Suklaphanta Camp is located less than five minutes’ drive from Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, which covers 305 square kilometres and protects some of the richest and most extensive grasslands in Asia, as well as both Sal and riverine forest. This mixed habitat supports an estimated 20 Tigers, one of the highest densities in the world today, although this particular population is shy and not habituated to man’s presence as in the popular Indian reserves where tourists abound! The international border between Nepal and India demarcates both the reserve’s western and southern boundaries. Between the reserve’s Sal and riverine forests span the largest phantas (grasslands) in Nepal and these are of international importance on account of the unique selection of threatened birds and other wildlife that they hold.
Habitat and Birdlife
Four small lakes — Rani Tal, Salghaudi Tal, Kalikitch Tal and Shikari Tal — add significantly to the reserve’s biodiversity. The reserve has many tall watchtowers, which are, in effect, raised hides overlooking grassland, forest lakes and swamps. These optimise your chances of seeing wildlife as they place you above the reserve’s tall grasses, and offer wonderful views of the passing wildlife. It is the reserve’s unrivalled selection of rare grassland birds that will be the main attraction for many visitors — Bengal Florican (best seen displaying in summer), Swamp Francolin, Great Slaty Woodpecker (one of the largest of the world’s woodpeckers), White-naped Woodpecker, Finn’s Weaver, and both Bristled and Rufous-rumped Grassbirds being among the resident specialities, whilst Hodgson’s Bushchat occur in winter. The park also supports a particularly wide range of other woodpeckers, warblers and bush warblers, and such rarities as Jerdon’s Babbler and Jerdon’s Bushchat.
The reserve offers a density of all mammals that is hard to match anywhere else in Nepal, amongst a wealth of species it supports the world’s largest population of the nominate race of Swamp Deer. Of the mammal species recorded here, there is a moderate chance of encountering a Tiger, though you are much more likely to see Golden Jackals, numerous Swamp, Spotted and Hog Deer, and both Rhesus Macaques and Terai Langurs. Other mammals in the reserve include Nilgai, Barking Deer and Smooth-coated Otter, as well as Leopard, Asian Elephant and Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. A night-drive (if permitted) would provide a chance of seeing the little-known Hispid Hare.