Shuklaphanta National Park is Nepal’s youngest and rarely visited, consequently pristine wildlife gem. This wild beauty of the far western region of Nepal is integrated into an undisturbed, least human-interfered, untamed land. The Park is now home to the largest herd with more than 2000 swamp deer, an estimated 17 feral tigers, and superb wildlife.
The Park area is unexplored and yet to be a good tourist destination with fantastic grassland inhibiting the varieties of wildlife, including mammalian, reptilia, aves, and amphibian families. The elementary significance of this national Park is still a problem; being unexplored and filled with immensely beautiful floral and faunal spectrums. Once the kingdom of Tharu king Singpal, the wild beauty is now a pristine national park with mind-blowing landscapes and sceneries.
Shuklaphanta is a far western lowland of Terai in Kanchanpur district. It is 2nd largest wildlife reserve in Nepal. The area of this national Park is 305 square kilometers. It shares a common boundary with the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the South and West, which the Mahakali River forms, also known as the Sharada River, and a major tributary of the Ganges River. It boasts a wide range of biodiversity with lots of natural attractions.
Flora and Fauna
The extensive open grassland and wetlands around the lakes of the Park are habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Twenty-eight fish species and 12 reptiles and amphibian species were recorded in rivers, lakes, and ponds. The vegetation types primarily include sal forests and savanna, part of the continuum between climax forest and grassland, maintained by fire and floods.
It includes 46 mammals, of which 18 are protected under cities, such as Bengal Tigers, Indian leopards, elephants, etc. It is also home to a tremendous one-horned rhinoceros from Chitwan National Park. The antelope species of Blackbucks also inhabit here.
Swamp deer in the grasslands found here is the largest in the world. In the 2001 censuses, the count of swamp deer was 2170 in the reserve. In 2016, the rusty-spotted cat was photographed by a camera trap for the first time in the protected area.
A total of 423 bird species have been recorded in Shuklaphanta National Park. However, the forests are essential for great slaty woodpeckers and white-napped woodpeckers. The white-rumped vulture, slender-billed vulture, lesser adjutant, grey-headed fish eagles, darter, and rufous rumped grassbird are breeding residents.
Sarus crane-painted storks and bristled grassbirds are summer visitors. In contrast, Greater racquet-tailed drongo, white-capped water redstart, rusty-tailed flycatcher, and a rufous gorget flycatcher are uncommon winter visitors.
Things to do in Shuklaphanta National Park
Shuklaphanta National Park is the youngest National Park in Nepal, although the National Park offers many activities. Apart from exploring this pristine jungle, there are many beautiful places around the National Park. The Tharu culture is a wonderful treat of wild, western land. The temples, lakes, jungles, wildlife, culture, and traditions of far-west Nepal are a beautiful retreat.
The jungle safari at the Shuklaphanta National Park is a popular activity. It is a reserve home for grassland wildlife in Nepal. Also, a wide variety of the earth’s topography and climate zone lies within the small area of Nepal. You may go on a jeep to see the wildlife of Shuklaphanta National Park and even go on the elephant back to explore the wild beauty.
Wildlife viewing on Elephant Back
You can see different species of wild animals during your elephant back safari in Shuklaphanta National Park. Also, some animals like Tiger, Bear, Forest Deer, Sambar Deer, Indian Porcupines, Red Muntjac, Leopard, Wild Boar, and many more animals can be seen in this jungle excursion.
Different types of birds, such as Spiny Babbler, Ilisbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Bengal Florican, Bristled Grassbird, Hodgson Bushchat, Black-capped Kingfisher, Finn’s weaver, etc. are extensively found in this national Park. More than 420 migrated and local bird species in this national Park broaden the arenas for bird lovers.
Sightseeing & Visiting Rani Tal
There are so many places to visit around Shuklaphanta National Park. The Mahakali River is near the Shuklaphanta grassland. Also, the Rani Tal, Ghodaghodi Tal, Dodhara Chandani bridge, Siddanah temple, Brahmadev temple, etc., are significant places to see in this region. The Mahakali River also acts as an administrative border between Nepal and India.
The river itself has an immense religious significance. Dhodhara Chandani, also known as a village beyond the border of Nepal, lies in the fourth dam of the Mahakali River. The bridge there is Nepal’s longest multi-span suspension bridge—Rani Tal, which is inside the National Park. Consequently, there are 24 vertebrate species and 350 winged creatures, including 180 rearing species. Fourteen types of fish, ten types of ectoparasites, and gnawing flies occupy the recreation center. This Tal is the National Park that has added flavor to the national Park.
The reserve is easily accessible by road from any part of Nepal with the completion of the far-western sector of the mid-west highway. Above all, daily flights from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi are available. Also, regular buses from Dhangadhi to Mahendranagar take around 3 hours to reach Shuklaphanta National Park.
To get there, the east-west highway through Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Shuklaphanta National Park, Mahendranagar is accessible via road as well. Moreover, getting into the far western pristine Nepalese land makes it easy to get a fantastic experience with native hospitality.
The entry fee for Nepali is NPR 100 per person, and SAARC national is NPR 750 per person. For foreigners, NPR 1500 per person, and for the child below ten years, no entry fees are applicable.
Best time to visit Shuklaphanta National Park
Shuklaphanta National Park is a pristine wildlife zone. The fantastic landscapes and savannas attract a lot of tourists every year. The best time to visit Shuklaphanta National Park is from September to December and February to the end of May. However, every season is suitable for visiting Shuklaphanta National Park except for summer. Because of extreme humidity and sunny environments, it becomes hard to see in the daytime in summer. But morning and evening times are still favorable.