On safari in India and Nepal.

July 1, 2023
On safari in India and Nepal.

Nepal and India are home to some of the best wildlife and bird viewing areas in Asia. Both are fantastic options for great safari experiences and the chance to spot rare and endangered species, as well as enjoy abundant and varied animal and bird species.

In Nepal, Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park, in the southern Terai region of Nepal are the place to go for safaris. Just a short flight of around 25 minutes from Kathmandu to Bharatpur if visiting Chitwan or around 50 minutes flight to Nepalgunj for access to Bardia, plus a transfer drive and you’ll be able to enter into the dense, lush jungles of the national parks.

Chitwan is best known and easier to get to, whilst Bardia is less visited due to its location in the far west of Nepal (close to India) which makes it more isolated, remote and a longer journey compared to Chitwan.  Both are spectacular wilderness areas of dense, lush sal forest and grassland cut through by rivers and lakes. The area around Chitwan National Park, before you enter the forest jungles, is more developed with lodges, cafes and a few small shops. Once inside the Parks there are no shops or accommodation options other than some watchtowers and villages where it’s possible to stay with prior permission, such as we include on our Big Six safari itinerary.

In India, you’ll be spoilt for choice as there are many locations to on safari, particularly for tiger spotting, such as Pench, Kanha, Tadoba, Rukhad, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore National Parks, to name just a few. Certain locations are best known for bird watching.

Activities inside the National Parks include jeep safaris, gentle river rafting tours and guided jungle walks. In India you can also go on horseback safari and in other locations by early morning rickshaw ride for bird spotting. On all visits you’ll be accompanied by an experienced naturalist tour guide. From your accommodation outside the Parks, you can also explore the local villages. Outside the park boundaries, it’s a nice option to simply walk or cycle around the local area for an authentic experience of local life.

What can I expect to see?

Chitwan and Bardia National Parks are home to many animal and bird species including rare and protected species such as the One-Horned Rhinoceros and Royal Bengal Tigers. Other animals include leopard, gaur (bison), sloth bear, spotted deer, wild elephants, monkeys, gharial crocodile, marshmugger crocodile, warthog and more. There are also hundreds of bird species. Bear in mind these are wild animals in their natural habitats, so sightings aren’t guaranteed. Even if you don’t see the more elusive animals such as the tigers, you’re highly likely to see the rhinos, deer, crocodiles, and many others including many of the wonderful bird species.

In India tigers are a huge draw, also wild elephants, leopards, wolves, hyenas and many more species including abundant bird species. In Gujarat you can even see Asiatic Lions at Gir National Park and Barda Wildlife Sanctuary, the only place outside of Africa where you can see lions in their natural habitat. Do a trek or tour in the snow-capped Himalayas of Ladakh and you’ll have a chance to see Snow Leopards.

Generally. the best times for spotting the animals tend to be early morning and late evenings and where the animals come to drink at rivers and lakes.

How long do I need to stay?

You can do a short day safari in some locations but really you need at least 2 to 3 days for a good safari experience and for the best chance of spotting the animals. Some travellers choose to base their trip around safari activities, sometimes in a few different locations. Adding on a few days safari is also a very popular and great option to add onto your main trek or tour and an interesting contrast too.

If you’d like to add a few days safari to your main trip or make safari activities the focus of your trip, contact us and we’ll be happy to share ideas and discuss options.