All about Wildlife Safari at Nagarhole National Park, Kabini
Rajiv Gandhi national park or Nagarhole National Park is in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. It is a diverse part of the Nilgiri biosphere reserve. It is now under consideration as a heritage site.
The park is on the northwest side of Karnataka’s national park. The two parks flank the Kabini reservoir. The region is infamous for the Kabini safari for which people visit from all corners. The park’s name is derived from “Naga” which means snake and “hole” which means streams. Many cascading streams are found in this park and, hence the name. The park has four lakes with water throughout the year, 4 perennial streams, 41 artificial tanks, 47 streams, a reservoir, and a dam. There are many swamps in this area.
Rajiv Gandhi national park has the highest density of herbivores in Asia. This park is ideal for spotting gaurs, tigers, elephants, and bears. The tourists can unwind in the numerous jungle resorts Kabini such as Discovery Village where they can engage in fun-filled adventures.
Various areas in the park
- The park is situated in a place where the Western Ghats join with the Deccan plateau. The park’s altitude ranges between 680m to 1,454m.
- North – This region is encompassed by the Kabini River which is the main water source and numerous mammals can be spotted at this watering hole. The region has a high forest cover and receives heavy rainfall. Damp deciduous forest and large herbivores are common.
- South East – This part is dry and an excellent spot for birdwatching and for finding predators.
- Center – This area is widely known for the Kabini backwaters. It is the ideal spot for finding elephants. Deers and gaurs are common here.
- West – This region is covered with streams, waterfalls, mountains, and valleys. Bamboos and sandalwoods are famous in this region.
The Northern side of Western Ghats forms a prominent region. This area is filled with damp deciduous forests. Rosewood and teakwood trees are aplenty in the southern region of the park. In the central area of the park, dry deciduous forests are common. Pala indigo is a common species in the region. In the mushy swamps, Eugenia trees are found.
Other trees found here are sandalwood, silver oak, teak, rosewood, crocodile bark, Kadam, cotton tree, Indian kino tree, axle wood, ficus, beechwood, Indian gooseberry, etc.
Top animals found here are a leopard, sloth bear, Bengal tiger, ussuri dhole, leopard, antelope, jungle bison, and elephant. Elephants can be spotted in places where bamboo trees thrive. Other common animals found are civet, mongoose, jungle cat, leopard cat, Indian giant flying squirrel, gray langur, bonnet macaque, and pangolin.
- Nagarhole national park is known for bird watching too. More than 250 aviary species are found here. Birds are commonly found near the Kabini River. Birds to spot are common osprey, duck, blue bearded bee-eater, Malabar whistling thrush, and herons.
- The park is an important aviary watching spot during summer. The artificial rivers and lakes dry into puddles, which attract numerous birds. Top birds to spot are Nilgiri wood-pigeon, oriental white ibis, white-backed vulture, greater spotted eagle, red-headed vulture, blue-winged parakeet, Malabar grey hornbills, painted bush quail, yellow-legged green pigeon, Indian peafowl, ashy prinia, Indian robin.
- Top reptiles found here are muggers, Indian rock python, Indian monitor lizard, common vine snake, bamboo pit viper, common wolf snake, 60 species of ants, and 96 species of dung beetles. The most interesting ant species found here is the jumping ant.
Best season to visit Nagarhole National Park
The best time to visit is between October to May. During this time, spotting birds and animals is easy. Commute within the park is also easier. It is wise to avoid the monsoon season.
Wildlife Safari in Nagarhole National Park
- There are many types of safari experiences available in this park.
Jeep safari is perfect for spotting predators and large herbivores. Animals to spot during the jeep safari are the elephant, tiger, and leopard.
- The boat safari is available along the river Kabini. This safari is ideal to spot aquatic wildlife like crocodiles, water birds. A coracle ride is also available. A coracle is a round boat that is perfect for slow drifting. The ride is along the river to spot land animals as well.
- Bus safari is available during sunrise and sunset. The possibility of spotting animals is higher. The bus fee is ~150 INR per head. 16-20 people can travel at a time. During peak season, the bus routes are shortened to avoid long queues.
- Wildlife Safari Timings
◦ Jeep safari: 5:30 am to 10:00 am | 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
◦ Coracle ride: 9 am to 11 am | 5 pm to 6 pm
◦ Bus safari: 6 am to 9 am | 3 pm to 5 pm