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Wildlife Sanctuaries & National Parks in Nepal
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Besides mountains, there are various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Nepal. The Chitwan National Park is the most famous national park of Nepal. Some other famous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Nepal are Annapurna Conservation Area, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Kanchanjunga Conservation Area, Sagarmatha National Park, Royal Bardia National Park, Langtang National Park, Rara National Park, Shey-Phoksundo National Park, Makalu-Barun National Park, Royal Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.

Chitwan National Park

A large part of the Rapti Valley in the lowlands of the Teria region has been considered as a national park and is known as the Royal Chitwan National Park. This park is situated 120 km southwest of Kathmandu in the valley of Rapti and Narayani rivers. Chitwan National Park is the oldest, best known, developed and most frequently visited national park in Nepal. This national park covers an area of 932 square km and consists of thick forests, swamp, tall elephant grass and rivers. Chitwan National Park is surounded by the hills, the Siwaliks in the south and the Mahabharat Lekh in the north and the Narayani and Rapti rivers flowing from south to west.

Chitwan National Park, Nepal

The Chitwan National Park was a private hunting reserve of the Ranas. In 1973, this park became the Nepal's first national park and strict measures were taken and hunting and poaching were banned. This park was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1984. Some of the animals which can be seen in the park are tiger, great one-horned Indian rhinoceros, leopard, gaur, sloth and wild bear, sambar, hog and barking deer, civet, mongoose, otter, marsh mugger crocodile, gharial and the Gangetic dolphin. In addition, there are about 50 more species of mammals, 400 species of birds and several varieties of fish. The best time to visit Chitwan National Park is from October to March.

Annapurna Conservation Area

Annapurna Conservation Area is the first and the largest conservation area in Nepal. It covers an area of 7,600 square kms. and is located in mid-western Nepal. About 1,226 species of plants, including 38 species of orchids, 9 species of rhododendron and many varieties of fish can be seen in this area. It is also the home of blue sheep and snow leopards. The Impeyan pheasant, and various varieties of butterflies and insects can also be seen in this park.

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Nepal

Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is the only wildlife reserve in Nepal which is legalized for hunting. The reserve adjoins Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung districts below the Dhaulagiri range in West Nepal. This reserve was established in 1987, and allows sport hunting and preserve a representative high-altitude ecosystem. It covers an area of 1,325 square kms. The reserve offers some game animals for controlled hunting. The vegetation in this region includes alpine, sub-alpine and high-temperature vegetation. Fir, pine and spruce are some of the trees found in the region. Some of the wildlife animals and birds found in the reserve are the blue sheep, snow leopard, tahr, langur, ghoral, black bear, barking deer, mouse hare, wild boar, pheasants and partridges. The endangered animals in the reserve include musk deer, wolf, red panda and birds like cheer pheasant and Danphe.

Kanchanjunga Conservation Area

Kanchanjunga Conservation Area is situated just below the looming mountains of Kanchanjunga. The conservation area is spread in an area of 2,035 square kms, and made up of alpine grasslands, rocky outcrops, dense temperate and subtropical forests, and river lowlands. The Kanchanjunga Conservation Area is situated in Northeast Nepal in Taplejung district and bordered by Tibet and Sikkim in India in the east. The area is a vast repository of flora and fauna. During spring, the area has an excellent display of rhododendrons, orchids, lilies, primula and many other flowers. Here you can see 15 of Nepal's 28 endemic flowering plants. The wildlife animals in the park includes the endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda, blue sheep, rhesus macaw. Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo are some of the birds found in the area.

Red Panda, Kanchanjunga Conservation Area
Sagarmatha National Park

The Sagarmatha National Park is located to the north-east of Kathmandu in the Khumbu region of Nepal. This park includes the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, Kangtega, Gyachung Kang, Thamserku and Kwangde. Sagarmatha National Park covers an area of 1,148 square kms. and consists of upper areas of rivers Dudh Koshi, Bhote Koshi and Imja Khola. The rugged region with deep gorges and glaciers is locally called Khumbu, and is home of the Sherpas, whose lives are interwoven with the teachings of Buddhism. The park was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1979. The vegetation in the park includes the rhododendron, birch, blue pine, juniper, silver fir, scrub, alpine plants, rock and snow. During spring and summer season, the hillsides around the villages of Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Thyangboche and Thame are splashed with the colors of different species of rhododendron. Some of the animals which can be seen in the Sagarmatha National Park are the Himalayan tahr, ghoral, musk deer, mouse hare, weasel, jackal, Himalayan black bear, wolf, marten, Himalayan mouse hare, jackal, langur monkey and snow leopard. Some of the birds which can also be seen in this park are Impeyan pheasant, blood pheasant, snow cock, snow pigeon, red billed and yellow billed chough, Himalayan griffin vulture and lammergeier.

Royal Bardia National Park

The Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the mid far western Terai region of Nepal, east of the Karnali River. The Royal Bardia National Park was established in 1988 and covers an area of 968 square kms. It is the largest and most undisturbed park in the Terai lowlands. About 1500 people who used to live in this valley have been resettled elsewhere. Most of the part of the park is covered with Sal trees, grasslands, savanna and riverine forests. The one-horned rhino, tiger, wild elephant, black buck, swamp deer, gharial crocodile, marsh mugger, Gangetic dolphin, snakes, lizards and fishes are the major attractions of this park. More than 200 species of resident and migratory birds including the Bengal florican, lesser florican and Sarus crane can also be seen in this park.

