ItineraryCOMPLETE TOUR OF BARDIA AND CHITWAN NATIONAL PARKS, NEPAL
- Date: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Sunday, April the 14th, 2019. From here you will be picked up by our rep and transferred to your comfortable hotel.
- Duration: 26 days, ending Thursday the 9th of May in Kathmandu.
- Cost: USD 8999 per person inclusive of hotels & tented camps, transportation, local taxes & permits with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
- Deposit: 50% of the cost of the trip placed at least one month before duration. All bookings require 50% deposit of the trip price to be confirmed. The amount is to be deposited in US dollars. The remaining sum of the trip will have to be paid 45 days prior to departure. All major credit and debit cards are accepted
- Places: 6
Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu where you will meet our company representative and be driven to the Thamel area of the city and stay overnight in the famous Kathmandu Guest House.
Travel by minibus to Bardia National Park where you will stay for the next eleven nights at the Tharu Home Lodge run by local Tharu people and situated within easy walking/driving distance from the entry into this wild and isolated natural paradise.
A full day rest day at the lodge. In the afternoon you will be introduced to our chief guide, Rajan Choudhary and other local members of our team. They and Clive Grylls will be on hand to answer any questions regarding your visit. You will also enjoy a ‘sundowner’ at a close by beauty spot. Dinner will be served at our lodge.
After breakfast we will spend a full day walking into the heart of the Park through Riverine forests and open grasslands. A packed lunch will be supplied. Locations visited will include the Teenkune, Kingfisher, Bhellor tree locations and waterholes and the Elephant and Tiger Machan posts. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Tiger, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Otters, ungulates such as Chital, Sambar and Hog deer. Birdlife that may be spotted include: Red headed fish eagle, Asian open-billed stork, Woolly necked Stork, and many species of Bee-eaters and Kingfishers.
A packed lunch will be supplied. After breakfast we will visit the ‘Tharu Cultural Museum’ at the Park entrance and then spend a full day walking into the heart of the Park through Riverine and Sal forest visiting the Pattharbandt, Khaura cross and Bhellor tree locations. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Tiger, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Otters, Elephants, ungulates such as Chital, Sambar and Hog and Swamp deer and Pythons. Birdlife that may be spotted include: Dusky large owl, Brown fish owl, Great hornbill, Great slaty woodpecker and many species of Bee-eaters and Kingfishers.
A packed lunch will be supplied. After breakfast we will walk to the same locations as the previous two days. These are some of the best viewing locations in the Park and will enable us to maximize our chances of seeing the wildlife often spotted there.
A packed lunch will be supplied. After breakfast we will embark on a full-day drive through the Park traveling through Riverine and Sal forest and ending our drive camping overnight at the Laimati/Japanese Camp region overlooking the confluence of the Karnali and Geruwa rivers where dinner will be taken under the stars. Locations visited along the way will include: the Baghaura, Gaida Machan, JBS Camp (so-called because the naturalist John Blashford Snell discovered there the two largest Asiatic elephants ever recorded in Asia), Balcony, Dhanesh tal, Ganesh tal and khodao tal waterholes. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Tiger, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Otters, Elephants, Asiatic wild dog (dhole), Leopard, Hyena, Jackal, Porcupine and ungulates such as Chital, Sambar ,Hog, Barking and Swamp deer, Pythons and critically endangered Gharials. Birdlife that may be spotted include all the Park’s bird species (407.)
Breakfast will be served at the campsite and a packed lunch will be provided.
- Option one: (Dependent on the seasonal flow of water)
Full day rafting on the Geruwa River and ending up at the ‘Elephant Breeding Centre’ or at our lodge. We will also have the chance to moor our raft and walk off-track into the forest. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Tiger, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Otters, Gharial and Mugger crocodiles and all the wildlife that inhabits the riverine forest areas of the Park. Birdlife that may be spotted include most of the species found in the riverine forest sections of the Park.
- Option two:
Full day rafting on the Karnali River starting at the Karnali Bridge and ending up at the village of Daulatpur to visit and dine at the famous and unique ‘Banana Resort’ restaurant where everything from alcohol to fine and delicious foods and snacks are made entirely from bananas. We will then be driven back to our lodge for a late dinner. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Critically endangered Gangetic dolphins, Blue Bull or Nilgai (Asia’s largest antelope), Otters, Elephants and ungulates. Birdlife that may be spotted include most of the species found in the riverine forest sections of the Park……plus Ospreys and Black baza which are commonly sighted along this section of the river.
