Area : 5729.07 square kilometers
Location: Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Main Attraction: Elephant, Gaur, Tiger; trekking and white water rafting
Timings: 6am -- 6pm
Overview of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
Catching a glimpse of the rare Black Panther is not just a matter of chance, but also where you are going to look for it. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to this most mysterious of the big cats that has been immortalised as Bagheera in the famous children’s classic, The Jungle Book. This moist deciduous forest nurtures the rarest leopard, which make wildlife lovers visit Dandeli again & again. The surging streams, whispering forests, diverse wildlife, and innumerable trekking trails also add glory to the forest and make it one of the most sought after wildlife destinations.
Panther in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the scariest animals in the wild, Black Panther is the most common form melanistic leopards that have been selectively bred for captivity in zoos. Because of its selective breeding, the number of black panthers found in the world is limited. Official records say that there are eight of them existing in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Sighting the animal is very rare and mostly depends on one’s luck but there are people indeed who have actually seen the mysterious black big cat glide through the forest. The dark coloration of the panthers gives them a huge hunting advantage.
Some of the rarest animals and birds are nurtured is this unspoilt, untouched and unexplored treasure of wildlife, which is sure to leave you enthralled. The Sanctuary abounds in rich flora and fauna and is spread over 450 sq km. In fact Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest in Karnataka. River Kali & its tributaries – Kaneri & Nagajhar, meander through its deciduous and semi evergreen forest.
Yet another wonderful quirk of nature is the Syntheri Rocks, situated outside the sanctuary. An imposing limestone cliff-face with hundreds of beehives; has dark mysterious caves at its base. The breath-taking valleys, the scenic vista & the awe-inspiring Syntheri Rocks make it a wonderful experience. The Dandeli forests also play host to the graceful Virnoli Rapids, the magnificent Supa Dam, Nagajhari Viewpoint, the Kulgi Nature Education Camp, the Kavla Caves with their Shivling-like stalagmites, and Sykes Point which offers a stunning view of the Kalinadi Valley.
The sanctuary offers wildlife safaris in jeeps, nature walks, bird watching, crocodile sighting trips, fishing, coracle boat rides besides trekking. For the sheer adventure lovers, there is white water rafting in river Kali. Rowing through the surging rapids with sunlight filtering through the jungle trees will for sure be an unforgettable experience.
Other Animals in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
Crocodiles, sloth bears, bush grail, elephants, sambars and tiger are other animals that you may come across in the sanctuary. Dandeli is also home to the barking, spotted and mouse deer, gaur, wild dog, civet cat, bison, jackal, mongoose, porcupine, langur and giant flying squirrel, besides a variety of colourful birds and reptiles. The reptilian and amphibian fauna of the region include a variety of ruffles and frogs.
The main bird species in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary include magpie robin, golden backed woodpecker, crested serpent eagle and a large variety of other birds. The white breasted kingfisher, grey hornbill, great pied hornbill, the Malabar pied hornbills are some more bird species to watch out here. In fact hornbill is present here in large numbers.
Sightseeing in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
Kavala Caves : Once home of Pre-historic man, who had made these limestone caves his home are today a tourist attractions. Kavala Caves are located 30 km away from Dandeli.
Shiroli Peak : Other interesting place to visit is Shiroli Peak located 25 km away. This is the highest point in Uttara Kannada District, which offers great views of the ghats and also provides good options for mild trekking.
Kulgi Nature Camp : A must visit when in Dandeli is Kulgi Nature Camp located 14 km away. The camp is situated on the Ambika Nagar-Yellapur route and has a nature interpretation centre with a small museum. The highlight is the stuffed remains of a 13-ft long king cobra, caught in the area a few years ago. The forest department organises nature walks and jungle safaris here.
How To Reach Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
By Air : The nearest airport is in Dabolim (Goa) at a distance of 145 km.
By Rail : The nearest railhead is in Londa (25 km). Other close railheads are in Dharwad (57 km) and Hubli (72 km).
By Road : The best way to reach Dandeli is to travel from Karwar which is at a distance of 120 km.