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Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is the largest metropolis in Nepal, with a population of 1.5 million in the city proper, and 3 million in its urban agglomeration across the Kathmandu Valley, which includes the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur making the total population to roughly 5 million people and the municipalities across Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city, while English is understood by the city's educated residents. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "Nepal Mandala" and has been the home of Newar culture, a cosmopolitan urban civilisation in the Himalayan foothills. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985. Today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008; and is part of the Province No. 3 in Nepalese administrative geography. Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal's history, art, culture and economy. It has a multiethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. It is also the home of the Newars. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy; in 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia. The city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas, and home to seven world heritage sites: the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur; the Stupas of Swayambhunath and Baudhanath; and the temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Historic areas of Kathmandu were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25th April 2015 and are in the process of reconstruction.
Is a former Village Development Committee located 32 km east of Kathmandu, Nepal in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone and as of 2015 part of Nagarkot Municipality. At the time of the 2011 census it had a population of 4571 and had 973 houses in it. At an elevation of 2,195 meters, it is considered one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur District. It is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas including Mount Everest as well as other peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a very popular hiking route for tourists. It is located approximately 7000 ft (2000 m) above sea level and 28 km from Kathmandu International Airport. Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley (8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 from here). The ranges include Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Mahalangur range (Everest range) and Numbur range with views of the Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri National Park. For those active nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, there are lots of hiking opportunities to do in and around Nagarkot. Among them, nagarkot eco trail (nature walk) along with Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail is the most popular ones. You can also do Paragliding with Everest view in Nagarkot. Situated in a strategic location, Nagarkot was an ancient fort of the Kathmandu valley built to monitor the external activities of other kingdoms. Later, it became a summer retreat for the royal family before becoming popular as an international hill station.
Bhaktapur literally translates to Place of devotees. Also known as Khwopa it is an ancient Newa city in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, about 8 miles (13 km) from the capital city, Kathmandu. It is located in Bhaktapur (Khwopa) District in the Baghmati Zone. It is administratively divided into 10 wards. Khwopa was the largest of the three Newa kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley and was the capital of Nepal during the great 'Malla Kingdom' until the second half of the 15th century. It has a population of more than 81,728, of which the vast majorities are still Newa Nepa mi. historically more isolated than the other two kingdoms, Kathmandu and Patan, Bhaktapur has a distinctly different form of Nepal Bhasa language. Bhaktapur has the best-preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artworks. This is supported by the restoration and preservation efforts of German-funded Bhaktapur Development Project (BDP). The city is famous for a special type of dahi (yogurt) called "Ju Ju (king) dhau (curd). It is experienced by the curd makers that the taste of curd prepared in this location cannot be found elsewhere all over Nepal.
Patan Durbar Square is situated at the centre of the city of Lalitpur in Nepal. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are by by UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attractions is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newar architecture. The square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace. The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in the alignment beside the main temples. The Square also holds old Newari residential houses. There are other temples and structures in and around Patan Durbar Square built by the Newa People.
Swayambhunath sometimes Swayambu or Swoyambhu) is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means 'Sublime for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. However, Shing.kun may be a corruption of the local Nepal Bhasaname for the complex, Singgu, meaning 'self-sprung'. For the Buddhist Newars, in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimagesites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudha. Swyambhunath Swyambhunath of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha's eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, the number one (in Devanagari script) is painted in the fashion of a nose. There are also shops, restaurants and hostels. The site has two access points: a long staircase leading directly to the main platform of the temple, which is from the top of the hill to the east; and a car road around the hill from the south leading to the south-west entrance. The first sight on reaching the top of the stairway is the Vajra. Tsultrim Allione describes the experience: We were breathless and sweating as we stumbled up the last steep steps and practically fell upon the biggest vajra (thunderbolt scepter) that I have ever seen. Behind this Vajra was the vast, round, white dome of the stupa, like a full solid skirt, at the top of which were two giant Buddha eyes wisely looking out over the peaceful valley which was just beginning to come alive. Much of Swayambhunath's iconography comes from the Vajrayana tradition of Newar Buddhism. However, the complex is also an important site for Buddhists of many schools, and is also revered by Hindus.
