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Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Nepal Travel Destination


Nepal’s Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is known as a birdwatchers paradise, but was originally established in 1976, to preserve the habitat of the dwindling population of wild Arna (in Nepal) or more widely known in the west as buffalo.

Located in Eastern Nepal, within the Saptari and Sunsari districts, the reserve occupies an area of 175 square kilometers and is shaped by the banks of the Koshi River. The wetlands and floodplains of the Koshi river, have created quite the attractant to many species of birds. The bluish waters and jungle patches on both ends of the reserve spawned this birdwatchers paradise.

It is possible to do a rafting trip down the river and enjoy the tranquility of Koshi Tappu. Floating down the wide river, you may be a witness to some of the 300 species of birds that occupy the region. You can also see ducks, storks, egrets, herons, ibis and many others as they go about their business. Many of the species of birds that call Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve their home, or at least a temporary stomping ground as part of their migratory cycle (some coming from as far as Siberia) are found nowhere else in Nepal, making the reserves habitat truly unique.

Besides birds, the river is home to the endangered Gangetic dolphin and the Gharial crocodile both of which can be spotted in the reserve. The buffalo, for which the reserve was originally created dwell in the open lands and forest along the sides of the river, while other animals such as hog, deer, wild boar, blue bell, spotted deer, and jackals can also be spotted.

It is the reserves mixed vegetation ranging from grasslands to scrub forest to mixed riverine forest that makes it possible for the reserve, to support such a wide variety of species. The best time to spot these animals, is at either dusk or dawn. Fortunately, these times also provide some of the best photo opportunities.

The reserve houses one of the few facilities around the world called a “hattisar” or elephant stable where elephants are regularly bred. Those visiting the park, can utilize elephants as yet another way to explore the park besides by boat. If exploring by elephant-back, you can often get much closer to other animal life that a person on foot could not. The height of an elephant alone can provide a great vantage point over the vegetation to multiply your chances of seeing more of the wild.

Just upstream, on clear days, it’s possible to get a glimpse of some Himalayan peaks, including that of Mt. Makalu at 8463 meters.

Getting to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve can be accomplished in multiple ways.

One way, is by bus. Buses regularly leave Kathmandu for Nepal’s eastern districts and one can take the bus to Laukahi via the East West highway. From the bus stop, the reserves headquarters are just 3 kilometers away.

Another way, is to fly from Kathmandu to Biratnagar, though you would have to drive to Laukahi or Prakashur.

The best time to visit the reserve, is either October or March when migrant birds can be spotted among the native species.

Just as with any of Nepal’s reserves and or parks, the flora and fauna are protected. Movement within the reserve after sunset and before dawn is prohibited.

The reserve has several resorts near the park headquarters and accomodations and activities can be set up directly or through a travel agency or similar service.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page orĀ the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.