Tiger Tops is Top! Tiger Safari in Bhardia National Park, Nepal

After trekking in the Annapurna region, Evis Progonati visited Bhardia National Park in Western Nepal on the lookout for some big cats and other animals


Nepal is not just about mountains! After trekking in the Annapurna region with TSA, I visited Bardia National Park in Western lowland Nepal, in search of the elusive tiger (and other animals).

Arriving at the Karnali Lodge of Tiger Tops, we felt like we were being transported to a different era, the world moved at a slower pace. Inspired by the elephants we had just seen on our way to the lodge, we were eager to start our safari into the jungle, even though it was late in the day. 

Our guide, Krishna, met us and off we were for our first day of safari, in this charming open-top  Landrover of older age than we were.

The Bardia National Park is Nepal’s largest national park, on the border with India, beaming with all sorts of wildlife:elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, different varieties of monkeys and deer, leopards and of course, the most elusive Bengal tiger!

As we entered the park, we were lucky to spot right away a rare, large size deer as it was crossing the riverbank. Soon after, we were treated by a spectacle of jumping monkeys that were crossing the river, while we were enjoying some tea on the riverbank. As we waited for the sunset in the park, we saw more deer, monkeys and peacocks! 

Then it was back to the room to shower and change ahead of dinner. The rooms are beautifully presented in a safari style. There is WIFI in the bar / restaurant, but not in the rooms. All food is included in the room rate and is really excellent. Breakfast is cooked and served outside. All is beautifully done.

The second day, we started off in the morning at 6.15. Tigers are nocturnal creatures, so we were hoping to catch a glimpse as they went to rest. As it was rather hot in the jungle, they also emerged during the day in order to drink water, we were told.

Our guide and driver drove us around the park to the different water sources that one might encounter the tigers, depending on the time of the day. We saw many rare types of birds, as the park is home to over 400 species.

But above all, we were so eager to spot a tiger! We were coming to the end of our second day of safari. As we were approaching one of the exit crossings, our guide spotted an animal in the horizon, and there it was! The king of this jungle had made an appearance. We were thrilled to have had a tiger sighting!

Our third day, we were even more excited to see these beautiful animals, and had our hopes up for more sightings of the cats in particular, leopards or tigers.

We arrived early at the national park and walked through the jungle to try our luck for more tiger sightings. In the late afternoon, we were lucky to spot some rhinos cooling down by the river. Another amazing treat from the jungle!

Later in the day, as we drove around the park, our guide noticed a fleeting creature. We stopped the car, came out and went closer to the river to catch a glimpse of it. It was a tiger!

Our last day of safari, we were already more in tune with the sounds of the jungle, trying to pay attention to what a bird’s specific noise might indicate. Perhaps another tiger?

We were so grateful for the incredible hospitality of Tiger Tops. We will be back!

The details:

Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge cost c. $400 pp per night on an all inclusive basis, see https://tigertops.com/lodges/karnali-lodge

Tiger Tops is accessed via Nepalgunge airport, a 50 minute flight from Kathmandu and then 2 hour drive. Return flights cost c. $300 pp. Tiger Tops organise your flights and your stay includes free airport transfers.

Please note, Tiger Tops is closed during the monsoon season, June to August, but the spring and autumn are great time to visits.