Tiger Tops Newsletter – End of 18/19 Season Review
Dear Tiger Tops Friends and Supporters,
The 2018/19 season has come to and end and gives us an opportunity to thank you all for the wonderful support we have received over the past 12 months. This year has been very encouraging for us with bookings across our lodges increasing significantly over the previous year. Wildlife tourism continues to be a very attractive segment of the market globally for the adventurous traveller and Nepal has returned to a sense of ‘normality’ after the 2015 earthquake and subsequent economic blockade.
At the end of 2018, visitors coming into the country broke the 1 million mark for the first time in a calendar year in Nepal’s history. With a big push from the Nepalese government and the Nepal Tourism Board for the coming Visit Nepal 2020 marketing campaign we hope that visitor numbers will be further boosted next year, improving the country’s standing as one of the most exciting tourism destinations in Asia.
A Successful Year at both Tiger Tops Properties
On the 15th of June our lodges in both Bardia and Chitwan closed in anticipation of the arrival of the monsoon rains. The off season gives us the opportunity to undertake maintenance and upgrades, arrange staff training programs and provide a well needed break for the teams on the ground.
Looking back, all operations had a very positive year. Chitwan National Park continues to be the favoured safari destination in Nepal and our Tharu Lodge, situated at the quiet western end of the Park, is well suited for guests looking to get away from the crowds. With a large number of wildlife and elephant activities available, Tharu is incomparable with regards to the number of experiences on offer. This year guests enjoyed great wildlife sightings in the National Park and surrounding buffer zones; in particular encounters with rhinos on foot during our Elephant Walking Safaris. This is our most popular activity at the lodge and is the best way to get up personal with wildlife whilst being protected by our herd of friendly pachyderms.
We had one of the best years ever for tiger sightings in Bardia National Park that left many of our visitors with wildlife memories of a lifetime. As the tiger population returns to a healthy level after the decade-long civil war, Bardia is fast becoming the go-to park in Nepal for tigers and our Karnali Lodge is the ideal (and only) luxury lodge to base yourself from. The national park is much quieter than Chitwan allowing guests to really get off the beaten track. The ability to conduct walking safaris in this national park is rare if compared to other national parks on the Subcontinent, and allows us to access some amazing parts of the jungle. Bardia offers the purest form of safari to the passionate wildlife lover.
Pioneering Elephant Concept Continues to Develop
Our pioneering and innovative elephant concept at the Tiger Tops Elephant Camp is gaining traction with endorsements received from a number of entities in the scientific, animal rights and travel communities. We continue to work with experts from around the world to help us understand our elephants better, in addition to constantly improving the stabling conditions of our herd. At the ‘Ele camp’ we are in the process of installing self-filling drinking fountains in each of our corrals. This will allow our herd 24hr access to drinking water and is a huge step forward for our facilities. Building has already started and we hope it will be completed by the new season.
Charitable Projects Produce Successful Results
Tiger Tops supports a number of charitable initiatives in the fields of wildlife conservation and community advancement. The Jayatu Vulture project continues to support the wild vulture populations by providing poison-free carcases to the local wild populations and well as a small breeding centre. There were a number of successful releases of bred vultures into the wild this year, which is very encouraging. The Long Term Tiger Monitoring program sponsored by the Internal Trust for Nature Conservation (http://www.itnc.org) in Chitwan has now run for the 45th consecutive year, allowing us to better understand behavioural traits of Nepal’s wild tigers. This is the largest data set in the world collected on tigers from a single location. Tiger Tops is proud to be supporting such an important project.
Tiger Tops Swiss Air School End of Year Report
The Tiger Tops Swiss Air School continues to provide a free head start to disadvantaged children from the communities around our Tharu Lodge. This year a number of events where held at the school and we managed to construct a new dining room for our students. A separate, more detailed end of year report about the school can be found here.
For more information about all of our charitable initiatives or if you would like support these projects financially through much needed donations, please contact me directly.
Looking Ahead To Next Season...
We are open for business on the 15th August as the worst of the monsoon rains start to recede. The late summer and early autumn is a beautiful time to be in the Terai as the jungles are verdant and lush from months of rain and hot weather. The Parks are quiet but the game is still active allowing for some excellent sightings.
To start the new season with a bang we would like to present our September Special Offer of ‘book 2 nights and get the 3rd for free’. For more information please do get in touch whether you are looking to visit yourself or if you are an agent looking to take advantage of this offer for your guests.
Lastly I would like to thank all of our very loyal staff for all their hard work this season. The staff at Tiger Tops is what makes our lodges special, and without them we would not have been able to showcase the very best of Nepalese hospitality. I look forward to working closely with them again in mid August for the start of the new season.
Photo credit: Jessica Wiseman, Sanjeet Mangat, D.B Choudhary