Bardia National Park

© TOFTigers Library

© Tiger Tops

© Tiger Tops

© Tiger Tops

Walking besides the Karnali in Bardia © TOFTigers Library

Bardia National Park

Nepal

You can saunter around the woodland forests, riverbanks and hills of the Bardia National Park perched on elephant back or enjoy the real privilege of walking with expert naturalists in this beautiful region, little visited in comparison with the better known Chitwan National Park nearer Kathmandu. Bardia, along with the adjoining Banke National Park, forms a continuous Protected Area network of over 2,231 square kilometres and is home to an increasing population of the Royal Bengal tiger - though its sizeable population of 50 individual tigers in 2014, is no guarantee of sightings. Don’t worry because it’s home to migratory elephant herds, reintroduced Indian one-horned rhino, leopard and the very rare Gangetic dolphin in the Karnali River. The park was left wild until 1815. Nepal lost this region to the East India Company through the Sugauli Treaty and was part of British India for 45 years. It returned to Nepal only in 1860 in recognition for supporting the suppress...ion of the Indian Independence movement in 1857. Today, this annexed area is still called Naya Muluk, meaning new country. Located in the Western Terai region, Bardia is the largest of Nepal’s Protected Areas covering 968 square kilometres and there’s plenty to see here. A part of the forests was set aside as the Royal Hunting Reserve but in 1976, it was gazetted as Royal Karnali Wildlife Reserve and was declared a Protected Area. In 1982, it was proclaimed as Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve and extended to include the Babai River Valley in 1984. It gained the status of a National Park in 1988 and since then has made tremendous efforts to protect the wildlife that resides here, even during the recent political troubles and earthquakes.
Jungle safaris are the biggest draw either by jeep or on elephant back to spot the creatures of the wild in their natural habitat. It’s also one of the only reserves that allows walking within its borders. Your jeep can take you into the heart of the park from where you go on a walking safari. A boat cruise along the Karnali River is a perfect opportunity to spot gharials, mugger crocodiles and the endangered Gangetic dolphin. Between the safaris, you can enjoy jungle walks and bird watching. It is also possible to camp in the buffer zone forests.
Bardia forests are a wonderful mix of sal trees, open grasslands and riverine woodlands. The open forests make for good tiger sightings and are a good habitat for rhinos and migratory elephant herds who cross the border from Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in India. The rivers support sizeable populations of gharial and mugger crocodiles as well as the Gangetic dolphins. Birdlife is also excellent and includes the rare Bengal florican, the silver-eared mesia and the increasingly endangered sarus cranes.
Bardia is surrounded by many villages and the community most well known in these lowlands of Nepal is the fascinating Tharu community who are famously resistant to the deadly malaria disease and live in beautifully decorated homes. A chance to visit their villages is a must when visiting this part of the country.
Bardia suffered terribly during Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency. A huge increase in poaching saw tiger numbers plummet from around 80 before the insurgency to just eighteen in 2009. When the Maoists won the elections in 2008, peace brought a renewed commitment to tiger conservation. Happily, the tiger numbers have doubled and researchers are optimistic that their number is now higher still at 50 today. Also, there have been almost no reports of poaching in the last three years - a remarkable feat. Community run conservancies for bordering villagers are working but still need support from travellers. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org

Park Information

How To Book

Your lodge will be able to book your safari slots for you, or go directly through the park headquarters.

Park Timings

The Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Getting Around the Park

Jeeps, elephant and boating safaris are the best way to get close to wildlife here. Enquire about walking and treks in the Park too.

Entry Fees

NR 100 for Nepalese Nationals
NR 1,500 for Foreign Nationals
Fishing Permit in Karnali River:
NR 200 for Nepalese Nationals
NR 2,000 for Foreign Nationals
Camping Permit:
NR 200 for Nepalese Nationals
NR 1,500 for Foreign Nationals
River Safaris Permit:
NR 200 for Nepalese Nationals
NR 2,000 for Foreign Nationals
Jeep Safari Permit:
NR 2,000 per car NR 4,000 per jeep | NR 5,000 per bus
By Air: From Kathmandu airport, travellers can take a 55-minute flight to Nepalgunj airport and then book a vehicle to the park. By Road: From Kathmandu it is a 15-hour journey by bus. Buses leave every day in the morning. There are two buses that run everyday from Nepalgunj airport to Bardia National Park, taking three to four hours. Alternatively, you may hire a private car.

PUG Lodges In This Park

Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge

Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge helped put Bardia National Park on the wildlife map many years ago and today continues to offer the same warm Nepalese hospitality in a beautiful setting, nature’s home to its array of creatures great and small.

Other Parks To Combine

Chitwan National Park

Nepal

World famous as one of the first parks to see tigers regularly in the 1970’s, the rich biodiversity

Bardia National Park

Nepal

Bardia National Park is the largest of Nepal’s Protected Areas, covering 968 sq kms in the

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

Uttar Pradesh

It would be fair to say that a well-known conservationist, ‘Billy’ Arjan Singh, put Dudhwa

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

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