Chitwan National Park is located in the central part of southern Nepal as part of the elongated river valley of the Inner Terai lowlands. The national park encompasses an area of 367.81 square miles (952 sq km).
The elevation of the park varies from 330 feet (100 m) occurring in the lowland river valleys to the Churia Hills with a height of 2,674 feet (815 m). East of Chitwan is the adjacent Parsa National Park which connects to Valmiki National Park giving further protection to the lowland river valleys as well as extensive forested areas.
Collectively, all three parks work together to creating the Tiger Conservation Unit encompassing an area of 1,370 square miles (3,549 sq km). The collective area protects extensive grasslands and subtropical deciduous forests as an investment in protecting tiger populations.
The majority of the subtropical forest is made up of Sal trees accounting for about 70% of the park area. Chir pine is introduced as the elevation changes going into the Churia Hills. Savanna and grasslands make up most of the remaining 20% of the park. Elephant grass is the world’s tallest grass and it makes up a fair amount of the grasslands.
The king cobra and rock python are two of the more popular snakes with an additional 17 species. Mugger crocodiles are another one of the popular reptiles found within Chitwan national park.
There are 68 species of mammals with the most popular being the Bengal tiger. It is affectionately known as “king of the jungle.” There are approximately 80 tigers living with the park boundaries.
Leopards are also found within Chitwan, however, they tend to be on the outer edges of the park and harder to come across. Additional popular predators include foxes, honey badgers, wild dogs, striped hyenas, jackals, fishing cats, jungle cats, and leopards cats.
There are approximately 250 sloth bears with Chitwan National Park having the distinction of possessing the greatest population density. Additionally, the park has the greatest number of rhinoceroses in Nepal. Birdwatchers can anticipate capturing a sighting of some of the 543 species of birds.
Indian Bison, also known as gaurs, roam the Churia Hills but it is more challenging to explore this area making sightings more challenging. Boar, sambar deer, hog deer, four-horned antelope, red muntjac, rhesus monkeys, and Indian porcupines account for many of the other species of wildlife calling Chitwan home.
Wildlife is the highlight or the national park with the Bengal tiger being the ultimate animal sighting. Chitwan is a leading tourist attraction for the country of Nepal.
Taking in the wildlife on the back of an elephant is one of the more adventurous ways to explore the park.
Trails of Chitwan National Park
When most people think of trails, they are thinking about how they can take off on an adventure of their own. Wildlife is king in the park, and although there is hiking it is done with a guide.
Full or Half: You have a choice to take a half or full-day hike. The majority of this is exploring the forest and grasslands with a guide leading you along the path. Remember this is a national park with free-roaming predator species – pay attention to your guide.
Elephant safari: You can also elect to explore the park riding on the back of an elephant.
Jeep Safari: One of the most common ways to experience wildlife is through a jeep or vehicle safari.
- Churia Hills
- Bengal Tigers
- Greater one-horned rhinoceros
- Government of Nepal, Chitwan National Park, https://www.chitwannationalpark.gov.np/, retrieved October 2019.
- Lonely Planet, Chitwan National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/the-terai-and-mahabharat-range/royal-chitwan-national-park, retrieved October 2019.
- Naturally, Nepal, Chitwan National Park, https://www.welcomenepal.com/places-to-see/chitwan-national-park.html, retrieved October 2019.
- Travelogy India, Chitwan National Park, Nepal, https://www.travelogyindia.com/nepal/chitwan-national-park.html, retrieved October 2019.