South India has the beauty and ecosystem of Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. This creates an exotic tropical paradise for numerous animals which you might not be able to find in other places. This uniqueness had led to many wildlife national parks in this region. This article talks about the top ten South Indian wildlife national park that you ought to visit.
Bandipur National Park
Location: Mysore-Ooty highway, Karnataka
Best time to visit: March to May
This national park is a beautiful tiger reserve located in Karnataka. You can find a lot of tigers here. Apart from that, you can find gaur, mouse deer, sambhar, wild dogs, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four horned antelope, black hare and others. If you are up for bird watching, you can find jungle fowl and the green pigeon here commonly.
The park has two rivers flowing through it. It is a beautiful spot. If you want to enjoy the lush valley and the forest with the river, you ought to visit between November and February during which the place is rich due to the recent rains. June to September is the time you can spot a lot of elephants. If you want to spot a lot of animals, March to May is the right time as animals would come out of their hiding spots with their cubs for water and food.
Suggested Itinerary: 8 Days – Bangalore National Park Tour
Nagarhole National Park
Location: Mysore (96 km), Karnataka
Best time to visit: October to February and, March to May
This national park is located in the Kerala-Karnataka border which is a little away from Mysore. It is one of the most visited wildlife park in south India. It is also called as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. It gets its name ‘Nagerhole’ from the river that winds through the wildlife park like a snake. This park is famous for tigers, wild dogs, leopards, hyena, jackal, mouse deer, black hare, bison and elephants. You can find a lot of reptile species here like vine snake, Russell’s viper, Indian rock python and many others. If you are up for bird watching, you can find wood pigeons, painted quail, yellow legged green pigeon, peafowl, spotted eagle and others. The most important bird here is the white backed vulture.
This park is at its prime beauty throughout the year. The best time to visit the park is from October to February. Avoid monsoon season as you would not be able to spot any animals. March to May is very hot and you can easily find animals wandering for food or water.
Suggested Itinerary: 11 Days – Angling Wildlife Tour
Mudumalai National Park
Location: Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu
Best time to visit: June to September; November and December
The Mudhumalai park is an important wildlife habitat here. This park has more than 2000 elephants. It is basically a tiger reserve with 48 tigers. This park is the best to spot Indian elephant, gaur, Indian leopard, Bengal tiger and many others. There are 55 species of mammals here. The water source in this park has more than 50 species of fishes and 21 species of amphibians. 13% of all mammals in India are living in this park. If you are up for bird watching, you ought to spot the endangered white rumped vulture. Apart from this, there are more than 200 species of birds here.
Elephant feeding camp is very famous among tourists with children to watch and enjoy elephants playing, feeding and bathing. There are many falls, rivers and gorge in the park. Van and elephant safari are available here.
Dandeli National Park
Location: Uttarkannada district, Karnataka
Best time to visit: July to September
This is the largest wildlife park in the state. It is very famous for the boat safari. The park is famous for valleys, river, syntheri rocks and evergreen forests. You can easily spot macaque, deer, bison, pangolin, giant squirrel, black panther, tiger, elephant and others. You can find a few species of snakes here too. Fly catcher frogmouth, Adjutant stork, grey hornbill, pied hornbill, Pompador pigeon and many other bird species can be found here.
The park will be open from October to June. If you are looking for boat safari experience, you ought to visit between July and September. Other activities to enjoy in the park are angling, trekking, coracle ride, rappelling and others.
Suggested Itinerary: 10 Days – Best of karnataka Tour
Periyar National Park
Location: Thekkady, Kerala
Best time to visit: October to January
This park is filled with evergreen forest that can grow up to 140 feet high. Marshy grassland, water bodies and many other landforms can be found here. Top animals to spot here are elephants, wild pigs, wild dogs, tiger, barking deer, lion tailed macaque, golden langur and others. This park is famous for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr which is rare to spot. There are more than 200 species of birds here and 112 species of butterflies. From the edge of this park, the pilgrimage area of Sabarimala hills starts.
This park is famous for rafting and boat cruising in the Periyar lake. The best time to visit the park is between October and June. If you want to enjoy the rafting, you ought to visit between October and January.
Suggested Itinerary: 13 Days – Kerala Wildlife Tour
Eravikulam National Park
Location: Idukki, Kerala
Best time to visit: September to November and, April to June
This park is very famous for Nellakurinji which blooms once in 12 years. This park has a lot of tea plantations. You can spot ruddy mongoose, otter, elephant, Tahr and marten. Tiger and leopard are rare to spot. This park is also famous for balsam and orchids. Top places to visit inside the park are Anamudi peak, Atukkad waterfalls, echo point, forest rose garden and others.
These are the top wildlife parks in South India. Other honourable mentions are Bannerghatta national park, Kudremukh national park, Silent Valley national park, Guindy national park, Mukurthi national park, Mahavir Harina Vanasthali national park, Kasu Brahmananda Reddy national park and many others.