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Koshi Tapu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp, Nepal
Kingfisher, Koshi Tappu, Nepal
Above: Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp, Nepal
  • Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp, Nepal
  • Kingfisher, Koshi Tappu, Nepal

Located in the south-east of Nepal, on the border with India (Bihar), Koshi Tappu is without doubt one of the primary bird spotting locations in the whole of Asia, if not the world. Getting to the park however, is not straightforward. There are flights from Kathmandu to Biratnagar, which take around 45 minutes. From Biratnagar it is around a 2-hour drive to the Park. Alternatively, the journey by road from Kathmandu takes approx. 10 hours. However, this flight gives travellers a great chance of seeing Everest presuming that you are on the correct (north) side of the airplane.

It is possible to even raft all the way from Kathmandu to the Park although 9-10 days down the Sun Khosi River means this is only really available for people with a lot of time.

As mentioned above, ornithologists will be easily entertained in Koshi Tappu but there are also Water Buffalo, Deer and Crocodiles (Gharial and Mugger) which can be viewed from boat rides on the river. Morning and evening Jungle walks are available though the jungle here is not as dense as the larger parks. There is also a small possibility of seeing the immensely shy Gangetic River Dolphin.

As with the more mainstream parks, local Tharu villages can be visited from your lodge and the village situated nearest to the park is completely plastic-free, one of the few environmentally aware and clean villages in the country. This is in no small part down to the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp which has initiated and helped with this. There is a good choice of lodges situated in or near the park and its also possible to camp at the Parks HQ for roughly 300 NRs.

In terms of times to visit, October – March is the best period as many of the migratory and local birds are sighted at the barrage and river channels at this time (The park is one of the sub-continents most important wetlands and its location just downstream from one of the few breaches in the Himalayan barrier makes this place an internationally important residing, staging and wintering area for waterfowl and waders) The 5th highest mountain in the world (Makalu I) can be spotted from the park in the distance during the cooler, clearer months.

Keen ornithologists should look out for Swamp Francolin, Black-necked stork, the awkward sounding Lesser Adjutant, Comb Duck, Falcated Duck, Spot-billed Duck, Cotton Pigmy Goose, Baer’s Pochard, Bailon’s Crake, Ruddy Crake, Greater Painted Snipe, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Indian Courser, Black-bellied Tern, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Bristle Grassbird.

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