The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a protected area in the Terai of eastern Nepal covering 175 km² of wetlands in the Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur Districts. It comprises extensive mudflats, reed beds, and freshwater marshes in the floodplain of the Sapta Kosi River, and ranges in altitude from 75 to 81 m.
The vast expanse of open water and the surrounding environment offers one of the most outstanding birdwatching sites in Asia (now recognized by Ramsar). The Koshi Tappu is rectangular shaped which is about 10 km in length and 10 km in breadth. The Reserve also allows fishing after you have a fishing permit.
The vegetation mostly consists of tall grasslands. The local villagers collect grasses from the jungle within the Reserve once in a year, generally in January which they use to thatch the roofs.
Rare Bird Spoted in Koshi Tappu
Ornithologists have said they spotted a new species of bird in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, making the number of bird species spotted in Nepal. Sykes’s Nightjar, to which locals call Apurbas Chaite Chara, was spotted at Koshi Tappu a few months ago. The bird was first spotted on the banks of the Koshi river, 3 km south of the Koshi Barrage.
Experts said it took five months to have it verified. The newly-spotted bird belongs to the Caprimulgidae family. Nightjars are small to medium-sized birds having long and pointed wings and a gaping mouth with long bristles, meant to catch flying insects. Nightjars are nocturnal, with soft, owl-like patterned plumage.
Flora and Fauna of Koshi Tappu Wildlife
The Reserve is also home to many animals where about 31 species of mammals along with that, more than 200 species of fishes are found in the Reserve. The Gharial Crocodile and Mugger limit to swamps and marshes. Also, the forested ecosystem of the Reserve is the habitat for 15 globally significant species. The Reserve is also home to the wild elephant. The Reserve also supports some 20 other animal species which include Hog deer, wild boar, spotted deer, Blue bull, and Rock Python apart from the significant contribution in protecting the wild water buffalo.
Best time to visit the Koshi Tappu
The best time to visit the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is between October till March. This is because; one can witness the migratory and resident birds on the barrage and the main channel of the river during this period of the year. Also, this time prevents the heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and the extreme heat of the summer. Besides, October to March offer the visitors with the beautiful views of the mountains. The world’s fifth highest mountain Mount Makalu (8475 m) can be seen from the park.
Things to do in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Bird watching inside Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve offers an exciting opportunity of sighting some 400 species of birds as you explore the marshes on foot, inaccessible sandbanks and islands of the mighty Koshi River.
The Koshi River flows through part of the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. Safari is ideal in the jungle along with the belts of this river which is rich in birds and other animals. The river lagoons and wetlands draw deers, gharials (crocodiles), water buffaloes as well as over 400 species of birds for the guests to see.
Rafting down the Koshi River is another way of exploring the reserve. View water birds or animals attending to their daily needs. Kingfishers dive into the river looking for food, marsh muggers or Ghariyal crocodiles sunbathe. Even rare Wild Buffaloes and Gangetic River Dolphins can be spotted.
Viewing life in the reserve on foot is equally interesting. Tharus live here. They, the early inhabitants of the region, have their unique way of living. It is untouched by the western world. Their beautifully decorated homes and cultural style are delightful. With the help of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp, this Tharu village is plastic-free. It is one of the few environmentally aware and clean villages in the country.
Facilities in Koshi Tappu Wildlife
It consists of 12 large deluxe safari tents with easy twin beds and simple modern toilet amenity including hot and cold shower facilities. The restaurant with fully stocked bar is located centrally on the thatched house, ‘Golghar which serves Nepali and International cuisine from our experienced kitchen.
How to get Koshi Tappu Wildlife
The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is easily accessible by both air and road. Regular flights are available from Kathmandu to Biratnagar. The flight duration is about 45 minutes and offers you with the amazing views of the Eastern Himalayas including Mount Everest, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga. It is only 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Biratnagar to reach the Reserve.
The Reserve is almost 560 kilometers away from Kathmandu. A drive of almost 14 hours along the Mahendra highway will lead you to the Reserve.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Entrance Fee
National Park Entry Fee in Nepal differs according to the nationality in Nepal. There are low charges for Nepalese national where SAARC national needs to pay the average cost where nation citizens beside this are charged high in Nepal which comes under foreigners categories.
An entry fee of Rs. 1500 (Foreigner), Rs. 750 (SAARC Nationals) and Rs. 100 (Nepali) and 13% VAT.