Chitwan National Park Tour
chitwannational-park
With its lush forests and exotic fauna which include the rare one horned rhino, the Royal Bengal tiger, crocodiles, elephants, deer and over four-hundred species of birds, the Royal Chitwan National Park offers one of the finest wildlife experience in Asia. Lying in the Terai belt, encompassed by the Churia Hills and flanked by he Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers, the park covers an area of 932 sq. km. It was established in 1973 and is the oldest National Park in Nepal. The park became a World Heritage Site in 1984.

During the late 19th century, Chitwan was the private hunting reserve of the Rana Prime Ministers. In 1911, King George V led a hunting party to Chitwan and is said to have shot thirty-seven tigers and eight rhinos. Between 1933 and 1940, the King and his guests, is said to have killed four hundred and thirty-three tigers and fifty-three rhinos. By the late 1960s the population of rhinos and tigers in Chitwan had dwindled drastically due to indiscriminate hunting and poaching. The declaration of Chitwan as a national park in1973 and the imposition of strict measures against poaching and unauthorized conversion of forest to farmland have helped in increasing the wildlife population. At present Chitwan National Park is regarded as one of the most developed and most frequently visited of Nepal’s national parks.

Local vegetation
The park’s vegetation is dominated by sal forest, open grassland sand riverine vegetation. There are also flowering species of trees like the sissoo, silk cotton tree and flame of the forest. These trees bloom from January to early spring and fill the forest with their colorful flowers. The tall elephant grass dominates the grass grassland and gives it a savanna like appearance.

Wildlife
The park is the home of the great one- horned Indian rhino, the world’s third largest land mammal. They feed large on grass which is also their normal habitat and move alone or in groups. The elephants seen frequently at the park are trained and tamed. The tamed elephants are used for elephant rides as well as to carry heavy loads in Chitwan . The Royal Bengal tiger, the most glamourous and elusive of Chitwan’s animals, is estimated to number just about a hundred in Chitwan. They are by nature reclusive and do not attack unless provoked or hunting for food. There are four different species of deer living in the park - the barking deer, the hog deer, the sambar deer and the spotted deer. Over 400 different birds have been recorded here, including the Indian peafowl, the tuneful blackheaded oriole and the openbill stork. The park’s rivers and the swampy areas are home to various reptiles like the pythons, crocodiles, called gharial, which feeds on fishes and the marsh mugger. The common leopard, langur and rhesus monkey also make up the park’s wildlife population.

Things to do & Places to Visit

The greatest thrill while at Chitwan is the traditional elephant ride. Taking an elephant ride to the jungle is an experience not to be missed. Three or sometimes four people can ride atop an elephant. Elephant safaris usually start in the early morning or late afternoon .There are also jeep tours available inside the park. The best months for this are from mid-February when the elephant grass has been cut, allowing unobstructed views. It is also possible to take a walk inside the park accompanied by the guide. Canoeing along the Rapti or Narayani rivers is the most restful way of watching the wildlife especially the acquatic birds and crocodiles. Several lodges arrange visits to nearby Tharu villages. Tharus, the original inhabitants of Chitwan, have their own culture, language and customs which are quite different from that of the Nepalese hill people. A visit to the elephant breeding camp and the gharial breeding centre can also prove to be informative.

The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the park from October to February. Many of the park lodges are closed between May to August, the rainy season.
Where to Stay
At Chitwan, you can stay outside or inside the park. A variety of lodges are available, from multi-starred to basic but comfortable. There are no campgrounds for campers inside the park. Budget travelers can stay at Sauraha, a nearby village that has some higher end accommodations as well. Meals are provided either by the lodges, or you can have something at the restaurant.
GETTING TO CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
By Surface
It is a pleasant scenic 5-6 hours drive by a tourist coach or a private vehicle from Kathmandu on the Prithivi Highway along the banks of the Trisuli River. En route you drive past several traditional Tharu villages and eventually reach the pickup point at fringe of national park from where you will be escorted by a Safari Jeep to your Safari Lodge.

By Air
It is a 20-minute pleasant flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur airport (near Royal Chitwan National Park). Up on arrival at Bharatpur air strip, a representative from the Safari Lodge you are booked in will escort you on a Safari Jeep to Chitwan National Park.

