■ 15 – 28 March 2020
14 days from $3490 AUD
A journey begins with a ton of spirit, a touch of mystery and a sense of adventure…
Experience the wildlife diversity and breathtaking natural landscapes of Nepal on this 14-day Wildlife Journey from Kathmandu. Led by our local wildlife expert and an Australian National Park ranger (with a combined experience of over 20 years), you’ll explore not only UNESCO-listed Chitwan National Park but also the remotely beautiful Bardia National Park, renowned for its Royal Bengal tiger sightings.
After discovering the majestic temples and historic squares of Kathmandu, travel to the Terai Lowlands of south-central Nepal and Chitwan National Park, which has long been the jewel in the crown of Nepal’s wildlife destinations. One-horned rhinos, Asian elephants and leopards call the park “home”, as do more than 500 recorded bird species (including two-thirds of Nepal’s globally threatened species).
From Chitwan, venture into the little-visited landscapes of Bardia National Park to spot the elusive Royal Bengal tiger, together with swamp deer, mugger crocodiles and Ganges River dolphins. Aside from the allure of its remote setting, Bardia offers exceptional birdwatching, either on foot, by jeep safari or while rafting the Karnali River.
This journey is designed for nature lovers who want to visit Nepal when the wildlife sightings are at their best while also getting a taste of its culturally-rich capital. Each of the lodges has been selected for their rustic local architectural features and great locations which are only a stones throw away from the peace and tranquility of Nepal’s magnificent national parks.
3 x Domestic Flights
Private Vehicles for long distances
Accommodation (twin share)
Hotel (6 nts)
Jungle Resort (7 nts)
* single supplement available
5% of journey cost goes directly to our sponsor school
Walking tour of Kathmandu
Entrance fees for all attractions included in itinerary
Chitwan National Park jeep safari, dugout canoe and village tour
Bardia National Park jeep safari, river raft and village tour
Tipping for both local guide and driver
DAY 1 - Namaste and welcome to Kathmandu
On arrival, you will be met by your Namaste Journeys Guide and transferred to your hotel in the tourist district of Thamel. From the moment you step off the plane, you’ll be mesmerised by the sights, sounds and smells of Kathmandu.
DAY 2 - Kathmandu
We start the morning with cultural classes, orientation and a few “dos and don’ts” to help you relax into this exciting new country.
Spend the afternoon wandering the narrow streets and laneways of the tourist district, Thamel. We will explore town squares packed with extraordinary temples and monuments and watch the golden glow wash over the Kathmandu Valley as the sun sets on the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple. According to legend, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake (geographical evidence supports this) and the hill on which Swayambhunath now sits spontaneously rose from the waters. Hence the name Swayambhu, which means “self-risen”. At 6pm, meet with your Namaste Journeys guides and fellow travellers for a welcome cultural dinner.
(B, L, D)
DAY 3 - Kathmandu Valley
This morning after breakfast we will make our way to Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple, Pashupatinath. Set on the banks of the holy Bagmati River (just as Varanasi is positioned on the Ganges), Pashupatinath is an open-air crematorium that is accessible to the public. Sadhus and devotees of the Hindu God Shiva are often found here worshipping and, if you’re lucky, you may get the chance to have a photo or two taken with one of these famous dreadlocked holy men.
After Pashupatinath, we will head to Boudhanath – the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. The original stupa was built sometime after AD 600 but was reconstructed again in the 14th century after being wrecked by Mughal invaders. Boudhanath is an impressive monument and thousands of pilgrims gather daily to make a kora (ritual circumnavigation) of the dome under the watchful eyes of Buddha, which gaze out from the square tower.
DAY 4 - Chitwan National Park
After an early breakfast, you’ll leave Kathmandu behind and make the scenic journey to Chitwan aboard a private air-conditioned vehicle (approximately 6 hours). This stunning journey offers a glimpse into Nepal’s rural lifestyle, with patch-worked landscapes carved by meandering rivers and peppered with picturesque villages.
In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in the steamy, subtropical jungles of Chitwan National Park, whose name translates as “Heart of the Jungle”.
After arriving at our hotel, enjoy a late lunch and time to settle in before we embark on a guided cycling tour of a local Tharu village. Experience the daily comings and goings of life in this unique community and discover their close association with the natural world of the Terai plains. End the day watching the sun set over the Rapti River, with the calls of nature ringing around you.
DAY 5 - Canoe and Half Day Jeep Safari
Wake early this morning as we head down the river in a traditional dugout canoe. Keep an eye out for marsh mugger crocodiles sunning themselves on the river banks, as well as some of the more than 500 bird species found here. Return to the resort for a buffet lunch, then head down to the river to watch Chitwan’s working elephants as they enjoy a well-earned bath.
