After returning to Kathmandhu following our trek to Annapurna, I joined a short 2 day extension to visit Chitwan National Park, which is about a 5 hour drive from KTM. It lies on the border with India and most of the tourists seemed to be large groups of Indian families . The chief target on visits to Chitwan are wild rhinocerous, which seem to be plentiful or at least easily visible. Other rare sightings include Bengal tigers and wild elephants. I did not see any of the latter.
Chitwan is an unusual national park that has jungle wildlife because it allows walking tours. However, most tourists see wildlife by taking tours in dugout canoes (to see crocodiles) and jeep safaris. There are no accommodations inside the park so everyone stays in the many hotels just outside the park.
Gharial crocodiles (Gavialis gangeticus) are plentiful in all the waterways
The dangerous ones are mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris)
Indian roller bird (Coracias benghalensis)
The Indian roller bird is spectacular in flight
Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii)
Indian pond heron in flight
We saw two kinds of monkeys in the jungles of Chitwan: langur and macaques. Some of the monkey troupes were spotted on our jeep safaris, which afforded only a brief encounter. One morning I had some free time so I wandered along the border of the national park and spent considerable time watching a pair of macaque monkeys mating and grooming each other.
Macaque monkeys were often seen scampering in the trees
Huge python in the road
Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela)
Crested serpent eagle in flight
The iconic wildlife in Chitwan is the rhinocerous. All of the rhinos I encountered were in the water, feeding on vegetation. It’s rather amazing that this megafauna is a vegetarian though it is considered a dangerous animal to humans .
White-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Spotted deer are the main prey of the Bengal tigers
Lesser adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus)