National Parks

Thanks to Nepal’s extensive and effective parks and reserve system, the country has managed to preserve more endangered species of flora and fauna than any other country in Asia. Now, the protected areas in Nepal include 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, one hunting reserve and 6 conservation areas and 11 buffer zones covering an area of 34,186.62 sq. km, that is, 23.23 percent of the total area of the country.

Chitwan National Park (UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site)

Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, canoe ride, jeep drive, experience of Tharu culture
Accommodation: Resort hotels and lodges
Access: The park headquarters at Kasara is a 21-km drive from Bharatpur which is 20 minutes by air or 146 km by road from Kathmandu
Wildlife: 56 species of mammals that include one-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, rhesus monkey, langur, deer, leopard, gaur, wild boar, wild dog and wild cat; 49 species of amphibians and reptiles that include the endangered long snouted gharial, marsh mugger crocodile and python.
Birds: 539 species of birds that include summer migrant birds like paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta and parakeets etc. during, while winter birds include waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, bar-headed geese, cormorants and migratory birds from Siberia
Vegetation: Deciduous forest with 600 plant species
Best Season: October-March (average temperature 25 degrees Celsius); April- June (hot, up to 43 degrees Celsius), July-September (rainy)
Park Headquarters: Kasara
Added Attraction: Devghat, Padavnagar, Balmiki Ashram, Kabilaspur, Chepang Hills Trail
Entrance Fee: Nepali – Rs. 100 per day per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 750 per person per day, foreigners – Rs. 1,500 per person per day

Sagarmatha National Park (UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site)

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering, experience of Sherpa culture
Accommodation: Resort hotels, lodges, tea houses, camping
Access: Fly to Lukla which is 30 minutes by air from Kathmandu and then trek onward
Wildlife: Himalayan tahr, ghoral, musk deer, pika (mouse hare), weasel, jackal, black bear, wolf, lynx and snow leopard
Birds: 193 species of birds including impeyan pheasant (Danphe), blood pheasant, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, snow cock, snow pigeon, Himalayan griffon and lammergeier
Vegetation: Pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, while above 3,500 m, forests are dominated by silver fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper trees
Best Season: October-November and March-May; December-February (snow, daytime temperature 5 degrees Celsius) June-September (rainy)
Park Headquarters: Mendalphu, Namche Bazaar
Entrance Fee: Nepali – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Bardia National Park

Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, boat ride, jeep drive
Accommodation: Jungle lodges
Access: Three hours’ drive (95 km) from Nepalgunj, which is 1 hour by air or 516 km by road from Kathmandu
Wildlife: 53 mammals that include the Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, swamp deer, black buck; reptiles include gharial crocodile, marsh mugger crocodile; fresh-water Gangetic dolphin is commonly seen in the Karnali River
Birds: 400 species of birds include Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-eared mesia and sarus crane
Vegetation: Sal, savannah forests and grasslands
Best Season: October-March, April-June (hot, up to 42 degrees Celsius), July-September (rainy)
Park Headquarters: Thakurdwara
Entrance Fee: Nepali – Rs. 50 per day per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 500 per person per day, foreigners – Rs. 1,000 per person per day

Khaptad National Park

Activities: Trekking
Accommodation: Camping
Access: Fly from Kathmandu-Nepalgunj (60 min.), then fly to Chainpur (Bajhang)20 min. and then a three-day walk; or fly Kathamndu-Dhangadi (1 hr 10 min.) 670 km by drive, then 10 hurs drive to Silgadi and then 1 day trek
Wildlife: Wildlife include barking deer, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, rhesus monkey and langur monkey
Birds: 270 species of birds, the common ones being different varieties of impheyan pheasant, partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos and eagles
Vegetation: Grasslands and forests of subtropical, temperate and sub alpine vegetation; 224 species of medicinal herbs
Best Season: March-May and October-November (10-20 degrees Celsius); June-September (rainy), December-February (snow)
Park Headquarters: Khaptad
Added Attraction: Ashram of Khaptad Swami, Khaptad Lake, Tribeni, Sahashra Linga (at 3,200 m, the highest point of the park), Ganesh Temple, Nagdhunga and Kedardhunga
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Free, SAARC nationals – Rs. 100 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 1,000 per person per entry

Langtang National Park

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering, experience of Tamang culture
Accommodation: Lodges, camping
Access: From Dhunche, which is 117 km by road from Kathmandu
Wildlife: Wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey, langur monkey, snow leopard
Birds: 373 species of birds including tragopan and impeyan pheasant
Vegetation: Sub-tropical forests below 1,000 m giving way to alpine shrubs and grasslands
Best Season: October-November and March-May (cold at higher elevation); June-September (monsoon), December-February (snow)
Park Headquarters: Dhunche
Added Attraction: Holy Lake Gosainkunda
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Makalu Barun National Park

