If you are in Nepal or entering Nepal through Western and Far Western Nepal, here we suggest you not miss your best opportunity for your perfect wildlife destinations.
Bardia National Park: The Bardia National Park is one of Nepal’s finest tiger reserve an is best known as the home of Nepal tigers, but this beautiful park is also a black buck sanctuary as well as mixture of contrasting geographical zones comprising parts of Nepal’s south western plains, churia hills and inner valleys with tropical dry an deciduous forests which are dominated by hardwood sal, grassland, and riverine forests featuring gigantic simal trees. The park and its adjacent areas are famous region to provide an excellent wilderness experiences for visitors/wildlife researcher as well as important attractions indigenous culture of buffer zone are. The park supports a variety of vegetations which makes it the ideal habitat not only for the tiger but other predators and ungulates too. It also consists of numerous ecosystems, equally rich in flora and fauna.
The park is home to many rare and endangered species including more than 30 different mammals, over 400 species of birds, more than 25 species of reptiles, almost 121 species of fishes, many snakes, lizards, have been sighted and recorded in the park’s forest, grassland and river habitat and unknown diversity of mollusks and arthropods. Among these include, langur monkey, rhesus monkey, common leopard, jungle cat, fishing cat, large and small Indian civets, mongoose, hyena, wild dog, jackal, sloth bear, otter, monitor lizards, bandicoots, blue bull ( nilgai ), blackbuck, samber deer, hog deer, barking deer, wild boar, porcupine, dolphin ( the extremely rare ) etc. A termite mounds can be sight in the sal forests. The park is one of the best places to view the most magnificent of cats, the Bengal tiger. The chances are almost 80 % depending on the season. Its attractions are not only its varied animals and birdlife but also its immense natural beauty. In terms of variety and wildlife, the park is one of the best national parks in Nepal and the world.
Khaptad National Park: This park is located in the mid-mountain region far –western Nepal. The core area 225 sq, km. is situated at the cross point of Bajhang, Bajura, Doti, and Achham district of Seti zone.
The park covers the unique mid-mountain ecosystem of western Nepal with plateau of grassland and forest cover at an elevation of about 3000 meters. The vegetation ranges from sub-tropical forest at lower altitudes to grasslands and oak and coniferous forests on the uplands. The most common type of tree species are chirpine, sprume, fir, maple, birch, older, rhododendron, etc. Dense bamboo (nigalo) stands and wide varieties of medicinal herbs occur in the park. The fauna includes leopard, black bear, musk deer, Himalayan yellow throated marten, Ghoral, Himalayan Thar, and others. Some of the birds in the area like, Impeyan pheasant, Partridge, red and yellow billed magpie, Kalij pheasant, Kokals and Himalayan Griffon. A wide variety of colourful butterflies, moths and insects is also an important feature of the Khaptad ecosystem.
The core area of the Khaptad is much religious importance. It includes the Ashram of Khaptad Swami, a renowned spiritual saint, which is situated inside the park.The late Khaptad Swami moved to the area in 1940’s to meditate and worship. He spent about 50 years as a hermit and became a renowned spiritual saint. 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. Therefore, all the vices of modern society such as alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco, violence and killing are prohibited. Except these on clear days it is possible to see the awesome Himalayas ( SAIPAL HIMALAYA, 7000m) in the back ground and on the foot trek to national park, see village life that is not mentioned in the guide books, stay with local families that work and provide Nepal’s real face to you as you continue to the park’s headquarter.
There is a small museum and a view tower at the park headquarters. To the north one can see the Saipal Himalayan Ranges- In the other direction the vast green mid-hills of Nepal can be seen clearly. There are 22 open patches of Patans (pastureland) mix together with the forests inside park. The local people graze their livestock in the Patans during the summer season. In the north-eastern part of the park, there is a lake called Khaptad Daha. During the full moon of August – September a festival is called Purnima celebrated here.
Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve: is a similar version of Bardia National Park. It has an area of 305 sq km. which is located in southwestern extreme of the Kingdom; its topography is primarily riverine floodplain, open grassland and sal forest. It also has a large lake and the Bahini River flows through the park.
The park is home to tiger, leopard, and a good number of Swamp deer (prime habitat, often sighted), otters, his’s-pid hare, blue bull (nilgai), hog deer and wild boar.
The park also has over 300 species of birds and most of the tourists who make the trip here are keen bird watchers. Reptiles include gharial and mugger crocodiles, python, cobras, kraits, rat, snakes and monitar lizards.
Some 54.7% of the reserve is covered by mixed deciduous forest, grassland and marsh in the south-west where soils are of recent alluvium. The rest is moist deciduous forest and savanna, supported by the better drained soils on higher terrain in the north-east (Balson, 1976).
The main vegetation types distinguished by Schaaf (1978a, 1978b) are: sal Shorea robusta forest; sal savanna, which is part of a continuum between climax forest and grassland that is maintained by fire or floods; mixed deciduous forest, which is patchily distributed among the more extensive grasslands in the south-west (sal is absent); grasslands, which may be dry (locally known as phantas) or wet in the case of areas inundated during the monsoon; lowland savanna, which occurs on the fringes of all main grasslands and covers most of Karaiya Phanta; khair-sissoo forest, dominated by Acacia catechu and Dalbergia sissoo and forming an early succession in riverine areas; and marsh, in which tall dense grasses are predominant (e.g. Phragmites karka, Saccharum spontaneum and Sclerostachya fusca).
- Predominant sal (Shorea robusta) forest is associated with asna (Terminalia alata), semal (Bombaxceiba), and karma (Adina Cordifolia). Khair, (Acacia catechu) and sissoo (Dolbergia sisso) forest is found along the river side. The main grass species of the phantas are Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum heteropogon which are extensively used by the local people for thatching.
- The reserve provides prime habitat for swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli). An estimated population of 2000 is found in the reserve. Other wild animals in the reserve are wild elephant (Elephas maximus), tiger (Panthera tigris), hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus), leopard (Panthera pardus), chital (Zxis axis), hog deer (Zxis porcinus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa).
- A total 268 species of birds has been recorded in the reserve. Many grassland birds along with the rare Bengal florican can be seen in the phantas. Marsh mugger crocodile, Indian python, monitor lizard and snakes like cobra, krait and rat snake have been recorded in the reserve.