National Parks | Conservation Areas | Hunting Reserve and Wildlife Reserve of Nepal

National Parks | Conservation Areas | Hunting Reserve and Wildlife Reserve of Nepal

  • 28/04/2021

Encompassing a diverse range of animal habitats, Nepal is a country with a unique geodiversity. Elevation of Nepal starts from 67 meters in the south to 8,848 meters in the north. The diverse landscape of the country has resulted in 11 bio-climatic zones. There 36 vegetation groups, 1,120 non-flowering plant species, and 5,160 flowering plant species can be found. The nation is a common home for 181 mammal species, 844 bird species, 100 reptile species, 43 amphibian species, 185 freshwater fish species, and 635 colorful butterfly species. All these wildlife, flora and fauna are protected in different conservation areas of Nepal.

Nepal has 12 National Parks, 6 Conservation Areas, 1 Hunting Reserve, and 1 Wildlife Reserve; all together 20. These area preserves the natural flora and fauna in its original state. It is used for various environmental research purposes and also for recreational activities. Here is the list of all these conservation areas of Nepal.

National Parks of Nepal

  1. Shey Phoksundo National Park
  2.  Langtang National Park
  3. Makalu Barun National Park
  4. Sagarmatha National Park
  5. Bardiya National Park
  6. Chitwan National Park
  7. Parsa National Park
  8. Banke National Park
  9. Shuklaphanta National Park
  10. Khaptad National Park
  11. Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
  12. Rara National Park

Conservation Areas of Nepal

  1. Annapurna Conservation area
  2. Gaurishankar Conservation Area
  3. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
  4. Api Nampa Conservation Area
  5. Krishnasar Conservation Area
  6. Manaslu Conservation Area

Hunting reserve of Nepal

  1. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Wildlife Reserve of Nepal

  1. Koshi-Tappu wildlife reserve

National Parks

1) Shey Phoksundo National Park

Shey Phoksundo National Park is Nepal’s biggest national park consisting of snow-filled mountain trails. It is famous for some of the rarest natural creatures. Though only 5% of the national park falls into the subtropical region, it offers a huge range of vegetation, wildlife, and birdlife, which flourishes in its rocky and snow-filled peaks. 

Area: 3,555 (1,373 sq.mi) 

Established: 1984 AD

Districts: Dolpa and Mugu

Attractions: Phoksundo Lake, Dolpo region, Kanjiroba massifs, Shey Gompa, Thashung Gompa

Activities: Bird watching, Trekking, Religious Pilgrim, sightseeing

Vegetations:  About 5% of the park is covered in trees. The vegetation in Shey Phoksundo national park includes Rhododendron, Caragana Shrubs, Salix, Juniper, White Himalayan Birch, Blue Pine, Spruce, Hemlock, Cedar, Silver Fir.

Wildlife: Snow Leopard, Gray Wolf, Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, Great Tibetan Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Leopard

Butterflies: 29 butterfly varieties, including the highest flying butterfly in the world – Paralasa Nepalaica.

Birds: Over 200 bird species including Tibetan Partridge, Wood Snipe, White-Throated Tit, Wood Accentor

How to get to Shey Phoksundo National Park?

Reach to Nepalgunj via air or road then catch a vehicle to Radi and hike up to the entrance of the National Park.

When to travel to Shey Phoksundo National Park?

It’s open throughout the year but April to September is the best month to travel.

2) Langtang National Park

Langtang National Park is the second-oldest conservation area and first trans-Himalayan national park of Nepal. Langtang range covers a huge area and has a hilly to alpine environment friendly for various flora and fauna. It is the most scenic national park which offers an eye-catching view of mountains filled with some rarest animals. The national park has one of the most diverse climate zones on the planet.

Area: 1,710 (660 sq.mi)

Established: 1976 AD

Districts: Rasuwa, Nuwakot, and Sindhupalchok

Attractions: Langtang-Helambu Range, Panch Pokhari, Ganja-La Pass, Gosainkunda 

Activities: Trekking, Bird Watching, Pilgrim Visit, Photography, Camping, Expedition

Vegetations:  Chirpine, Rhododendron, Birch, Silver Fir, Sorbus Micropyle, Twisted Rhododendron, Bamboo Forests, Meadows Alpine Grassland above 4000 meters

Wildlife: Musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Snow leopard, Wild Dog, Ghoral, Serow

Birds: 250 species of birds such as Ruddy Shelduck, Common Pochard, Hill Partridge, Indian Peafowl, Himalayan Monal

How to get to Langtang National Park?

