First-Timer’s Guide To Offbeat Wildlife Destinations In Karnataka

First-Timer’s Guide To Offbeat Wildlife Destinations In Karnataka
Jog Falls, Karnataka, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Home to India’s tech hub, there’s a lot more to Karnataka than what meets the eye

Roshni Subramanian
September 25 , 2019
16 Min Read

We knew there’s a reason why Karnataka is one of the most popular states for tourism in India. After having travelled across the length and breadth of the state we can firmly say that all our doubts were put to rest. From captivating hill stations to pristine beaches and enchanting valleys, Karnataka has something in store for everybody. Home to UNESCO world heritage sites like Hampi, no wonder Karnataka tops the bucket list of most desi travellers.

 It is no secret that Karnataka is one of the richest states in India in terms of flora and fauna. The finest variety of wildlife, lush greenery and scrubbed forests make it the ideal biodiversity hotspot. Home to some of the rarest and most exotic species, it is also the prime destination for Project Tiger. The rich and diverse selection of species in the region has attracted tourists and nature enthusiasts from around the globe. But at the same time there’s a lot in Karnataka that remains unexplored till date. Take a look at these lesser known wildlife escapes that you ought to visit during your next vacation. 

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Satpreet Singh (@singh.satpreet.82) on Sep 16, 2019 at 7:15pm PDT

Set in the heartland of western ghats, between Chikmagalur and Shimoga, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary sprawls over an area of 492 sq km. About 38 km from Chikmagalur district, this sanctuary was named after the Bhadra river which flows through the lush forests. Considered a birder’s paradise, it is home to over 250 species of birds. Animals that can be spotted here include tigers and leopards from the feline family and also the Malabar giant squirrel. Offering several recreational activities, water enthusiasts can also enjoy jet skiing, kayaking and other water sports.

Distance: 103 km from Shimoga; 285 km from Bangalore

When to visit: October to March

Getting there 

Air: Nearest airport: Mangalore (163 km)

Rail: Nearest railhead: Kadur (40 km)

Road: Bus service is available from Bhadravathi and nearby towns like Tarikere and Birur

Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chandan Singh (@hitman_singh) on Sep 3, 2019 at 7:48am PDT

 

 Located at a height of 1607m, at the highest point of Brahmagiri peak, this wildlife sanctuary is right between Wayanad in Kerala and Coorg in Karnataka. Covering an area of 181 kms, Brahmagiri is home to a wide variety of mammals including lion tailed macaque, elephant, spotted deer, nilgiri langur and wild pigs. The other attractions in the vicinity are Thirunnelai temple, Pakshipathalam and Iruppu falls. With a vegetation comprising of mainly evergreen and semi evergreen forests, it is an ideal destination for trekking.

Distance: 60 km from Coorg; 270 kms from Bangalore

When to visit: May and October are the ideal time to undertake a trek here

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Mysore (113 km) 

Rail: Nearest railway station: Mysore railway junction (110 km)

Road: KSRTC bus service  is available from Bangalore to Gonikkoppal and Srimangala from where you’ll have to undertake a 10 km trek. Tourists from Kerala can opt for the SRTC bus services.

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mohammed Salman (@7salman86) on Jun 23, 2019 at 12:43pm PDT

Sprawling across an area of of 102.59 sq km Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the districts of Mysore , Bangalore and Mandya. A perfect spot for those seeking solitude, this sanctuary is a haven for nature & wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers. The jungle is also the source for rose wood, teak and hardwood. Nearly 100 species of birds can be spotted in the region in addition to a diverse variety of wildlife including spotted deer, sambar deer, wild dogs and four - horned antelope to name a few.

Distance: 90 km from Bangalore

When to visit: August to February

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Bangalore (130 km) 

Rail: Nearest railhead: Ramanagar (25 km)

Road: From Bangalore you can reach Muthathi via Harohalli, Kanakapura and Sathanur. Alternatively, you can reach M.M Hills via Maddur, Malavalli and Kollegal

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) on Aug 1, 2018 at 1:54am PDT

Located in Uttara Kannada, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary spreads over an area of 873 sq km. Overlooking the Kali river, Dandeli is home to 11 tigers and offers a unique bird watching and crocodile spotting experience. The Dandeli wildlife sanctuary along with the adjoining Anshi National Park is an integral part of Project Tiger. Making for a perfect weekend getaway, the sanctuary offers several adventure sports activities including white - water rafting in Kali river and mountain biking in the hilly terrains. Some unusual mammals that one can spot here are sloth bears, barking deers and Indian Pangolin. 

