The calm and peaceful Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is reputed as the largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka.Nestling some very rare animal and birds is an unspoilt, untouched and unexplored treasure of wildlife that is sure to leave you spellbound. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary abounds with a richness of Flora and Fauna. Its richness and diversity offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape. The sanctuary is generally undulating with steep slopes with picturesque deep river valleys and rich hilly forest terrain. The breathtaking valleys, regal looking meandering rivers and the splendid scenic beauty of the syntheri rock make it an awe inspiring experience. The forest in Dandeli is typical moist deciduous and semi evergreen types, with pockets of every green.
The sanctuary covers part of the rich forests of the Uttara Kannada District, on the banks of the river Kali. It was authorised as a sanctuary on 10th May 1956, and has since reduced in size, now incorporating the Anshi National Park. The sanctuary now covers an area of 834.16 square kilometres.
Altitude varies from 100m to 970m, the highest point is the Hegada Temba. Annual rainfall varies between 1250mm and 5000mm, averaging at 2500mm per year. There is easy access by road and rail, and convenient bus services.
There are so many attractions and opportunities on offer at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, whether you choose action and adventure with white water rafting or slow the pace down with peaceful birdwatching and wildlife photography. You’ll be spoilt for choice!
Flora and Fauna: The forest here is awash with colour, a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees including bamboo and teak plantations. The many fruit bearing trees provide food for the 196 species of birds in the area, and many of the plants are revered for their healing and medicinal properties. For example, the leaves of the Kydia Clycina are used to relieve muscular aches and pains.
Some of the birds which inhabit the area are the Great Pied Hornbill, Blue-Throated Barbet, Peregrine falcon and the curious-looking Malabar Pied Hornbill. This bird is quite large and has a yellow beak with a hard, helmet-like bump on top, called a ‘casque’.
During August and September, Malabar Pied Hornbills flock to the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary in large numbers to feast on the fruit trees. They create quite a show – not to be missed!
Major Wildlife Attractions: Sloth Bears are pretty odd looking creatures, they have no upper incisor teeth but have a very long tongue and they just love termites – love eating them, that is! The long tongue and lack of upper incisors help them to suck as many termites into their mouths as possible.
They have feet which turn inwards and long claws which they use to dig at termite hills. They also eat other insects, birds’ eggs and honey, and they have been spotted shaking trees and climbing them to get fruit.
Barking Deer live quietly in the sanctuary, you would hardly know they are there, apart from their call which sounds like a dog. If you are rowing down the Kali river and think you hear a dog barking – think again! Barking deer are solitary and timid, more usually spotted alone or in a pair than in a group. Be patient (and quiet) if you want to photograph one.
The Indian Pangolin is an amazing ant-eating creature, with overlapping scales which make it look like a Medieval knight in armour! These unusual scales are made up of hundreds of tiny hairs compressed together.
The Malabar Giant Squirrel or Ratufa Indica is roughly the size of a small dog, with it’s tail about the same length as it’s body. It is very shy and, if it senses danger, it will flatten itself on a tree branch and blend in with the foliage. Although predominantly black, colouring can range through mixed red to black and off-white. Keep still and train your eyes on the nearest tree to spot one of these creatures.
Other Attractions: For adults and children who enjoy thrills and adventure, there is white water rafting at the Virnoli Rapids on the Kali river – imagine soaring through the surging water to the sounds of exotic birdsong, with sunlight filtering through the trees. An experience you’ll never forget!
If you want a more gentle way to appreciate the environment then the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary also offers nature walks, bird watching, boating and fishing, and crocodile spotting trips.
here are many varied walking trails which give plenty of opportunities for photography, and an evening paddling down the Kali river in a coracle or canoe is both relaxing and exciting, as you spot a rare mammal or reptile – even a croc!
Best Time to Visit: the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is between October and June.
How to Get there:
Air: The nearest airport is in Dabolim (Goa) at a distance of 145 km.
Rail: The nearest railhead is in Londa (25 km). Other close railheads are in Dharwad (57 km) and Hubli (72 km).
Road: The best way to reach Dandeli is to travel from Karwar which is at a distance of 120 km.
Londa (25 Kms.)
Elephant, Gaur, Tiger