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12 Beautiful National Parks to Explore in Nepal Detail Information:

Nepal is best known for its high snow mountains, diverse landscapes, rich ancient cultural heritages, and wide range of biodiversity. Furthermore, these attributes are key features of protected areas of Nepal including the 12 national parks.

 

Nepal's geographical features can be divided into thee types stretching from east to west: the southern plains, green hills in the middle, and High Himalayas in the north. Where the plains of Terai serve as a source of food grains, green hills as fertilizers, and the northern Himalayas as a source for irrigation.

 

Nepal a land of geographical variations with the lowest point of 60m (Kechana, Jhapa) to the highest point of 8848m (Everest) creates diverse climatic zones allowing for a wide range of ecosystems and biodiversity to flourish within.

 

These diverse geo-climatic features make up Nepal's 12 National parks, comprising towering mountains, sloppy valleys, and lush green forests. Making them a perfect habitat for exotic flora and fauna including some rare and endangered species to explore.

 

In a world where concerns about climate change and loss of biodiversity are a major issue worldwide, a climate action plan and the urgency of preserving biodiversity are vital.

 

Hence, the role of protected areas like National Parks, Conservation Areas, and Wildlife reserves in order to help solve the issues with depletion of biodiversity along with climatic issues becomes crucial.

 

After the endorsement, not the of National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act in 1973 AD, the Government of Nepal has been empowered to act accordingly to establish protected areas for the conservation of native ecosystems.

Since then Nepal has been prosperous in establishing a fair network of protected areas, covering around 23.39% of the total land area.

Here are 12 Beautiful National parks to Explore in Nepal Detail Information

 

  1. Khaptad National Park


Khaptad National parkestablished in 1984 covers an area of 225 sq km of Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, and Doti districts of Far Western Nepal, with an additional area of 216 sq km as a buffer zone. The elevation of KNP ranges from 1400 - 3300 meters, whereas the buffer zone’s altitude ranges from 900 – 2700 meters above sea level.

Consisting of  22 moorlands, steep slopes, and streams along with green forested hills are the landscape feature of this National Park. Khaptad Daha ( lake ) located in the northeastern part of the park is also an important attraction.

With six different ecosystems comprising Rhododendron, Fir, Oak, Chir Pine, and Hemlock forests: 567 different species of flora including flowering and non-flowering plants have been recorded from the Khaptad National Park.

23 mammals, 287 birds, and 23 Herpeto species including rare and endangered: Musk Deer, Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Dog, Impeyan Pheasant, Peregrine Falcon, and White Rumped Vulture are symbolic wildlife of this national Park.

 

This national park is adorned with religious sites as well, especially Khaptad Baba ashram, a renowned Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva that is visited by devotees during the fool moon of July- August and during the Jestha Purnima (June-July).

Sahashra Linga located at an elevation of 3200 m, Ganesh Temple, Nagdhunga(stone resembling snake ), and Kedhardhunga is significant religious sites ideal for meditation and spiritual activities excluding animal sacrifice.

 

  1. Bardiya National Park


Bardia National park with an area of 968 sq km and a buffer zone of 328 sq km is a protected area located in the Banke and Bardia, and Surkhet districts of Nepal were established as a wildlife reserve in 1976 and declared as a national park in 1988.

The elevation ranges from 152 m in the Terai plains to the highest peak of Sukarmala at 1441 m   

above the sea level, comprising landscapes of Karnali floodplains, Babai river valley, and the Siwalik Hills with Upper and lower tropical bioclimatic zones.

 With 7 types of ecosystems, 839 species of flora are recorded in this national park, with major vegetation being Chir Pine, Hill Sal, Lower Tropical Sal, and mixed broad-leafed forests.

A total of 59 mammals, 407 birds, 52 amphibians/reptiles, and 124 fish species have been identified in this protected area, out of which 13 mammals, 5 birds, and 3 reptile species are under the rare endangered list.

