Chitwan National Park

Go tiger and rhino spotting in the oldest national park of Nepal

Chitwan National Park is Nepal's oldest national park. Here you can go on safari to look for two animals in particular; tiger and one-horned rhino.

The name Chitwan literally means ‘the heart of the jungle’ and is home to the rare one-horned rhino, tigers, Asian elephants, spectacled bears and leopards.

Chitwan National Park is perfect to go and spot wildlife. Take a safari and you might see a tiger, an one-horned rhino taking a mud bath or perhaps an Asian elephant. If you’re looking for adventure there are canoe tours on the Terai river, where the crocodiles spend their time sunbathing along the banks.

The landscape of Chitwan.

Chitwan is huge

The park is about 930 km2 with swamps, forests and grasslands. You can find up to 50 different kinds of mammals in the park, and about 100 kinds of birds. It’s located in the south of Nepal, in the subtropical lowlands.

Growing populations of rhino and tiger

Chitwan National Park was established in 1973. As a result, the park and the animals have been protected for decades. What is special is that the animals are protected by the army of Nepal.

For example, poaching on rhino horns is being tackled harshly in this country. And with success, the rhino population is growing in Chitwan. And in their wake, the number of tigers is slowly increasing.

Chances of seeing tiger and rhino

The chances of seeing a tiger in Chitwan are slim. Although the predator is spotted, but not too often. It is definitely not a certainty, even if you are here for a few days.

A one-horned rhino in Chitwan National Park. ©M. Bos

Rhinos, on the other hand, are seen quite often. The chance is surprisingly great. Most of the guides know the animals and know where they like to eat, for example. In addition, the animals are remarkably calm, so that you can often watch them at your leisure. And you can easily take photos of these amazing animals.

Chitwan is home to other rare animals. Such as wild Asian elephants, spectacled bears and leopards. You will also find various types of deer, many birds and the impressive swamp crocodile. If you want to have a chance to see animals in the wild take your time for a visit. 

An Asian elephant in Chitwan National Park.

Accommodations in and around Chitwan

You can spend the night in the park, but these accommodations are quite pricey. It is cheaper to stay on the edge of the park. Or in Sauhara where you can find great hostels, hotels and restaurants.

Make sure you are close to the entrance of the park. So that you don't lose too much time driving to the nature reserve. Chitwan is a 4 to 5 hour drive from Kathmandu.