Pokhara is a metropolitan city in Nepal. It is the country's second largest city in terms of population after the capital Kathmandu. Since Pokhara and Lekhnath were merged to create Pokhara Metropolitan City in May 2017. It is the provincial capital of Gandaki Pradesh and headquarters of Kaski District. Pokhara is located 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu. The altitude varies from 827 metres (2,713 feet) in the southern part to 1,740 metres (5,710 feet) in the north. The Annapurna Range with three of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu— is within 15–35 mi (24–56 km) of the valley. Due to its proximity to the Annapurna mountain range, the city is a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the Annapurna Conservation Area region of the Annapurna ranges in the Himalayas. Its a city of Phewa Lake, Tal Barahi Temple, a 2-story pagoda, sits on an island in the lake. On the eastern shore, the Lakeside district has yoga centers and restaurants. In the city’s south, the International Mountain Museum has exhibits on the history of mountaineering and the people of the Himalayas. Pokhara is home to many Gurkha soldiers. It is also considered as one of the tourism capital of Nepal.
Bandipur is a hilltop settlement and a municipality in Tanahun District, (Gandaki Zone) of Nepal. This municipality was established on 18 May 2014 by merging with existing Dharampani and Bandipur VDCs. At the time of the 2011 Nepal census it had a population of total (Bandipur and Dharampani) 15,591 people living in 3750 individual households. Because of its preserved, old time cultural atmosphere, Bandipur has increasingly been coming to the attention of tourism.
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Province No. 5 in Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam in 563 BCE. Gautama, who achieved Enlightenment some time around 528 BCE, became the Buddha and founded Buddhism. Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi Temple and several others which are still under repair. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, the Lumbini International Research Institute, are also within the holy site. Also there is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to her birth and where she had her first bath. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, then achieved ultimate Enlightenment and finally relinquished their earthly forms. Lumbini was made a World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1997.
BARDIA NATIONAL PARK
The Bardiya National Park is a protected area in Nepal that was established in 1988 as Royal Bardia National Park. Covering an area of 968 km2 (374 sq mi) it is the largest and most undisturbed national park in Nepal's Terai, adjoining the eastern bank of the Karnali River and bisected by the Babai River in the Bardiya District. Its northern limits are demarcated by the crest of the Siwalik Hills. The Nepalgunj-Surkhethighway partly forms the southern boundary, but seriously disrupts the protected area. Natural boundaries to human settlements are formed in the west by the Geruwa, a branch of the Karnali River, and in the southeast by the Babai River.Together with the neighboring Banke National Park, the coherent protected area of 1,437 km2 (555 sq mi) represents the Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) Bardia-Banke that extends over 2,231 km2 (861 sq mi) of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests.
About 70% of the park is covered with forest, with the balance a mixture of grassland, savannah and riverine forest. The flora recorded in the park comprises 839 species of flora, including 173 vascular plant species comprising 140 dicots, 26 monocots, six fern, and one gymnosperm species.
The wide range of vegetation types in forest and grassland provides excellent habitat for 642 faunal species. The Karnali-Babai river system, their small tributaries and myriads of oxbow lakes is habitat for 125 recorded species of fish. A small population of gharial inhabits the rivers. Apart from the mugger crocodiles, 23 reptile and amphibian species have been recorded.
