National parks of Nepal

Nepal is a country known for its natural beauty. It is a beautiful Himalayan nation.

Nepal has the most stunning, diverse and versatile landscape from snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan, lush jungles of the Terai, glistening lakes and rivers. 

However, these precious, fragile and wide range of biodiversity needs to be kept safe. 

With the growing population and the impact of global warming, it is very important to protect these precious ecosystems and their unique wildlife.

Nepal has established a network of protected areas which is vital for the unique flora and fauna.

In the effort to conserve nature and wildlife, Nepal has many National Parks, Wildlife reserve and conservation areas dedicated to conserving and preserving wildlife and their natural habitat.

National parks of Nepal

Nepal has 12 national parks that serve as sanctuaries for the unique ecosystem and wildlife. 

These national parks are not just protected areas. They are a testament to the raw, unspoiled beauty of nature, untouched by the hustle and bustle of civilization and human intervention. 

Shey Phoksundo National Park

Shey Phoksundo national park is the largest national park in Nepal and the only trans-Himalayan national park in the country. It is in the northwestern region of Nepal, spreading over the districts Dolpa and Mugu.

 The park is known for its diverse terrain and altitude variation, which supports a wide range of wildlife and vegetation. Shey Phoksundo Lake, the deepest lake in Nepal, is the park’s most prominent feature. 

The lake is surrounded by glaciers and is known for its turquoise color. Wildlife in the park includes snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear, leopard, ghoral, musk deer, wild dog, marmot, weasel, mouse hare, rhesus and langur monkeys, jackals, and over 200 species of birds. 

Activities in the park include trekking, mountaineering, and camping. Trekking trails in the park range from easy to difficult and offer stunning views of the park’s scenery and wildlife.

Langtang National Park

Langtang National Park is the nearest national park to the capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a popular destination for trekking and mountaineering and is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna. 

The Langtang Valley is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal and is home to the holy Lake Gosainkunda. The lake is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists and is a popular pilgrimage site.

The park was established in 1976 to protect the unique flora and fauna of the region. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including the red panda, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, wild dog, ghoral, serow, and over 250 species of birds.

Makalu Barun National Park 

Makalu Barun National Park is a national park in the Himalayas of Nepal that was established in 1992 as the eastern extension of Sagarmatha National Park.

 The park is home to a variety of rugged Himalayan peaks, including Mount Makalu (8,463 m), the fifth highest mountain in the world and the fourth highest in Nepal. 

Other notable peaks in the park include Mount Chamlang (7,319 m), Mount Baruntse (7,129 m), and Mera Peak (6,654 m). Makalu Barun National Park is also known for its tremendous diversity of plants, animals, and people. Some of the wildlife found in the park includes snow leopards, red pandas, musk deer, and wild boars.

 A portion of the park has been designated as a Strict Nature Reserve, the first in Nepal, in order to protect natural ecosystems and processes in an undisturbed state for scientific study, environmental monitoring, education, and the maintenance of genetic resources.

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park, located in eastern Nepal, is a haven of natural wonders, encompassing the upper catchment areas of the Dudh Kosi and Bhotekoshi rivers as well as the stunning Gokyo Lakes. 

This park, established in 1976, is renowned as the home of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, along with other towering peaks like Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Thamserku, Nuptse, Amadablam, and Pumori, all reaching heights above 6,000 meters. 

The park’s rugged terrain is marked by deep gorges, glaciers, and colossal rocks, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience for trekkers, especially along the famous Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek. The EBC trek offers stunning views of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and other Himalayan peaks. 

Sagarmatha National Park serves as a vital hub for biodiversity conservation in the Khumbu region, preserving unique flora and fauna. It also boasts iconic monasteries such as Tengboche, Thame, Khumjung, and Pangboche, adding to the cultural richness of the area. 

Recognized for its exceptional natural features, UNESCO designated Sagarmatha National Park as a World Heritage Site in 1979, acknowledging its importance on a global scale.

Bardia National Park

Bardia National Park is the largest national park in Nepal’s west terai. Established as the Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976, it underwent a series of transformations, eventually achieving the status of a National Park in 1988. 

This park is a sanctuary for endangered animals, including the Royal Bengal tiger, wild elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, swamp deer, black buck, gharial, marsh mugger crocodiles, and Gangetic dolphin. 

The park also provides a safe haven for endangered birds like the Bengal florican, lesser florican, and sarus crane. Bardia National Park stands as a biodiversity hotspot. Additionally, the park welcomes migratory birds, making it a vital stopover for avian species during their journeys. Bardia National Park serves as a crucial refuge for Nepal’s wildlife, ensuring the survival of diverse and endangered species.

Chitwan National Park 

Chitwan National Park, designated as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site in 1984, is a remarkable wilderness located in the Shivalik Hills’ foothills. 

Encompassing a diverse landscape of deciduous forests and flood plains along the Narayani, Rapti, and Reu rivers, the park offers a rich ecosystem teeming with mammals, birds, reptiles, and aquatic life. 

Notably, it serves as a sanctuary for the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and the majestic Royal Bengal tiger. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of wildlife such as bison, wild boar, rhesus monkeys, langurs, deer, leopards, gaur, wild dogs, and wild cats. 

Chitwan National Park also boasts a vibrant birdlife, with species like paradise flycatchers, Indian pittas, and parakeets gracing the summer skies, while winter welcomes waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, and migratory birds from Siberia. 

Visitors can explore the park through exciting activities like Jungle Safari, elephant back excursions, canoe trips, river rafting, and nature walks, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike. 

