Spotted: Wildlife in Chitwan National Park
If you're taking part in our Chitwan Safari extension trip after your Everest Base Camp challenge, you'll be treated to a variety of different escapades into the jungle of Chitwan National Park.
So what animals can you expect to see there? I went out on safari to find out.
One-horned rhino (rhinoceros unicornis)
Around 600 rhinoceros live in Chitwan National Park - the largest rhino population in Nepal - and they're surprisingly easy to spot! Whilst their population has been threatened by poachers, in recent years they have thrived thanks to the efforts of conservationists in the area.
These gentle giants spend a lot of time relaxing in the Rapti river and other pools, munching the elephant grass.
Wild boar (sus scrofa)
These animals are relatively common in Chitwan, and you could easily have multiple sightings in one afternoon's safari. They roam either solo or in small groups, and while I found them tricky to spot at first, once you've seen one, you'l see them everywhere in the Park!
Rhesus macaque (macaca mulatta)
These cheeky chappies inhabit a wide area of central, south and southeast Asia, and there's an absolute abundance of them in Chitwan National Park.
We spotted a large colony of 20-30 macaques just as the sun was getting low in the sky at the end of our safari, climbing high in the trees above us. They can make enormous leaps from tree to tree with minimal effort!
Rhesus monkeys live in large groups, and they can also be found at Swayambhunath Stupa - the 'Monkey Temple' in Kathmandu - where they are considered holy.
Marsh mugger (crocodylus palustris)
The marsh mugger is the most common type of croc to be found in Chitwan National Park. They're relatively easy to spot, as they like to hang out on the Rapti river, where you'll be taking your canoe ride on your extension trip. Don't worry though, they're usually very placid so won't be bothered by your canoe quietly sliding past!
Sloth bear (melursus ursinus)
Despite the name, sloth bears are very much descended from brown bears as opposed to sloths - they're quite large, fearsome-looking and have shaggy manes. They appear quite slow, ambling creatures - but make excellent climbers!
Chital (axis axis)
Probably my favourite spot during my trip to Chitwan National Park was a large herd of chital (spotted deer). These amazing creatures are beautiful, with a red coat and white/creamy spots.
Timid and placid creatures, the chital we spotted were curious about our Jeep as we rolled quietly past them, and I was able to snap several shots of the herd, which included females, males (with antlers) and even babies.
Thankfully, these lovely animals are listed with a conservation status of 'least concern' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - as large herds like these appear in many places around the world.
Bonus: Bengal tiger (panthera tigris tigris)
You will have to be very lucky to spot a tiger, as they are rare: there are only around 80 breeding tigers in the National Park. Word was, seven Jeeps managed to spot one of these elusive creatures the day before we arrived for our safari. Rats!
However, evidence of their residence is everywhere! From the carcasses of animals they've devoured, to the striking marks left on the trees they use as scratching posts, there's no doubt that tigers roam the jungle here.
Whilst we can make no guarantees that you'll spot a tiger whilst you're visiting Chitwan, the chance of spotting one makes for a real thrill - you'll just have to be in the right place at the right time!