Among the 14 national parks and wildlife reserves in the Kingdom, the Chitwan Nationals Park (932 Sq Km) is the most popular safari destination. More than 43 species of animals are found in Chitwan. The endangered one-horned rhino, Royal Bengal tiger, Gharial crocodile, four-horned antelope, striped hyena and the Gangetic dolphin are the main attractions here.
The best part is that it is close to Kathmandu and easily; accessible (only 165 Km overland) and Bharatpur airport adjoining the park is mere 25 minute flight away (there are daily flights from Kathmandu). Many adventures also choose to go down by raft. In whatever way you go, a jungle safari is an experience you will remember for a long time.
Chitwan National Park
For a country known for its beautiful mountains, the Gangetic flat lands of the Terai that stretches through out the southern part of Nepal provide a wholly different experience. A visit to Nepal remains incomplete without seeing the beauty of the Terai.
And Chitwan is the best place to do so. The Chitwan National Park, established in 1973, provides a great wildlife experience with its rich flora and fauna . The wildlife and the landscape are not as breathtaking as those found in Africa but still, the experience will stand out.
Chitwan is only 150m above the sea level. The place gets steamy from March-June, with peak temperatures reaching 43 DC in the shade. Short grass makes Feb-May the best game-viewing season, but the autumn months are gorgeous, with Himalayan views, and in winter (December-January), Chitwan is pleasantly warmed compared to Kathmandu. The monsoon season (July-August) is intense, with pounding rain, swollen rivers, and luxuriant vegetation. While the rain isn't constant, the humidity is all pervasive.
Bardia National Park
Bardia National Park is the largest and most undisturbed wild area of the Terai region of the Nepal Himalayas. Similar to Chitwan park, but with a drier climate and a more remote location, Bardia encompasses 1,000-sq-kms of riverine grassland and sal forests.
The Terai or lowland hills and valleys of southern Nepal, nowhere over 1,000 feet in elevation, extend all along the Indian border. The Terai once supported a healthy wildlife population in a habitat of 25-foot high elephant grass and dense hardwood forests, but had very few people, due to virulent malarial mosquitos.
Bardia was a royal hunting reserve of Nepal's Rana rulers from 1846 to 1950. In Nepal, wildlife lost whatever protection the royal hunting reserve conveyed when the Rana rule ended in the 1950's. A well-meaning malaria eradication program in the 1950's and 1960's opened the terai for settlement, and transformed about 75% of the native Terai to agricultural land. Wildlife populations declined with the combination of increased settlement and widespread poaching. Bardia was declared a wildlife reserve in 1976, first measuring 134 sq miles and expanded in 1985 to 374 sq miles.
To view the wild Elephants, you ride on the backs of specially-trained elephants, each guided by a driver. As you sit in a padded wooden platform on the Elephant's back with your camera ready, your Mahout steers the Elephant through tall grass. Mists rise off the nearby river, and you spot a mother Rhino leading her baby down to the river for a drink. Monkeys chatter and birds call in the nearby trees, signaling that an elusive Royal Bengal Tiger is stalking Deer through the high grass. It's a very special experience - a unique experience out at Royal Bardia - unlike any other wildlife setting in Nepal.