The Bardiya National Park is home to at least 53 mammals including rhinoceros, wild elephant, Bengal tiger, swamp deer, and Gangetic dolphin. Rhinoceros translocation of rhinos from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park commenced in 1986, with 58 individuals relocated until 2000. From 1994 to 2000, hunters have been unsuccessful at poaching rhinos. In April 2000, there were 67 rhinos in the park, most of them resident in the Babai Valley. In May 2006, a reconnaissance survey was carried out in the Babai River floodplain, which revealed an alarming decline in the rhino population. Poaching was suspected to be the main cause of this decline. Subsequent surveys in 2007 and 2008 have confirmed the complete disappearance of rhinos from Babai Valley. In different habitats of the Karnali floodplain 25 rhinos were recorded based on direct observation and indirect signs of rhino dung and tracks. They were mostly congregated in the floodplain grassland, riverine forest and wetlands. In March 2008, only 22 rhinos were counted, and two of them were poached after the count. The World Wide Fund for Nature reported that by 2015, the rhino population had risen to 29, mainly because of increased security measures.
Current checklists include 407 bird species, among them the Bengal florican, white-rumped vulture, peafowl, and bar-headed geese, which are symbolic of the park. Lesser florican and sarus crane are present; grey-crowned prinia, jungle prinia, pale-footed bush warbler, aberrant bush warbler, striated grassbird, golden-headed cisticola and chestnut-capped babbler and many more.
KOSHI TAPPU WILDLIFE RESERVE
The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a renowed for specially bird and birdwatcher lover which is protected area in the Terai of eastern Nepal covering 175 km2 (68 sq mi) of wetlands in the Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur Districts. It comprises extensive mudflats, reed beds, and freshwater marshes in the floodplain of the Sapta Kosi River, and ranges in altitude from 75 to 81 m (246 to 266 ft). It was established in 1976 and designated as a Ramsar site in December 1987. It can be accessed from the Mahendra Highway. In 2005, the park together with the Koshi Barrage was identified as one of 27 Important Bird Areas ( IBA) of Nepal.
The vegetation of the reserve is mainly characterised by mixed deciduous riverine forest, grasslands and marshy vegetation. The coverage of grasslands is 68%, compared to only about 6% of forest, which is predominated by Indian rosewood. Patches of catechu forest are more prevalent towards the northwestern part. The grasslands near the running water bodies are maintained by the annual flooding and grazing by wildlife. The Sapta Koshi River, a tributary of the Ganges, causes rapid and intense flooding during the rainy season. In the extensive wetlands, 514 plant species are found including kapok, sugarcane, reed, cattail, Imperata cylindrica, eel grass, and species of Eichhornia, Hydrilla, Azolla and lotus.
A wide range of animals inhabit the protected area. In its water courses and ponds, 200 species of fish have been recorded, most of which are resident. Two toad species, nine frog species, six lizard species, five snake species and eleven turtle species are recorded. Gharial and mugger crocodile occur as well.
The 31 species of mammals recorded include the Asian elephant, spotted deer, hog deer, wild boar, smooth-coated otter and golden jackal. The Ganges river dolphin has been sighted in the Koshi River. Gaur and blue bull have declined in numbers. Nepal’s last remaining population of about 150 wild water buffalo inhabit the area. This population has now grown to a total of 432 individuals with an annual growth rate of 7.27 percent, according to the latest census carried out in 2016. With this upsurge in the population, authorities are planning a possible transfer of some wild water buffaloes to the flood plains of Chitwan National Park where they have been extirpated around 1950's. If the proposed translocation happens, this will present a natural Predator-Prey scenario since wild water buffaloes in Koshi Tappu has been lacking their natural predators in the form of tiger, leopard and dhole for quite a long.
Notable among the 485 bird species are watercock, Indian nightjar, dusky eagleowl, black-headed cuckooshrike, whitetailed stonechat, striated grassbird, large adjutant stork, Pallas’s fish eagle, common golden-eye, gullbilled tern, Swamp francolin, rufous-vented grass babbler, pintail, ducks, bar-headed geese, mallards, ibis, swamp partridges and Bengal floricans and many more.