By Raft
Raj Bala Treks & Expedition organizes a day rafting trip to three on 2-4 class Trishuli River. You can combine rafting trip and Chitwan Wildlife tours. After concluding rafting trip near Chitwan National park border it is further 2 hrs (approx) drive to the park.

WILDLIFE SAFARI PACKAGE TOURS
The itineraries and activities of the Chitwan and the Bardia national parks are almost similar in character, but activities may vary between seasons. The number and course of your safari activities are determined by the number of nights you book for. Two nights - three days programs could include activities like Elephant back safari, jungle walk, bird watching, dugout canoe rides on the river and a visit to the elephant briefing. In the evening a cultural show of the traditional Terai dances are a must. By booking three nights – four days program you could add up a few more specialized excursions like a jungle jeep drive and a visit to the elephant breeding centre. Unlike African animals, those in Chitwan tend to be rather solitary and shy, but the chances of seeing most of the species are very good, owing to the experience of the local guides and the fine vantage point from the back of an elephant. Indeed, these elephant rides are an attraction in themselves and there are also boat trips arranged to see the crocodiles and dolphins. To further enhance your jungle experience and add to the trill and excitement, a stay in one of the lodges in the parks will give you a memorable holiday of a lifetime.

Itinerary for Chitwan National Park Tour:
Option I: 2 nights 3 days program
Day 01: Fly or drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park. After lunch you can enjoy an elephant back safari or nature walk through the tall elephant grass that is the home of the rare and endangered One Horned Rhinoceros. In the evening enjoy cultural programs conducted by Tharu, one of the indigenous community of Terai. You stay overnight at camp or lodge.
Day 02: Today you enjoy a full day of safari activities that will include elephant back safari, nature walks, canoe or boat ride, jeep drive, elephant bathing, bird watching, etc. as time permits. All outings will be guided by trained local naturalists and guides. Animals and birds to be seen are rhinoceros, crocodiles, bear, monkeys, several species of deer, pythons, peacocks, hornbills, woodpeckers (amongst more than 400 species of birds recorded in the park). If lucky you may catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger and leopard. One more activity includes walk through Tharu villages. You stay overnight at camp or lodge.
Day 03:
After breakfast there will be another chance to go out on a safari activity. Afterwards start drive or fly to Kathmandu.

Option II: 3 nights 4 days program

Day 01: Fly or drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park. After lunch you can enjoy an elephant back safari or nature walk through the tall elephant grass that is the home of the rare and endangered One Horned Rhinoceros. In the evening enjoy a slide show conducted by one of the senior naturalist. You stay overnight at camp or lodge.
Day 02: Today you enjoy a full day of safari activities that will include elephant back safari, nature walks, canoe or boat ride, jeep drive, elephant bathing, bird watching, etc. as time permits. All outings will be guided by trained local naturalists and guides. Animals and birds to be seen are rhinoceros, crocodiles, bear, monkeys, several species of deer, pythons, peacocks, hornbills, woodpeckers (amongst more than 400 species of birds recorded in the park). If lucky you may catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger and leopard may revel themselves for you. One more activity includes walk through Tharu villages. You stay overnight at camp or lodge.
Day 03: With another full day you will have ample chance to enjoy more outings or go on a full-day jungle hike to another part of the park with your tracker guide on a private expedition to look out for rare birds and animals.
Day 04: After breakfast there will be enough time to go out on a safari activity. Afterwards start drive or flight to Kathmandu.

WHAT TO BRING
Neutral colored clothing is recommended.
Light clothing is needed for day time with a sweater and warm jacket for the evenings from November to March.
Pants / Trousers are recommended for elephant safari.
Comfortable walking shoes, sun hat, sunglasses etc. are essential. Insect repellent and personal medical requirements should be carried.
It is highly recommended to travel light with only one small suitcase or duffle bag.
During the warmer months swimming suits are recommended.
A Small flash light is recommended.
Binoculars add greatly to your enjoyment for bird and wildlife viewing.
(In case of rafting and Jungle Safari tour combination please visit ‘rafting in Nepal’ section for more details on Rafting and its essential information.

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