The jungle walks also cost the same, but online tourists will accompany guides as they stalk Bardia’s abundant wildlife, including swamp deer, gharial crocodiles, black bucks, the one-horned rhinoceros. And if it is your lucky day you get rare sightings of the tiger or the endangered Gangetic fresh-water dolphin.
In the simulated safaris, guests will follow guides as they go deep into the jungle, peer through undergrowth into clearings, tip-toe along the Karnali’s ox-bow lakes, and wade through grasslands. The guides also explain the various vegetation zones of the National Park, as well as the conservation research efforts underway there with Himalayan Tiger Foundation based in The Netherlands.
Slightly more expensive at €15 per person are cooking lessons for Nepali-style dal bhat, or Tharu specialities including fresh water mussels, snails and tiny crabs, accompanied by sesame rice.
Re-imagining tourism, Anil Chitrakar
“We try to make the live virtual tours as real as possible with two cameras,” Darlami explains. One is a GoPro on the guide so guests see what he sees, while the other focuses on the guide as he describes the tour. The online excursions use the Zoom application, and last 40 minutes each.
Rusticus and Darlami were inspired by the success of virtual city tours and cooking classes in Europe. Says Rusticus: “Their methods and approach to guiding impressed us, so we wanted to bring such tours to our homestay.”
Most of those have signed up so far are Dutch tourists among the 400 most recent visitors to the Bardia Homestay, and they have been happy to relive their experience in Nepal.