The Terai is a lowland area in the south of Nepal that borders India, watered by the huge rivers that drain the snow waters from the mountains, brown with rich silts. Until the 1990's it was rife with Malaria which stopped the lowland forests from being cut down for agriculture as only the indigenous Tharu were able to survive. It was used by the Kings of Nepal for hunting, being rich in game including tigers, elephants and rhinos. Today a network of National Parks has helped safeguard the future of indigenous wildlife as the near eradication of malaria has let to an influx of settlers.
There are several places you can visit, the most famous being Chitwan Tiger reserve (see map) as it is the easiest reserve to visit from both Kathmandu and Pokhara. Here you can opt for many styles of accommodation, from luxury camps to lovely lodges many situated on the banks of the rivers that fringe the park. You will explore the Park by 4x4, on foot or by boat, always accompanied by a qualified guide.
Further west is Bardia National Park, the largest of the countries Tiger Reserves and reputedly the best place to visit to spot the big cats. There is a lot less visitors here, making it a truly wild wilderness experience. With the Karnali River running through the Park you can also explore by raft. The best way to see a tiger is to let it come to you. Your guide will take you to a vantage point at a known river crossing and you wait, enjoying the other bird and wildlife until, hopefully, you get a glimpse of this most impressive of creatures.
The most recent reserve boasting the endangered one horn rhino is Shikla Phanta in the very far west of the country. This tiny reserve has just has a small population translocated to it from Chitwan. It is a great destination if you wish to visit a reserve with a different landscape from the other two man reserves.
As well as the opportunity to see the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant and One-horned rhino in the wild it there are a host of additional animals to search for such as the Sloth Bear and Red Panda. It is also an excellent destination for bird watchers with a huge list of species from resident to migrators.
Explore Nepal's stunning Himalayan scenery and discover the wildlife of Chitwan National Park including elephants and tigers