India-Nepal National Parks Safari
The borderland area between India and Nepal is an area containing fertile plains that historically have hosted large concentrations of herbivores and carnivores alike. On this epic adventure you will experience three of the regions best wildlife parks, looking for evidence of awe-inspiring fauna in some of the last remaining protected habitat on the Indian subcontinent. Your expert naturalist guides will take you on walks and drives to look for tracks and other animal sign that lead to live sightings of tigers, elephants, rhinos, leopards, bears, deer and many other animals. Additionally, they will teach you how to interpret bird language so that you can tune in to the landscape around you and hear what birds are saying about the movements of nearby predators.
India-Nepal National Parks Safari
October - April
Experience & Activity Level:
Previous tracking experience helpful but not required.
Participants should be in good physical condition.
4 star hotels/lodges & safari tent camps
Starting at $7,450 per person (single supplement $1,934)
- Old Delhi, India
- Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary
- Dudhwa National Park
- Bardia National Park
- Kathmandu, Nepal
Situated along the Gangetic plain and Terai region of the India-Nepal border, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhwa National Park and Bardia National Park are three preserves that comprise nearly 750 sq. miles of forest, grassland, and swamp habitats. Nourished by rivers that bring nutrients down from the high Himalayas, they hold a unique large mammal assemblage with numerous important bird species. Historically, the plains hosted large numbers of herbivores and were in many ways similar to African landscapes supporting antelope, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, Asiatic lions and cheetahs, and even hippos. While some of these species are now extirpated, many still remain alongside familiar icons like the Bengal tiger.
Upon your arrival into Delhi, you will be met at the airport by one of your guides and escorted to your hotel. The next day, you will head out on a bicycle tour to explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi including the Jama Mosque, Chandni chowk, Kinari bazaar and spice market, and other historical monuments. The following morning you will catch a short flight to Lucknow and then travel overland to Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. Your trip leaders will give you an overview of the ecology of this bioregion, and then take you on an introductory walk near the Geruwa River and the lovely eco-huts that will be your home for the next four days.
Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the northern region of the state of Uttar Pradesh, is a mix of sal and teak forests, swamps and wetlands, and lush grasslands all teeming with fauna. The river forms an intrinsic part of this ecosystem, flowing peacefully through the preserve and supporting the last of the Gharial (fish eating crocodile) populations left in the wild. The sanctuary was created as a refuge for the tiger, as well as providing habitat and protection for many other animals. This includes leopards, deer, and wild boar along with the herds of Asian elephants and rhinos that migrated from Nepal and made this their permanent residence.
Each morning and late afternoon your expert naturalist guides will lead you on walks and game drives to examine animal spoor, teaching you how to interpret tracks and other sign and using them to help determine animal whereabouts. Your guides will also teach you about bird language via observational exercises that will inform you how to recognize alarm signals indicating animal movements in the area. In addition to birds, you will also be taught how to tune into the calls of cheetals and langurs, indicating the presence of a tiger or leopard on the prowl. During mid-day you will take boat rides on the Geruwa River hoping to spot Gangetic dolphins in the main channel and looking for gharial crocodiles basking in the sun, and occasionally disembarking to looks for tracks on its banks.
On your last evening at Katarniaghat, you will visit the local village to witness a cultural dance performance by indigenous tribes with drummers and symbolic stick dancers. Then you will depart the next morning and journey overland to Dudhwa National Park, a 225 square mile preserve that contains some of the finest sal forests in all of India. It is the only place in the country to hold a viable population of northern swamp deer; in fact, of the seven species of deer found in India, five of them actually reside in the preserve. Dudhwa is also home to a sizeable tiger population and critically endangered species like the bengal florican and the hispid hare. In a great success story, the one-horned rhinoceros was reintroduced here in 1984.
Upon your arrival at Dudhwa you will explore the plantation grounds around the private residence, which was built in the 1940’s and used by the British Governors as a hunting lodge. The following day you will go out with your guides to explore the park and search for animal spoor, as well as going on jeep drives to catch live sightings of tigers, one-horned rhinos, swamp deer and many other animals. You will have plenty of time to watch and observe these magnificent creatures, and your guides will explain their behavior in terms of the relationship between fauna and flora, and between predator and prey. As you did in Katarniaghat, your will also have time for avian observations so that you can continue to expand upon your knowledge of bird language. In between safari activities, you will interact with the locals of the Tharu tribes in the adjoining villages and visit the bustling Nepalese cross border market of Chandan Chowki.
After spending four days at Dudhwa you will depart the following morning and border cross into Nepal. You will then continue overland unitl you arrive at Bardia National Park, where you will be staying in the tented camps of the ecolodge for the next several days. Initially setup as a royal hunting reserve, Bardia was declared a wildlife preserve in 1976 and given national park status in 1988. Being the largest and the most undisturbed terai wilderness habitat, it is an excellent place to view many endangered species including rhinos, elephants, tigers, leopards, swamp deer, blackbuck, gharial crocodiles and gangetic dolphins.
During your time at Bardia your naturalist guides will again take you on walks to look for animals tracks and sign and to participate in more bird language activities. You will also go on safari drives in open jeeps to look for the amazing animals that occupy the peaceful savannahs, scrub forests and swampland of the Gangetic plains, and take a river cruises to observe wildlife in the water and on the banks of the riparian areas. You will also have the opportunity to interact with the park’s domesticated elephants, even helping bathe them if you so desire!
Concluding your four days at Bardia, you will leave the national park and head to the local airport to catch a flight to Kathmandu, where you will have a final couple of days to explore this ancient city. Your tour guide will take you to the historic temples and monuments of the town, including Pashupatinath and Boudhanath stupas and as well as Kathmandu Durbar Square. In the evening you will enjoy a rickshaw ride through the famous Thamel market, and also have time on your own to explore the fascinating alleyways and shops that line the bustling streets. This will be a perfect way to wind down your trip, and give you time to savor all that you have learned and witnessed over the last two weeks.