Symbolic mammals of Bardia National Park include Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant, One-horned Rhinoceros, Black Buck antelope whereas bird species are Bengal florican, White-backed Vulture, peacock, and the their-headed Geese.

 BNP has played a key role in multiplying the numbers of Blackbuck, whereas the number of Rhinoceros have adapted to the new habitat after they were translocated from Chitwan National Park in 1986.

Besides research on Nilgai, Gharial, Freshwater dolphin, and fisheries are being conducted timely. The unique flora and fauna combination of the park has been able to attract significant numbers of internal and external tourists seeking wildlife safaris and elephant safaris.

 

  1. Rara National Park


Rara National park the smallest national park in Nepal with an area of 106 sq km along with a 198 sq a km buffer zone was established as a protected area in 1976 and is located in the districts of Mugu and Jumla.

Topographically, its elevation ranges from 1800 meters to 4039(Chuchemara Peak) meters above sea level, along with two other major peaks Ruma Kand(3731m)  and Malika Kand(3444m).

The National park is comprised of green forested hills with beautiful mountain vistas reflecting on the biggest lake of Nepal: Rara (2990m) with an area of 10.8 sq km and 167 m deep, which drains into the  Mugu-Karnali River.

As a protected area, Rara National Park encompasses 11 types of ecosystem and 10 vegetation types ranging from Upper Tropical to Upper Alpine bioclimatic zones: including Chir Pine, Walnut, Maple, Alder, Oak, Cypress, Spruce, Blue Pine, Fir, Birch, Rhododendron, Exotic Himalayan flowers, and Alpine Scrub.

The Park is rich in biodiversity, with 51 mammals, 241 birds, 2 hereto (amphibians/reptiles), and 3 endemic species of fish. Rare and endangered species of Snow leopard and Red Panda along with Musk deer and Himalayan Black Bear, Impeyan Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, Cheer Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, White-crested pheasant, and Chukar Partridge are symbolic species.

Rara National Park is gaining popularity as a tourist destination, as the development of infrastructures for food and accommodation commodities are available. Journey to Rara lake A scenic flight to Talcha Airstrip (2735m), followed by hiking of around 3 hours amidst the forested trail is the best way to reach the Lake.

Journey to Rara lake Jeep tours directly from Kathmandu is a more popular method of reaching this wonderful holiday destination, however, a direct Helicopter tour is also an alternative for travelers seeking a luxury plan. Major tourist activities include boating on the lake, a pony ride, and hiking to the Murma Hilltop (3630) with panoramic views of mountain peaks and Rara Lake.

 

 4. Shey Phoksundo National Park,


Shey Phoksundo National park is a protected area in Nepal with an area of 3555 sq. km and a buffer zone (1349 sq. km), located in the Mugu and Dolpa districts of the far western region was established in 1984. Topography ranges from Aankhe(2130 m) to Kanjirowa Peak(6883 m), and encompasses seven bioclimatic zones of temperate, alpine, and Nival forming 21 ecosystems and 10 vegetation types.

The largest national park of Nepal comprises Trans Himalayan Landscape, glaciers, Phoksundo Lake (3589m), diverse forests, rivers, and alpine meadows. The turquoise colored deepest lake of Nepal, Shey Phoksundo (136.20 m), and the country’s highest waterfall (167m) along with tributaries of Thuli Bheri and Langu rivers drain from the Dolpo

The biodiversity features of this protected area are also significant, as this national park serves as a habitat for 1579 flora species including 30 endemic (native) flowering and rare medicinal plants along with 35 mammals, 208 birds, and three herpeto species of wildlife, out of which 19 mammals and 2 birds’ species are classified as rare and endangered.

Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Wild Dog, Blue Sheep, and Musk Deer are symbolic mammals: whereas Himalayan Griffon, White Breasted Deeper, Chir Pheasant, and Monal Pheasant are symbolic birds in this protected area.

