National Parks in South India offer wide variety of wild life experience for not only a wildlife enthusiast but also for a curious traveller. One will be surprised to know that South India has some lovely national parks in India. Many of them being some of the best tiger reserves in India.
Though summers may be the good time to sight the wild animals, winter is the best time for overall jungle experience. Forests are green. Waterbodies are full. You will always have a chance to sight some animals.
We present you 12 lovely national parks in South India which you can plan a trip in this winter. Please Check it out.
1 Kabini/Nagarahole National Park
We were fortunate to spot this guy getting up from his slumber during our visit to Kabini in May 2017
Boat safari in Kabini. Picture Courtesy – Thomas
Lovely backwaters. Dense green forests. Throbbing wild Life. If you are lucky, you will see big cats including black panther! The boat safari in Kabini is an exhilarating experience.
Reaching there – Nagarahole National park has two access points. One at Kabini and the other at Nagarahole near Kutta. The nearest airport is Mysore. The nearest railway station is Nanjangud for Kabini and Hunsur for Nagarahole.
Stay Options – There are many stay options in Kabini starting with ultra luxury Evolve Back (Formerly known as Orange County) to the comfortable Kabini River Lodge by Jungle Lodges. Some of the resorts are abetting the backwaters and some are away from them. We would recommend the resorts next to Backwaters. We also personally liked Kaav Safari Lodge which is away from the backwaters but is compensated by excellent rooms, outstanding food and very friendly staff. Staying in Jungle lodges comes with a free Jungle Safari and Boat safari. For others you have to pay extra.
Stay options at Nagarahole is limited. It will be a good option to stay in one of the home stays in and around Kutta and explore Nagarahole.
Tips – Make sure that the resort you are going to stay has a licence for jeep safari. Jungle Lodges allots seats to private resorts in their Jeeps. If the resort does not have the licence not worth going there. Then you should be satisfied with only the one hour safari in a bus which is no fun.
2 Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Check out the story behind these pictures in the link below.
Originally the hunting area of Mysore Maharajas, Bandipur Tiger Reserve is known for its tiger sightings. This is the largest national park in Karnataka. Lovely lakes and wildlife makes this a sought after destination among national parks in south india.
Reaching there – Bandipur is on Mysore – Ooty highway. The nearest railway station is Gundlupet. Nearest airport is Mysore.
Stay Options – There are many stay options in Bandipur starting with luxury options like Serai to the comfortable Bandipur Safari Lodge by Jungle Lodges. We personally liked Dhole’s den which is has excellent rooms, outstanding food and very friendly staff. Staying in Jungle lodges comes with a free Jungle Safari. For others you have to pay extra.
Tips – Make sure that the resort you are going to stay has a licence for jeep safari. Jungle Lodges allots seats to private resorts in their jeeps. If the resort does not have the licence not worth going there. Then you should be satisfied with only the one hour safari in a bus which is no fun.
All details about Bandipur can be seen in this post in this blog – Bandipur – A Tale of a Big cat!
3 Bhadra Tiger reserve
Fairly unknown to touristy crowd – which is actually good – Bhadra Tiger reserve is pristine. One of the unexplored tiger reserves in India. The backwaters of Bhadra reservoir makes this place more special. Throbbing bird life and varied fauna makes this place a must visit. The boat safari is a joy for wild life lovers. In season, one can see thousands of river terns on the backwaters.
Reaching There – The tiger reserve is well-connected by road. The nearest railway station is Tarikere. The nearest airport is Mangalore.
Stay options – The only stay option in Bhadra is River Tern lodge run by Jungle Lodges. Lovely log huts overlooking the backwaters of Bhadra reservoir are value for money! The only other option is to stay in Forest Guest houses which are difficult to book and are unpredictable due to last-minute cancellations to accommodate any VIPs.
Please check out a detailed post on Bhadra in this blog here – Bhadra Tiger Reserve – Wild and Lovely!
4 Dandeli Tiger Reserve
Kali river flows through the tiger reserve
Hornbills in Dandeli. Picture courtesy – Arjun Haarith
Uttara Kannada district has some of the dense jungles in the country. River Kali flows through it. This is hornbills country! August is the season for watching the hornbills. The jungle safari is lovely. Dandeli is a bird watchers paradise.
Reaching there – Dandeli is well-connected by road. The nearest convenient railway station is Londa which is well-connected to other parts of the country. The nearest airport is Belgaum.
Stay Options – Dandeli has many stay options including the forest guest houses. Kali Adventure Camp and Old Magazine House by Jungle Lodges are well-known. There are also some excellent home stay options like Kadumane.
5 B R Hills Tiger Reserve
The tiger reserve at BR Hills is congruent to adjacent Sathyamangalam Wild Life sanctuary. BR Hills is better placed to explore the region.
A detailed exploration of BR Hills with all details can be read in this post – BR Hills – A Morning rendezvous with a leopard!
6 Periyar Tiger reserve
Periyar is one of the oldest tiger reserves in India. The boating in the Periyar lake is an experience in itself. Periyar is one of few parks where one can go for night safari. Thera are many options to explore the tiger reserve.
Reaching there – Thekkady is well-connected by road to different arts of Kerala. the nearest railway station is Kottayam which is at a distance of 114 KMs. The other option is Madurai. The nearest airport is Madurai.
