Chitwan National Park (CNP), formerly called "Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP), covering an area of 932 square kilometres, is the oldest national park and indubitably the most popular safari destination in Nepal. Established in 1973, it was granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The RCNP is located in the sub-tropical inner Terai lowlands of South-Central Nepal in the Chitwan district, 200kms southwest of Kathmandu.
The Park contains unique ecosystems, with low- lying hills, ox-bow lakes, and flood plains. Although the vegetation is dominated by sal forests, the reserve boasts fifty species of grasses. The wealth of wildlife is no less staggering at forty-three species of animals on record. To name only a few of the denizens that call this wilderness home are the protected one-horned Asian rhino, the critically endangered Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, sloth bears, the gharial, marsh crocodiles, the gaur, wild elephants, the four-horned antelope, numerous species of deer, the striped hyena, the pangolin, the Gangetic dolphin, monitor lizards, cobras, kraits, rat snakes and pythons. The park also boasts over four hundred bird species, both locally resident and migratory.