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
Accommodation: Camping
Access: Fly to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu (40 minutes) and then a six-day walk
Wildlife: Endangered red panda and snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan marmot, weasel, langur monkey and serow; Arun River has 84 varieties of fish including salmon
Birds: 400 species of birds including wren babbler, olive ground warbler
Vegetation: Sub-tropical forests to sub-alpine and alpine vegetation as the altitude increases; 48 species of orchids, 87 species of medicinal herbs, 25 of 30 varieties of rhododendrons found in Nepal, 48 species of primroses and 86 species of fodder trees
Best Season: October-November and March-April; April-May (hot at lower elevations), June-September (monsoon)
Entrance Fee: Nepali – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Rara National Park

Activities: Trekking
Accommodation: Camping, lodge
Access: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (1 hour); Nepalgunj to Talcha Airport (35 minutes) then 2-hour trek to Rara Lake
Wildlife: Endangered red panda and musk deer, Himalayan black bear, leopard, jackal, Himalayan tahr, wild yellow-throated martin, wild dog, wild boar, common langur, rhesus macaque and common otter; three species of snow trout can be seen in the lake
Birds: During winter 272 species of birds are seen here including coots, great-crested grebe, black-necked grebe, red crested pochard, mallard, common teal, merganser and gulls; migrant water fowls and gallinaceous birds can also be seen during certain seasons
Vegetation: Coniferous forests and blue pine dominate the park and the lake area respectively; rhododendron, juniper, spruce, oak and cypress are found around 3,000 m while at higher altitude, pine, spruce and fir are more common
Best Season: February-April and October-November
Park Headquarters: Hutu
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
Accommodation: Camping
Access: Fly to Dolpa’s Jufal Airport from Nepalgunj (20 minutes) and then a three-day walk
Wildlife: Sheep, ghoral, musk deer, leopard, wild dog, marmot, weasel, mouse hare, rhesus and langur monkeys, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear and jackals; 6 species of reptiles
Birds: Over 200 species of birds including yellow throated marten, Tibetan partridge, wood snipe, white-throated tit, wood accentor and crimson-eared rose finch, impeyan pheasant, cheer pheasant, chough, raven, Tibetan snow cock, Tibetan twit, Himalayan griffon and lammergeier
Butterflies: 29 species of butterflies
Vegetation: 286 floral species of botanical importance: pine, walnut, willow, oak, cypress in the lower altitude and pine, spruce, juniper and birch at higher regions; berberis, wild rose and caragana are seen in alpine areas while the regions higher up are mostly arid with grass alpine meadows with barely any trees
Best Season: March-May and September-October
Park Headquarter: Sumduwa
Added Attractions: Lake Phoksundo, Dho village (one of the highest settlements in the world)
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park

Activities: Trekking, bird watching
Access: Drive from Kathmandu city center to Budhanilkantha (11 km) then trek
Wildlife: 19 species of mammals including Himalayan black bear, leopard, barking deer, wild boar, wild cat, rhesus monkey and langur monkey
Birds: 177 species of birds
Butterflies: 102 species of butterflies
Vegetation: 129 varieties of mushrooms
Best Season: September-May; June-August (rainy)
Park Headquarters: Shivapuri
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 10 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 250 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 250 per person per entry

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (Wetland Site)

Activities: Game viewing, bird watching
Accommodation: Resorts, tented camp
Access: 90-minute drive (40 km) from Biratnagar, which is 50 minutes by air or 500 km by road from Kathmandu
Wildlife: Elephants, wild buffalo, wild boar, hog deer, spotted deer, blue bull and jackal; reptiles include gharial crocodile; Gangetic dolphins are found in the Koshi River
Birds: 479 species of birds, some of which fly all the way from Siberia during winter
Vegetation: Grassland with patches of scrub and deciduous riverine forests
Best Season: October-March, April-June (hot), July-September (rainy)
Park Headquarters: Kusaha
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 50 per day per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 500 per day per entry, foreigners – Rs. 1,000 per day per entry