The national park is accessible via bus. Hire a personal vehicle or take a bus to Syabrubesi then hike for around 15 minutes to reach the entrance of Langtang National Park.

When to travel to Langtang National Park?

The best time to travel to Langtang national park is from September till November.

3) Makalu Barun National Park

Makalu Barun is regarded as one of the most dangerous national parks in Nepal due to its trails. The trails are fairly slippery and consist of some rockfall areas. Established in 1992, people visit the national park to witness its scenic beauty. The wide range of plants and animals are preserved in Makalu Barun national park.

Area: 1,500 (580 sq.mi)

Established: 1992 AD

Districts: Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha

Attractions: Mount Makalu, Arun Valley, 830 buffer zone, Chamalang, Baruntse, Mera Peak

Activities: Sightseeing, Bird watching, Trekking, Pilgrim Visit

Vegetations: Oak, Maple, Magnolia, Sal, Schima, Castanopsis, Himalayan Birch, Himalayan Fir, Juniper, and 3,128 species of flowering plants

Wildlife: Asian Golden Cat, Snow Leopard, Indian Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Leopard Cat, Golden Jackal, Himalayan Wolf, Red Panda, Black Bear, Musk Deer, Barking Deer

Birds: 440 bird species with16 endangered species of birds such as Tibetan Snowcock, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Rock Pigeon, Large Hawk-Cuckoo

How to get to Makalu Barun National Park?

The place is covered with various aromatic wildflowers from September till November.

When to travel to Makalu Barun National Park?

Take a flight to either Lukla or Phaplu. The national park is about 15 minutes walk from Lukla Airport and about 45 minutes walk from Phaplu. OR take a bus ride from Lamidanda, Bhojpur, or Tumlingtar to the national park.

Do you need a guide?

Yes, you are not allowed to trek without a guide.

4) Sagarmatha National Park

Known as the roof of the world, Sagarmatha national park offers a beautiful experience in the alpine environment. Sagarmatha national park has one of the busiest trekking trails in Nepal. It properly preserves the beauty, vegetation, and wildlife of Mt. Everest and its surrounding area.

Area: 1,148 (443 sq.mi)

Established: 1976 AD

District: Solukhumbu

Attractions: Kala Patthar, Mount Everest, Bhote Koshi, Gokyo Valley, Lhotse, Nuptse, Amadablam, Thamserku Cho Oyu, Pumori.

Activities: Trekking, Expedition, Bird Watching, Sightseeing

Vegetations: 3% Forest, 28% Kharkas (Grazing Land), Mosses and lichens in the barren mountain

Wildlife: Himalayan Tahr, Musk Deer, Snow Leopard, Indian Leopard

Birds: Lesser Whistling-Duck, Bar-headed Goose, Northern Shoveler, Chukar, Kalij Pheasant

How to get to Sagarmatha National Park?

Take a flight to Lukla, Sagarmatha National park is about 10 minutes walk from the Airport.

When to travel to Sagarmatha National Park?

Sagarmatha national park is a four-season trail but it’s better to travel from early October till the end of November and from March till May.

Do you need a guide?

Yes! Sagarmatha national park is a difficult trail, so you will need a guide.

5) Bardia National Park

Bardia National Park offers a huge opportunity for people who love seeing wildlife. As it is a national park with very little human interference, the ecology in Bardia is totally unaltered and untouched. The dense forest of Bardia is famous for Bengal Tiger (largest tiger in the cat family), Asiatic Elephant, Indian Leopards, and various Antelopes.

Area: 968 (374 sq.mi)

Established: 1988 AD

District: Bardia

Attractions: This national park is famous for big cats like tigers and leopards.

Activities: Elephant Back Riding, Jungle Safari, Bird Watching, Locating Tigers

Vegetation: 839 species of plants, Tropical Rainforest

Wildlife: Royal Bengal Tiger, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Fishing Cat, Swamp Deer, Gangetic Dolphin in Karnali river

Birds: 407 species of nestlings and 11 endangered species of birds such as Greylag Goose, Knob-billed Duck, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Mallard

Aquatic: 125 types of fishes

Amphibians and Reptiles: Gharial, Mugger Crocodiles, and 23 types of reptiles.

How to get to Bardia National Park?

Fly to the Nepalgunj and take a vehicle to the national park. Bardia National park is around 84 km away from Nepalgunj Airport.

When to travel to Bardia National Park?

The best time to visit Bardia national park is from February to July and from September till December.

Do you need a guide?

