Are there Any Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa?
Goa is more than just clear blue water, white-gold beaches, palm trees, and wild parties. The tropical state is unbeatable when it comes to mother nature. And, to your surprise, Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries await you to experience the undiscovered wild side of the state. Yes, you read that correctly: Goa has wildlife sanctuaries! Goa is home to not one but six different wildlife sanctuaries.
These sanctuaries in Goa are home to endangered species and rare breeds of animals and birds. Not only that, the forests open up doors to the extended part of the Sahyadris – Western Ghats of India. Thus, you’re in for a visual splendour of nature.
So, if you are someone who feels all happy and content amidst nature like me, then of all the off-beat things in Goa, you must visit these sanctuaries to see nature up close. Read on to find everything you need to know about the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa before framing the itinerary of your next solo trip to Goa.
1. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary – the smallest wildlife sanctuary in Goa
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary lives up to the adage that “good things come in small packages.” This sanctuary covers an area of only eight square kilometres, but it is one of the finest and most famous wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. It welcomes visitors with a mesmerising driveway through the densely packed forest of the Western Ghats.
Unlike other sanctuaries, there is no typical jungle safari, but you do have access to several nature trails. You can even hop on an elephant ride to spot some wildlife. If luck is in your favour, you can spot Indian Bison, Malabar giant squirrel, golden-backed woodpecker, hornbill, and many more species.
You can even spend a night at the cottages inside the sanctuary to fully immerse yourself in the jungle! The basic rate of staying in the cottage starts from Rs. 1000. However, solo travellers on a budget in Goa can opt for a single bed in the dormitory at only Rs. 600. Now, how cool is that?
2. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary – a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts
The latest addition to the list of wildlife sanctuaries in Goa is Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. It might be the latest, but oh man, this sanctuary is undoubtedly one of the best in South Goa. It covers an area of 211 square kilometres and boasts diverse wildlife.
The sanctuary is home to species like leopards, black panthers, cobras, giant squirrels, Nilgiri wood pigeons, and many more. You can even spot the rare breed of Malabar tree toad. Besides, you will also witness some of the great varieties of butterflies.
You get access to one of the hidden gems in Goa – the Netravali waterfalls, also known as Savari Waterfall. With that said, it is time for some adrenaline rush as you have to hike for about 3 to 4 kilometres through the forest to reach this tucked-away waterfall in Goa. Another highlight of this sanctuary is Bubble Lake—you definitely cannot miss it. It is said that if anyone claps near the lake, bubbles appear on the lake water.
This sanctuary is perfect for an adventuresome day trip from Goa. So, if you’re looking for an escape from your monotonous Goa trip, include this in your list of places to visit in Goa. You can easily reach this unseen place in a rented car or a taxi from Verlem, Goa.
3. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary – the wonderland of flora and fauna
Cotigao is another wildlife sanctuary in South Goa that tourists often frequent. This sanctuary lies on the Goa-Karnataka border and spreads over 105 square kilometres.
If you’re eager to spot wildlife at this sanctuary, climb the observational deck of a tall tree. You will get uninterrupted 360-degree sight of the jungle. And you can even spot species like flying lizards, Malabar trogons, Golden-black gliding snakes, and much more.
The best part about this sanctuary is that you can trek and camp under the stars all night. Can anything get better than this? I don’t think so. However, first, you must get permission from Margao’s forest department office.
4. Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary – the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa
If you’re looking for a renowned wildlife sanctuary in Goa, head to Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. It spans 240 square kilometres and takes you through breathtaking scenery and a diverse range of plants, birds, and animals.
To spot wildlife, take a thrilling jungle safari to this sanctuary’s core area– Mollem National Park. Keep an eye out for the state bird – the ruby-throated yellow bulbul. It is one of the many interesting species to spot in this area. You can also spot wild boar, Bengal tiger, leopard, panther, snakes, and other birds.
After the jungle safari, visit the famous Dudhsagar Falls and the Devil’s Canyon. This canyon showcases the never-seen-before sight of Goa. And if you wish to witness the place in its glorious avatar, visit the sanctuary during the monsoon.
5. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary – a paradise for wildlife lovers
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the prime sanctuaries in North Goa. And a perfect place to spot Royal Bengal Tiger! The sanctuary helps in protecting the entire bio-diversity of the Western Ghats.
Mhadei Sanctuary is popular among bird lovers and “herpetologists” for snakes. The innumerable snakes include Russell’s viper, Indian krait, saw-scaled viper, spectacled cobra, etc. Other wildlife animals to look out for include sloth bears, barking deer, ruddy mongoose, etc.
Besides, the tourists not only flock to this paradise for wildlife. The waterfall – Vazra Sakla Falls and Virdi Falls, Vangeri Hills, and Cholar Ghat are some of the major attractions of this sanctuary. And do not miss the opportunity to go white water rafting in the Mhadei River. It is an experience you will cherish forever!
6. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary – ideal for bird lovers
You need to visit this sanctuary if birds intrigue you. You can expect to witness kingfisher, woodpeckers, kites, etc. There is also a guided tour through the canals to see the marshland around Chorao Island. The boat tours are organised both during high tide and low tide. So, choose according to your liking and go on this adventure at Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
Take a quick look at this table to clarify everything regarding the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa!
Best time to visit
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Usgao-Ganjem VP, Goa
Adult – Rs.50
Children – Rs.20
Between December to January
Tuesday to Saturday – 9am to 5pm
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
Adult – Rs.20
October to March
All days – 8am to 4pm
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Canacona Taluka, Khotigao, Goa
Adult – Rs.20
Child – Rs.10
Camera – Rs.30 -150
October to March
All days –7am to 5:30pm
Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary
Adult – Rs.20
November to March
All days – 8am to 5:30pm
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
October to March
All days – 8am to 5pm
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Chorao Island, Ilhas, Ribandar, Goa
Adult (Indian) – Rs.10
Adult (Foreigner) – Rs.100
December and January
All days – 6am to 6pm
Goa – beyond beaches and nightlife
With that, we have come to the end of this blog. So whether you’re a party lover or an animal lover, be ready to be spoilt with choices on your solo trip to Goa. I hope this list of wildlife sanctuaries aids you in planning your vacation in Goa, incorporating nature like a pro!
If you’ve been to these sanctuaries, share your experience in the comments below. Have a wild trip to Goa!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.