The Bardia National Park
The Bardia national park is the largest and most undisturbed protected area in the Terai and is home to the endangered Bengal tiger and Nepal's famous one-horned rhinoceros. The national park located in the far western district of bardia, is bordered by River Karnali in the west, the Churia range in the north, while the river Babai flows right through the park and it occupies the Siwaliks range with the highest peak of Sukarmala (1441m). The varied geographical factors together with the cover of Salm Savannah forests and grasslands render this region ideal as wild animal habitat. The park hosts 30 different mammals, more than 250 species of birds, and several varieties of reptiles and water animals. Some of the water animal found there are elephant, swamp deer, blackbuck, gharial crocodile and marsh mugger crocodile. The exotic Gangetic dolphin is sometimes of Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-earned mesia and sarus crane. The park offers the rare opportunity of fishing at River Karnali and River Babai.
The best time to visit the bardia ark is autumn, winter and early summer when the weather is warm and dry. From April through June, the temperature rises up reaching 45 degree centigrade in May. The hot sticky days give way to the monsoon rains that last till September. Bardia consists of three major natural forests from riverine composition of khair-sissoo, to sal in the Terai and hills and to Chir pine-oak in the Siwaliks. Of the recorded 173 species, sal is the dominant species.
The best way to reach the national Park is via Nepalgunj in Banke district. Nepalgunj is connected by the air and by road to capital and other cities in the west. The Park's headquarters Thakurdwara is approximately an hour's drive away from the Nepalgunj-Surkhet road. Another option to reach the Park is from Birendranagar in Surkhet district which is also connected by air to Kathmandu.
In the surrounding areas of the National Park, tourists can also experience white-water rafting in the longest river of Nepal-Karnali. One may even spot dolphins or gharial in the river. The river was recently marked seventh place in white-water rafting category.