The party town of Goa has some surprises hidden under its sleeves for all the nature lovers!! Apart from the crowded beaches, nature has blessed Goa with some serene bits of paradise, which come as a surprise package for the tourist.
One such heaven is “Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary”. So, it is now possible to spend a peaceful time in nature’s lap as you manage to relax in the “Tourist paradise” as we already know of it!
Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary aerial view
Spread across 208 sq km, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located about 52 km away from Panaji, the capital of Goa.
The sanctuary is rich in biodiversity and is being considered for being elevated to the status of a Project Tiger Reserve because of the presence of Tigers, which could probably be one of the best news for a nature enthusiast in the state who would otherwise have to travel to a length to spot the mighty Tiger.
The driving route to the sanctuary from Panaji passes through hills, valleys, and waterfalls which gives a perfect scenic start to the journey.
On the way to Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is linked to the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and together the two reserves cover an area of 420 sq km.
The three highest peaks in Goa – Sorsogon at an elevation of 3369 ft, Talache Sada at an elevation of 2664 ft and Vageri at an elevation of 2378 ft – are located in the hill ranges within the sanctuary which is why it is soon becoming the new favorite trekker’s paradise in and around Goa, a perfect blend of hills, waterfalls, and valleys explores the adventurous streaks of all visitors.
A notable attraction of the sanctuary is the twin waterfalls of Vazra Sakla.
The twin waterfall of Vazra Sakla.
The water drops from a height of 469 ft. and the gushing sounds of the water welcome you when the waterfall is not even in sight. Another popular tourist spot is the Virdi Falls in the Chorla Ghat region. The Mandovi River, the lifeline of Goa which originates in the neighboring Karnataka, flows for almost 10 km across the sanctuary and is known as the Mhadei River.
The entire sanctuary acts as a huge catchment area for the river. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but it is the rainy season when the Mhadei river comes into its own as the site of exciting whitewater rafting tours.
The Mhadei River flows through the valley and has options of white water river rafting tours.
In 2011, Ministry of Environment and Forests noted that the protected areas of Goa and their contiguous forests in Karnataka and Maharashtra are possibly some of the best tiger habitats in the Western Ghats and are in need of protection.
The same year, a map showing the locations of several tiger sightings in and near Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary was prepared by the Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade (VEAB) at Keri so go prepared to encounter one! It is easy to see why the majestic animal would consider the area his abode! Lush and green, the sanctuary falls within the Mhadei river basin.
The mighty Tiger rest’s in its natural surroundings in the sanctuary.
A number of animals can be seen within the sanctuary. The animals that you can commonly expect to see especially if you have a guide who can show you the best places, are; Indian gaur, Barking deer, Sambar deer, Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, Wild boar, Indian hair, Ruddy Mongoose, Black-faced langur, and Bonnet macaque.
The camp is also home to more than 255 species of birds; 53 of which show direct signs of breeding here.
It has been declared an International Bird Area because of the presence of the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill, Grey-headed Bulbul, Rufous Babbler, White-bellied blue-flycatcher and Crimson-backed Sunbird.
The famous Crimson-backed sunbird spotted in a Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Mhadei sanctuary reportedly where visitors can find more than a thousand species of flowering plants and a vast variety of endemic orchids.
The sanctuary is a huge attraction for herpetologists since it contains a large variety of snakes including all of the ‘big four’ of Indian venomous snakes which are Indian krait, Russell’s viper, Saw-scaled viper, and Spectacled Cobra.
Like most of the other sanctuaries in Goa, the Mhadei sanctuary too is equipped to deal with overnight visitors, with rest houses and private resorts nearby. One can arrange guided tours, treks and hikes within the sanctuary. Although it is most visited from the month of October till March, the monsoons are also a great time of year to visit