Nepal’s first and most famous national park (Chitwan National Park) is situated in the Inner Terai lowlands of Chitwan. Covering an area of 932 sq. kilometers the park includes hilly areas of the Shivalik Range covered by deciduous trees. Parts of the park are floodplains of rivers Narayani, Rapti, and the Reu, covered by dense tall elephant grass, forests of silk cotton, acacia and Sisam trees. Chitwan National Park was officially established in 1973 and included as World Heritage Site in 1984.
Chitwan National park is shelter to the last endangered Asian species like the one-horned rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal tiger. Other animals found here are the leopard, sloth bear, wild boar, rhesus monkey, grey langur monkey, wild dog, small wild cats, bison, the four species of deer and other small animals. Chitwan National Park is also home to 450 species of bird and hence is ideal for bird watching. In summer the forest is alive with nesting migrants such as the fabulous paradise flycatcher, the Indian pitta and parakeets.
In addition to these there are number of Jungle safari excursions like Canoe ride, Chitwan Tharu Cultural Show, Chitwan Tharu Village Tour, Sunset Viewing and Bicyle Tour to Chitwan Elephant Breeding Centre.
The Park has a range of climatic seasons each offering a unique experience. October through February with average temperatures of 25oc offer an enjoyable climate. From March to June temperatures can reach as high as 43oC. The hot humid days give way to the monsoon season that typically lasts from late June until September, rivers become flooded and roads are impossible.
In late January, local villagers are allowed to cut thatch grasses to meet their needs, which offer a better viewing of wildlife for visitors. Also, between September and November and February and April, migratory birds join the residential birds and create spectacular bird watching opportunities. While the monsoon rains bring lush vegetation, most trees flower in late winter. The palash tree, known as the “flame of the forest’ and silk cotton tree have spectacular crimson flowers that can be seen from a distance.
The Chitwan National Park has a tropical monsoon climate, with height humidity all through the year, and three main seasons.
March to early June are the traditional hot months, with temperatures rising progressively to a peak in May. During April, despite the heat of the day the nights can be quite cold. South – westerly winds prevail, and relative humidity is lowest in March.
Towards the end of May the pre-monsoon storms set in. Dark clouds mass in the afternoons, with thunder and lightning and high winds. If rain falls, it comes in late afternoon showers lasting perhaps only fifteen to twenty minutes. As May changes into June the showers come with increasing frequency.
When the monsoon proper begins, around the middle of June, it is another story. From then until late September the moisture-laden south-easterly winds weeping up from the Bay of Bengal bring heavy rain, and of the annual total of some 80 inches, more than 80 per cent falls in these three months.
Precipitation is not normally continuous, and often, in any monsoon month, there are as many dry days as wet ones. During the monsoon humidity is extremely high.
Winter lasts from October to the end of February. The northerly winds are cool, coming down from the mountains, and this is the best time of the year to see the Great Himalayan Range, the air being particularly clear in November.
January is the coldest month, with temperatures falling almost to freezing-point, especially when it rains. From late November the relative humidity touches 100 percent in the mornings, and so there is dewfall during December and January nights and sometimes when you hear the drips pouring off the trees in the morning, it is often mistaken for rain. After an especially cold morning it is hard to believe that the temperature will rise to 20-25 Celsius in the afternoon.
- Elephant ride through the jungle to see the one horned Rhinos and maybe a Bengal tiger
- Jungle walks
- Boat trip in a dug out canoe on the Rapti River (if your lucky you will see a crocodile)
- Early morning Bird watching
- Ox and cart trip to visit local areas
- Visiting Elephant Breeding Centre
- Bicycle tour to many lakes in the jungle where all kinds of animals can be spotted
- Jeep drive in the jungle for those who don’t like to bike
- Jeep for transport to other destinations inc bus parks
- Experience the music and dance of Nepal at the Tharu Culture Programme
- One day trek to Saktikhor Hill to see traditional hills and lakes
- Visit to the Tharu Culture Museum