- Encounters with locals
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Off the beaten track
Having spent a lot of time in Nepal before the 2015 earthquakes, I managed to see more than just its mountains. The country has a host of activities and places that anyone with a sense of adventure will love - hiking across vertiginous summits, visiting stupas, conquering Everest...or following the tracks left by Bengali Tigers! It's full of novel experiences!
Being there in June, I decided to head to the amazing Bardia National Park. It was a wise decision. It's really hot at this time of year and during the day animals head to water sources to cool down, which makes them much easier to spot. The road that leads to the park crosses plains and the heat reminded me of India; not surprising, seeing as it's only next door!
There are loads of ways to explore the park - Jeep, elephant rides and my favourite way - hiking through the jungle. I'm pretty sure it's the only place in the world where you can go looking for tiger tracks by foot, accompanied by a guide who only has a big wooden baton for protection. One thing to bear in mind before you start the walk...if a rhino senses a human presence, it's likely to charge. If that happens, don't panic. Run in zig-zags and climb the nearest tree. Rest assured there are some simple solutions if you do run into trouble!
In any case, my experiences there were something else. Luck was definitely on my side as I saw tigers, elephants and rhinos without having to look too far. It can be a very long day and you'll probably spend hour upon hour waiting under a scorching sun for animals to appear.
Another plus - the villages around the park are lovely and the people adorable. If you have the time, take a bike ride around the area!
*After the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015 the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.