Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve has been there since 1969, well before seven years of its official recognition. The wildlife covers 305 km square area within Terai, Kanchanpur district. It’s a wildlife nicely surrounded by the rivers having Sarda River at south and west. Again, there is Chaudhar River on the east. However, there are forests and green lands available at the northern end of the reserve.
A Brief Introduction
It’s a paradise for the 46 species of mammals, 423 species birds, 28 species of fishes, 12 species of reptiles, etc. Apart from the animals, the place holds an incredible importance in terms of vegetation as well; especially the sal forests. Being specific, there are about 700 species of flora estimated within the wildlife, among which about 553 kinds are of vascular plants. Interestingly, about half of the reserve’s vegetation includes grasslands only. It’s distinguishing in terms of being the hub of highest number of Bengal florican [Houbaropsis bengalensis (E)] and swamp deer [Cervus duvauceli (E) ].
What’s distinguishing here
The aquatic lovers will be having the Rani Lake at the eastern side of the reserve, which is one of the finest destinations for enjoying the foreign birds and the native water birds. Apart from this, the water drenched zones called dhap surrounded by tall grasses is a delight to watch. This is the best stop to enjoy the beautiful swamp deer.
If you are here to enjoy the waterfowls, then the places like Kalikitch, Lalpani Tal and Tara Tal are considered the best options. More interesting it would be to watch from Rani Tal for enjoying waterfowl from the towers.
Suklaphanta is a fantastic destination for the spiritualists as well. There is the antique temple of Singhpal close to Rani Tal, where lord Shiva is worshiped drag huge number of devotees each year. Especially, a huge number of Hindus accumulate at the place during the popular Dashain festival.
Birds and animal watching through forest trek:
Apart from this, the Salgoudi Lake is also quite enchanting through plethora of birdlife. The Machan or View Tower here is also a fantastic place to watch herons, storks, eagle, forest elephants, wild bear, etc.
Among the animals, the place has abundance of elephants, tigers, blue bulls, sloth bear, hispid hare, Chital, etc. to watch out from very close through forest treks.
When to visit
Being there at an altitude of more than 4000 feet, the place is obvious to be comparatively a little colder. Be ready to put up with temperature of 10 to 12 degree Celsius upon visiting during winters. The summer is pretty hot as well, and the monsoon is predominant in between June and September. Hence, the best period recommended to visit here is during December-March, especially during February-March.
Reaching Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
One can be there at Shuklaphanta both through roadways and airways. You can pick the weekly flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi. There are enough bus services available to travel from Dhangadhi to Mahendranagar that takes about three hours of journey, from which the reserve is only a matter of ten-fifteen minutes. You can also reach the reserve through Nepalgunj-Dhangadhi-Mahendranagar highways from Nepalgunj (take a flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu). Or you can travel to Mahendranagar by bus from Kathmandu in 13 hours.