Given its topography that ranges from snowy Mount Everest to lush tropical valleys full of wildlife, the Nepal travel experience has positioned itself nicely as a top ecotourism destination. Families can enjoy wilderness camps, white-water rafting, trekking, and birding as well as participate in safaris all amidst spectacular flora and fauna.
Nepal is about the size of Tennessee. Despite its relatively small size, Nepal contains significant percentages of wildlife, such as 2% of the world’s flowering higher plants and 8% of its birds. Nepal contains some 5,833 species of gymnosperms and flowering plants with some 315 endemic species of higher plants, 847 bird species, 185 mammal species, 43 amphibian species, 100 reptile species, 656 butterfly species and 185 freshwater fish species identified.
A country that relies on ecotourism as a top source of revenue, Nepal has excellent tourist facilities for every type of traveler, including those seeking adventure, scenic wildlife or peaceful spirituality. The best time to visit are the months of October and November as the monsoon season has ended allowing for clear skies, and the temperatures are more comfortable. The secondary months are during December through April.
Top sites include:
- Mount Everest Trekking Route– visitors can trek to base camp in eastern Nepal in approximately two weeks. The region includes the Dudha Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers and the area is mostly rugged terrain and gorges.
- Royal Chitwan National Park – long regarded as one of Nepal’s natural wonders and the country’s first national park (pictured below), it is located in south-central Nepal in an area that comprises the Tikauli forest and the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands. Marvel at crocodiles, Bengal tigers, bears, leopards, and the endangered Indian Rhinoceros among other mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
- Kathmandu’s Durbar Square – containing a royal palace, golden gate entrance, ancient temples, courtyards and streets that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries.
- Royal Bardia National Park– discover the host of creatures that call this lush area home. The Karnali River is a great place for rafting as you spot crocodiles, otters, and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.
While Nepal does face issues of deforestation, water, and air pollution, various protected areas have been established in Nepal and play a vital role in ecotourism for the country. In addition, approximately 18% of Nepal’s land has been assigned as National Parks and protected areas.
Temples, jungle, wildlife and timeless mountain views combine to create a fantastic family journey through Nepal. Children will enjoy the beautifully preserved palaces, traditional Nepali life, vibrant Kathmandu markets and wonderfully friendly locals. In addition, there are special family programs to visit farms and camp beneath the stars. Whatever you choose, a family ecotour to Nepal offers a good mix of conservation and educational activities for everyone.