Bardia National Park
About halfway between Butwal and Mahendranagar, lies Nepal’s most undisturbed wilderness. Bardia National Park protects 968 sq. km of grassland and whispering grassland, making it the largest national park in Nepal.
It is estimated that there are around 22 Royal Bengal Tigers and 100 One-horned Rhinos in the national park. But the sightings of these animals are rare. Other mammals in the park include grey langurs, rhesus macaques, leopards, civets, hyenas, sloth bears and barking, spotted, sambar and hog deer. Bardia also has more than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican and sarus crane. Gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles and Gangetic dolphins are occasionally spotted on rafting and canoe trips along the Geruwa River.
Originally a hunting reserve, Bardia became a conservation area in 1976 and then attained the status of National Park in 1988. Presently a plan is being considered to further expand the park both north and eastwards. The WWF and the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation are active in the park monitoring wildlife and breeding habitats. They have also implemented an educational scheme for local people identifying the meaning of, and need for conservation.
When to visit
The best place to visit Bardia National Park is between October and March when the days are warm and the nights are cool. If you are going for bird watching, make sure you go between April and June. Although the days are hot then, a lot of migratory birds can be seen.
How to get there
There are regular daily flights from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Upon arrival at the Nepalgunj airport you are picked up by a staff from Bardia National Park and are driven to Bardia Jungle Cottage – a two hour drive.
You can also take a bus from Kathmandu but it takes 16 hours to reach Bardia. If you take a private vehicle from Kathmandu, the drives is about 12 hours away.