Banke National Park is one of the most valuable treasures of our country Nepal. It is a peaceful place providing home to 100s species of plants and animals.  Banke National Park provides visitors with a diverse cultural experience in addition to being a wildlife sanctuary. 

The preservation of biodiversity and sustainable tourism in Nepal is exemplified by Banke National Park. For nature lovers, environmentalists, and tourists looking for a genuine experience among nature’s marvels, it is a must-visit location because of its diverse species, landscapes, and cultural heritage.

The park is located in a region with a rich cultural legacy, home to indigenous groups like the Tharu people, who have coexisted peacefully with the environment for many years. Engaging with the local communities allows visitors to learn about their traditional way of life, folklore, artwork, and cuisine.

The Lumbini Province is home to Banke National Park, which was established in 2010 as Nepal’s tenth national park following its designation as a “Gift to the Earth.” The Churia range makes up the majority of the 550 km2 (210 sq mi) protected area. The districts of Banke, Salyan, and Dang around the park with a buffer zone measuring 344 km2 (133 sq mi).

Highlights of Banke National Park

Diverse Wildlife

Banke National Park provides a home to an impressive variety of wildlife. It protects endangered species like Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceroses, Asian elephants, leopards, and sloth bears. The park’s conservation efforts have successfully reintroduced species such as Swamp Deer (Barasingha), Gharials (a type of crocodile), and the Bengal florican.

Birdwatching Paradise

The park boasts a rich avian population with over 300 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

Banke National Park Bird Spiny Babbler
Image: Banke National Park Bird Spiny Babbler (Source: Tiger Encounter)

Visitors can spot rare and colorful birds like the Sarus Crane, Lesser Florican, and various species of raptors.

Scenic Landscapes

The landscape of Banke National Park is diverse, ranging from lush forests to open grasslands and the serene Babai River. The park’s topography provides stunning vistas for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Babai River

The Babai River flows through the heart of the park, offering opportunities for tranquil boat rides and wildlife sightings along its banks. It’s an excellent spot for observing aquatic life and bird species that frequent the river.

Cultural Experience

The park is situated in an area rich in cultural heritage, particularly the Tharu communities. Visitors can engage in cultural tours, experience traditional Tharu dances, learn about their unique customs, and taste local cuisine.

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Safari Adventures

Guided jeep safaris or nature walks through designated trails offer visitors a chance to explore the park’s wilderness while observing wildlife in their natural habitat. The park’s trained guides provide valuable insights into the ecosystem and animal behavior.

Conservation Initiatives

Banke National Park is at the forefront of conservation efforts in Nepal. The successful reintroduction programs for endangered species and sustainable practices make it an exemplary model for wildlife conservation.

Community Involvement

The park emphasizes the involvement of local communities in conservation and sustainable tourism initiatives. This engagement creates a sense of ownership among locals, fostering a harmonious relationship between conservation efforts and livelihoods.

Buffer zone

Banke National Park has concentrated on participatory resource management in 14 VDCs, seven from Banke district (Khaskusum, Kanchanpur, Mahadevpuri, Kohalpur, Chisapani, Navbasta, Rajhena), three from Dang district (Goltauri, Panchkule, Purandhara), three from Salyan district (Kalimati Rampur, Kalimati Kalche, Kavrechaur), and one from Surkhet district (Belawa), in the buffer zone. This has helped to ignite people’s passion for conservation.

Banke National Park Buffer Zone
Image: Banke National Park Buffer Zone (Source: DNPWC)

The buffer zone management committee will channel financial resources for use in conservation, community development, revenue creation, skill building, and conservation education programs, while the user committees and user groups will have their work plans.

Location

It’s in the middle of Nepal’s western region. The park shares a western boundary with Bardia National Park. It borders Nepal’s national and community forests, which connect the Churia range to the north and India’s Katerniaghat wildlife sanctuary to the south.

Climate

Winter, summer, and monsoon are the three usual seasons of Banke National Park, and each offers unique experiences. The weather is dry and pleasant from October to April. From May to June, the temperature reaches its highest point, and the hot, humid days bring on rainfall that lasts until September.

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Getting There

The Banke National Park headquarters can be reached by bus from Mahendranagar in approximately eight hours (270 km) or from Dhangadi in approximately seven hours (250 km). Frequent flights and buses are available from Kathmandu to Nepaljung. The park is almost an hour’s drive west from Nepaljung.

Flora and Fauna

BaNP is home to eight different types of ecosystems, including floodplain communities, deciduous Riverine forests, savannahs and grasslands, mixed hardwood forests, Bhabar, and foothills of the Chure mountain. More than 300 birds, 24 reptiles, 7 amphibians, 58 fish species, 124 plants, and 34 mammals call it home. Sal, Karma, Khair, and Sissoo make up the majority of the 90% natural forest cover.

Banke National Park Tiger
Image: Banke National Park Tiger (Source: Facebook)

The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1973 protects two species of reptiles (pythons) and the gharial crocodile, four bird species (black stork, Bengal florican, lesser florican, and tiger), and three species of mammals (striped hyaena, four-horned antelope). The conservation of significant focal species, like the Asiatic wild elephant, the four-horned antelope, and the royal Bengal tiger, is highly dependent on the habitat of the flood plain, foothill, and Churia hill. The Park’s lifeline is also formed by the Babai River to the north and the Rapti River to the south.

Cost

Entry Fees

  • For Nepali citizens: NPR 100 per person
  • For SAARC nationals: NPR 1,000 per person
  • For foreign nationals: NPR 1,500 per person

Accommodation

  • Banke National Park offers various accommodation options to cater to different preferences and budgets. Some of the accommodations available near or within the park include:
  • Resort and Lodges: There are resorts and lodges situated in and around the vicinity of Banke National Park that offer comfortable rooms or cottages with modern amenities. These accommodations often provide an immersive experience amidst nature.
  • Community Homestays: Some local communities, particularly the Tharu villages around the park, offer homestay experiences. Visitors can stay with local families, experiencing their lifestyle, culture, and traditional hospitality.
  • Tented Camps: Tent camps within or near the park premises provide a more adventurous stay option. These camps usually offer basic facilities and the opportunity to be closer to nature.
  • Hotels and Guesthouses: Nearby towns and cities have hotels and guesthouses that cater to visitors exploring Banke National Park. These accommodations may vary in terms of facilities and comfort levels.

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