exploring goa wildlife national parks and sanctuaries to visit

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Goa, the picturesque coastal state in India, is renowned for its pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife. However, beyond the sun-kissed shores and bustling party scenes, lies a hidden gem of natural beauty - the wildlife sanctuaries of Goa. These sanctuaries offer a unique opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity and lush greenery that thrives in this region. In this article, we will take you on a journey through some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, where you can immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and create unforgettable memories.

1. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary: A Tranquil Retreat

Nestled in the Ponda region, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is the smallest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. Spread over 8 square kilometers, this sanctuary is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. The sanctuary is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Indian Bison, Sambar Deer, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Giant Squirrel, and various species of deer and snakes. It also boasts a remarkable variety of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

Visitors to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary can explore the sanctuary's lush greenery through trekking trails and nature walks. The sanctuary also features a zoological park, where you can get up close and personal with animals like sloth bears, leopards, and crocodiles. For those seeking a peaceful retreat, there are eco-tourism cottages where you can stay and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.

2. Molem Wildlife Sanctuary: Where Adventure Meets Nature

Located in the Sanguem region, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is the core area of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spanning over a vast area, this sanctuary is best explored between November and March. Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of wildlife, including Barking Deer, Black Panther, Bengal Tiger, Bonnet Macaque, Leopard, and Wild Boar.

One of the biggest attractions of Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is the adventurous jungle safari, where visitors can explore the sanctuary's diverse flora and fauna. The sanctuary also offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching, with over 120 different bird species recorded in the area. For those seeking a more immersive experience, the sanctuary is also known for its trekking trails and bird-watching excursions.

3. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: A Delicate Ecosystem

Representing the delicate ecosystem of the Western Ghats, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Canacona Taluka of South Goa. Spanning over 105 square kilometers, this sanctuary is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its dense deciduous forests, which provide a home to a wide range of wildlife, including Flying Lizard, Golden-Back Gliding Snake, Malabar Trogon, and White-Bellied Woodpecker.

Visitors to Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary can explore the sanctuary's numerous natural trails, which range from 500 meters to 5 kilometers in length. The sanctuary is also home to a Nature Interpretation Centre, where guided treks and walks are organized to educate visitors about the rich biodiversity of the region. For those seeking an immersive experience, the sanctuary provides facilities for overnight stays, allowing you to spend a night in the heart of nature.

4. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary: A Biodiversity Hotspot

Located in the Sattari Taluka near Valpoi town, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot known for its rich flora and fauna. The sanctuary is spread over a vast area and is currently being considered as a Project Tiger Reserve due to the presence of Royal Bengal Tigers. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is also famous for its spectacular waterfalls, such as Vazra Sakla and Virdi Falls, which add to the scenic beauty of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to a wide range of wildlife, including Indian Gaur, Barking Deer, Sambhar Deer, Ruddy Mongoose, Asian Palm Civet, and Black-Faced Langur. It is also a paradise for birdwatchers, with a variety of avifauna species such as White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Rufous Babbler, and Grey-headed Bulbul. The best time to visit Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is between November and March, when the humidity level is relatively low.

5. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: A Haven for Avian Enthusiasts

Located on the western tip of Chorao Island along the Mandovi River, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a mangrove swamp that attracts birdwatchers from around the world. Named after the renowned Indian ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali, this sanctuary is home to a wide variety of bird species, both local and migratory. Eagles, Kingfishers, Kites, Mynas, Curlews, Sandpipers, and Hoopoes are just a few of the many species that can be spotted in this avifaunal paradise.

To explore the sanctuary, visitors can take boat rides along the Mandovi River, which offer breathtaking views of the birds in their natural habitat. The best time to visit the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is either early morning or late evening, when the birds are most active. The sanctuary is a must-visit for bird lovers and provides a peaceful and serene environment to connect with nature.

Conclusion: Embrace the Natural Splendor of Goa's Wildlife Sanctuaries

Beyond the popular beaches and vibrant nightlife, Goa offers a wealth of natural beauty and biodiversity in its wildlife sanctuaries. From Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary to Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, each sanctuary offers a unique experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether you're trekking through the dense forests of Molem Wildlife Sanctuary or birdwatching in Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, these sanctuaries provide an opportunity to connect with nature and create lifelong memories. So, the next time you visit Goa, make sure to explore its hidden gems - the wildlife sanctuaries that showcase the true splendor of this coastal paradise.



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