Breakfast will be taken at our lodge and a packed lunch will be prepared for us. There are many highlights on this trip. You will be working with expert guides that are also (in the strictest sense of the word)……true conservationists……and an expert tutor and professional photographer who spent years studying Asiatic wildlife all over the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Today we will embark on a journey by jeep into the true heart of the Park where few people have ventured. Starting from our lodge in the west of the Park we will embark on a five-six hour drive through grasslands, Sal, Riverine and Pine forests into its South-western heartland, the Guthi region, where we will be camping close to or by the Babai River. All camping, rafting food and other equipment for our stay will be transported in a separate jeep(s). There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Sloth bear, Four-horned antelope, Tiger, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Otters, Elephants, Asiatic wild dog (dhole), Leopard, Hyena, Jackal, Porcupine and ungulates such as Chital, Sambar ,Hog, Barking and Swamp deer as well as Pythons and critically endangered Gharial. Because of the topography covered on this day the birdlife that may be spotted include most of the Park’s bird species (407) including a rare chance to maybe spot or photograph the elusive but relatively common Silver-eared mesia and Fire-tailed myzornis.
Breakfast will be at our campsite and a packed lunch will be prepared for us.
- Option one: (Dependent on the seasonal flow of water)
Full day rafting on the Babai River and then a jeep drive back to our lodge. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Elephants, Four-horned antelope, Sambar and Gharials. The birdlife that may be spotted include: Black-capped kingfisher, Blue-eared kingfisher, and if we are very lucky…..the Great Hornbill.
- Option two:
The whole morning walking along the shores of the river and the surrounding Riverine forests. In the afternoon we will take the long drive back to our lodge.
Breakfast will be at our lodge and a packed lunch will be prepared for us. In the morning we will travel by jeep to the historical Lake Badhaiya located outside of the National Park and spread over an area of 73 hectares. This is a paradise at this time of year for resident water birds. The birdlife that may be spotted include: Painted stork, Sarus crane, Asian pheasant-tailed jacana, Pied avocet, Grey-headed lapwing and Black-winged stilt. In the afternoon we will drive to the ‘Blackbuck Conservation Area’ established in 2009 to conserve the elegant but endangered blackbuck antelope. This protected area covers 16.95 km2 and is a sanctuary for the northernmost surviving herd in the world.
Breakfast at our lodge and lunch taken at a local eatery. In the morning we will travel inside the National Park to reach a bridge that traverses the Babai River……this is possibly the best place to view both critically endangered Gharial AND Mugger crocodiles (sometimes together) sunning themselves on sandbanks. The river is dammed and huge shoals of the endangered game fish, the Golden Mahseer, also gather there. Mid-morning we will take local tea and refreshments with a typical Tharu family. In the afternoon we will travel outside of the Park into ‘community forests’ to visit the village of Pattharboji, described by our chief guide, Rajan, “as possibly the most unique and isolated Tharu village in the area.” Surrounded by abundant wildlife that thrive in the buffer zones of the Park…..in this village we will be able to witness and photograph century old skills of basket making and construction of storage vats made entirely from straw and clay. A donation to this village is included in the cost of the trip. Finally, we will visit Rajan’s tree house built deep inside a community forest and take a late afternoon walk where there will be a good chance of spotting/photographing resident Greater one-horned rhinos.
Breakfast at our lodge and lunch taken at a local eatery. The whole day will be spent in and around the Tharu village of Bantarya……this is where our chief guide, Rajan, was born and still lives. We will visit his home to meet his elderly parents (his Mum is 97 years old). Then visit a local water course where bee-eaters nest on the adjoining banks and local ladies fish with circular nets……pyramid shaped baskets perched precariously on their heads. In the afternoon we will join local people who have survived Leopard and Tiger attacks in the community forests. Despite suffering appalling injuries they still play an active role in local committees set up to protect the wildlife and to inform on poachers.
Guests will depart by minibus on a spectacular twelve hour drive to Chitwan National Park and stay overnight in their comfortable lodge, in Sauraha, close to the Park entrance.
For guests on OPTION TWO
- the tour is now over and after breakfast they will be free to fly home.
For guests on OPTION ONE FT
- In the morning you are free to walk around town and in the afternoon you will join up with and meet our local guides and support staff who will discuss with you our visits to the Park that start in the morning of the next day. A sun-downer will be taken on the shores of the Rapti River and you will be dined at a local eatery.
After breakfast we will take a two-hour canoe ride on the Rapti river ending up in the Chararaha area of the Park and then spend a full day walking through Riverine forests and tall elephant grasslands. A packed lunch will be supplied. The birdlife that may be spotted includes: Ruby-shelled duck, Lesser adjutant stork, Black Stork, Kingfishers, Cormorants, Darters, and Egrets. There will be chances (if we are fortunate) to spot and photograph the following wildlife: Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Mugger crocodile, Chital, Hog deer, Barking deer, Wild pig and Rhesus Macaque and Grey Langur monkeys. Dinner will be taken at a local eatery.
After breakfast we will travel by minibus to the entry point of the ‘20,000 lakes’ area found in the buffer zone/community forest outside of the Park. From here we will walk with our guides observing birdlife and wildlife along the way until we reach the Bishazari Tal (local name)- an extensive oxbow lake system surrounded by forested wetlands that provides an excellent habitat and wildlife corridor for critically endangered and vulnerable species including Bengal tiger, Sloth bear, Smooth-coated otter, Greater one-horned rhinoceros, White-rumped vulture, Pallas’s fish-eagle, Lesser adjutant stork, Crested serpent eagle, Ferruginous duck, Gharial and Mugger crocodile. A packed lunch will be supplied.