It’s not mandatory, but the area is a dense forest. The locals also complain of being attacked by wild animals. It is always better to hire one who knows the jungle well.

6) Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is the oldest national park in Nepal. It is also enlisted as the UNESCO world heritage sites. This national park has the biggest number of one-horned rhinos in Nepal and is equally famous for bengal tigers. Likewise, the tropical terrain region has various grasslands favoring the flourish of Antelops.

Area:  952.63 (367.81 sq.mi)

Established: 1973 AD

Districts: Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Parsa and Makwanpur

Attractions: Elephant Breeding Center, Gharial and Maggar Crocodile Protection Center, and many more

Activities: Sightseeing, Canyoning, Jungle Safari, Animal Watching, Bird Watching, Learning the culture of the Tharu Community

Vegetation: Tropical Terrain Rainforest 

Wildlife: 68 species of mammals, including, One-Horned Rhinos, Tigers, Leopards, Deer, Indian Bulls, Blue Bulls

Birds: 544 species of birds including Bar-Headed Goose, Greater White-Fronted Goose, Mandarin Duck, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Peacocks, Blue-Breasted Quail

Aquatic: 56 species of herpetofauna and 126 species of fish.

How to get to Chitwan National Park?

Chitwan national park is 15 minutes drive from Bharatpur airport.

When to travel to Chitwan National Park?

Chitwan national park is open for four seasons but the best time to travel is from early October till late February.

Do you need a Guide?

Getting a guide is optional in Chitwan national park but the hotels you stay at often hook you with a guide.

7) Parsa National Park

Previously a wildlife reserve, Parsa National Park is an easily accessible national park on Mahendra highway. It has the entrance gate at Amlekhgunj. The national park is famous for a few Bengal Tigers, Asiatic Elephants, One-Horned Rhinos and is open all seasons.

Area: 637 (246 sq.mi)

Established: Declared as a Wildlife Reserve in 1984 AD, and National Park in 2017 AD

Districts: Parsa, Bara, Makwanpur

Activities: Elephant Back Riding, Sightseeing, researching on terrain vegetation and its medicinal values, Seeing the foothills of the Churiya range.

Vegetation: Tropical Terrain rainforest, Mixed Subtropical forest in Churiya

Wildlife: 500 species of mammals such as blue bulls, Sambar, Hog deer, striped hyena, jungle cat, palm civet, one-horned rhino, Indian leopard, Leopard cat, Bengal Tiger

Birds: over 400 species of birds including Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Red Junglefowl, Kalij Pheasant

How to get to Parsa National Park?

It’s around 30 minutes drive towards the Mahendra highway from Hetauda and 15 minutes from Simara Airport crossing Prithivi highway.

When to travel to Parsa National Park?

February to July and September to December can be considered as an ideal time for travelers to visit Parsa national park.

Do you need a guide?

It’s not mandatory. If you intend to know the significance of the vegetation and wildlife flourishing in the foothills of the Churiya Bhavar, you should hire one.

8) Banke National Park

Banke National Park is once in a lifetime experience for people interested in wildlife and botany. It is declared as ‘Gift to the Earth’ by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and promoted as Nepal’s strict tiger protection zone.

Area: 550 (210 sq.mi)

Established: 2010 AD

Districts: Banke, Dang, and Salyan districts

Attractions: Tropical Forest, variety of Birds and Animals, Tiger Conservation Areas, Bird Watching, Jungle Safari

Activities: Jungle Safari, Animal Watching, Bird Watching, Locating Tigers, Visiting Local Villages

Vegetation: Tropical rainforest, Savanna zone and 124 plants

Wildlife: 34 mammals including Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, One-Horned Rhinos

Birds: 300 birds such as Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Peacocks, Blue-breasted Quail, Bar-headed Goose, Greater White-Fronted Goose, and more

Amphibians and Reptiles: altogether 7 amphibians and 24 reptiles including Golden tortoise, Mugger Crocodile, Gharial Crocodile

How to get to Banke National Park?

Fly to Nepalgunj then take a taxi or public vehicle to the national park. Its about 1 hrs 30 mins from the airport.

When to travel to Banke National Park?

You can visit throughout the year.

Do you need a guide?

It’s recommended that you must get a guide whenever you are planning to travel deep into the forest.

9) Shuklaphanta National Park

The biggest grasslands of Nepal supporting some of the rare and deadliest animals, Suklaphanta (meaning grassland in Nepali) is the best place to experience the Savanna environment, wildlife, and biodiversity. 

