Nepal is a land of utmost contrasts in climate and geography.Within a mere 150 kms the land rises from near sea level in the south to over 800ms in the North. Gifted with a great diversity of life-zones, Nepal serves as one of the best collection of wildlife on the planet. From exotic Lophophorus to the elusive Royal Bengali Tiger, and from the endangered One-Horned Rhino to exotic Snow leopard, Nepal boasts a large variety of wild floras and faunas that is unmatched with any other geographic nation in the world.
Here are a list of must visit National Parks in Nepal:
Royal Chitwan National Park
Area -> 932 Sq. Km
Location -> Subtropical inner Terai lowlands of South-Central Nepal.
- Churiya Hills
- Ox-bow Lakes
- Rapti, Reu and Narayani River
- Dense Sal Forest
- More than 43 species of mammals
- Animals Found : Endangered One-horned rhinoceros, Tiger,Wild Elephant, Four-horned antelope, Striped hyena, Gangetic Dolphin, Python,monitor lizard, Pangolin,Gharial Crocodile, sambar, chital, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, palm civet, langur and rhesus monkey.
- More than 450 species of bird
- Birds Found: peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers.
- More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the park, some of which are the marsh crocodile, cobra, green pit viper and various species of frogs and tortoises.
Royal Bardia National Park
Area -> 968 sq.kms
Location -> In the mid far western Terai, east of the Karnali River.
- Largest and Undisturbed wilderness region in Terai.
- 70% of park covered with Sal forest
- Habitat for endangered animals like the rhinoceros, wild elephant, tiger, swamp deer, black buck, gharial crocodile, marsh mugger crocodile and Gangetic dolphin.
- Habitat for endangered birds like Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-eared mesia and Sarus crane.
Langtang National Park
Area -> 1,710 SQ. KMS
Location -> In the Central Himalaya, Langtang is the nearest park from Kathmandu. The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border.
- Encloses the catchments of two major river systems: one draining west into the Trisuli River and the other east to the Sun Koshi river.
- Wide spectrum of vegetation available. For instance, small areas of subtropical forest, temperate oak and pine forests, with alpine scrub and grasses giving way to bare rocks and snow.
- Oaks, chir pine, maple, fir, blue pine, helmock, spruce and various species of rhododendron found.
- 25% of the total area provides habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjack, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur.
SHEY-PHOKSUNDO NATIONAL PARK
Area -> 3,555 SQ. KMS
Location -> Shey-Phoksundo National Park is situated in the mountain region of western Nepal, covering parts of Dolpa and Mugu Districts. It is the largest national park in the country.
- Luxuriant forests, mainly comprised of blue pine, spruce, cypress, poplar, deodar, fir and birch.
- The Jugdula River valley consists mostly of Quercus species. The trans-Himalayan area has a near-desert type vegetation of mainly dwarf juniper and caragana shrubs.
- Prime habitat for snow leopard and the blue sheep.
- Other animals : Ghoral, Himalayan tahr, serow, leopard, wolf, jackal, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan weasel, Himalayan mouse hare, yellow-throated marten, langur and rhesus monkeys.
- Rich in many species of birds : Impeyan pheasant (danphe), blood pheasant, cheer pheasants, red and yellow billed cough, raven, jungle crow, snow partridge, etc.
RARA NATIONAL PARK
Location -> In north-west Nepal about 371 km air distance from Kathmandu. Most of the park, including Lake Rara, lies in Mugu District; a small area is within Jumla District of Karnali Zone.
- Park elevations range from 1800 m to 4048 m.
- Mainly coniferous forest.
- Area around the lake is dominated by blue pine, black juniper, West Himalayan spruce, oak, Himalayan cypress and other associated species.
- Deciduous tree species like Indian horse-chestnut, walnut and Himalayan popular are also found.
- Small portion of the park serves as an ideal habitat for musk deer. Other animals found in the park include Himalayan black bear, leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr and wild boar.
- Snow trout is the only fish species recorded in the lake.
- The great-crested grebe, black-necked grebe, and red-crested pochard are seen during winter. Other common birds are the snowcock, chukor partridge, Impeyan pheasant, kalij pheasant and blood pheasant.