Top 10 things to do in protected areas of Nepal
January 05, 2020
The protected area has covered 23.39% or 34,419.75 sq km of Nepal’s total area. These areas have been successful in conserving the ecosystem of the highest mountains to the plains of Nepal. The public participation of local communities in the conservation campaign in these national parks, conservation areas, and wildlife reserves are internationally praised and recognized.
Besides contributing to maintaining balance in the ecosystem, wildlife conservation and providing opportunities for research on flora and fauna, these protected areas are also famous for nature holiday and tourism activities. Here is the list of activities that you can indulge in the national parks, conservation areas and wildlife reserves of Nepal.
Picture ©Barahi Jungle Lodge
Walk along with the dense forests of Nepal’s protected areas with the local nature guides. These local nature guides are familiar with the forests and well informed about its wildlife. They have experienced an encounter with wildest and dangerous animals like Royal Bengal Tigers, Wild elephants, bears, etc. Experience the thrill and suspense of tracking the wild ones following these fearless nature guides.
A protected area offering Jungle walk are Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park, Parsa National Park, Banke National Park, Suklaphanta National Park, Shivpuri Nagarjun National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Blackbuck Conservation Area.
In Nepal, traditional dugout canoes prepared by the indigenous groups of the terai region are used. They make it by carving a single piece of wood; either a whole trunk or a slab of trunk from particularly large trees. This narrow and pointed vessel is mostly used in flat waters. The protected areas in the plains of Nepal are the best places for canoeing. It also provides excellent opportunities to encounter Marsh Mugger Crocodiles, Gharial Crocodiles, Rhinos and varieties of birds.
Canoeing can be done rivers at Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park, Parsa National Park, Banke National Park, Suklaphanta National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Area.
Nepal is home to almost 886 species of birds which is 9% of the total bird species found worldwide. Birding can be done in all the protected areas located in the Himalayas, hills, mid-hills, and plains of Nepal.
The best place for Bird Watching is the rivers banks, lakes, wetlands, forests, and grasslands of the protected areas.
Picture ©Barahi Jungle Lodge
Jeep safari is driving deep into the wilderness to see the wild animals in their natural habitat. Go deeper into the jungle on an open roof vintage van and look out for the birds and animals.
Jeep Safari is available in: Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park, Parsa National Park, Banke National Park, Suklaphanta National Park; Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Blackbuck Conservation Area, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.
Ethical Elephant Activities:
This is a more thoughtful and responsible alternative to riding an elephant for wildlife viewing. It is a known fact that in Nepal elephants are used as a means of transportation, which is completely unethical. It is also excruciating to the poor animal. Hence, in order to provide an alternative to this unethical activity, there are options like walking with the elephant and watching them enjoy their daily bath during sunset. You can also visit the elephant home, a facility for retired elephants managed by Stand Up 4 Elephant, an NGO based in Chitwan.
Trekking is the most famous activity in protected areas located in the hilly and Himalayan regions of Nepal. The facilities of tea houses, lodges, restaurants, camping grounds, etc have been made available with the collaborative efforts of locals and protected area management authority. The trekkers can enjoy the hike in beautiful landscapes as well as experience the culture of indigenous communities like Sherpas, Gurungs, etc.
There are numerous trekking trails in Annapurna, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga, Api-Nampa, and Gaurishankhar Conservation areas. Similarly, Sagarmatha, Rara, Makalu Barun, Shey Phoksundo and Langtang National Parks are also famous for trekking.
Track Wild Animals:
Tracking wild animals with the help of wildlife experts and nature guides can also be done in these protected areas. There are many rare and endangered animals in the wilderness of Nepal. Endangered mammals like magnificent carnivorous Royal Bengal Tiger to the shyest herbivorous red pandas can be seen living natural lives in Nepal. Likewise, the snow leopards native to the Himalayas also reside in protected areas of Nepal.
Royal Bengal Tigers can be tracked in the forests and grasslands of Bardia, Chitwan, Parsa, Banke, and Suklaphanta National Park. Likewise, Snow Leopard and Red Pandas can be tracked in the protected areas of the Himalayas like Sagarmatha, Langtang, Rara, Shey Phoksundo, and Makalu Varun National Parks. They can also be spotted in Annapurna, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga, Api-Nampa and Gaurishankhar Conservation Areas.
Wildlife and Nature Photography:
If you are a professional or semi-professional photographer you can enjoy capturing the wild animals and birds in your cameras available in these protected areas. Big mammals like Asian elephants or little but colorful sunbirds or even rare species like red pandas and Royal Bengal Tigers can be spotted for photography. All you need is the right kinds of gears and an enthusiasm to make beautiful pictures.
Nepal is an open studio for Wildlife and nature photography. The diverse landscape of mountains, hills, plains, valleys, rivers, lakes, forests, grasslands and the diverse wildlife existing here are too exclusive to not capture in cameras.
Camping and Tower Night:
You can spend a night in the wilderness of the forest on the towers. You can even camp on the lap of the mountain, top of the hill or by the lake. There are fixed campsites or camping grounds provided by the protected area authority with basic facilities. The night out in the wilderness will take you closer to nature. Listening to wild animals haul in the night and birds singing so up close is definitely a lifetime experience.
Tower night at Chitwan National Park is a perfect way to experience the wildlife. Similarly camping by the lakeside at Rara National Park and camping treks on the Annapurna conservation area are some of the best camping trips to look out for.
The local indigenous community living within these protected areas play a major role in the management and conservation of these protected areas. Their unique culture and lifestyles that blend in with the climate and landscape are always interesting to observe. Taking a village walk, cycling around the villages or even staying over at the homestay facilities provides by the indigenous communities is an excellent way to experience the local culture.
These people should be thanked and appreciated for living a humble life and conserving the forests and environment. They do not cut trees for their personal benefit and they welcome visitors from all over the world in their locality. Staying in local tea houses, homestays, eating local cuisine and purchasing local goods and facilities helps them financially. What we need to realize is their improved financial conditions are directly related to environment and wildlife conservation.
With this many types of adventure and luxury activities, you will also be contributing towards the betterment of the local community through the permit fees and by using locally owned facilities.
An exciting nature holiday including responsible tourism is available in the protected areas of Nepal. When are you booking your Flight?