Area: 305 (118 sq.mi)

Established: 1976 AD as a Wildlife Reserve, 2017 AD as a National Park

District: Kanchanpur 

Activities: Jungle Safari, Elephant Bathing, Elephant Back Riding, Boating, Cultural Tours, and more

Vegetation: 16 km long Grassland and Tropical Forest

Wildlife: Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Sloth Bear, Elephants, Swamp Deer, Hispid, Rhinos.

Birds: 432 species of bird including Common Shelduck, Graylag Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Red-crested Pochard

How to get to Shuklaphanta National Park?

Fly from Kathmandu to Dhangadi and catch a taxi or a public vehicle to the national park’s entrance.

When to travel to Shuklaphanta National Park?

March till June is the best time to visit Shuklaphanta National Park.

Do you need a guide?

No,  it’s not mandatory but it’s a place famous for big cats. So having someone who knows the place is always better. 

10) Khaptad National Park

Khaptad National Park is one of the most remote, unaltered, and preserved natural habitats for some of the most delightful creatures. Likewise, it offers a great scenic experience and is considered one of the holiest sites for all Hindu communities all over the world.

Area:  225 (86.87 sq.mi)

Established: 1984 AD

Districts:  Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, and Doti

Attractions:  Beautiful landscapes, lakes, flora and fauna, and Khaptad is considered a natural sanctuary museum for its biodiversity.

Activities: Sightseeing, Hiking, Bird Watching, visiting Khaptad Baba Ashram

Vegetation:  567 species of Wildflowers, 224 medicinal herbs

Wildlife: Barking Deer, Wild Dog, Wild Boar, Ghoral, Himalayan Black Bear, Yellow-Throated Marten, Langur Monkey

Birds: 270 species of colorful birds like Chukar Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Koklass Pheasant, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Cuckoos, Gray Nightjar

How to get to Khaptad National Park?

You can take a nine-hour ride from Dhangadi, and then take a bus route for nine hours to reach Silgarhi Bazar which is an entrance point to Khaptad national park. Or it’s a two days trek from Kailali district’s Attriya Chowk.

When to travel to Khaptad National Park?

As the national park is open all season for its religious values but spring season (March till May) and autumn season (October till November) are considered as the two best seasons to travel to Khaptad.

11) Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park

Established in 2002, Shivapuri Nagarjuna is Nepal’s second smallest national park in terms of area. It is the closest national park from Kathmandu.There are multiple short hiking destination around Shivapuri. Even people visit there for adventure sports such as rock climbing. Since it features various big and small waterfalls, it’s a natural water catchment for Kathmandu.

Area: 59 (61 sq.mi)

Established: 2002 AD

Districts:  Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, and Dhading District

Attractions: The national park offers various attractions such as the Budhanilkantha temple at the entrance of Shivapuri, Shivapuri Forest, Nagarjuna Cave, Nagi Gumba

Activities: Rock climbing, Sightseeing, Bird watching, Hiking

Vegetation: 129 species of Mushrooms, Schima- Castanopsis, Pinus roxburghii, Alnus nepalensis, Pine, Oaks

Wildlife: Indian Leopard, Jungle Cats, Golden Jackal, Himalayan Black Bear, Large Indian Civet, Yellow-Throated Marten, Small Asian Mongoose, Himalayan Goral, Barking Deer, Wild Boar

Birds: 436 species of birds like Hill Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Koklass Pheasant

How to get to Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park?

Reach Budhanilkantha via vehicle and hike to the entrance of the park.

When to travel to Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park?

January to March remains the best time to visit Shivapuri Nagarjun national park. The place welcomes a fair share of hikers from early October till December as well.

12) Rara National Park

Rara National Park is the smallest national park in Nepal. Despite being small it holds a significant value in the context of biodiversity and frolic vegetation. Rara National Park was established in 1976 alongside Langtang national park to conserve the natural vegetation, flora and fauna around Humla and Jumla districts.

Area: 106 sq. km and a buffer zone of 198 sq. Km added in 2007

Established: 1976 AD

Districts: Humla and Jumla

Attractions: Rara Lake, Chuchemara peak, Ruma Kand, and Malika Kand, Nepal’s valuable Ramsar

Activities: Trekking, Birdwatching, sightseeing, Hiking

Vegetation: Blue pine, hemlock, juniper,  marshlands, and tussock grasslands, Rhododendron, fir, oak, and birch species

Wildlife: Musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Leopard, Jackal, Yellow-throated marten, Otter, Wild dogs, Himalayan tahr, and Red panda. 

