Goa, as the name goes by you will be thinking of white sand beaches, casinos and not forget endless party nights. But one thing that Goa lesser known is exorbitant “Wildlife”. Tourists visiting goa are treated with countless numbers bird species and presence of several wildlife sanctuaries will only make your travel experience better. Let us explore some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Goa.
Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Spread over 440 acres and covered with rich Flora of Mangrove forests, Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the home of several species of Kingfishers, Eagles, drongos, mynahs and kites. Apart from several rare species of birds, this sanctuary is also the home of Marshland Crocodiles, Jackals and mudskipper fishes.
The Entry Fee of this bird Sanctuary is just 10 INR but you will have to pay 700 INR for a 2-hour boat tour around Mandovi River. The trip around the Mandovi river is will be a unique experience so it is best to get a local guide who can spot several bird species. The only drawback is that the Mandovi river is tidal so you can’t possibly visit all the places you wish for.
There is also a bird watching tower which you can visit by boat. The bird watching tower will give you the glimpse of what this entire sanctuary is all about so it’s better to take Binocular with you.
The best time to visit to visit this wonderful wildlife sanctuary in Goa is during the winter season between October and March. Only during the winter, you can see several migrating birds who had made this place home.
How to reach?
The sanctuary is just a short trip from Panjim to Porta De Linhares bridge from where you will take a ferry ride to Chorao, the Island in which Dr Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is situated.
Mollem National Park.
Spanning over 240 sq km of Western Ghats, Mollen National Park of Goa is located in close proximity to Karnataka. Known for hosting rare species of snakes like King Cobra, Nosed Pit Viper, Malabar Pit Viper and Indian Python, Mollen National park is also known as Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
Apart from dangerous snakes, Mollem national park also hosts birds like three-toed Kingfisher, Indian hornbill, Wagtails and Drongo. The main attraction of this national Park is it’s Jungle Safari, in which you can drive through dense forests to visit the wild at its natural habitat.
Mollem National park also houses the 12th Century Tambdi Surla temple, Devil’s Canyon and Tambdi waterfalls, which adds to the scenic beauty of this national park.
How to Reach?
Mollem National Park is just 60 km away from Panaji. Though, the park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. it is better to start your safari in the morning itself as you can witness many animals in the morning daylight.
This National Park is situated in the outskirts and closest place you get to stay in the guest house operated by Tourist Development Corporation of Karnataka.
Cotigao National Park.
The Second largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa was established in 1968. Cotiago is just 60 km away from Panaji and just 10 km from Chaudi. The main entrance to the park starts from Poinguinim from where you may have to rent a car to take you around the Park.
This sanctuary is home to flying squirrels, Indian bison, sloth bears, tigers and panthers. Several bird species like Malabar crested eagle, Rufous and white-spotted woodpecker can be seen in this national park.
Cotiago national park has six watchtowers from which you will get an entire view of the park. Most of the birds and wildlife can be seen only from this vantage point.
The best about Cotiago national park is that they allow private service vehicle so that you can take a whirl around the park at your convenience. The park also has an amphitheatre, cycling trial and a rest house. You can also rent a tent near the entrance of the park but its best advised to prepare or bring your food as the facilities in the park are very limited.
Staying overnight at the park is allowed but you may have to acquire a written permission in advance from the Deputy Conservator of the forests, Panaji. The park is open on all days from 7:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
Famous for it twin waterfall, Mhadei wildlife sanctuary is one of the top 25 mega biodiversities in the world. The sanctuary is a blend of quintessential beauty and elegance.
The Mhadei Sanctuary is one of the least visited sanctuaries which plays an important role in keeping the beauty of the sanctuary intact. It is also one of the very few places where you can spot Bengal tigers.
How To Reach?
You can either take a bus, flight or train to Goa. And hire a cab to Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary which is just 700 km away from Goa Airport.