|Highlights:||A wide ranging, 17-day mammal and birdwatching tour of lowland Nepal|
|Departure:||Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov|
We begin our exploration in Kathmandu, where we go bird watching on Phulchowki, the highest point in the Kathmandu Valley. From there we fly to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, one of Asia’s supreme wetlands where practically all of Nepal’s wild birds, waders, storks, ibises, herons, egrets, terns and gulls are found. Then we drive to Chitwan National Park which has over 480 bird varieties as well as being rich in mammals including langurs, and mysterious species such as Tiger and Sloth Bear, though we would be very lucky to spot either of the latter. We then proceed west to Bardia National Park where we will be accommodated by the Karnali River and explore the park’s numerous habitats before making our way back to Kathmandu for our flight home.
- Nepal has 840 bird species & 164 mammal species
- Look for minivets, flowerpeckers, yuhinas, laughing-thrushes & rosefinches, Phulchowki
- Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon & Striated Marsh Warbler, Koshi Tappu
- Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is the last refuge of wild Water Buffalo in Nepal
- Look for Ibisbill & White-rumped Needletail Swifts en route to Chitwan
- Indian Rhino & Sambar, plus Spotted & Hog Deer, Chitwan
- Raft trip on Karnali River in search of Smooth Otter, Ganges River Dolphin & waterbirds
- Chance of Tiger & Nilgai, Bardia National Park
- Experience wildlife & culture in untouched areas of Nepal
- Led by knowledgeable local naturalist guides
Included in the price, except for dinners in Kathmandu. Allow £35.
Comfortable hotels, lodges and permanent tented camps, most with private amenities.
On this holiday we will take an extensive tour of Nepal’s finest lowland habitats, thereby increasing our chances of observing many species from the country’s variety of 840 birds and 164 mammals. In February, numbers of wintering wetland birds are at their optimum, as are wintering passerines from Siberia and the high Himalayan breeders flying back for the winter. The mammals also migrate; not only to avoid the freezing winter , but more crucially to take advantage of the new vegetation, the consequence of the annual January cut — the only time when local people are permitted into the parks to cut the grass and burn the stubble. We will therefore have a spectacular opportunity as we proceed from park to park across Nepal’s lushly-forested lowlands, enjoying a marvellous climate as well as picturesque views of the foothills and majestic peaks of the Himalayas, which are often observible from the lowlands. November views and climate are even better, but though the numbers of birds and mammals we see are good, they are not quite at their peak. We begin our holiday at fairly higher altitudes, in Kathmandu (1,370 metres). Here we will drive as close as conditions allow to the 2,740-metre summit of Phulchowki, the highest point in the Kathmandu Valley, where we will get magnificent views over the Himalayas and also seeing a large number of bird species,which include woodpeckers, minivets, warblers, flycatchers, laughing-thrushes, yuhinas, sunbirds, flowerpeckers and rosefinches. The very first lowland destination, a brief flight from Kathmandu, (past Mounts Everest, Makalu and Kanchenjunga!) is Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, part of an extensive stretch of open water, marshes, lagoons, sandbanks, mudflats and dry woodlands that is located to the north of a huge barrage. This is one of Asia’s most fertile wetlands and a splendid bird-watching area. Practically all of Nepal’s long list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises, herons, egrets, terns and gulls exist here, plus a wide array of landbirds that include exotic species like Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon and Striated Marsh Warbler. This reserve is also serves as the only refuge of the wild Water Buffalo in Nepal, and home to the singular Ganges River Dolphin amongst other mammals. We will scout the area on foot and in inflatable boats. Our next destination is Chitwan National Park, a considerable drive from Koshi Tappu but an opportunity to look for White-rumped Needletail Swifts and Ibisbills on the way! The Chitwan National Park is a World Heritage Site that protects and preserves 932 square kilometres of dry deciduous forest, tropical evergreen forest and wet grasslands. A wide variety of bird species (over 480) has been recorded here than in any other section of Nepal, and we can hope to see a third of these during our 4-night stay. The park is also home to an array of mammals, including the endangered Indian Rhinoceros, Wild Boar, Sambar, Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer, and Rhesus and Common Langur Monkeys. Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gaur are also possible sightings, as well as Nepal’s two species of crocodile. We will scout the park on foot, on elephant back, in canoes and by jeep. We will travel westwards, to Bardia National Park, the largest lowland sanctuary and rarely visited by Western ornithologists. We will stay in simple, yet relaxing accommodation near the great Karnali River, the largest in Nepal, and spend four days scouting the park’s Sal and wet forests and grasslands, and the Karnali River itself — which we will observe from rafts, allowing close inspection of the river’s waterbirds, and once in a while Smooth Otter and Ganges River Dolphin. In addition to excellent birding — allowing us to see some of the rarer and more local of Nepal’s western specialities, we will also stumble unto a similarly exotic range of mammals, with the Tiger and Nilgai more commonly seen here than in Chitwan. Above all this is a pleasantly quiet and untouched part of Nepal, the beautifully dressed indigenous Tharu and Rana Tharu tribes people who are a few of the tribes in Nepal that have preserved their culture and lifestyle. Finally, and unfortunately we return to Kathmandu, flying from the western town of Nepalgunj back to the bustling capital for our last night in Nepal. For those wishing to extend their holiday, the grasslands of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve offer a diverse and very special range of birds and mammals.