Parsa Wildlife Reserve

Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back; jungle walk, jeep drive
Access: Fly to Simara from Kathmandu (15 minutes) and then by road to the reserve headquarters (7 km), or overland from Kathmandu (150 km via Hetauda)
Wildlife: Wild elephant, tiger leopard, sloth bear, gaur, blue bull, wild dog, sambar, chital, hog deer, barking deer, langur monkey, rhesus macaque, striped hyena, rat, palm civet and jungle cat; reptiles include king cobra, common cobra, krait, rat snake and python
Birds: 370 species of birds including the endangered great hornbill; other birds found here include the peafowl, red jungle fowl, flycatchers and woodpeckers
Vegetation: Tropical and sub-tropical mostly covered with Sal forests, while hills are covered with chir pine, khair, sissoo and silk cotton
Best Season: October-March; April-June (hot, 30-35 degrees Celsius), July-September (monsoon)
Park Headquarters: Adhabar
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 50 per day per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 500 per day per entry, foreigners – Rs. 1,000 per day per entry

Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve

Activities: Wildlife viewing on elephant back
Accommodation: Jungle lodges
Access: Fly (1 hour 10 minutes) or drive to Dhangadhi (670 km from Kathmandu) then drive 1 hour 30 minutes (60 km)
Wildlife: Swamp deer, 50 wild elephants, 30 tigers, spotted deer, blue bull, barking deer, hog deer, wild boar, leopard, jackal, langur and rhesus monkey; reptiles include marsh mugger crocodile, cobra, python
Birds: Sarus crane, swamp francolin, grass owl, warblers, flycatchers, Bengal florican
Vegetation: Sub-tropical jungle of Sal and open grasslands
Best Season: October-March; April-June (hot, 42 degrees Celsius), July-September (rainy)
Reserve Headquarters: Majhgaon, Kanchanpur
Entrance Fee: Nepali – Rs. 50 per day per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 500 per day per entry, foreigners – Rs. 1,000 per day per entry

Annapurna Conservation Area

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
Accommodation: Resort hotels, lodges, camping
Access: From Pokhara, which is 202 km by road or 30 minutes by air from Kathmandu
Wildlife: 102 mammals including blue sheep and endangered snow leopard; 39 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians
Birds: 474 species of birds including multi-colored impeyan pheasant, kokla and blood pheasant
Vegetation: Various species of orchids and rhododendrons
Best Season: March-May; September-November
ACAP Headquarters: Hariyo Kharka, Pokhara
Added Attractions: Muktinath Temple, Tilicho Lake, Mustang, Manang
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Free, SAARC nationals – Rs. 200 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 2,000 per person per entry

Kanchenjunga Conservation Area

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
Accommodation: Tea houses, camping
Access: Fly to Taplejung via Biratnagar from Kathmandu
Wildlife: Endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda, blue sheep, rhesus monkey
Birds: 252 species of different birds including impeyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, ashy drongo
Vegetation: 20 indigenous gymnosperms, 15 among Nepal’s 23 endemic flowering plants, 30 varieties of rhododendron species and 48 varieties of orchids
Best Season: March-May; September-November
Park Headquarters: Lelep
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Free, SAARC nationals – Rs. 200 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 2,000 per person per entry

Manaslu Conservation Area

Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
Accommodation: Camping, lodges
Access: By bus to Dhading (87 km from Kathmandu) or to Besi Sahar (106 km from Pokhara) and then trek
Wildlife: 33 species of mammals including snow leopard, musk deer and Himalayan Tahr; three species of reptiles
Birds: 110 species of birds
Vegetation: 1,500-2,000 species of flowering plants
Best Season: March-May; September-November
Park Headquarters: Prok
Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Free, SAARC nationals – Rs. 200 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 2,000 per person per entry

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Activities: Trophy hunting, game viewing
Accommodation: Camping
Animals: Blue sheep, leopard, ghoral, serow, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur, mouse hare; endangered species include musk deer, wolf, red panda
Birds: Pheasants, partridges; endangered species include cheer pheasant and Danphe
Access: Four days’ walk from Baglung, which is 72 km from Pokhara by road
Best Season: March-April, October-November; July-September (monsoon), December-February (cold, windy, snow)
Reserve Headquarters: Dhorpatan
Entrance Fee: Please contact the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) www.dnpwc.gov.np for the latest information.

NEW CONSERVATION AREAS

Gaurishanker Conservation Area:
Gaurishanker Conservation Area comprises the Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone in the east, Langtang National Park and Buffer Zone in the west and Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north. It has an area of 2,179 sq. km which spreads over three districts – Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindupalchowk. Its headquarters is Charikot.

Blackbuck Conservation Area:
Blackbuck Conservation Area lies in Bardia district covering an area of 15.95 sq. km. This is the first organized effort to conserve the endangered Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra).

Api Nampa Conservation Area:
Api Nampa Conservation Area lies in Darchula district and covers 1,903 sq. km in 21 VDCs. The snow leopard, musk deer, clouded leopard, ghoral, Himalayan black bear and Himalayan tahr are found in the area