Calmer and prettier than bustling Kathmandu, Pokhara is a town located on the edge of Phewa Lake in central Nepal. It has become famous worldwide for the incredible views of the towering Himalayan mountains surrounding it, particularly from the top of Sarangkot, an elevated ridge towards the edge of town. Cable cars take visiting tourists up to the edge of the ridge to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas every morning, providing a breathtaking natural spectacle. Acting as a gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, most tourists visit on their way to a Himalayan trek, however, it is home to a growing adventure sports scene, as well as some incredible birdlife. In particular, Pokhara is a vulture magnet, providing a home to all nine species of South Asian vulture, including the fascinating Egyptian vulture.
Average rating: 4.0 (very good)
Average cost: paragliding costs around $60 per person. The cable car up to Sarangkot is around $5 each way. A ticket to the Vulture Restaurant is also $5.
Best time to visit: the climate is warm and pleasant year-round. The monsoon takes place between June and August, meaning rain and clouds.
How to get there: road travel in and out of Pokhara is possible but the roads are notoriously bad. Tourist buses run to the main destinations of Kathmandu and Chitwan and can take anywhere between 5 and 9 hours. Flying is also possible but the safety record isn’t great. In town, you can get to Sarangkot by taxi or the new cable car (which is fantastic!).
Typical activities: bird watching, paragliding, trekking
Number of reports: 1
Last updated: 2023
WILDLIFE IN Pokhara
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
Egyptian vulture – 100% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Warm temperatures and swirling thermals make Pokhara the perfect place for vultures to soar on the updrafts looking for food. These conditions also make it perfect for paragliding, and an exhilarating way to meet vultures face-to-face in mid-air. Paragliding trips are easy to arrange from the town centre, with most setting off from the ridge at Sarangkot. Blue Sky Parahawking even offer special flights with two Egyptian vultures called Kevin and Bob!
Egyptian vultures are one of the most abundant species in the valley, although like many other species, they are under threat due to a decline in livestock carcasses, habitat loss, and poisoning. They nest close to human settlements in small caves and cliffs which means you can often find them nearby. The Dobhilla landfill site is a good spot for Egyptian vultures as they roost nearby, as well as Dipang Lake and the look-out points at Sarangkot. If you haven’t had your fill of vultures check out the Ghachowk Vulture Restaurant which leaves carcasses out for them to feed on. You can buy an entry ticket and get up close to watch them feeding – not for the squeamish!
Photo credit: travelmakersouthasia under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay