Have you always dreamt about seeing a leopard stretched in the middle of a narrow rocky path through a jungle? or a herd of elephants heading to the waterhole, or deer playfully running through the forest? If you have, then head to South India. South Indian states with their dense, beautiful and unspoiled forest reserves offer a variety of jungle safaris at different locations where you could have the pleasure of actually seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. You can visit in South India for wildlife spotting. There are so many reserves that you are spoilt for choice. Let us present you with our pick of 6 such National Parks in South India for enjoying some great wildlife spotting.
1. Bandipur National Park
Nestled within the Nilgiri hills, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is home approx 100 species of mammals and nearly 350 bird species and is best described as a wildlife retreat. Bandipur boasts of thick forests, lush landscapes, and amazing wildlife. The forest department and the resorts here offer jeep safaris and night safaris where you can quite easily sight quite a few wild animals. This national park is known for its Panthers and Four Horned Antelopes, but you can also spot hoards of Elephants, Tigers, gaur, chital, wild dogs, jackal, hornbills, and the mouse deer, etc. If we take an early morning safari, we can also spot some rare birds like the jungle fowl and green pigeon to name a few.
2. Viralimalai Wildlife Park
Viralimalai wildlife park In Tamil Nadu is very famous for the six different varieties of Peacocks it houses. The park is dedicated to raising and restoring peacocks with more than 500 peacocks living here. The most magnificent and famous peacock variety is the Palawan Peacock Pheasant as it exhibits numerous and dazzling colors in its feathers. It is the place you need to visit to understand why the peacock is our national bird.
3. Periyar National Park
Another popular Elephant and Tiger Reserve located in Thekkady, Kerala is the Periyar National Park which is also house to the rivers Periyar and Pamba. The park boasts of having 300 mammal breed, 40 reptile species, 160 insect species, 260 bird species, and 40 fish species. It is especially unique for being home to several endangered animals with the intent to restore wildlife. Some wildlife that you can spot here is rare species like Monitor Lizards, Lion-tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Gaur, and birds like the Darters, Kingfishers, Drongoes, and Cormorants. Along with a wildlife safari, in this park, you can also go trekking.
4. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
A stone throws away from Mysore city, located on the banks of the River Kaveri, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the best destination for bird watchers. Accommodation to migratory birds from Siberia and Latin America during the winter season, nearly 170 species of birds live here. You can easily spot the Common Spoonbill, Black-headed Ibis, and Asian Openbill Stork here. The ideal time to visit this bird sanctuary is during the nesting season from June to November.
5. Nagarhole National Park
Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is one of the most famous national parks in Karnataka owing to the constant increase in the tiger ratio. Besides Tigers, you can spot wild dogs, Sloth bears, Leopard, Hyena, Sambhar, Deer, Gaur, Four-horned Antelope, Wild boar, Elephants, Indian bison, Marsh crocodile, and the Rocky Python, etc. You can also spot many of the 250 species of birds, especially near the Kabini River banks. You can visit in South India for wildlife spotting.
6. Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary
Perched uniquely in the Nagarhole forest is the Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to the Kabini River, on the banks of which you can enjoy the maximum spotting of wildlife. This has been declared as a tiger reserve and is part of the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. It is quite common to find herds of elephants along the river banks, some lazing, some playfully mingling and sometimes you may witness a duel or two.
If you are visiting Nagarhole forest, it may be a great idea to stay the weekend in one of the resorts at Kabini, so you would have two days to do justice to this forest and its many attractions and offerings. You could try the Discovery Village Resort here, which just blends in with its environment. Beautiful ambiance, fresh food, and friendly staff enhance the experience. Finally, these are just a few of the many beautiful reserves South India has to offer. Visiting these lush dense forests only makes us realize how much we need to be responsible for our planet’s green cover and the flora and fauna they house. You can visit in South India for wildlife spotting.