After having strolled and trekked a few miles in Kambalakonda, I still don’t know if it should be called a wildlife sanctuary like Andhra Pradesh tourism website claims it to be or an eco-tourism Park as Google location calls it. Dear reader, help me arrive at a conclusion after I share my experience with you.
The fenced quarters of Kambalakonda (we are yet to decide whether to call it park or wildlife sanctuary) are plush with tropical vegetation. Butterflies accompanied a solitary soul - me - to a gentle downward slope. They played a relay of sort. It seemed like each handed an invisible baton to another, who led me further. On either side was land pregnant with red cedar foliage trapped in a mesh of wild bauhinia shrub, under a canopy of jambul rawfruit and cahrachi trees. Un-worded songs of birds from the thickets kept me as entertained as any bard would on a day spent surrounded in concrete.
While being led by a crane fly down a dirt path, my curious eyes were glued to its protruding ones. My eye line that followed this low-flying creature was intercepted by some fast motion. What I mistook for soil and stones travelling laterally, was actually a centipede. It looked like a pavement from Gulliver’s world. After the realisation hit me, I swiftly pulled out my camera and unleashed unsparing paparazzi on it. Accelerating to the fastest gear that its multiple legs were capable of - it scuttled away into the bushes escaping my tourist-y self. I also nick-named it a taxi-pede as an ode to the Bombay taxis.
To give my eyes some respite from the dirt path, I looked up. An adult palm-sized spider was hanging off from its giant web that was held in place by two trees on either side of the road that was nearly 5 meters wide.
Praying that it doesn’t decide to make a quick unsolicited landing, I pulled out my camera, took a picture of it and walked ahead, as soon as I could. However, my ten-year-old Spiderman-watching self would’ve stayed until the descent and coerced for a super-power inducing bite.
Another twenty minutes of a rather easy stroll, I was led to the lake held on one side by an adjoining konda (hill in Telugu). An olive-backed sunbird landed a few meters away. I sat there and spent a few silent minutes with it, until it felt refueled to fly.
Butterflies are either good-natured hosts or just too abundant in Kambalakonda because my walk to the gates of the park was escorted by a bunch of them, again.
The tar road pinched my sight as soon as I exited. Vehicular commotion wasn’t half as good a company as those jungle breeders I had just left behind. As I left their home, I set out to find myself one for the night. It is also up to you to now decide on whether to agree with Andhra Pradesh tourism website’s name for Kambalakonda, or Google’s based on my experience.
Location: Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh