If you’re planning an adventure trip to Karnataka and your itinerary doesn’t include a visit to their diverse wildlife sanctuaries filled with rich flora and fauna, then let me stop you right there. An excursion to these is an absolute must, especially for photographers who want to capture the picturesque beauty and wildlife aficionados. Karnataka is a state famous for its biodiversity and the fact that Karnataka is blessed with forest coverage which covers about 20% of the total area of the state fosters, the perfect environment for their growth. Let us learn about some of the most prominent wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka.
1. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
The second-largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, situated in the Uttar Kannada region near the River Kali is the absolute perfect spot for nature enthusiasts as well as bird-watchers. It is surrounded by lush green hills and is a great place for anyone looking to soak in the serene beauty of nature. The wildlife here includes a variety of deer, the Indian bison, the great hornbill, the Indian sloth bear, etc. There are numerous adventurous activities offered here such as camping and a safari that is a must. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to stay in the Hornbill Resort which has received truly glowing reviews.
2. Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary was formed for the protection, propagation, and development of wildlife, as well as the surroundings needed for the same. This beautiful sanctuary is situated only a mere 100 kilometers south of the capital, Bengaluru, and would serve as the perfect detour. The periphery of it is formed by the sanctuary’s namesake river whose mesmerizing allure will only add to your experience here. It is because of the river’s presence that this wildlife sanctuary is well-known for its varied species of aquatic life such as crocodiles and the hump-backed Mahseer fish. Other animals found here are the Asian elephant, tigers, sambar, sloths, etc.
3. Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary
Located in the historic city of Hampi, this wildlife sanctuary’s specialty can be inferred by its very name. These honey-loving sloth bears are endemic to this region and cannot be found elsewhere which serves as a major tourist attraction of this place. There are approximately 120 sloth bears living here in this rough terrain with the caves there, as their primary home. Apart from that, other animals that can be spotted here are porcupines, jackals, leopards, etc. Due to the nature of this place which involves rocks and boulders, it is also great for trekking enthusiasts.
4. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
An integral part of Project Tiger, this wildlife sanctuary (shelter for about 33 tigers) provides a home to a diverse variety of animals such as wild dogs, guar, elephants, etc. This reserve is also renowned for its flora which includes a 300-year-old tree called ‘Jagara’. Apart from that, approximately 120 different species of plant life can be found here. It is highly recommended to take a jeep safari through the jungle here where it is very likely for you to spot a tiger or a leopard in action. Additionally, the Bhadra Dam is a major appeal of this place and numerous tourists visit it and even go for a boat ride inside the reservoir.
5. Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
The reasons to visit this wildlife sanctuary are countless. It offers various tourist attractions, for instance, the Jog Falls, the third-highest waterfall in India. A visit to the Linganamakki Reservoir and the Honnemaradu backwaters will make your experience here all the more memorable. The rich biodiversity here includes mesmerizingly lovely butterflies and birds like hornbills and herons. The wild animals seen here are the lion-tailed macaque, tigers, pythons, Malabar giant squirrels, and many more. The lush evergreen trees along with the year-round pleasant atmosphere add to the beauty of this wildlife sanctuary.
6. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary is considered to be one of the best places in South India to lose yourself in the wilderness. It provides shelter to a vast variety of rare bird species. Apart from exotic birds, innumerable animals such as spotted deer, brown palm civet, stripe-necked mongoose, bison, etc. can be found here. It is furthermore an amazing destination for trekkers who wish to conquer the Kumara Parvatha. Don’t forget your camera when going here because this place showcases the gorgeous Western Ghats at their best. The Safari offered here is a popular option among tourists. A little-known fact about this wildlife sanctuary is that it has also been suggested as a World Heritage Site.
7. Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary
Your experience here will involve being surrounded by greenery, breathing in the fresh morning air, and spotting wild animals on the exhilarating jeep safari. Needless to say, the journey will be one you will never forget. For trekkers, this place might just be paradise. Koosalli and Belkal Theerta are the serene waterfalls that can be found here. You can spot here wild animals such as deer, tigers, and jackals along with birds such as myna, bulbul, robin, and kingfisher. If you want to unwind amongst the wild, then this is the perfect destination for you.
8. Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit for anyone planning a trip to Belgaum. It derives its name from the fort of Bhimgad which was built by Shivaji. The trees here are both evergreen and deciduous. The biodiversity consists of tigers, leopards, wild dogs, chitals, and foxes. Its major attraction has to be the Barapede caves which is the home of the Wroughton free-tailed bats, a species nearing extinction. The activities that one can partake in here involve trekking and bird-watching.
Missing out on witnessing the variety of flora and fauna here in Karnataka is something you’ll come to regret. There are about 20 wildlife sanctuaries here that are helping in the conservation of fauna and protecting the innocent animals that fall victim to poachers and hunters. Additionally, the state government has initiated various efforts for the same. It was Steve Irwin who put it best, “If we teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”