Usually when the country of Nepal is mentioned, people automatically think of the Himalayas. But Nepal in reality is staggeringly diverse in terms of geography. Within a few hundred kilometers one can move from steaming tropical jungles to the roof of the world and everything in between. In 2012, I had the good fortune to see a few of these places. After arriving in Kathmandu, my partner and I hiked through the Annapurna region and volunteered for a few weeks in the middle of the country. But the highlight of the entire trip was probably our three-day stay at Bardia National Park, located in western Nepal.
Most travelers to Nepal know of Royal Chitwan National Park, long regarded as Nepal’s third biggest attraction after the mountains and the Kathmandu valley. But fewer know of the hidden gem that is Royal Bardia National Park. When we arrived in mid-November during the autumn dry season, the park was practically empty. Imagine having an entire 900 square kilometer national park all to yourself!
After a six-hour bus ride to Ambassa, we were picked up by jeep at the park’s entrance and driven to Jungle Heaven, our lodge for the next few days. Sitting down with cool drinks, we were greeted by Krishna, our energetic host and owner of the establishment. Being also a teacher at the local school, he took a brief break between classes to chat, giving us a brief overview of our activities. After settling in, we were to go on an afternoon tour to the elephant breeding centre and visit a local home of the Tharu, the indigenous people of Nepal’s Terai region. Tomorrow we would embark on a full-day jungle trek on foot. Finally, our last full day would feature an elephant safari in the morning and an afternoon jeep ride out to tiger territory. We were eager to get started.
Next Part : Elephant Breeding Centre & Tharu Home