Stay Opions – Thekkady has many stay options from luxury resorts to regular lodges.
Tips – Thekkady can be clubbed with a trip to Munnar. Please go through excellent website on Periyar tiger reserve and pick up an activity of your choice.
7 Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam is one of the less explored national park in India. In a way it is good and the park is pristine and lovely. One of the parks which conducts nature walks inside the national park. This is the park from where you can see the highest peak in south india – Anamudi. And it is lovely! If you are planning a trip to Munnar, keep a day reserved for Eravikulam.
Reaching there – Munnar in which region Eravikulam falls is well-connected to other parts of South India by road. The nearest airport is either Kochi or Coimbatore. Th nearest railway station is Kochi.
Stay Options – There are many options to stay from luxury resorts to regular lodges in Munnar.
Tips – Eravikulam national park can be clubbed with Munnar. Please go through excellent website on Eravikulam national park and pick up an activity of your choice.
8 Parambikulam National Park
Elephants on the backwaters. Picture courtesy – Wikimedia Commons
Another gem in Kerala. One of the most picturesque national parks in India. With backwaters of Parambikulam dam nourishing the forest, this is another must for anyone who love wild life. This is another park which allows guided treks.
Reaching there – Pollachi is the nearest rail head. Parambikulam is well-connected by road to other parts of South india. Coimbatore is the nearest airport.
Stay Options – The best options to stay are inside the park.
Checkout their lovely website for all details. – Parambikulam Tiger Reserve
9 Silent Valley National Park
Silent Valley is a bio diversity hotspot. There are no safaris here. Only guided treks. Make the best use of it.
Reaching there – Silent valley is well-connected by road to their parts of South India. The nearest rail head is Palakkad. The nearest airport is Coimbatore.
Stay Options – There are no good stay options inside the park except for the forest IB which needs to be booked in advance. One has to stay in Palakkad which has better options.
For more details check out the website – Silent valley National Park
10 Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary
Photo Courtesy of above two Photos – Anantclicks
Commonly known as “Top Slip” or “Anamalai Tiger Reserve” this is Congruent to Parambikulam Tiger reserve in adjacent Kerala, this is a lovely wilderness. Similar to Parambikulam, one can go for nature walks and treks in the sanctuary.
Reaching there – Top Slip is well-connected with rest of the country by road. Nearest rail head is Pollachi and nearest airport is Coimbatore.
Stay options – There are log huts and other accommodation managed by the Tamil Nadu forest department. There are good stay options both in Top Slip and Pollachi.
Tips – Club the visit to Top Slip with wonderful Valparai. Check out all details about Valparai here in this blog
All details about Anamalai can be seen here in this excellent website – All About Top Slip or Anamalai
Thadam is a group of youngsters who are promoting Eco Tourism activities in Anamalai ranges of Parambikulam and Top Slip. We went for a forest trek with them in Top Slip and it was an excellent experience. Check out more details here – Thadam Experiences
11 Kalakkad – Mundanthurai Wild Life Sanctuary
Unknown to many, this is a hidden jewel. Spread over the twin sanctuaries of Kalakkad and Mundanthurai has everything a wild life enthusiast or a curious traveller look for. Pristine wildlife including tigers, lovely waterbodies, beautiful flora makes this place a delight.
Reaching there – The park is well-connected by road. The nearest rail head is Tirunelveli. Nearest airport is Madurai
Stay options – There is a forest guest house. As any forest guest houses, these are basic. The better options are available in Tirunelveli.
Tips – Club this with your trip to Madurai or Kanyakumari.
All details about the park can be read here – Kallakad – Mundanturai Tiger Reserve
12 Papikonda National Park
Picture courtesy of above two pictures – Nature Conservation
This is a fascinating park. Drained by mighty Godavari river, Papikondlu is unique.
Papikonda National Park is located in East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh and Khammam district of Telangana. The park lies on the left and right banks of the river Godavari and cuts through the Papikonda hill range of Eastern Ghats. The River Godavari enriches the Papikonda Park with its natural beauty.
Reaching there – The place is well-connected by road. The nearest rail head is Rajamundry which also has an airport.
Stay Options – There is a forest guest house inside the park. Better stay options are in Rajamundry.
More details on the park can be read here – Papikonda National Park
General information for all the National Parks in South India
- Please follow the guidelines of forest department while visiting the park.
- If going for nature walk or trekking always ensure that you have a forest department approved guide.
- Camping is generally not permissible in these national parks.
- All these national parks in south india have guest houses by forest department. Unfortunately, most of them are not managed well and this should be your last option. If you are staying in forest guest house, you better take a spare bed sheet and towels.
- Always carry a good binoculars and a camera with you while visiting the park.
- Most of the above national parks are designated as tiger reserves in India . That does not mean that you get a chance to sight a tiger. Sighting a tiger in wild is always matter of luck. Don’t worry about the tiger. Enjoy the forest.
- Always check out the latest information by visiting the website and calling the people responsible for managing the parks before planning your trip. The park can be closed due to various reason likes wild fires or floods.
All these national parks in south india have forest guest houses which can be booked through respective forest departments. However, be aware, that these are fairly basic accommodation and many a time not well maintained. Food will also be not elaborate. The location of these guest houses superb being in the middle of jungles.
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