Nepal first opened to foreign visitors in 1951. Shortly afterwards, in the early Sixties, two Texan adventurers, Toddy Lee Wynne and Herb Klein, fell in love with Chitwan National Park and decided to build a small lodge on stilts which they named Tiger Tops. The first visitors arrived on elephant back in 1965 and by 1972 new owners, A.V.Jim Edwards and Dr Chuck McDougal, were at the helm.
Jim and Chuck had been frequent visitors to the Himalaya during the 1960s and were founders of Nepal Wildlife Adventures, an early hunting and fishing company. With Chuck’s passion for wildlife and Jim’s inherent charm and enthusiasm for life, Tiger Tops fast became a must-see destination for those with a spirit of adventure. By 1974 the lodge had 22 rooms and a steady stream of American and English visitors.
Many changes and improvements have taken place in the following years, but Jim and Chuck’s original ethos of responsible tourism, with conservation as a priority, remains unchanged. A highlight in Tiger Tops’ long conservation history is a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute. With Chuck employed as Research Fellow, expert Tiger Tops trackers assist in the long term monitoring of tigers, having pioneered the use of camera traps in research.
Sadly Jim passed away in 2009, but he leaves the next chapter of the Tiger Tops story to his four children: Kristjan, Anna Tara, Tim and Jack. They have accepted with alacrity, the challenge of building on Chuck and Jim’s remarkable foundation.
Over the years the Tiger Tops properties have played host to a wild array of extraordinary people – from Bill and Hilary Clinton, to Leonardo di Caprio, Kate Moss, Carrie Fisher, Steven Seagal and many more. Here’s what some of them had to say about the Tiger Tops experience: