Wildlife in Royal Bardiya National Park
Bardiya National Park covers 968 sq. km./ 363 sq. mi. of the Terai in
Nepal's far-West, and is the largest and least-disturbed wilderness
area in the Terai. It provides an excellent habitat for over 30
different mammal species, including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger,
One-horned Rhinoceros, Wild Elephant, Swamp deer, and Black buck. The
Great One-horned Rhinoceros was successfully reintroduced to Bardiya
from Chitwan in 1986. Herds of elegant black buck in the open
grassland are a stirring sight unique to Bardiya. Other common animals
found in the Park include the leopard and lesser cats, the blue bull (Nilgai),
several species of deer, the langur and rhesus monkeys, sloth bear,
and the wild boar. The open grasslands within the Park, locally known
as phantas, are ideal for game viewing.
The Karnali, one of Nepal's largest rivers, forms the western boundary
of the park. The endangered Gangetic dolphin is often seen in its
waters. Other endangered riverine species include the fish-eating
Gharial and Marsh mugger crocodiles. The Karnali also offers excellent
fishing for masheer, a large freshwater perch. Over 250 species of
birds have so far been recorded in the Park, including the endangered
Bengal and Lesser Floricans, Silver-eared Mesia, and the Sarus crane.
The lodges in the Park offer comprehensive wildlife tours of three or
more days, inclusive of accommodation, meals, wildlife activities,
park entry fee, etc. There are a host of options to explore the
jungle, accompanied by resident naturalists and guides: elephant-back
safaris, canoe rides, jungle walks, bird-watching tours, and jeep
drives. A two-night stay is the minimum to experience Bardiya, and for
wildlife enthusiasts, staying an extra day is worthwhile. The lodges
operate round-the-year except during the Monsoon (June - September)
when most lodges are closed.
The quickest way to get there is to fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj,
where lodge staff will meet you for the 2 hour drive to camp. Bardiya
is also accessible by road from Kathmandu or Pokhara, a 12-14 hour
drive from Kathmandu and 8-9 hours from Pokhara.