Jeep safaris close down for monsoon
Jul 3, 2018-
Chitwan National Park (CNP) has temporarily stopped jeep safaris due to safety reasons with monsoon rains in full swing. Park authorities said jungle tours by four-wheel-drive vehicle would resume by mid-September after the annual deluge ends.
“Jeep safaris have been closed for the rainy season as sightseeing is difficult due to slippery and muddy roads,” said Narendra Aryal, assistant conservation and information officer at CNP. He added that the service had been closed from June 29.
CNP generated revenue totalling Rs200 million in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year. Of the total income, Rs1.7 million was earned from jeep safaris, Aryal said.
Tourism entrepreneurs in Chitwan said that more than half of the tourists visiting the park like going on jeep safari. The service is operated from Sauraha, Kasara, Meghauli and Amaltari in Nawalparasi.
Wildlife viewers can go on a day-long jeep safari from Sauraha while the service is available only in the mornings and afternoons at other places. “There are 30 jeeps in Sauraha, 10 in Kasara, seven in Meghauli and five in Amaltari.
Among them, 18 jeeps are allowed to run in the mornings and 20 jeeps in the evenings while five have been permitted to operate the whole day. A jeep carries 10 sightseers.
CNP receives 200,000 domestic and international tourists annually. A majority of tourists visiting the park prefer elephant rides while the number of those going on jeep safaris has also been increasing at a healthy rate, said Suman Ghimire, president of the Regional Hotel Association Chitwan.
CNP, which is home to 125 tigers and 605 one-horned rhinos, attracts more foreign tourists compared to other national parks, making it the most profitable park in Nepal.
CNP charges foreign tourists an entry fee of Rs1,500 exclusive of value added tax. Nepali tourists can enter the park after paying Rs100 plus tax. A fee of Rs4,000 is charged for each safari vehicle entering the park.
According to park statistics, more than 90 percent of the income comes from entrance tickets while boating and filming fees also account for some of the revenue.
Published: 03-07-2018 09:14