The park’s thriving ecosystem and diverse array of flora and fauna create a captivating experience for all who venture into its heart.

Banke National Park

Banke National Park, situated in the picturesque Lumbini Province, holds the distinction of being Nepal’s newest national park, established in 2010 and recognized as a precious “Gift to the Earth.” 

This protected area, established on 12th July 2010, showcases the rich biodiversity of the mid-western region of Nepal. The park’s diverse habitats include sal forests, riverine forests, mixed hardwood forests, savannas, and grasslands nestled on the foothills of the Chure range. 

Within this pristine landscape, the park provides a sanctuary for various wildlife species, including the majestic tiger and the elusive four-horned antelope. 

Notably, in 2014, a ruddy mongoose was spotted in the protected area for the first time, highlighting the park’s significance as a habitat for rare and unique wildlife. 

Banke National Park stands as a testament to Nepal’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and the remarkable wildlife inhabiting this diverse ecosystem.

Khaptad National Park

Khaptad National Park, nestled in the far-western region of Nepal, holds a unique distinction as the only mid-mountain national park in western Nepal. 

Named after the revered Khaptad Swami, the park is renowned for its picturesque meadows, dense forests, and serene alpine lakes, creating a tranquil atmosphere perfect for meditation and spiritual reflection.

The park also boasts several historical temples, adding a cultural dimension to its natural beauty. Visitors to Khaptad National Park can embark on a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience, exploring its diverse landscapes, discovering medicinal herbs, and indulging in excellent bird watching opportunities. 

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including barking deer, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, as well as rhesus and langur monkeys. 

With its serene ambiance, abundant natural beauty, and spiritual significance, Khaptad National Park offers an ideal sanctuary for both nature enthusiasts and those seeking moments of peaceful contemplation and meditation.

Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park 

Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, located just 12 kilometers north of downtown Kathmandu, encompasses parts of Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, and Dhading districts in central Nepal. 

This unique park stands out as the sole protected area entirely within the middle mountain range of central Nepal, showcasing the region’s diverse biodiversity. Its lush vegetation includes a variety of natural forest types such as pine, oak, and rhododendron. 

The park is home to a range of mammalian species, including the elusive Himalayan Black bear, leopards, jungle cats, and rhesus monkeys. Notably, Shivapuri serves as a vital water source for Kathmandu Valley. 

Easily accessible from Kathmandu, the park attracts visitors with its trekking opportunities. The park’s trails connect to popular destinations like Nagarkot, Gosaikunda, Helambu, and Langtang National Park, making it a hub for trekkers. 

Additionally, within its bounds lie several religious sites significant to both Hindus and Buddhists, adding a cultural dimension to the park’s natural allure.

Rara National Park

Rara National Park is located in the northwestern high mountains of Nepal, established in 1976. 

This park, the smallest protected area in Nepal, spanning 106 sq. km, was created to safeguard the unique charm of Lake Rara and conserve the diverse flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region. 

The park’s landscape is adorned with a variety of plant species, including fir, pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper, and spruce. Rara National Park is also home to a rich array of wildlife, featuring musk deer, Himalayan black bears, leopards, jackals, Himalayan tahr, yellow-throated martens, otters, wild dogs, common langurs, rhesus macaques, and the iconic red panda. 

The park’s avian residents include coots, snow cocks, various pheasant species, grebes, mallards, common teals, red-crested pochards, and gulls. 

During winter, the park comes alive with the melodies of migratory birds mingling with the park’s native Gallinaceous species, creating a harmonious symphony of nature.

Shuklaphanta National Park 

Located in the southwestern corner of Nepal’s Kanchanpur district in Far West State, Shuklaphanta National Park holds a rich history. Initially, it served as a renowned hunting ground for Nepal’s royalty and their distinguished guests, eventually being declared a Royal Hunting Forest in 1969, covering 131 km2. 

In 1976, it was designated as the Royal Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, a title it retained until 2006 when it became the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve. In 2017, the reserve gained the status of a National Park. 

The park’s name, derived from Nepal’s largest grassland, Shuklaphanta, signifies its unique feature—a habitat for the world’s largest herds of Swamp Deer. 

This extensive grassland, known as Sukla Phanta, is the most extensive continuous grassland in Nepal and is home to various wildlife, including Indian pythons, rat snakes, and kraits. 

One of the park’s attractions is the opportunity for jungle safaris, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call Shuklaphanta National Park home.

Prasa National Park 

Prasa National Park, Nepal’s 12th national park, is located in the south-central lowland Terai region. Historically, it served as a favored vacation spot for the Rana rulers of the country. 

Established as a wildlife reserve in 1984, this park aims to preserve the habitat for wild Asian elephants and a diverse range of other fauna. Situated adjacent to Chitwan National Park in the west, Prasa National Park spans across parts of Chitwan, Makawanpur, Parsa, and Bara districts. 

The landscape is predominantly covered with Sal forests, with chir pine gracing the hills, and Khair, sissoo, and silk cotton trees lining water areas. Within this habitat thrive various animals, including wild elephants, tigers, leopards, sloth bears, gaurs, blue bulls, and wild dogs. 

Additionally, the park is home to sambar, chital, hog deer, langur and rhesus monkeys, striped hyenas, and various bird species like peafowl, red jungle fowl, flycatchers, and woodpeckers. 

Prasa National Park also houses a variety of snakes such as the king cobra, common cobra, krait, rat snake, and python. Visitors can engage in thrilling activities like jungle safaris on elephant-back, jungle walks, and jeep drives, allowing them to explore the diverse and vibrant wildlife inhabiting this unique national park.