National Park & Wild Life Reserves

1. Shey-Phoksundo National Park
Nepal's largest national park covers 3,555 sq. km of the land is known as Shey-Phoksundo National Park. The park was established to protect the trans-Himalayan ecosystem found only in few areas of the Nation. The Unique Park Includes the Kanjiroba Himal, with many peaks of over 6,000 meters, as well as the famous Shey Monastery, the Phoksundo Lake and the Langu Gorge. Pine, walnut, willow, oak, poplar and cypress in the lower southern parts are includes as floras of the Park. In the higher reaches, pine, spruce, juniper and birch pre-dominate. The alpine areas are vegetated by barberries, wild rose and caragana. The trans-Himalayan Mountains and grassy alpine meadows to the north are almost devoid of trees but have caragana and dwarf juniper.
The wildlife of Shey Phoksundo include a good population of blue sheep and Ghoral, musk deer, leopard, wild dog, wolf, marmot, weasel, mouse hare, rhesus and Langur monkeys. The adjoining Tibetan region is home to such rare animals as the great Tibetan sheep, Tibetan wild ass, Tibetan gazelle and antelope, and wild yak. Bird species of the park include the Impeyan and cheer Pheasant, chough, raven, Tibetan snow cock, Tibetan twit, brown dipper, Himalayan griffon and lammergeyer. The park is inhabited by people of Tibetan descent who follow the pre-Buddist Bon religion and some of the main villages are Ringmo, Pugmo, Salclang, Kugun, and Tatgaun. On the August full moon all Dolpa villagers converge on the Shey (Crystal) Mountain in a festival to walk around the holy peak three times in as many days.
Access: The nearest airstrip is at Juphal in Surkhet, south of the park. Visitors can also fly to Jumla from where it is a 10 day hike to the Phoksundo and Shey areas. The best time to visit this park is from April to November.

2. Makalu Barun National Park:
The park and conservation area is situated in the Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu districts, bordered by the Arun River on the east, Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park on the west, the Nepal-Tibet border on the north and Saune Danda (ridge) to the south. The Park covers 2,330 sq. Km. This National Park is the only protected area in Nepal with designation of a Strict Nature Reserve. It has some of the richest and most unique pockets of plants and animals in Nepal, elsewhere lost to spreading human habitation. Stepping up the slopes are a series of vegetation zones starting with tropical Sal forest below 1,000 m. elevation: subtropical schima-castanopsis forest at 1,000-2000 m. fir, birch, rhododendron forests in the sub-alpine(3,000-4,000 m); and herbs, grasses and rhododendron/juniper shrubs in the alpine pas trees (4,000-5,000 m). There are 47 varieties of orchids, 67 species of bamboos, 15 oaks including Arkhoulo, 86 species of fodder trees and 48 species of primrose. Over 400 species of birds have been sighted in the Makalu-Barun area, including two species never before seen in Nepal the spotted wren babbler and the olive ground warbler. Wildlife includes the endangered red panda, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard and possibly snow leopard, in addition to more substantial populations of Ghoral, Thar, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan marmot and weasel, common Langur monkey and the serum. The Arun river system contains 84 varieties of fish.
Access: To reach Makalu-Barun National Park & Conservation Area, take the daily flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Bhojpur and Tumlingtar. Visitors may choice to fly any one air linked airports then start trek.

3. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Kanchanjunga Conservation Area belt lies below Mt. Kanchanjunga. The region with its alpine grasslands, rocky outcrops, and low river valleys, temperate and sub-tropical forests is situated in Taplejung district that borders with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. The Kanchanjunga Conservation Area has been selected as one of the 200 Global eco regions recognized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Almost 30 varieties of rhododendron species and 69 varieties of orchids are found here. The area is splashed with colors every spring with wild displays of rhododendrons, orchids, lilies, primulas and other flowers. Wildlife includes endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda, blue sheep and rhesus macaw. About 202 species of different birds including Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, and shy drongo are found in the area. The region can be reached via Basantapur in Dhankuta district or Birtamod in Jhapa district. The area can also be reached through Dharan, which is 40 km north from Biratnagar. Yet another option is to fly to Biratnagar and then to Sukhetar in Taplejung district from where the region can be trekked. Tourist facilities are available in Dharan, Dhankuta and Biratnagar.  

4.  Shivapuri National Park:
This Shivapuri National Park is popular as trekking, hiking and recreation area which offers the nearest retreat away from the noise of city life. The park was established as a Watershed and Wildlife Reserve in 1976. It was declared as national Park in 2003 for the protection of its unique natural adornments. Vegetation varieties in the park include its 129 species of mushrooms while animals include 19 species of mammals include beer, leopard, deer, wild boar, wildcat and Langur monkey. The park also boasts of 177 species of birds and 102 species of butterflies.
Access: Only 12 kilometers away from Kathmandu, the gateway to Shivapuri National Park is Budhanilkanta which is 15 to 20 minutes drive away from the city. Another option is via Sundarijal which is about 30 to 45 minutes drive from Kathmandu. From both, Budhanilkantha and Sundarjal, the park enquires trekking uphill. Yet another way to reach Shivapuri is by driving till Kakani from where the park is an hour trek away.