Birds: 214 species of birds are found in Rara Ramsar. A few of its areal inhabitants are coots, snow cock, various pheasants, grebes, mallard, common teal, red-crested pochard, and gulls.

How to get to Rara National Park?

Rara National Park is 2.5 days trek via Jumla and 10 days trek from Surkhet. You can also plan for a road trip to Rara.

When to travel to Rara National Park?

September/October is the best time to visit Rara, but if you get a chance to visit Rara National Park in April and May then the place offers an environment bursting in Greenary.

Hunting Reserve 

1) Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve 

Dhorpatan Hunting reserve established in 1987, is the only hunting reserve in Nepal open for game hunting. So, people interested in prize hunting and game hunting, usually travel to Dhorpatan for hunting activities. Despite being a hunting reserve, this conservation area properly protects the wildlife and vegetation of Dhorpatan. The reserve’s management goals include sport hunting and also the preservation of a high-altitude ecosystem in the west.

Area: 1,325 (512 sq.mi)

Established: 1987 AD

Districts: Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung

Vegetation: Fir, Pine, Birch, Rhododendron, Hemlock, Oak, Juniper, Spruce, and pasturelands at higher altitude

Wildlife: Blue Sheep, Leopard, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, wild boar musk deer, wolf red panda

Birds: Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Peacocks, Kalij, Pigeons, Rock Pigeons,  Common Goldeneye, Tufted Duck

Which animals are allowed to hunt in the Dhorpatan Hunting reserve?

The reserve allows people to hunt down a countable number of Himalayan Tahr and blue sheep here.

What is the best time to travel to the Dhorpatan Hunting reserve?

The reserve remains opens only from April to May and from September to October.

How to get to the Dhorpatan Hunting reserve?

A road trip from Kathmandu to Burtibamg via Baglung Bazaar or Palpa Tansen to Gulmi. From Gulmi take Beni to Burtobang Dhorpatah Road or hike from Myagdi’s Rukum district to Dhorpatan.

Wildlife Reserve

1) Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is an island-like structure formed by Ganges greatest tributary river Koshi on the eastern side of Nepal. The reserve was established in 1976. Then in 2004, an addition of 173.5 sq. km of the buffer zone was added to the reserve. As it’s also an important Ramsar site as well, It’s also recorded as one of the 27 most important bird areas in Nepal.

Area: 173.5 (66.7957 sq.mi)

Districts: Sunsari, Saptari, and Udayapur

Attractions: Mighty Koshi River, Koshi Bridge Dam, Second biggest grassland after Shuklaphanta, Ramsar Site, Important Bird Site 

Vegetation: Huge grasslands, 6% tropical forest, Sal-Sisam, and various tropical vegetation

Animals: The 31 species of mammals such as Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Wild Boar, and Smooth-Coated Otter, Gauras, Wild Water Buffaloes, and Blue Bulls

Birds: IUCN records 441 species of birds with 14 endemic birds like 20 types of duck, 2 Ibis species, 30 shorebirds, 114 Waterbirds, Swamp Partridge, Bengal Floricans. Likewise, it is also an important stop for 87 types trans-Himalayan migratory birds.

Water Life: Around 200 species of fishes, also records Gangetic Freshwater Dolphins, five snake species, eleven types of turtles, Two toad species, nine frog species, six lizard species, and Gharial and mugger crocodile occur in slow current Ramsar at Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve.

When to visit Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve?

You should travel to Koshi Tappu from September till November.

How to get to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve?

Either take a bus from Kathmandu and get off at Jamuha, 4 km from Laukhi and walk 2.5 km to the Reserve Headquarter at Kusaha or take a flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar airport and hire a taxi to get to Kusaha.

These national parks, conservation areas, hunting areas, and wildlife reserves altogether conservation areas present various proof that Nepal isn’t a place where you visit to see the Himalayas, but it’s a mixture of dense forest, beautiful lakes, huge rivers-gorges, and plain terrain filled with wild animals.

As all of these conservation areas are unique in their own regards and hold a great significance in balancing the ecosystem, you will be delighted to see the biodiversity in Nepal. From the highest altitude to the depth of mid terrain land, you will not be disappointed with the experience that you are going to gain from these beautiful sanctuaries.

The nation features some rarest birds, animals, and vegetation. From disappearing owls and vultures to the rarest of One-Horned Rhinos, Snow Leopards, and the biggest of cats (Bengal Tigers), Nepal is showing its efforts to preserve the Ecosystem to an absolute limit.

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