In 1973, Chitwan National Park was established as the first national park of Nepal. With the years, it has developed and grown as a major tourist destination. It is also one among the World Heritage Sites as declared by the UNESCO. Chitwan National Park is also one of the most successful conservation projects in the country. The diverse flora and fauna found in the Park are sure to spellbind anyone’s heart. If you are reading this article means that you are also planning to visit the national park soon.
In that case, there are plenty of things that you can do during your time in Chitwan National Park. Following are the highly recommended things to do:
Take a jeep safari
Jeep safari is a highly recommended activity to do in Chitwan. Also, if you don’t like a long fancy walk in the extreme heat of Chitwan, jeep safari works best for you. Of course, you won’t be able to spot the wildlife with ease, but the good thing is that the driver and guide will be quick enough to spot animals seen in the forest and will stop the vehicle to help you see it.
Do a river safari in a kayak or canoe
You can rent a wooden kayak or canoe and indulge in a river safari in the Narayani as well as Rapti Rivers. You will get ample opportunities to explore the park better while greeting the gharial, marsh mugger, rhinos, birds, and elephants from a distance. Also, you can stop by the river banks and take a short walk in the jungle. There is a well-organized safari thus you will be accompanied by a local guide and driver.
Learn about elephants
If you cannot have enough of just looking at the elephants and want to learn more about them, there is good news, because you can. You can learn about how the elephants are raised at the Elephant Camp located at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge, Amaltari. You can join the elephants up to the grasslands in the morning to collect their fodder for the rest of the day. It is one of the rewarding experiences to gain. Furthermore, you can also give a try to prepare the elephants’ snacks, known as kuchis.
Chitwan National Park is home to a wide variety of about 543 species of birds. You can find plenty of bird watching packages where you will be accompanied by a trained and experienced tour guide. If you plan to go for it on your own, make sure to carry your binoculars and camera. You may find Bengal florican, swamp francolin, grey-crowned Prinia, eastern imperial eagle, Pallas’s fish eagle and many more. You will feel great going through the jungle mixing with nature.
If you want a richer experience of staying in Chitwan, you should opt for staying in homestays instead of the starred hotels. You may be skeptical about the quality of the homestays but will be surprised with the accommodation they provide. Of course, they won’t be like the 5-star hotels, but will undoubtedly fill you with a memorable experience. You will feel much warmer and enjoy each moment, get chance to interact with the locals and will learn more about the place as a whole.
Animals to watch:
- One-horned Rhino: Out of the two most popular wildlife species of Nepal, One-horned Rhino is one. There are high chances of you finding one walking casually in the streets of Sauraha.
- Bengal Tiger: Likewise, the second popular wildlife species is the Bengal Tiger. There are really very slim chances of seeing the Tiger but the lucky ones do get to spot the majestic Bengal Tiger.
- Asiatic Elephant: You will easily see a lot of reared elephants in Chitwan. However, there is also a small population of wild animals in the Chitwan National Park.
- Gharial: Gharial falls in the endangered list of threatened species in Nepal. Hence, Chitwan National Park pays special attention to conserving this species. You may see gharials, young and mature, in the Gharial breeding center.
- Sloth bear: Sloth bears are generally the size of a large dog. You may spot one while going through the jungles of the national park in the jeep.
Other major attractions in Chitwan National Park:
- Beeshazari Tal
Beeshazari Tal is an extensive lake-system of 20,000 lakes in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park. It is one of the most important wetlands in Nepal. This lake provides ample opportunities for bird watching and is also home to tiger, rhino and deer. You can also rent bikes and cycle up to the lake.
It is one of the most sacred and religious places in Central Nepal. It is an auspicious pilgrim site for the Hindus. Devghat is popular as the meeting place of the Gods and is surrounded by forests on the hillside. Legends say that many Gods and sages have visited Devghat and that it is inhabited by spiritual men in caves and huts along the rivers. You will have a great religious experience here.
- Tharu Culture House
Lots of national and international visitors visit the Tharu Culture House in Sauraha every time they visit the Park. You will get to watch the spectacular Tharu dances. Performances like Danda Naach (stick dance), Aago Naach (fire dance), and Mayur Naach (peacock dance) are the popular highlights of the cultural show. This particular cultural program has helped to spread awareness about the Tharu culture throughout the world.
The whole of Chitwan National Park and its vicinity are the perfect holiday destination for you. It is a combination of culture, nature, wildlife, thrill, and entertainment. And with Visit Nepal 2020 already in action, it is the right time to be there too. If you go to the area, please do share your experiences.