Distance:  480 km from Bangalore

When to visit: March to October

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Hubli (75 km)

Rail: Nearest railway station: Alnavar (32km); Londa (48km)

Road: While the nearest town is Dharwad, there are well connected road routes from Bangalore, Belgaum, Hubli and Karwar

Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Travel Karnataka Official (@travel_karnataka) on Jun 1, 2018 at 8:03pm PDT

Situated on the banks of Sharavathi river in Shimoga district, this wildlife sanctuary spans over an area of 431 sq km and consists of dense evergreen and semi evergreen forests. One can also enjoy the view of Jog falls which is located right next to the Sharavathi valley. This wildlife sanctuary is home to various rare and exotic species like lion - tailed macaque that are protected by the forest authorities. Other mammals include common langur, leopard, wild dog, jackal and sloth bears amongst others. The backwaters of Sharavathi also offer opportunities for water sports like kayaking, canoeing and wind - surfing. 

Distance: 331 km from Bangalore

When to visit: Though the weather is pleasant throughout the year the ideal period to visit is from November to May.

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Hubli (165 km)

Rail: Nearest railhead: Shimoga 

Road: NH 50 and NH 206 connect Bangalore to Shimoga via Tumkur and Arasikere

Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by India Unlocked (@indiaunlocked) on Jul 11, 2019 at 4:34am PDT

Right adjacent to the Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary is the Mookambika Sanctuary. Located in Udupi district, it covers an area of 247 sq km. The sanctuary has  evergreen, semi - evergreen and moist deciduous forests, and is divided into three zones; core, buffer and tourist. The rich and diverse fauna in the region attracts tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. The Mookambika temple is also a major attraction in the vicinity. 

Distance: 130 km from Shimoga

When to visit: November and April

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Mangalore (140 km)

Rail: Nearest railway station: Mookambika at Byndoor (28 km)

Road: There is road connectivity from Kundapur (35 km) and Byndoor (25 km)

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Adventure On Wheels (@adventure_on_wheels4) on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:31am PDT

A proposed world heritage site, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary houses some of the rarest and endangered species of birds. About 287 km from Bangalore, this sanctuary was established in 1987 and sprawls over an area of 102 km. From steep terrains to waterfalls to dense forests, the region is rich in biodiversity. One can spot varieties of animals like giant flying squirrel, asian elephant, spotted deer and many others.

Distance: 287 kms from Bangalore

When to visit: November to March

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Mangalore (135 km)

Rail: Nearest railway station: Mysore (146 km)

Road: It takes around 4. 5 hours from Bangalore to reach Pushpagiri. You can drive through NH48 or SH 8 as convenient. The alternative route is through NH 275.

Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Babu Mon (@babumonmg81) on Jul 27, 2019 at 8:32pm PDT

Located in southern Karnataka, in Kodagu (Coorg) district, this sanctuary covers an area of 105 sq km. It derives its name from the origin of river Kaveri. Though geographically, it is much smaller than the others on the list , Talakaveri is one of the few wildlife destinations that has coffee and cardamom plantation within the premises. The area is covered in lush tropical evergreen forests and is home to mammals like Nilgiri marten, common palm civet, leopards, jackals and tigers .Talakaveri is also the habitat of a wide variety of reptiles including the likes of cobra, king cobra and python.

Distance: 300 km from Bangalore

When to visit: Bewteen November to April

Getting there

Air: Nearest airport: Mangalore (160 km)

Rail: Nearest railway station: Hassan, Thalassery, Kannur and Kasargod (130 km)

Road: From Bangalore one can reach Talakaveri via Mysore, Madikeri, Kushalanagar and Bhagamandala and from Mangalore via Puttur, Sulliya, Madikeri and Bhagamandala


Related Articles

The Horror Walk of Fame:...

Sahana Iyer October 13 , 2019

Wildlife Weekend...

Roshni Subramanian September 28 , 2019

Travel Back In Time At...

Roshni Subramanian August 26 , 2019

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
Got a question?Ask Marco
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe

Check Out Our Latest Issue