5. Khaptad National Park:
Khaptad is Nepal's newest park area which lies in the mid hills of the Far-West region of Nepal. The 225 sq km area of the park is situated in the meeting point of Bajhang, Bajura, Doti and Achham districts. Khaptad is plateau of grassland and forest cover at an elevation of about 3,000 meters. The mixed conifer and broad-leaf forests are an excellent example of the vegetation that once covered much of west Nepal's mid hills. The forest consists of a mixture of tall fir, yew, rhododendron, oak, dense strands of bamboo and smaller shrubs. This habitat provides good cover for bear, leopard, barking and musk deer, as well as birds like the Impeyan, koklas and kalij peasants. This park is special because it represents one of the few remaining mid-mountain ecosystems in Nepal Himalaya. At the north-eastern corner of the park, a small serene lake and swampy area called Khapted Daha is religious site where Hindu pilgrims come to worship Shiva on the full moon of July-August each year. Here lived the ascetic, the Khaptad Baba, who was known and revered throughout Nepal. 
Access:  The easiest access is to fly to Dipayal or Chainpur or Sanfebagar or Colt from where it is a few days hike to the national park. It is also possible to drive to Silgadi from Dhangadi. The best time to visit Khaptad is in March and April and in October and November. Travelers should hike with camping equipment, food and guides, arranged through authorized travel/trekking agents in Nepal.

6. Rara National Park:
Rara National Park is situated about 370 km. north-west of Kathmandu which is Nepal's smallest and most scenic national park covers 106 square km. Much of the park is at an altitude of about 3,000 meters forested by conifers. The park was established in 1976 and protects some of the most beautiful alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems of the Himalaya. The centerpiece is the pristine Lake Rara, also Known as Mahendra Tal, the biggest lake in Nepal. The lake is surrounded by richly forested hills, Chuchemara Danda at 4,087 meters is the best vantage point to get stunning views of the lake and the thickly forested hillsides and the snow-capped peaks around it. Other summits in the park area are Ruma kand (3,731 m.) and Malika Kand (3,444 m.), situated to the north of the lake. Rara comes within the catchment area of the Karnali River, one of the three main river systems of Nepal. The habitat supports animals like the red panda, black bear, yellow-throated martin, Ghoral, serum and musk deer. There have also been reported sightings of leopard and wolf. The lake attracts migrant wildfowl like teals, pilchards and mallards. Resident birds include the Impeyan, kalij and blood pheasant as well as others like the chucker partridge. 
Access: The easiest way to get to Rara is by flying to Jumla or Kolti from Kathmandu via Nepalgunj, followed by a three-day hike to the park office at Hutu. The alternative route is to take a bus from Nepalgunj to Surkhet, from where it is a weeks' hike to the park. Visitors should travel with camping gear and guides which offers them the flexibility to explore Rara where basic accommodation is available only at the park office. The best time to visit the region is from February to April and in October and November.

7. Bardia National Park:
The Bardia National Park is situated on the eastern banks of the Karnali River, about 400 km west of Kathmandu. The park is 968 sq km in area and extends from the Churya hills southward to the gentle slopes of the "Bhabhar'. The higher grounds of the Churya have dry deciduous forest of mostly hardwood Sal. The porous slopes of the Bhabhar support large open grasslands known locally as 'Phantas'. These are some of the last remaining grasslands that once covered much of the Gangetic plains. The western end of the Bardia is bounded by numerous water-ways of the Karnali which have created many large and small gravel islands. These islands and much of the lower ground area covered by a mosaic of grassland and reverie forest of acacia, sisam and the large buttressed silk cotton trees. In spring, the silk cotton blooms and the forest comes alive with scarlet flowers.
Bardia is the home of a wide variety of animals, many of which live in and around the Phantas. These open grasslands such as Baghora and Lamkoili are the best places to view animals. The most conspicuous of which is the spotted deer. Other ungulates include black buck, hog deer, somber deer, wild boar and barasinghe or swamp deer. Two species of monkeys, the Langur and the rhesus macaque are also present. The park is famous for its small herds of wild elephants which are rarely seen. The park also boasts a small population of the rare Gharial, the marsh mugger crocodile and the Gangetic dolphin. The island of the Karnali River harbors the sub-continent's largest antelope species, the nilgai or blue bull. The Karnali and Babai rivers attract a large number of wintering waterfowl along with resident species such as herons, kingfishers and wall creepers. More than 350 bird species have been recorded in Bardia, truly a bird watcher's paradise. 
Access: To reach Bardia, take the daily flight or public bus from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, from where it is a five hour drive to the park office at Thakurdwara. This nature sanctuary is best visit from October to May.

 8.  Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve:
For bird watching one need not look elsewhere. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in the eastern Tarai close to Itahari attracts a large number of migratory birds. Established in 1976 to protect the grassland and islands in the floodplains of Sapta Koshi River, it is also the last habitat of the Arna (wild water buffalo). Bird watchers arrive here in search of the beautiful Bengal florican and the flamboyant sarus cranes. More than 440 species of birds have been recorded here including those that arrive from Siberia and Tibet around November to February. The reserve is also home to wild boar, jackals, pythons and crocodiles. The endangered Gangetic dolphins are seen occasionally when they surface in the river. A park fee is charged for entering the reserve.
Access: The easiest means of getting there is by air to Biratnagar and by road from the airport to Koshi Tappu. The reserve in not far from the Mahendra Highway and there are buses from Itahari going in. There are a few resorts within the reserve for which we arrange transport, lodging and excursions in the park.