tibetan Wild Ass, Tibetan Gazelle And Antelope, And Wild Yak. Bird Species Of The Park Include The Impeyan And Cheer Pheasant, Chough, Raven, Tibetan Snow Cock, Tibetan Twit, Brown Dipper, Himalayan Griffon And Lammergeier. The Park Is Inhabited By People Of Tibetan Descent Who Follow The Pre-Buddhist Bon Religion And Some Of The Main Villages Are Ringmo, Pugmo, Salclang, Kugun, And Tatgaun. On The August Full Moon All Dolpa Villagers Converge On The Shey (Crystal) Mountain In A Festival To Walk Around The Holy Peak Three Times In As Many Days.

Langtang National Park

Langtang Is One Of The Most Unspoiled National Parks Of Nepal. Situated North Of Kathmandu, It Is The Most Easily Accessible Highland Sanctuary From The Capital. Langtang Covers 1,710 Sq. Km. Forming The Upper Catchments Areas Of Two Of Nepal's Largest River Systems - The Trishuli And Koshi. There Is Great Latitudinal Variation, Starting At 1,500 M. And Ascending To The Top Of Mt. Langtang Lirung At 7,234 M. As A Result The Park Has Immense Ecological Diversity. Some Of The Most Attractive Areas Of The Park Include The Langtang Valley, The Holy Lakes At Gosainkunda, And The Forested Hillsides Above The Village Of Helambu.

The Deep Gorges Of Bhote Koshi And Langtang Khola Are Thickly Forested With Rhododendron, Oak, Maple And Alder. The Stretch Of Forest Around Ghoda Tabela In The Lower Langtang Valley And Below Gosainkunda Is Inhabited By The Red Panda, A Rare And Threatened Symbol Of A Healthy Himalayan Ecosystem. Other Animals, Common To These Forests Are Wild Boar, Himalayan Black Bear, Ghoral, Grey Langur Monkey And Leopard. The Rare Himalayan Honey Guide Has Been Sighted Here And The Park Is Also The Home For Impeyan, Tragopan And Kalij Pheasants Among Others. Larch, A Rare Deciduous Conifer, Is Also Found In The Forest Of Lower Langtang Valley. Further Up, Himalayan Thar, Musk Deer And Snow Leopard Can Be Found. The Upper Langtang Valley Is One Of He Few Known Breeding Grounds Of The Ibils Bills Besides The Tibetan Snow Cock And Snow Partridge.

Like Other Himalayan Nature Parks, Langtang Has To Be Explored On Foot. There Are Several Possible Trails To Choose From Depending On Preference And Time Available. The Langtang Valley Is Easily Approached From Dhunche Town And Park Office, Which Is A Day's Drive From Kathmandu. The Upper Reaches Of Langtang Can Be Reached In Four Days Of Easy Walking, However, It Is Advisable To Spend A Few Days Around The Forest At Ghoda Tabela To Watch For The Red Panda. Once Above Langtang Village And The Monastery At Kyangin, Visitors Can Explore The High Valley Of Langshisa Yala Peak And Tsero, Ri. These And Other Villages Of Upper Langtang Are Inhabited By People Of Tibetan Descent Whereas The Villagers Of Dhunche, Bharkhu And Syabru Further Down Are Home To The Tamangs Of Nepal's Middle Hills.

Sagarmatha National Park

Unique Among Natural Heritage Sites World-Wide Is The Sagarmatha National Park, Which Includes Mt. Everest (8,848 M) And Other High Peaks Such As Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, Kangtega, Gyachung Kang, Thamserku And Kwangde. Located North-East Of Kathmandu, Sagarmatha National Park Is 1,148 Sq Km. In Area And Consists Of The Upper Catchments Areas Of The Dudh Koshi, Bhote Koshi And The Imja Khola Rivers. Much Of The Park Lies Above 3,000m. Sagarmatha Is Rugged, With Deep Gorges, Glaciers And Unnegotiable Ice And Rock Faces. Locally Known As The 'Khumbu', It Is The Home Of The Famous Sherpa People. The Sherpas Make A Living By Farming Barley And Potatoes And Graze Their Yaks In High Altitude Pastures. Young Sherpas Have Also Made Their Name In Mountaineering And The Trekking Industry Has Of Late Become The Community's Economic Mainstay. In 1979 The Park Was Declared A World Heritage Site.

Trees Such As Rhododendron, Birch, Blue Pine, Juniper And Silver Fir Are Found Up To An Altitude Of 4,000 Meters Above Which They Give Way To Scrub And Alpine Plants. In Late Spring And Summer, The Hillsides Around The Villages Of Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Thyangboche And Thame Are A Riot Of Colours With Several Species Of Rhododendron In Bloom. Wildlife Most Likely To Be Seen In Sagarmatha Are The Himalaya Thar, Ghoral, Musk Deer, Pikka (Mouse Hare) Weasel And Occasionally Jackal. Other Rarely Seen Animals Are Himalayan Black Bear, Wolf, Lynx And Snow Leopard. Birds Commonly Seen Are Impeyan Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Snow Cock, Snow Pigeon, Red Billed And Yellow Billed Chough, Himalayan Griffin Vulture And Lammergeier.

Makalu-Barun National Park And Conservation Area

The Park And Conservation Area Is Situated In The Sankhuwasabha And Solukhumbu Districts, Bordered By The Arun River On The East, Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park On The West, The Nepal-Tibet Border On The North And Saune Danda (Ridge) To The South. The Park Covers 2,330 Sq. Kms.

This Is The Only Protected Area In Nepal With Designation Of A Strict Nature Reserve. It Has Some Of The Richest And Most Unique Pockets Of Plants And Animals In Nepal, Elsewhere Lost To Spreading Human Habitation. Stepping Up The Slopes Are A Series Of Vegetation Zones Starting With Tropical Sal Forest Below 1,000 M. Elevation: Subtropical Schema-Castanopsis Forest At 1,000-2000 M. Fir, Birch, Rhododendron Forests In The Sub-Alpine(3,000-4,000 M); And Herbs, Grasses And Rhododendron/Juniper Shrubs In The Alpine Pas Trues (4,000-5,000 M). There Are 47 Varieties Of Orchids, 67 Species Of Bamboo, 15 Oaks Including Arkhoulo, 86 Species Of Fodder Trees And 48 Species Of Primrose. Over 400 Species Of Birds Have Been Sighted In The Makalu-Barun Area, Including Two Species Never Before Seen In Nepal The Spotted Wren Babbler And The Olive Ground Warbler. Wildlife Includes The Endangered Red Panda, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Clouded Leopard And Possibly Snow Leopard, In Addition To More Substantial Populations Of Ghoral, Thar, Wild Boar, Barking Deer, Himalayan Marmot And Weasel, Common Langur Monkey And The Serow. The Arun River System Contains 84 Varieties Of Fish.

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