After breakfast we will cross the Rapti River by canoe and enjoy a half-day walk through the Park crossing wetlands, grasslands and Riverine forest until we reach the Padampure area. Wildlife that may be spotted includes: Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Sloth bear, Gaur and all the major species of deer. The birdlife that may be spotted includes: Peacock, Babblers, Black francolin, Oriental dollarbird, Indian roller, Paradise flycatcher, Lesser golden backed woodpecker, Osprey, Crested serpent eagle and Changeable hawk-eagle. After taking lunch at a local eatery we will embark on a half-day jeep safari to the Kasara region passing through wetlands, Riverine and Sal forests and grasslands offering excellent chances of seeing the Greater one-horned rhinoceros as well as all the Park’s ungulate species including Gaur (Indian bison), Wild pig and Sloth bear. Included in this drive will be a brief visit to the ‘Crocodile Breeding Center’ where critically endangered Gharials and other endangered turtle and vulture species are bred for a return to the wild.
After breakfast we will travel by minibus to the start of the Khorshor community forest run by local committees and after a long day’s walking will end up overnighting at the village of Pathani. Along the way-walking through mainly Sal and Riverine forest-there will be excellent chances of seeing Greater one-horned rhinos wallowing in many of the waterholes that we pass. There will also be a fair chance of spotting Elephants, Sloth bear and all of the ungulate species. Birds that we are likely to see include: Jacanas, Moorhen, Owlet and other raptors, Great hornbill and many species of Parakeets, Kingfishers and Bee-eaters. Our lodge is situated on the banks of the Rapti River where at sunset local mahouts wash their elephants and local ladies fish and collect wild grass-all of which make for excellent photographic opportunities.
After having breakfast at our lodge we will embark on another long days walk through wetlands, Sal and Riverine forests to visit the lakes of Lami Tal, Kamal Tal and Tamal Tal. All three lakes offer excellent chances of seeing rhinos and are some of the best known spots to perhaps see the Royal Bengal tiger. Other wildlife in this area include Gaur (Indian bison), Sloth bear, Hyena, Monkeys, Wild pig, Mugger crocodile, Pythons and all the major Deer species. There will also be a extended detour back to the ‘Crocodile Breeding Centre’ offering superb opportunities to photograph Gharials and endangered turtles living in a semi-wild environment. Our walk will end when we cross the Rewa River to reach the hamlet of Pandavenagar where we will stay for two nights in a local Tharu homestay powered only by solar electricity. This village, part of the Madi municipality, is surrounded by the National Park on all sides and has the unenviable record of having the worst record of wildlife predation of livestock and crops in the area. Fifteen villagers have also lost their lives through elephant attacks in the last three years. The village now has collectively decided to discontinue growing crops due to continuing losses and is trying to establish itself as an alternative tourist hub…….and we will be one of the first tourist groups to support this effort. We will also contribute to a foundation being set up by our chief guides, Prakash and Rajan, to help with the education and vocational training in the village. A glorious and tasty dinner will be served at our homestay comprising of furn (jungle spinach) and locally grown soya bean seed salad washed down with alcoholic raksi made from rice.
We will leave our homestay before first light. The area of the Park around our village offers an outstanding chance of spotting the Royal Bengal tiger either marking out and patrolling his territory or quenching their thirst at a river or waterhole. Fresh pug marks are seen on a daily basis along the natural pathways of the Hill and Sal forests of the region as well as its wetlands and grasslands. We will start our day walking to the Bhalwoli vantage point overlooking the Rio River hoping for a sighting of this mystical felid. Mid-morning will be spent visiting the old and world famous ‘Tiger Tops’ camp which remained in the Park until 2012 until all the lodges INSIDE the protected area were closed by the government. The camp-now overgrown by jungle and virtually derelict- will cast an eerie and nostalgic spell on you. Our packed lunch will be taken by a local lake. The afternoon will be spent retracing our steps and revisiting known tiger haunts: our guides sometimes posted high up in trees to maximize our chances of a spotting. This area is also sometimes visited by Wild dog (dhole) and Hyenas.
The whole morning you will be guided through the village where we are staying: meeting local people from the Tharu, Bot and Fisherman tribal groupings and photographing their fascinating local life, dwellings and activities. After a late lunch we will say goodbye to our hosts at our homestay (the Chaudhary family) and take a minibus back to our lodge in Sauraha. You will be served dinner at a local eatery after a sundowner overlooking the Rapti River.
This trip is a combination of wildlife, landscapes and people photography. For the wildlife on this trip a 400, 500mm or 600mm lens will be useful for birds, mammal close-ups etc. A tripod OR better still a beanbag or soft cushion is a must. (If your budget does not run to prime lenses, a high quality 100-400mm or similar zoom can be a great alternative.) Alternatively, you can get wonderful results with a high quality digital compact camera with a 20x or higher optical zoom. For portraits and landscapes a 24-105mm or lens would be ideal.
If you have questions about what equipment you ought to bring, please contact me:
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