Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
If you want to have a close look at rich and rarefied wildlife, captivating landscape and dense evergreen forests, then Goa's Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place for you. Located 65 km away from Panajim, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Mollem village in Sanguem Taluka. It is located on the slopes of Western Ghat ranges which is very close to eastern Goa-Karnataka border. Formerly known as Mollem Game Sanctuary, it was renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary later. Covering an area of 240 sq. km, dense forests in it range from evergreen to moist deciduous. It makes it an ideal habitat for a variety of flora and avian species.
Three major types - West Coast Semi- Evergreen Forests, West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forests and Moist Deciduous Forests. Here, you will see the species of Terminalia, Xylia, Dalbergia, Lagerstroemia etc. Grass is very limited here while the evergreen forests are mainly centered on higher altitudes and along the river banks.
Leopard Cat, Panther, Mouse Deer, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Gaur, Porcupine, Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Sambar, Common Langur, Flying Squirrel, Bonnet Macaque, Civet, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Slender Loris, Pangolin etc. Sometimes tigers have also been spotted here. The sanctuary is famous for numerous snakes including King Cobras, Python, Krait, Viper and non-poisonous snakes also.
This wildlife sanctuary is also home to around 200 avian species. Some of the popular bird species here are Paradise flycatcher, Indian great black woodpecker, Emerald dove, Malabar pied hornbill, Great Indian hornbill, Grey jungle fowl, Fairy bluebird, Drongo, Wag tails, Shrikes, Barbets, Kingfishers etc.
You can drive in or just walk along the mud trails. When you trek through the dense forest, you will find herds of bison besides other animals. Observe each and every moment of wildlife. Don't walk through the large webs which may be spun amidst tree branches. Have a close us at the huge spiders and colorful butterflies including Chocolate Pansy, Crimson Rose and Blue Mormon.
65 km from Panajim, in Sanguem Taluka
October to March
Time: 8.00am to 5.00 pm
Rs 20 for Adult,
Rs 5 for Child
Extra charges for camera and vehicle
Where to Stay
One good option is Dudhsagar Resort at Mollem. It is a few hundred meters away from the sanctuary entrance. You can also stay in rooms, rest houses and dormitories of state government. You can also take prior permission from the Range Forest Officer for pitching your own tents in a campsite within the sanctuary. Shanti Nature Resort and Backwoods are two other private resorts, very close to Tambdi Surla Temple.
How to Reach
Nearest airport at Dabolim is 80 km away from this wildlife sanctuary. Nearest railhead, 6 km from sanctuary is at Colem railway station. Buses and taxis are available at regular intervals for Mollem from Panajim and Margao.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Goa attracts all including wildlife enthusiasts. There are numerous wildlife sanctuaries in Goa where you may find umpteen numbers of endangered animal species besides virgin treasure of natural beauty. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is smallest of the Goan wildlife sanctuaries. Located up in green-covered foothills of the Western Ghats, Bondla is the home to Sambhar and Wild Boar. Spread in a wide area of 8-sq-km, it is very easily accessible. This wildlife sanctuary is situated 55-km from Panajim and 38-km from Margoa. It houses a Botanical Garden, fenced Deer Park and a Zoo. The zoo is rated the best in the area having enough spacious enclosures.
Bondla wildlife sanctuary is a suitable destination for a trip with whole family. As you walk along, you may spot a giant red Malabar squirrel, a wild Boar, a Sambar or several other wildlife. An archaeological exhibit in the form of a statue of the deity Gajalaxmi. You can also check out the collections at the Nature Education centre.
You can also watch the crocodiles as they clamber themselves out of the water and rest over the rocks in the sun. Bondla is also good for bird-watching too. It really enthralls to hear the chirping of large variety of birds including Indian scimitar babbler, Brown fish owl, Oriental dwarf Kingfisher and Ruby throated yellow bulbul.
Established originally to house orphaned animals, the zoo is now a breeding colony for large species of deer. Covering 8- sq-km of deciduous forest, Bondla is a miniature zoo of sort housing caged animals and birds. A popular picnic destination for locals, Bondla zoo offers elephant rides as a major attraction.
Wild Boar, Monkeys, Deer, Langurs, Gaur, Jackals, Leopards and Pythons are residing fearlessly in the hills of southeast. This is also another bird-watching haven, quite similar to its counterparts at Chorao and Cotigao. Two rivers flow very near the forest - Rangado River on the east and Madhel on its north. Bison, Deer, Wild Beer, Leopard, birds and various types of serpent are also found here at Bondla forests. You can also visit the only mosque Safa Shahouri Masjid on the way. Built by Ali Adilshah in 1560, this monument can be seen at Ponda.
Located in Ponda Taluka in Central Goa, 20 km from Mollem, and 52 km from Panajim.
October to March
9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Thursday closed (Garden and Zoo)
Adult Rs 5, Child Rs 2 (extra charges for camera and vehicles)
Two wheelers Rs 10, Cars Rs 50, Mini buses/Vans Rs 100
Elephant Rides Rs 80 per ride (4 persons)
How to Reach
Dabolim Airport is just 50 km from this wildlife sanctuary. You can ride a bus or hire a taxi to reach the sanctuary. Its nearest railhead is Margao (36 km) which is well-linked with the other major destinations of the country. You can hire a taxi to reach Bondla then onwards. You also can access Panajim (52 km) to reach Bondla.
Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Do you want to explore very deep forests, where you may hardly find sun light on the ground? If yes, then Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the most suitable place in Goa. Established in 1969 to save the forest lining on the border of Goa and Karnataka, this wildlife sanctuary is spread in 85.65 sq km of mixed deciduous woodland. This wildlife sanctuary inspires all the tree lovers. One river named Talpona flows through the sanctuary, while the other one River Galgibaga runs through the south-eastern boundary of Cotigao. One road passes through the wildlife sanctuary. It is fairly difficult in some areas so it would test your navigational skills. However, cool lush greenery will rejuvenate your senses while your walk through the wildlife sanctuary. Come and enjoy sweet chirping of the birds and other sounds of forests while your trip in the sanctuary.
Moist-deciduous type trees are main vegetation of Cotigao Sanctuary. Some of the trees attain the heights up to 30 meters. This vegetation is interspersed with semi-green and evergreen forests.
Unfortunately Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary offers limited wildlife sights. The reason is that all the tigers and leopards of the forests were hunted out long ago. However you may spot Wild boars, two species of Monkey and Gaurs. You may also find other animals including Bison, Langur, Pangolin, Deer, Black Panther, Gazelles, Porcupines, Sloth Bears, Hyenas and Panthers besides these animals.
Trek along the mud trails and take a trial at Bhutpal. You can climb 18 m high ladder into a treetop shelter. You will have a picturesque view of waterhole located very near and its scenic surroundings. Walk further to enchanting location of Bela Lake. This lake inside the sanctuary is just 2.5 km from Hathipal Eco-tourism complex. Visit Nature Interpretation Centre which has several Botanical and faunal exhibits as an interesting diversion. Several charming Bandharas and waterholes at Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Climb into 3-m high watch tower at Tulsimol. You can see animals that come to drink water especially during early morning and late evening hours.
In east Canacona Taluka, 86 km from Goa's capital
October to March
Rs for Adult,
Rs 2 for Child (additional for camera and vehicles)
Where to Stay
Hathipal Eco-tourism Complex of Forest Department has a 6-bedded cottage, a 3-bedded cottage and 5 thatched tents. The complex is open during October to April. A Forest Rest House is also available for you at Poinguinim, but it is mostly used by forest officers. In case you want to go for an overnight stay, either in watchtower or forest department's rest house, you should take the prior permission from Deputy Conservator of Forests.
How to Reach
Dabolim airport is 75 km away from Cotigao. This airport has flights from almost all the major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. You can hire taxi to reach the sanctuary then onwards. The nearest railheads from Cotigao are Margao (53 km) and Panajim (86 km). Buses ply to Karwar halt at Canacona from then onwards. Buses plying south on NH 17 to Karwar halt via Chaudi will drop you well within the periphery of 2 km.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
If a bird lover plans a trip to Goa, his trip is not complete without visiting Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Regarded as 'the paradise of bird watchers', it is named after India's most renowned ornithologist. Hoe to a large variety of birds, this is the only one bird sanctuary of Goa.
You will find umpteen numbers of domestic and migratory birds in this sanctuary, spread in 1.8 sq km. You may also spot other rarefied wildlife here including Indian rock Python, smooth Indian otter and flying fox.
Mangrove swamps are on the western tip of the Chorao island besides river Mandovi. The mangroves are abundant with chirping birds, making the overall ambiance really memorable. Almost 14 species of mangroves are found here, which makes it an ideal breeding ground for planktons, shrimps, estuarine fish and tiny crabs. Mangroves also provide feeding ground for bird species.
A large variety of migratory birds can be seen in this bird sanctuary during November to February. Pintail ducks, Cormorants, Mallards, Purple Moorhen and Storks are some of the famous migratory birds which can be easily spotted. A large variety of resident birds can be spotted here. These include Herons, Drongos, Eagles, Kites, Kingfisher, Baya (weaver birds), Purple Sun bird, Egrets, Tailor Birds, Grey-headed Myna, Red-wattled Lapwing, Redshank, Common Sandpipers, Green Bee-eater and Pheasant-tailed Jacana.
A network of water channels criss-cross Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. You may cruise along the placid waters of the canals to the gentle sound of the water gently lapping against the boat and sweet chirping of the birds. You may also have a spectacular view of the white-bellied sea eagle coming down swiftly to catch a fish from the waters when you are on boat cruise. Otherwise, you also can climb the watch-tower which was built in this Bird Sanctuary to provide a better view of the birds.
Located on Chorao island in Tiswadi Taluka, 5 km from Panajim.
Generally from the month of November to February is the most suitable time but with the prior permission of warden, Forest Department.
Where to Stay
You are advised to stay at Panajim if you are coming to visit Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This town has plenty of accommodation available in Panajim, which can be opted as per your requirements and budget. Hotel Casa Pinho, Hotel Ashoka Plaza, Hotel Delmon, Hotel Check Inn, Hotel La Grande and Hotel Manvins are some of the best hotels in Goa.
How to Reach
Nearest major city is Panajim, capital city of Goa. You can hire a taxi or ride a bus to reach Ribander ferry jetty. This jetty is situated at a distance of 3 km from Panajim along Linhares Causeway. You can take a ferry across Mandovi river to the island of Chorao.