Nepal is home to an incredibly diverse array of precious endangered wildlife. Due to conservation efforts, it’s easier than ever to have the chance to spot a rare one-horned rhino, Bengal tigers, and Asian elephants. Plan your visit with the Community Homestay Network (CHN) to ensure that your walk on the wild side supports the preservation of these incredible creature’s natural habitat, anti-poaching efforts, and local tour guides who are experts about Nepal’s animal kingdom.
CHN has two destinations that you can visit if you seek a trip that centers around handpicked experiences ethical wildlife interactions. Choosing to interact with wildlife through CHN is the most ethical option in Nepal. CHN supports the local communities at the frontlines of protecting the national parks and all the critters that reside there. Booking wildlife observation excursions through CHN also showcases to the host communities that the indigenous flora and fauna of the land are worth protecting and can generate financial stability as wildlife tours bring in a constant stream of money from tourists.
The Bardia Community Homestay was established in 2011 in support of the World Wildlife Foundation in Dalla which is within close proximity to biodiverse Bardia National Park. The protected park is where you’re most likely to get a glimpse of incredible animal life. Wild Asian elephants roam the terrain as the elusive Bengal tigers stalk their prey and one-horned rhinos combat in shallow waters. Some 30 or so other mammals also can be seen in the park as well as over 400 types of birds. Keep an eye out for the mystical Bengal florican and sarus crane. If you’re lucky, you might see the endangered Gharial crocodile or Gangetic dolphins in the Karnali River.
Bardia National Park is so dense with wildlife that you may even be able to witness some of these species from the Community Forest Tree House. Those that want to be one with nature and rewild in the most serene settings can join a guide for a jungle walk through the National Park. Jungle walks are your best chance of seeing wildlife without all the commotion from a jeep safari. Your guide will be a member of the native Tharu ethnic group and will prepare you on how to stay safe should you come across a tiger, rhino, or elephant. Just follow the tiger paw prints and see where the adventure takes you!
In Nepal’s first protected area, Chitwan National Park, mindful travelers can stay at the authentic Tharu village via the Barauli Community Homestay. The hosts grew up sharing the land with the phenomenal wildlife that lives here and are best equipped to track animals whereabouts so that you’ll have a good chance of seeing one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers, and more in the subtropical low lands. By hiring a guide through the homestay you can be confident that you have safe explorer leading you into the wild who deeply respects the environment and animals. Your guide will be an expert at locating wildlife — keep your eyes peeled for wild boars, Asian antelopes, striped hyenas, pangolins (the most poached animal on Earth), spotted chital deer, and endangered langur monkeys.
A guided jungle walk through the Baruali buffer zone near the Rapti River is the most exciting way to see wildlife. Elephant rides should be strictly avoided as riding an elephant is never an ethical choice. Plus, it’s so much more fun to explore by foot and really immerse yourself in nature. If the idea of climbing a tree to escape a charging rhino terrifies you then opt for a canoe tour to calmly explore all that Chitwan National Park has to offer. No matter how hot it may be, don’t go in for a dip, crocodiles are lurking in the waters.