The adventurous wildlife of South India: Best sanctuaries to visit

Seeing animals in their natural habitat is thrilling and quite frankly a win-win for both nature lovers and the animals. Sanctuaries protect and preserve endangered species giving you a huge reason to visit these beautiful locations.

Wildlife in South India is rich and there are several sanctuaries that you can go visit either on a day or a weekend trip.

Here are 4 of the best sanctuaries that you should visit:


Flanked by the Nilgiri hills, Masinagudi is a wildlife retreat on the Ooty foothills. Masinagudi is a part of the Mudumalai Forest Reserve and has thick lush green forests, peace and tranquility and wildlife. You can go on a jeep safari or a night safari. In fact, you can opt to stay in Discovery Village’s resorts in Masinagudi for an adventuorus time.

What you can see here: Tigers, giant squirrels, langurs, sambar, boars, cobras and elephants.

How to get here: 85 km from Mysore railway station and 125 km from Coimbatore Airport

Best time to visit: October – May

Pro Tip: Make sure you also visit Ooty and Coonoor. A day trip from Masinagudi, these scenic places will make your stay memorable.


Part of the Nagarhole National Park, Kabini is a must-visit for birdwatchers. Apart from the large congregation of Asiatic elephants, Kabini is also a tiger resrve and has several uncommon animals like the huge Mahseer. Kabini is famous among tourists and locals and is a stunning place to stay. Discovery Village has resort near Kabini where you can experience a proper wildlife stay and make time to go see the Nagarhole National Park. Apart from the serene beauty, Discovery Village also offers tons of fun and adventurous activities that will turn your stay at Kabini into a memorable one.

What you can see here: Spotted feer, four horned antelopes, crocodiles, spectacled cobra, Asiatic elephants.

How to get here: 80 km from Mysore railway station and 200 km from Bangalore Airport

Best time to visit: October – May

Pro Tip: Make sure you get on a coracle ride across the Kabini river to maximize the chances of you seeing aquatic animals.

Bandipur National Park

What used to be a private hunting ground of the Mysore Royal family is Bandipur National Park now and is easily the most popular tiger reserves in South India. Tiger enthusiasts come from all over to spot tigers here but it is not known only for tigers. Ornithologists and bird enthusiasts come here to witness over 300 bird species including some pretty rare species like Malabar Grey Hornbill and the Blue Winged Parakeet.

What you can see here: Elephants, sloth bear, chitals, flying squirrels, Indian python, cobra.

How to get here: 80 km from Mysore railway station and 260 km from Bangalore Airport

Best time to visit: November – June

Pro Tip: Visit Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta as well. This is highest peak in the region and you can see a couple of elehpants from there as well.

Muthunga Wildlife Sanctuary

You may get stuck on the road trying to visit this sanctuary with the jam caused by none other than elephants. This national park is known for – you guessed it – its elephant population. Part of the Wayanad Wildlife reserve, the elephants roam around freely and you can definitely photograph more than a couple easily.

What you can see here: Elephants, tigers, bee eater, woodpeckers, hornbill, barking deer.

How to get here: 100 km from Kozhikode railway station and airport.

Best time to visit: October – February

Pro Tip: Make sure you opt for an elephant safari

There are several other sanctuaries that can also plan to visit like Dandeli and national parks like Bannerghata that you can hit up in South India.

Olivia Watson

Olivia is a world traveler who has been to 27 countries in just over 15 years. She loves to share her knowledge of traveling to help others travel safer, cheaper and have more fun.
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