Banke National Park (BaNP) was established as the 10th National Park of Nepal on the 12th of July 2010. The Park is linked with transboundary Landscape that joins Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary in India through national and community forests towards the south. It joins with Bardia National Park (BaNP) towards the west which further links with Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in India via the Khata corridor, national forest, and community forests. It is Nepal’s tenth national park after its recognition as a “Gift to the Earth”. The protected area covers an area of 550 km² with most parts falling on the Churia range.
Biodiversity of Banke National Park
Banke National Park contains an array of eight ecosystem types such as Sal forest, deciduous Riverine forest, savannahs and grasslands, mixed hardwood forest, flood plain community, Bhabar and foothills of Chure range. It is home to 124 plants, 34 mammals, more than 300 birds, 24 reptiles, 7 amphibians and 58 fish species. 90% natural forest coverage composed of mainly Sal, Karma, Khair and Sissoo.
Three species of mammals (tiger, striped hyaena, four-horned antelope), four species of birds (giant hornbill, black stork, Bengal florican, and lesser florican) and two species of reptiles (gharial crocodile and python) residing in the Park are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973.
The habitat of the flood plain, foothill and Churia hill are of prime concern to conserve major focus species such as royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic wild elephant and four-horned antelope. Furthermore, the Rapti River on the south and Babai River on the north forms the lifeline of the Park.
The climate of Banke National Park
Banke National Park has three distinct seasons: winter, summer and monsoon, each providing a unique experience. From October to early April, the weather is dry, days are warm, and nights are cool and pleasant.
From April to June, temperature grows up to 45 degrees Celcius in May/June. The hot humid days give way to monsoon rains that lasts until September.
Facilities around Banke National Park
There are few health posts in the buffer zone and a teaching hospital about 50 km from Park head office, thus a first aid kit including medicines to purify water is advisable. The communication facility is well established. Fuel stations are limited to highway and self arrangement is encouraged for interior visits. Fuel stations are either at Dhakeri or at Kohalpur. Hotels and lodges are available along the southern border of the Park and few other locations with basic services required for tourists. There are also Local Homestays at Dhakeri and Gabhar Valley etc.
Location of Banke National Park
The park is located in the mid-western region of Nepal. It is located in Banke, Salyan, and Dang districts of Nepal. This is nearest to Kohalpur city. This National park is connected to Bardia National Park in the west.
How to reach BNP
There are regular flights and tourist coaches from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. It takes approximately an hour’s drive on a regular or hired bus/taxi from Nepalgunj to Park’s head office. It takes about eight hours bus ride (270 Km) from Mahendranagar and seven hours (250 Km) bus ride from Dhangadi to reach Banke National Park’s head office.
An entry permit is required to enter into the Banke National Park. Tickets are available at entry points with the payment of Rs 500 (foreigners), Rs 200 (SAARC), and Rs 20 (Nepalese) per person per day.
Things to do in Banke National Park
- Royal Bengal Tiger tracking
- Wildlife Safari (Jungle safari open at Banke national park)
- Bird watching
- Culture watch
People in the buffer zone
There are about 4,861 households with 35,712 populations residing in the buffer zone. Indigenous Tharu community, Brahmin, Chhetri, Magar, Tamang, Majhi, Dalit and Gurung are living in the buffer zone. 90% of the economy of people depends on agriculture and the rest 10% on trade and labor.