SHIVAPURI - NAGARJUN NATIONAL PARK
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is the ninth national park in Nepal and was established in 2002. It is located in the country's mid-hills on the northern fringe of the Kathmandu Valley and named after Shivapuri Peak of 2,732 m (8,963 ft) altitude. It covers an area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) in the districts of Kathmandu, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk, adjoining 23 Village Development Committees. In the west, the protected area extends to the Dhading District. The area has always been an important water catchment area, supplying the Kathmandu Valley with several hundred thousands cubic liter of water daily. In 1976, the area was established as a protected watershed and wildlife reserve. In 2002, it was gazetted as Shivapuri National Park, initially covering 144 km2 (56 sq mi). It was extended by the Nagarjun Forest Reserve covering 15 km2 (5.8 sq mi) in 2009. The park includes some historical and religious sites, and a popular hiking route for local people and tourists.
The typical vegetation of the park is middle hill forest from 1,000 to 1,800 m (3,300 to 5,900 ft) of altitude, consisting of himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests in the lower and upper subtropical bioclimatic zone dominated by Schima-Castanopsis associations, with chir pine stands on southern dry ridges and associations of alder, wild Himalayan cherry, Engelhardia and ring-cupped oak along streams eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests in the lower temperate bioclimatic zone with predominantly broadleaf evergreen species of oak and laurel families mixed with rhododendron on northern slopes. On higher elevation a variety of medicinal herbs prosper. Botanists have recorded 129 species of mushrooms and 2,122 floral species, out of which 449 are vascular and 16 are endemic plants.
In the western part of the park, herpetologists encountered Monocled cobra, Himalayan keelback, olive Oriental slender snake, yellow-bellied worm-eating snake, variegated mountain lizard, Oriental garden lizard, many-keeled grass skink, Sikkim skink, black-spined toad, long-legged cricket frog and horned frog in the summer of 2009.
Since 2002 several surveys have been carried out to determine the faunal diversity of the protected area. In a field study carried out from July 2003 to July 2004, Indian leopard, jungle cat, large Indian civet, golden jackal, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, small Asian mongoose, Himalayan goral, barking deer, wild boar, rhesus monkey, Hanuman langur, Chinese pangolin, Indian crested porcupine, Himalayan pika, black-naped hare, Himalayan squirrel, fawn-colored mouse, brown-toothed shrew and black rat were identified. Clouded leopard, leopard cat, jungle cat, large Indian civet, masked palm civet, crab-eating mongoose, pangolin, rhesus macaque and yellow-throated marten, were camera trapped in 2010. In 2008, intermediate horseshoe, greater horseshoe and big-eared horseshoe bats were mist netted at the entrance of Nagarjuna cave inside the park. More recently the Himalayan serow has also been recorded here.
Shivapuri- Nagarjun is one of the best and major place for birdwatcher. Ornithologists recorded 318 species of birds including Eurasian eagle-owl, slender-billed scimitar-babbler, white-gorgeted flycatcher, barred cuckoo-dove and golden-throated barbet and many more.
This is the best way to explore this adobe of Himalayas which comprises of natural beauty and cultural riches at its threshold. Walking through the offbeat trail through the Rhododendron forest, isolated hamlets, temples, monasteries, extraordinary landscapes and diverse species of flora and fauna gives you lifetime experience. Trekking is often possible here during any time of the year depending upon where you are going. The most popular seasons are spring and autumn. During winter trekking is possible in lower altitude while in monsoon we will trek in the rain shadow areas in the north of Himalayas like Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo. The best part of trekking in monsoon is that the routes are less crowded. During monsoon we will walk through the lush vegetation as the meadows blossom in full swing. However, the word trekking has become better known for the kind of walking, which takes you along trails winding up, down, over and around mountains. You can enjoy the friendliness of the people, feel the magnetism of the mountains, and be at one with the country and at peace with yourself.
This is one of the most popular outdoor recreational fun activity which use an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is often done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the experience. Rafting on certain sections of rivers is considered an extreme sport and can be fatal, while other sections are not so extreme or difficult. Rafting is a competitive sport in which the objective is to navigate downstream on river rapids using an inflated raft. It is considered an extreme sport which is highly challenging and risky, and requires a great deal of teamwork. Rafting is also an extremely popular recreational activity practiced in most countries around the world.