This national park is also popular for Upper Dolpo and Shey gompa trekking with villages like RIngmo within the fluency of Tibetan Buddhist culture and is decorated with colorful Gompas (monastery) and many other religious sites. Shey Gompa, established in the 11th century and Thashung  Gomba near the high altitude lake are major tourist attractions.

Trekking tours are a popular form of tourism activities; however, a special, permit is required for international tourists due to its inclusion in the Restricted Area category. A flight to Dunai Airport is a convenient way to reach the national park followed by a trekking journey amidst the Trans Himalayan landscape decorated by rural villages.

 

5. Chitwan National Park


Chitwan National park listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area of 952 sq. km with a buffer zone of 729 sq. km, is located in the districts of Chitwan, Nawal Pur, Parsa, and Makwanpur in theSouthern central plains of Nepal.

With two bioclimatic zones of lower and upper tropical, elevation ranges from 110- 850 meters encompassing 7 ecosystems and two vegetation types. The Churia hills, Ox-Bow lakes, flood plains of Rapti, Narayani, and Reu rivers along with lakes of Lamictal, Devital, and Beeshazar wetlands are major ecosystems in the park.

919 species of vegetation including endangered species of Tree fern, Cycas, Screw, pine, and several other orchids are recorded in the park.

Wildlife is comprised of 43 mammals, 539 birds 56 amphibian/reptiles, and 124 species of fish in the protected area, out of which 13 mammals, 6 birds, and 3 reptile species are listed as rare and endangered.

Greate One-horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant, Black-necked Stork, Grey-headed Eagle, Brahmini Duck, Gharial, and Maskey Frog are symbolic wildlife species of Chitwan National Park.

This protected area has played a major role in raising the numbers of Rhinoceros, allowing for translocation to other national parks and wildlife reserves as well as a symbolic presentation of rhinos as gifts to various nations.

It is a major tourist destination in Nepal included in major tours along with Kathmandu and Pokhara, offering various wildlife activities like wildlife safari, Elephant safari, Jeep safari, birdwatching, and jungle walks.

Elephant breeding center, Peacock Breeding center, and Gharial breeding center are also popular sites in the park. Besides, Tharu local communities and their unique culture are a significant attraction, as a walking tour into their villages will provide a significant insight into Nepal’s diversity.

 

        6. Langtang National Park


Langtang National park is the first Himalayan Protected area of Nepal covers an area of 1710 sq. km with 420 sq. km of a Buffer zone, stretches along with the north-central districts of Rasuwa, Nuwakot, and Sindhupalchowk was established in 1976 with elevation ranging from 845 meters to 7245(Langtang Lirung) meters

With 11 Bioclimatic zones of upper tropical, temperate, alpine, and Nival, landscape features of this park range from mid-hills to snowcapped mountain peaks above 7000 meters coming of rivers, and a glacial lake (Gosaikunda 4200m), rivers, valleys, glacier, and moraines.

18 types of ecosystems are present in the park housing 14 vegetation types: estimated to be 3689 species of flora including Alpine scrubs, Alpine meadows, Trans Himalayan Steppe, Birch, Rhododendron, Fir, Larch, Mountain Oak, Blue Pine, Chir Pine, Laurel, and mixed broadleaf forests.

Known to be rich in biodiversity, Langtang National Park is inhabited by 46 mammals, 345 birds, 11 herpetofauna, and 2 fish species including some rare and endangered. Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Impeyan Pheasant, Ibis Bill, White Winged Redstart, and Snow Partridge are symbolic wildlife species in Langtang National Park.

The Langtang Valley trek, Gosaikunda trek, and the Tamang Heritage Trek are popular trekking destinations in the Langtang National park, equipped with natural and cultural delights. Breathtaking views of the Langtang mountain range, diverse landscapes, green forested hills, trekking peaks (Kyanjin RI &Tserko RI), and river valleys are the major highlights.

Himalayan Tibetan Buddhism influenced the village with the majority of inhabitants sharing ancestry with Tibetan refugees. Several Buddhist monuments like Gumba (Monastery), Mani Walls, Chhortens, Prayer Wheels, and colorful Prayer flags adorn the Langtang region.