Langtang National Park

Langtang National Park is located in the Central Himalayas and is the nearest national park from Kathmandu. The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. This national park was established in 1976 and covers an area of 1,710 square kms. Langtang encloses two river areas, one drains from west into the Trisuli River and the other drains from east to the Sun Koshi river. The vegetation in the park includes the subtropical forest, temperate oak forest, pine forests, alpine scrub and grasses. Blue pine, hemlock, spruce, Oak, chir pine, maple, fir and various species of rhododendron are the main forest species. About 45 villages are situated within the park boundaries, but they are not under park jurisdiction. The area is also the home of several ethnic groups which have influenced the natural enviroment over the centuries. The wildlife attractions in the Langtang National Park are Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Ghoral, Seraw, Rhesus monkey, Common langur, Wild dog, Musk deer, Himalayan black bear and Himalayan red panda. The Langtang region is a very important transit route for migratory birds.

Rara National Park

Rara National Park is located in Northwest Nepal, about 371 kms. from Kathmandu. This park was established in 1976 and covers an area of 106 square kms. This is the smallest park in Nepal. The main attraction of the Rara National Park is the Rara Lake, which is the biggest lake of Nepal. Most of the park, including Rara lake, lies in Mugu District and a small area is within Jumla District of Karnali Zone. The park is covered by coniferous and deciduous forest. Some of the trees which are found in this park are blue pine, black juniper, West Himalayan spruce, oak, Himalayan cypress, fir, oak, birch, Indian horse-chestnut and walnut. The wild animals which are found in this park are musk deer, leopard, black bear, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr and wild boar. Snow trout is the only fish found in the lake. Some of the birds like great-crested grebe, snow cock, black-necked grebe, red-crested pochard, kalij pheasant, chakor partridge, Impeyan pheasant and blood pheasant can also be seen in this park.

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

Shey-Phoksundo National Park is situated in the mountain region of western Nepal and cover parts of Dolpa and Mugu districts. Shey-Phoksundo National Park is the largest national park in Nepal. This park was established in 1984 and covers the area of 3,555 square kms. This park is roughly divided into Himalayan range and the river valleys. The Himalayan region has desert type vegetation that mainly consists of dwarf juniper and caragana shrubs while the river valley consists of blue pine, spruce, poplar, cypress, deodar, fir and birch trees. The park is a prime habitat for snow leopard and blue sheep. Other animals which are found in the park are the black bear, Himalayan weasel, langur, ghoral, Himalayan tahr, serow, leopard, wolf, jackal, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten and rhesus monkeys. The park is equally rich in various species of birds like the Impeyan pheasant (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, red and yellow billed cough, raven, jungle crow, snow partridge and many others.

Makalu-Barun National Park

Makalu-Barun National Park is located in the Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu Districts in the northeast Nepal at the Nepal-Tibet border. This park was established in 1992 and covers an area of 2,330 square kms. This is the only protected area in Nepal with strict laws for nature conservation. This park is bordered by the Arun River in the east, Sagarmatha National Park in the west, the Nepal-China border in the north and the Saune Danda (ridge) in the south. This park has some of the richest and most unique varieties of plants and animals in Nepal. The vegetation in the park includes fir, birch, herbs, grasses, rhododendron and oaks. There are 47 varieties of orchids, 67 species of economically valuable medicinal and aromatic plants, 25 varieties of rhododendron, 19 species of bamboo, 15 oaks, 86 species of fodder trees and 48 species of primrose. The wildlife in the park includes red panda, musk deer, clouded leopard, barking deer, wild boar, Himalayan black beer, snow leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan marmot, weasel, common langur monkey and serow. The Arun River system contains 84 varieties of fish.

Royal Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve

The Royal Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve is located in the southern part of far-west Nepal in the Kanchanpur District. This park was established in 1976 and covers an area of 305 square kms. Sal, asna, simal, karma, khair and sissoo trees are found along the riverside. The reserve is a prime habitat for swamp deer. Other wild animals include wild elephant, tiger, hispid hare, blue bull, leopard, chital, hog deer and wild boar. Birds of 200 different varieties, including the rare Bengal florican, are found here. Marsh mugger, crocodile, Indian python, monitor lizard and snakes like cobra, krait, and rat snake are also found here.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies in the flood plains of the River Sapta Koshi in Saptari and Sunsari Districts of Eastern Nepal. This park was established in 1976 and covers an area of 175 square kms. This reserve is a favorite place for the bird enthusiasts. The vegetation in the reserve includes tall grasses with few patches of Sissoo and Khair scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverine forest. This reserve offers a habitat for the wide variety of wildlife. The last surviving herd of wild buffaloes was found here. Some other species of animals include wild boar, hog deer, spotted deer, blue bull, crocodile, gharial and the Gangetic dolphin. About 280 species of birds, including ducks, ibises, egrets, herons, swamp partridge and Bengal floricans are also found here. The Koshi Barrage is an extremely important place for the migratory birds. Other animal species include the crocodile, gharial and the Gangetic dolphins. Commercial fishing is also an important activity here.

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