In the mid-afternoon, venture off again wildlife spotting in the national park, this time on a jeep safari, renowned as home to the one-horned rhino and the elusive Bengal tiger. Your guide will help you spot the myriad of wildlife that inhabits the forests, marshes and grasslands of Chitwan, including sambar deer, rhesus monkeys and maybe even a sloth bear- if you’re lucky! In the evening, you’ll be treated to a cultural performance from the local Tharu community, including traditional dances and songs.
DAY 6 - Birdwatching
Rise early for a morning spent birdwatching in the Kumroj Community Forest, which acts as a buffer zone for species residing in Chitwan National Park. It’s completely protected by the community and edged by a river that provides habitat and feeding grounds for gharialcrocodiles, tigers and rare one-horned rhinos. But it’s Kumroj’s nearly 350 species of birds that are its biggest draw, with the opportunity to spot in an enchanting and peaceful landscape.
After returning to the hotel, you can opt for a long, lazy lunch wherever you please before an afternoon free to catch up on some reading or embark on an optional activity.
DAY 7 - Full Day Jeep Safari
Spend your final day in Chitwan National Park on a full-day jeep safari to experience the highlights of this iconic protected area. Visit the lakes of Tamor Tal and Lami Tal, which are both renowned for their crocodile sightings, as well as attracting myriad bird species who come to rest and refuel. Learn about the conservation projects being conducted within the national park while spotting some of its lesser-known (but no less fascinating) creatures.
DAY 8 - Chitwan N.P to Bardia National Park
Today is a big day of travelling, but it will be all worth it!
After breakfast, head to the airport for a scheduled flight to Kathmandu and then onto Nepalgunj where a bus will be waiting to transport you to Bardia National Park. Established in 1988, it’s the largest national park in the Terai and has been described as what Chitwan was like 20 or 30 years ago. Its unspoiled wilderness comprises sal forest and extensive grassland carved by branches of the Karnali River, which you’ll have largely to yourself.
The afternoon is yours to relax and settle in to your new environment or you might like to join an optional birdwatching excursion to get your first taste of this majestic protected area. We’ll congregate just before sunset beside the river for pre-dinner drinks and watch as the day’s last rays set Bardia’s landscapes aglow.
(B,L – packed lunch, D)
DAY 9 - Bardia N.P - Full Day Jeep Safari
With a packed lunch prepared for you by the lodge, embark on a full-day jeep safari through Bardia National Park to spot its diverse species. This is an ideal time of year to spot Royal Bengal tigers, as well as sloth bears with their newborn cubs. Led by a naturalist guide, you’ll stop in various areas of the park where you’ll have the opportunity to get out of the jeep and walk, venturing deeper into the jungle without the noise of the engine.
After climbing the Machan Tower to get a bird’s eye view across the park and spot wild animals nearby, you’ll head to a local crocodile breeding centre to see these fearsome creatures at their cutest. Then return to the lodge to freshen up and relax before dinner is served.
DAY 10 - Spot the Ganges River Dolphin
Begin the day with a rafting safari on the Karnali River where you’ll be able to spot birds and wildlife along the river bank from the comfort of a steady rubber boat. Ganges River dolphins are known to gently break the water’s surface with their fins while numerous animal species wander down to the water’s edge to drink. You’ll have the opportunity to get out of the raft for short jungle walks into the forest, then finish your adventure with a jeep safari that will return you to the lodge.
In the evening, you’ll be treated to a dance performance by members of the local Tharu community to gain insight into their rich cultural traditions.
DAY 11 - Bird watching and Village Tour
Wake early on your final day in Bardia National Park for a stroll through the village or a birdwatching excursion to spot some of the 300 different species that have been recorded here. Aside from native Nepalese birds, many species come from as far away as Siberia on their seasonal migrations to spend the winter in Bardiya’s plentiful surrounds. The remoteness and quiet of the national park makes it a particularly special birdwatching destination.
After lunch back at the resort, we’ll transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to Kathmandu. Once back in the city, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore at your leisure or shop for souvenirs to take home.
DAYS 12- Volunteering at Local School
Today you will put your teaching skills to the test as we volunteer at Namaste Journeys sponsor school in Kathmandu. Here you will be met by the smiling faces of our dedicated students and staff. Spend the day attending lessons and interacting with the young learners as you discover the challenges of education in Nepal and the role you are playing in offering a brighter future.
5% of all journey costs go directly to supporting our Namaste Journeys sponsor school, helping to purchase much needed educational supplies, sporting equipment and meet monthly rental payments. You will get to see first-hand where your funds are going and meet those whose lives you’re impacting.
DAY 13 - Last day in Kathmandu
Spend the afternoon drinking chai in one of the many hip courtyard cafes, fill your backpack full with some last-minute shopping and reflect on what has truly been a once in a lifetime journey.
DAY 14 - Alas! It is time to say goodbye
You will be transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight. “Khabi Alvida Na Khena”: as the Bollywood Blockbuster title says – “Never say goodbye”!