 

7. Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park


Shivapuri Nagarjun National park is a protected area of Nepal, covers an area of 159 sq. km & buffer zone of 118.61 sq. km located in Kathmandu, Nuwakot, and Sindhupalchowk districts: was established as a wildlife and watershed reserve and in 2002 gazetted as a national park.

Its elevation ranges from 1000 m to 3732 meters encompassing 6 bioclimatic zones, 5 ecosystem types, and 4 vegetation types. Landscape features are comprised of Mountain slopes, green forests, and streams that flow into Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers in the capital city Kathmandu.

Likewise, the biodiversity of Shivapuri National Pak is comprised of 2122 flora including Mountain Oak, Laurel, Chir Pine, Schima Castanopsis (Chilaune,) and other broadleaf forests. Wildlife is comprised of 19 mammals, 311 birds, and 3 herpeto species.

Out of which Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Boar, Golden Throated Barbet, Slender Billed Babbler, White Gorgetted Flycatcher, and Barred Cuckoo Dove are symbolic of the protected area.

Day hiking is popular tourist activity in the National park, with options for short Shivapuri Day hiking trips from Budhanilkantha or Sundarijal, exploring through the green forested trails followed by a view of Kathmandu valley and mountains on the northern horizon.

 Nagarkot, Shivapuri, and Chisapani hike along with trekking trails to Gosaikunda, Langtang, and Helambu across this national Park. Budhanilkantha Temple and Sundarijal serve as major pilgrimage sites as well as entry points to the National Park.


8. Sagarmatha National Park,


Sagarmatha National park was established in 1976 as the world’s highest elevated protected area SNP covers an area of 1148 sq. km with a buffer zone of 275 sq. km, with elevations ranging from 2800 to 8848.86 meters, park is comprised of 6 bioclimatic zones encompassing 8 ecosystem and 8 vegetation types.

Enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1979 this national park is located in the Solukhumbu district of the mid-eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. The landscape is comprised of the world’s highest mountain peaks (Everest, Lhotse), glaciers, lateral moraines, rugged terrain, high altitude wetlands (Gokyo lake system), rivers, alpine pastures, rivers, and green forests.

Around 1074 species of flora are estimated in the Park including Alpine meadows, Alpine scrubs, Rhododendron, Birch, Fir, Chir Pine, Blue Pine, and Mountain Oak. 33 mammals, 208 birds, 5 Herpeto, and 1 fish species of wildlife inhabit this protected area.

 Out of which six mammals and two bird species are considered rare and endangered. Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blue Sheep, Impeyan Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Tibetan Snow Cock, and the Yellow-Billed Chough are some symbolic wildlife species in Sagarmatha National Park.

Everest Base Camp trek and Everest Three Passes Trek are the most popular tourist destinations in the park along with Gokyo Valley and other side hikes offering the best view of the world’s highest mountain peaks, along with Mountaineering and peak climbing activities.

Besides adventure activities, the cultural significance of Sagarmatha National Park is also important, where it is dominated by Sherpa culture and villages like Namche Bazaar and Khumjung. Tibetan Himalayan Buddhism is prevalent in the region, with Tengboche and Pangboche Monasteries decorated with prayer wheels, flags, Mani walls, Chhortens, and stupas.

9. Makalu Barun National Park,


Makalu Barun National park with an area of 1500 sq. km with a buffer zone of 830 sq. km, is located in the districts of Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha districts ranges in altitude from 450 m to 8463 meters above sea level with 10 bioclimatic zones, 20 ecosystem types and 12 vegetation types.

This protected area is home to the world’s 5th highest peak Mt.Makalu (8463m) along with Mt.Chamling (7319 m), Mt.Baruntse (7129m), and Mera Peak (6445m). Besides towering peaks, the landscape feature comprises glaciers, high-altitude lakes, alpine pastures, forests, and river valleys.

