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Bardia National Park/Nepal

Introducing Bardia National Park

Bardia National Park is the largest national park and wilderness area in the Terai and has excellent wildlife-watching opportunities. Bardia is often described as what Chitwan was like 30 years ago, before being overrun by tourism. The park protects 968 sq km of sal forest and grassland, and together with the new 550 sq km Banke National Park it protects one of Asia’s largest stretches of tiger habitat. That’s a lot of habitat, but even though tiger numbers are increasing after their recent demise during the Maoist insurgency, you’ll still need exceptionally good luck to see one here.

There are also healthy populations of wild elephants and one-horned rhinos among the 30 species of mammals living here. Bardia also has more than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican and sarus crane. Gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles and Gangetic dolphins are occasionally spotted on rafting and canoe trips along the Geruwa River, the eastern channel of the Karnali River

Bardia National Park suffered greatly during the Maoist insurgency. Tourism dried up, lodges were mothballed and the wildlife was hit hard by poaching owing to inadequate protection. The good news is that all this is now being reversed, and while it’s a long, arduous journey out here, it’s well worth the effort.