National Parks: Explore the Wilderness of Nepal
Due to the many topographical variances over a small area, Nepal holds myriad flora and fauna. This can also be attributed to the fact that the altitude in the country ranges from 67 meters to 8848 meters. In the diversity of 11 bio-climatic zones, 1,120 species of non-flowering plants and 5,160 species of flowering plants have been recorded. Also, 181 mammals, 844 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles, 43 amphibians, 185 freshwater fish, and 635 butterflies have been recorded. The biodiversity in the country has been protected under National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, Conservation Areas, Hunting Reserves, and Wetland (Ramsar) Sites. Here, we list the National Parks in Nepal that Preserve many endangered species of Flora and Fauna.
Chitwan National Park (932 sq km)
Among the oldest National Parks and under the World Heritage Site list, Chitwan National Park in Terai plains (South-Central) boasts 43 mammals, including the rare one-horned rhinos, tigers, crocodiles, wild elephants, gaur, striped hyena, etc. In addition, the park is home to above 450 species of birds and 45 species of reptiles and amphibians. Chitwan National Park can best be explored on an elephant or a jeep ride through bird watching and jungle safari tours. If you wish to explore the exotic Chitwan National park, you can join the Chitwan Jungle Safari trip.
Sagarmatha National Park (1,148 sq km)
Sagarmatha National Park is located in the Khumbu region, which bears its significance to the presence of Mount Everest and several other peaks, including Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Nuptse. The wildlife in this park includes the Himalayan Thar, goral, and musk deer. Rarely seen wild animals include snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, langur monkeys, weasel, and Himalayan mouse hares. Trips to this National Park include treks to the Everest Base Camp and High Passes, Island Peak trek, Dudh Kunda Trek, and many others that take you through glacial valleys and mountain adventure. The best way to explore the Sagarmatha region is to hike to the Everest base camp.
Langtang National Park (1,710 sq km)
Home to varied wildlife such as red panda, musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, langur, etc., this park sees several species of rhododendron bloom in the spring. It includes vegetation ranging from subtropical to alpine. Some ethnic groups living in the park can also be found in small villages. The Tamang Heritage Trek, Langtang Helambu Trek, Ganja La Pass Trek, and Langtang Valley Trek are all excellent options for exploring this park. In addition, one can explore the entire Langtang region with the Langtang Gosaikunda trek.
Rara National Park (106 sq km)
The smallest National Park in the country, Rara National Park, however, holds the biggest lake Rara(10.8 sq km), and hence is named after it. The lake lies at an elevation of 2990m. The National Park spreads through Mugu and Jumla districts and protects flora and fauna of the Humla – Jumla Karnali region. Trekking packages to Rara Lake are readily available to explore this turquoise lake's beauty and the variety of flora and fauna under conservation.
Khaptad National Park (225 sq km)
Situated in the western part of Nepal, the Khaptad National Park covers an area of 225 sq km. Khaptad bears religious significance being home to Khaptad Baba, who was very popular, and hence his Aashram remains a pilgrimage site. Besides this, vegetations range from subtropical to alpine, and the park is home to a wide variety of wild butterflies, wild animals, birds, and wildflowers. Treks to Khaptad are found both enthralling and challenging by most adventurers.
Shey Phoksundo National Park (3,555 sq km)
The largest National Park of Nepal, Shey Phoksundo forms its main attraction with Shey Monastery, Phoksundo Lake, Kanjiroba Himal, and Langu Gorge. This park spreads over Dolpa and Mugu districts in the Trans-Himalaya and is the habitat for rare wild animals like snow leopards, grey wolves, musk deer, Tibetan sheep, gazelle, and wild yak. Treks to the Dolpo region pass through the Shey Phoksundo National Park.
Bardiya National Park ( 968 sq km)
Bardiya National Park is famous for preserving the one-horned rhino, the Royal Bengal tiger, wild elephant, swamp deer, gharial, crocodile, blackbuck, marsh mugger, snakes, lizards, and Gangetic dolphins. This park lies on the western plains and can be explored with trips like Karnali River Rafting or Bardia Jungle Safari.
Makalu Barun National Park (1,500 sq km)
The Makalu Barun National Park is home to 47 orchid species, 19 bamboo species, 15 oaks, 87 medicinal herbs, and 30 types of rhododendron. The National Park lies in Solukhumbu and Sankhuasava districts and bears vegetation from sub-tropical to alpine. Also, 400 bird species and many species of wild animals are under conservation in this park. Treks like Makalu Circuit Trek, Makalu Base Camp Trek, Arun Valley Trek, etc., lead through the beautiful vicinity of the park.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park (159 sq km)
Lying in the surrounding hills of Kathmandu Valley, the Shivapuri National Park includes two surrounding hills, Nagarjuna and Shivapuri. Wildlife species such as rhesus monkeys, deer, langurs, musk deer, red pandas, leopards, and black bears are under conservation in this park. Trips to the park can be easily arranged as single-day hiking or biking and bird-watching trips. Besides this, treks to Helambu and Langtang also pass through this park.
Banke National Park (550 sq km)
The newest on the list, Banke National Park, located in the mid-west, was established in 2010 after its recognition as a Gift to the Earth. Primarily covering the Churia region, the park lies in Banke, Salyan, and Dang.