Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a haven for wildlife lovers. From various kinds of turtles to indigenous wildlife, Andaman has a lot to offer. From beautiful corals under the sea to land and terrestrial flora and fauna, you will be left amazed at the diversity these group of islands offer. On your next visit to Andaman and Nicobar, don't miss out the following 5 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries:
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Located in Wandoor, this marine national park is about 30km from Port Blair, the capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Established in 1983, the park, which covers 15 islands, is spread over 281.50 sq km, of which 220 sq.km lie in territorial sea water. Sandy beaches, creeks, mangrove and tropical forests mark these islands. Apart from corals, you may see colourful fish, molluscs, shells, starfish, turtles, and salt water crocodiles. The marine national park is also home to a variety of birds, including White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Andaman Teal, Reef Heron, Terns, etc. From the marine park, authorised tour operators ply boats for those who want to visit Jolly Buoy and Redskin islands.
Mount Harriet National Park
Mount Harriet is accessible from Port Blair by road and ferry. The eponymous National Park is spread
over 46.62 sq.km and covered by tropical evergreen forests. It also home to some of the endemic reptiles and amphibians of the Andaman Islands.
Lying 20km south of Port Blair, the Rutland Island contains tropical evergreen forest and streams. Its beaches are nesting ground of marine turtles, according to the Andaman & Nicobar forest department. The island is also home to some key Andaman wildlife, including Andaman Teal, Imperial pigeon, etc.
Cuthbert Bay Sanctuary
Located on the eastern coast of the Middle Andaman Islands, the beach is a nesting ground of Olive Ridley turtles, Leather-back turtles and the Green Sea turtle. Covering nearly six sq. km, the sanctuary can be reached through Rangat. Spotted deer, birds and butterflies are also be seen here.
Saddle Peak National Park
Located about 8km away from Diglipur (avail the ferry service from Port Blair to avoid the long 12-hour road journey from Port Blair), the Saddle Peak is the highest point in the Andaman & Nicobar islands. The Saddle Peak National Park, spread over 32.54 sq.km is known for the land and terrestrial flora and fauna of Andaman Islands, which may be observed while hiking along the eight km long trail starting from the entry gate.
How to get to Andaman and Nicobar Islands Multiple airlines fly to Port Blair, the capital of Andaman & Nicobar, from various metro cities. The other option is to take a ship to the islands. Ships ply from the mainland (Kolkata, Chennai, Visakhapatnam) to Andaman & Nicobar on a regular basis.