Every year Royle Safaris runs one of our most popular safari holidays to one of our favourite countries; or Wild Nepal Chitwan Safari explores (as the title suggests) the wonderful National Park of Chitwan in the Nepalese terai ecosystem. At first appearance Nepal is a seemingly the last place on the planet that you would expect to find rhinos, elephants, tigers and crocodiles; as this tony country is most well known for its mountains, not its lush forests and grasslands. However Nepal’s subtropical jungles are home to large numbers of tigers, elephants, rhinos, guar, leopards, sloth bears, gharial and many many more species.

Yes the country is home to more of the world’s highest peaks than any other country, including the impressive Mt. Everest, but just 193km away to the south of the majestic Himalayas is the lush and tropical terai. Being around 100m above sea level and steaming hot the forests and grasslands of the lowlands are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. It is here that large numbers of some of Asia’s most iconic and rare animals live. With the rich nutrients washed down from the Himalayas every year during the monsoon and carried in the melt water every spring the rivers that run through the terai and onto the Gangetic plain in India are left in the soil here when the rivers flood. These annually flooded plains (alluvial) help to produce grasslands that help support hundreds of Indian one-horned rhinos, large numbers of Asiatic elephants, guar and their predators, including tigers.

It was these species that form the basis of interest for our Wild Nepal Chitwan Safari and by spending over 1 week in the park (longer than anyone else) we can fully explore the various habitats that make up Chitwan. This trip report documents the first of two near back to back trips we ran to Chitwan in 2022 and both were very successful in seeing nearly all of the major targets. This tour in particular may be our most successful ever trip to Nepal. Whilst Chitwan has a population of over 80 tigers it can be difficult to reliably see them here. But that is countered by the fact that you are able to get out of the vehicle and hike into he grassland and forest mosaic which makes a tiger safari here worth it. Being on foot around rhinos, elephants, sloth bears, leopards and of course tigers adds an element of thrill to the safari and with our well trained and extremely experienced local guides we are always in very safe hands.

This trip resulted in sightings of so many rhino it is hard to keep count, wild elephants, many sloth bears including some wonderful mother and cub interactions, a leopard posing perfectly in a tree and not one but two tiger sightings. Chitwan once again producing a wonderful and memorable safari experience and when adding in the cultural aspects of any trip to Nepal and you have a holiday that will be live long in the memory.

All of these reasons and many more make this one of our most popular tours and once again we will be running this 11 night trip to Nepal in 2023, for anyone interested you can find out more either by contacting us direct (info@royle-safaris.co.uk) or by visiting our website (www.royle-safaris.co.uk/wildlife-holidays/nepal/).

This species list was pieced together by one of our clients on the trip and focus on reptiles and amphibians was not a priority so the herpetofauna list could be greater on other trips. Also no special interest in bats or rodents was shown by the clients on this trip, hence the omissions from the species list.

We are also able to combine this trip with various other places and interests in Nepal, for example one of the clients on this trip added on a fishing extension which was also very successful and we have red panda focused extensions, hikes and mountain climbing options throughout the Himalaya as well as cultural tours and stays at other national parks like Bardia or Koshi Tappu.

All of the below pictures are courtesy of Mr. Justin Cote and used with his permission.

Species List                  Wild Nepal Chitwan Safari May 2022


  Common Name Binominal Name


1 Chital Axis axis
2 Indian hog deer Axis porcinus
3 Gaur Bos gaurus
4 Sambar Cervus unicolor
5 Asiatic Elephant Elaphus maximus
6 Five-lined palm squirrel Funambulus pennantii
7 Indian gray mongoose Herpestes edwardsii
8 Crab-eating mongoose Herpestes urva
9 Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta
10 Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus
11 Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak
12 Leopard Panthera pardus
13 Tiger Panthera tigris
14 One-Horned Indian Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis
15 Teari grey langur Semnopithecus hector
16 Eurasian wild pig Sus scofra


Note: No special attention was paid to find and observe or identify various bats and rodents, hence the lack of these species on the species list.


  Common Name Binominal Name


1 Shirka Accipiter badius
2 Crested goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
3 Jungle Mynah Acridotheres fuscus
4 Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
5 Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
6 Eurasian Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
7 White-throated Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster
8 White-breasted waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
9 Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
10 Oriental Darter Anhinga melogastor
11 Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
12 Steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis
13 Great Egret Ardea alba
14 Intermediate egret Ardea intermedia
15 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
16 Indian Pond Heron Areola grayii
17 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
18 Great hornbill Buceros bicornis
19 Striated heron Butorides striata
20 Banded bay cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii
21 Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
22 Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
23 Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
24 Common emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
25 Greater flameback Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus
26 Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
27 Chestnut-winged cuckoo Clamator coromandus
28 Rock (Feral) Pigeon Columba livia
29 Oriental magpie robin Copsychus solarius
30 Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
31 Large cuckooshrike Coracina macei
32 Indian jungle Crow Corvus culminatus
33 House Crow Corvus splendens
34 Indian cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
35 Indian cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
36 Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
37 Fulvous-breasted woodpecker Dendrocopus acei
38 Brown-capped pygmy woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus
39 Lesser Whislting Duck Dendrocygna javanica
40 Spangled drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
41 White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens
42 Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
43 Greater racket-tailed drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
44 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
45 Black-rumped flameback Dinopium benghalense
46 Himalayan flameback Dinopium shorii
47 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
48 Dollarbird Eurystmus orientalis
49 Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
50 Tiaga flycatcher Ficedula albiclla
51 Black francolin Francolinus francolinus
52 Common Moorhen Gallinula porphyrio
53 Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus
54 Orange-headed thrush Geokichla citrina
55 Hill mynah Gracula religiosa
56 Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis
57 Grey-headed fish eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus
58 Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
59 Large hawk cuckoo Hierococcyx sparveroides
60 Common hawk cuckoo Hierococcyx varius
61 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
62 Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
63 Lesser Adjudant Leptoptilos javanicus
64 Lineated barbet Megaliana lineata
65 Chestnut-headed bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
66 Green bee-eater Merops orientalis
67 Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
68 Little cormorant Microcarbo niger
69 Rufous woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus
70 Black kite Milvus migran
71 Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
72 Golden oriole Oriolus oriolus
73 Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
74 Osprey Pandion halieatu
75 Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
76 Oriental honey buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus
77 Green-billed malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
78 Grey-headed woodpecker Picus canus
79 Scaly-bellied woodpecker Picus squamatus
80 Indian pitta Pitta brachyura
81 Nepal wren-babbler Pnoepyga immaculata
82 Grey-crowned prinia Prinia cinereocapilla
83 Yellow-bellied prinia Prinia flaviventris
84 Grey-breasted prinia Prinia hodgsonii
85 Long-tailed broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae
86 Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
87 Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacaula krameri
88 Red-breasted parakeet Psittacula alexandri
89 Plum-headed parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala
90 Blossom-headed parakeet Psittacula roseata
91 Alexandrine Parakeet Psittcaaula eupatria
92 Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
93 Plain martin Riparia paludicola
94 Chestnut-bellied nuthatch Sitta cinnamoventris
95 Spotted dove Spilopelia chinensis
96 Crested Serpent eagle Spilornis cheela
97 Changeable Hawk-eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
98 Eurasian collared dove Streptopelia decaocto
99 Red turtle dove Streptopelia tranuebarica
100 Chestnut-tailed starling Sturnia malabarica
101 Asian paradise flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
102 Eurasian hoopoe Upupa epops
103 Red-billed bue magpie Urocissa eyrthrorhyncha
104 Red-Wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
105 Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus


  Common Name Binominal Name


1 Mugger Crocodile Crocodylus palustris
2 Gharial Gavialis gangeticus
3 Brooke’s house gecko Hemidactylus brookii
4 Asian House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus
5 Bengal monitor Varanus bengalensis
Tiger in Chitwan

Tiger on safari in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

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