Karnataka is known for its rich forests and the variety of wildlife residing within it. The numerous reserves and national parks that are located within the state make it the perfect spot for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. Similarly popular are the safaris they offer to animal lovers who wish to go deep into nature and view wildlife close to them. So, how about planning a trip to the forest for the next holiday season? Given below are a few of the best wildlife safari locations in Karnataka that you can check out to have a wonderful and thrilling experience on your next trip.
1. Nagarhole Tiger Reserve
Home to the majestic Bengal Tigers, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, which lies between Mysore and the Nilgiri mountain ranges, is the perfect location to spot these big cats. It is a hub for those who love animals, wildlife, and photography. With a high probability of spotting Bengal Tigers, the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve is one of the best wildlife safari locations in Karnataka. The reserve is also a prime spot to watch Asiatic elephants in their natural habitat. You can also find wild dogs, bears, and leopards in the forest, along with different species of birds, flora, and fauna.
The best time to visit and get the most out of the place, its wildlife, and its climate is between October and May. During these months, the forest will be in its full glory, beckoning you with its enchanting magic. Safaris through the forest would not be available during the monsoon months, between June and September. To book a safari at the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, you can either reach the location early, and book your spots or book slots in advance online. The reserve offers 2 safaris a day, one in the morning and another in the evening. It is important to know which one to pick and also the gates as well since there are two gates through which the safari commences. You can get the help of a travel agent or resourceful person to help you in this matter.
2. Bandipur Forest
Bandipur National Park, which comes under the initiative Project Tiger, is one of the prime locations to spot tigers, and the safaris there are said to have the most sightings of tigers as compared to others in South India. Many varieties of flora and fauna exotic to the area thrive in harmony in these forests. Animals like leopards, sloth bears, gaurs, and elephants are only some of the wildlife the Bandipur Forest is home to.
Bandipur Forest offers safaris to take you close to the wildlife and experience a thrilling adventure. Jeep, camper, and bus safaris take you through the dense forest in groups, according to the capacity of the vehicle you are choosing, spotting wildlife along the way with an experienced tour guide accompanying you. The reserve also offers a special safari atop elephants, giving you a royal experience and a different perspective of the forest. Walking safaris are also available for hiking enthusiasts who would love to see nature and the wild up close. Morning and evening safaris are available, from which you can opt for the one that suits you best. Night safaris are also provided here, where you can enjoy the forest and its inhabitants at night.
Booking your slots and dates beforehand is advised. The place could get crowded during weekends and holidays. You can select your preferred dates and timings on their website for a hassle-free adventure.
3. Bhadra Tiger Reserve
Bhadra Tiger Reserve is named after the river Bhadra, which runs through the heart of the reserve and acts as the lifeline of the forest. The forest is rich with diverse flora and fauna thriving and blooming in their full grace, which exists in full harmony. The sanctuary is among the top places in Karnataka for spotting tigers since it is home to more than 30 tigers and more than 20 leopards. Elephants, wild dogs, jackals, porcupines, and black leopards are among the other animals that can be found in the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. The forest comprises more than 120 species of trees, including the Jagara Giant, the largest teak tree in Karnataka.
A safari through the Bhadra Tiger Reserve would be a rewarding and thrilling experience. The reserve conducts two safaris every day, one in the morning and one in the evening. There are jeep, bus, and boat safaris from which you can choose the one that fits you best. If you love bird watching, a boat safari would suit you, since you would be able to spot different birds by the river. The best time to visit Bhadra Tiger Reserve is between October and May, since during the summer months, animals would come out of their hiding to drink water by the river banks.
4. Kudremukha National Park
Kudremukha National Park has its name “Kudremukh” which translates to “horse face”, due to the unique shape of the main peak where the park is located. This spot, not much recognized for its natural beauty and many options for trekking, makes it part of one of the best wildlife safaris in Karnataka. The safari that the Kudremukha National Park offers takes you through the wilderness, trapping you in an enthralling adventure where you can view and enjoy wildlife and flora existing in peace in nature. Tigers, leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs, and the Malabar giant squirrels are only among the few animals that roam freely in the forest. Many species of birds, around 200 species, too are inhabitants of this giant ecosystem, making it a perfect spot to relax and have a fun adventure for bird enthusiasts.
The park will be open from 6 am to 6 pm, and the best time to visit would be December to February. If you are looking for a more immersive trip, you can opt for trekking in the peaks of the Kudremukha ranges, which would certainly be a rewarding experience. The rivers and grassy slopes would be the perfect serene setting for the eyes as well as the soul. With the permission of the forest guards, you can indulge in trekking activities through the mountain ranges.
5. Anshi National Park
Anshi National Park, also known as Kali Tiger Reserve, shares borders with Goa and is part of the Dandeli Sanctuary. If you are planning a trip to Gokarna, you can include Anshi National Park in your itinerary to experience nature and wildlife in one of the best places in Karnataka to enjoy wildlife. The dense deciduous covers of the forest are home to a wide variety of birds, animals, and plants, which will be a dream come true for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Biking, trekking, jungle safaris, and other adventurous activities are also available here, which can enhance your thrilling trip into the wilderness. The most significant attraction of Anshi National Park is the Black Panther, a rarely found animal in the country, that resides among its forest. Other animals include elephants, tigers, deer, leopards, and jackals among the many. Around 200 species of birds too are residents of this ecosystem, including hornbill, as well as reptiles like King Cobra and lizards.
Two jungle safaris are conducted every day at Anshi National Park. After booking your slots, you will be instructed to reach Phansoli, from where the safari would commence. You will be advised to reach here 15 minutes before the start of the journey. The best time to visit the park is between November and May. Since monsoons in the area witness heavy rainfall, it would be better not to visit the park during those months. The Anshi National Park also has scenic mountains, peaks, and grasslands, which you could explore during your trip.
6. Daroji Bear Sanctuary
Daroji Bear Sanctuary, the first sloth bear sanctuary in Asia, is the only such in India and is home to sloth bears, recognized as “vulnerable” in the Red List. The sanctuary has about 150 sloth bears and many birds and animals including leopards, hyenas, lizards, peafowl, etc. You can also spot a variety of species of butterflies in this beautiful sanctuary. Daroji Bear Sanctuary is the perfect spot to include in your Hampi itinerary since the reserve lies close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi.
Two safaris are conducted by the reserve every day. One that starts at 1.30 pm and another at 3.30 pm. The safari jeep will take you through the 8 km path that stretches to a viewing deck. There is no other way to traverse through the jungle other than this trodden path. The viewing deck, which will be open for a few hours every day, lets you watch over the vast spread of land and wildlife in their natural habitat. The forest guards would spread watered jaggery at different spots to attract the sloth bears, which are known for their shy nature. The bears will gradually come down the hills to have their treat.
Since Daroji Bear Sanctuary is known to fewer people, you can expect a calm environment with not much crowd. The best time to view the wildlife is between August and April. Also, try to visit during the feeding time of the bears, so that you have a high chance of spotting them. Tickets to the safari can be procured from the office near the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park in Kamalapura.
Jungle safaris are one of the best activities that assures adventure, adrenaline rush, and thrill all at the same time. Be it with your friends, colleagues, or your family, jungle safaris are for fun, adventure seekers, who love to be close to nature. So, immerse in the beauty of the wilderness by getting on a wildlife safari from among the best wildlife safari locations in Karnataka given above. It is never too late to get on an adventure to the wild side.