Chitwan is Nepal’s biggest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over 50 mammal species, 525 bird species and more than 50 reptiles and amphibians. If your kids love nature, then you’ll find elephants, pythons, brilliantly coloured birds, leopards, crocodiles and deer all here in abundance. But what will really amaze them is spotting the endangered one-horned rhino or the elusive Bengal tiger.
Situated in the subtropical lowlands in the south–central area of Nepal’s Himalayan kingdom, it’s a much less touristy experience than safari in somewhere like East Africa for example – and cheaper too – yet offers a whole host of up-close-and-personal wildlife spotting opportunities.
A great family bonding experience, children aged five years and upwards will be thrilled by the chance to ride on the back of an elephant, the greatest vantage point for wildlife spotting.
Taking an elephant safari is Chitwan’s must-do activity and your best chance of spotting rhinos or tigers. Tours last around one hour and cost just £10 per person. You can also take to the water for crocodile and bird-watching on a half-day canoe safari, and for the more active family, take a walking jungle trek where you’ll be able to see rhesus monkeys, birds, deer, and, if you’re lucky, rhino.
Don’t miss: Visit the Elephant Breeding Centre at Khorshor (open 6am–6pm) where you can visit the baby animals and other domesticated elephants born there, and the Gharial Breeding Centre (8am–5pm) home to the fearsome Marsh Mugger crocodile, the Gharial crocodile and turtles.
How to get there: British Airways flies between London and Kathmandu with a stop over in New Dehli or Mumbai; from approximately £900 return. From Kathmandu, take an internal flight to Bharatpur, the nearest airport to Chitwan National Park.
Travel time: Flight time from London to Kathmandu is 12 hours and it’s just 20 minutes from Kathmandu to Bharatpur.
Best time to go: October and February are consistently comfortable (25°C) and dry, ideal for whole days out on safari. It’s best to avoid March to June with children as temperatures can soar to over 40°C.
Where to stay: Stay close to Chitwan National Park at Tiger Tops Lodge where you can arrange family safaris and jungle visits from the lodges to immerse yourself in the Chitwan National Park’s wildlife. Prices from £120 per night, per lodge.