Makalu Barun National Park’s biodiversity comprises 3037 flora with 8 species of native flowering plants including Alpine Scrub, Alpine Meadow, Birch, Rhododendron, Fir, Mountain Oak, Maple, Magnolia, Chir Pine, and Hill Sal.

With 81 mammals, 421 birds, 14 herpeto, and 13 fish species, this Park’s wildlife is comprised of Snow leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Spiny Babbler, Impeyan Pheasant, and Slety Bellied Tesia are symbolic wildlife species of this protected area.

Makalu Base camp Trekking and Mera Peak climbing is popular tourist activity in the Makalu Barun  National park along with chances of encountering some wildlife species. As the trails are recently opened for tourists, camping equipment is a must.

However, Homestay treks in the form of ecotourism offer tourists an opportunity to explore the rural farming villages of Rai, Magar, Sherpa, Gurung, Limbu, Brahmin, and Chhetri ethnic communities with Hinduism and Buddhist traditional cultures.

10. Shuklaphanta National Park


Shuklaphanta National park was formerly a Hunting Reserve (1969) then declared a Wildlife Reserve in 1976 and finally Gazetted as a National Park in 2017. Located in far west Nepal of Kanchanpur, covers an area of 305 sq. km with a buffer zone of 243.5 sq. km with elevations ranging from 174 m to 1386 meters above sea level.

Landscape features comparison lower Siwalik Hills, open grassland, green lush forests, river beds, and tropical wetlands: forming 3 bioclimatic zones, 3 ecosystem types, and 3 vegetation types.

Biodiversity in this protected area is comprised of 700 flora, 56 mammals, 450 birds, 56 Reptiles, 15 Amphibians, and 24 fish species along with some rare and endangered wildlife species.

Chir Pine, Hill Sal, Tropical Sal, and Mixed Broadleaf forests are major vegetation in the national park: inhabiting Swamp Deer, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant, Hispid Hare, Bengal Florican, Back Capped Kingfisher, and Finns Weaver as symbolic wildlife.

Successful translocation of GreateOne-Horned Rhinoceros from Chitwan National Park and conservation of near-extinct Swamp Deer has been a major achievement of this protected area.

Bound by the  Mahakali River in the west and south, Shuklaphanta National Park serves as a corridor for the seasonal migration of wildlife species. As the latter part of the name” Phanta” translates to grassland, it is the largest continuous grassland in Nepal.

Elephant Safari, Jungle walks, and Bird watching are major activities in this protected area however, people interested in wildlife photography and studies will find this park intriguing.

 

11. Banke National Park


Banke National park was established as a protected area in 2010 covering an area of 550 sq. km and a buffer zone of 343 sq. km: stretching in the Banke, Salyan, and Dang districts of western Nepal. Located within the Terai Arc Landscape, this park’s landscape is mostly floodplains of Rapti and Babai River including foothills of the Chure range.

Banke National Park is comprised of 8 ecosystem types Sal, Deciduous Riverine forests, mixed hardwood forests, and grasslands. Biodiversity in this protected area comprises 124 flora, 34 mammals, 300 birds, 24 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and 58 fish species.

Vegetation symbolic to this park is Sal, Karma, Khair, and Sisau: whereas wildlife species of Asiatic Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Striped Hyena m Four Horned Antelope, Giant Hornbill, Black Stork, Bengal Florican, Gharial Crocodile and Python are under the protection of this national park.

Within the buffer zone are settlements of diverse ethnic groups such as Indigenous Tharu, Brahmins, Chhetri, Magar, Majhi, Tamang, and Gurung: with agriculture as their major source of livelihood. Facilities for health, communication, and lodging are well established in the southern part of the national park.

Major tourist activities in the national park include Elephant safari, Jungle Walk, and Bird Watching. However, if you are a student seeking research, or seeking for wildlife photography destination: then Banke National Park can be an ideal destination.

12. Parsa National Park