Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary In South Goa – Worth A Visit?

Cotigao Wildlife Century South Goa - Featured Image

In this blog post of District Mumbai: Get to know from a visitor’s point of view whether it is really worth visiting South Goa’s Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary? We know you love Goa for its beaches! But if you are considering to budget a day in your itinerary for a visit to Cotigao Wildlife Century then this blog would be able to answer all your questions.

In case if you still have some unanswered questions then feel free to put them across in the comment section below this post; this way our traveller’s community can participate, exchange and learn from information that is being shared on District Mumbai platform. As usual, we will try to give you a close enough glimpse of the destination through some selected few images, but not too many that’ll take away the charm of your experience when you actually visit the place. So let’s begin!


Its’s not uncommon for Mumbaikars to cede into the temptation of visiting Goa’s white & golden sand calm beaches on bright days, away from the chaotic hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Most travellers find peace and solace in just lazing around Goa’s peaceful shoreline; or perhaps some like to keep alternating between a dip in the sea and their resort’s swimming pool.

On one such bright and clear day, I was lazing around on the pristine sand of Polem beach, gazing at crystal clear sea water and accompanied with my favourite food and beverage. Wondering, what on earth could get better than this? Later I ended up having some chat with locals and that’s when I got to know about Goa’s Wildlife Sanctuaries. Goa had a bit more to offer me in addition to the sum of its beautiful beaches and scenic mountains!

Some of the most fascinating places in Goa are its wildlife sanctuaries! Which I never knew about, before I visited them. But now I’m glad that Goa gave me an alternative to spend peaceful days. Goa never fails to amaze me! That’s the charm of this place, I’m sure all Goa lovers can relate well to this feeling.

The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the least crowded tourist attraction near the vibrant Polem beach in South Goa, visitors regard it as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries of Goa, Established in 1968 and spread across 86 square kilometre, it is the second biggest sanctuary in Goa and is vital to Goa’s rich biodiversity.

Wildlife At Cotigao Sanctuary

I learnt that this sanctuary was once upon a time, home to tigers and leopards, but unfortunately they are not here any more, since a while now. Not that they eloped in to the open, definitely not! The sanctuary just doesn’t have them any more. However, there are a number of other rare-to-spot creatures that you can see here, like the Flying squirrel, Slender loris, Mouse deer, Four-homed antelope, Indian pangolin, Malabar pit viper, Hump-nosed pit viper, White belly woodpecker, Malabar trogon, Velvet front nuthatch, Heart spotted woodpecker, Speckled piculet, Malayan bittern, Flying lizard, Golden-black gliding snake, Malabar tree toad, etc..

With some patience and good observation skills, you may even get to catch glimpse of some of the introvert animals who rarely come out of the comforts of their dense forest cover, like the Barking deer, Indian bison, Sambar, Sloth Bears, Gazelles, Porcupines, Panthers & Hyenas.

The Forest

Talking about the dense forest cover, this 86 square kilometre forest belt is home to impressively tall trees, some of which as much as 30 metre high. Such dense is the green cover that even sunlight is obstructed, keeping the forest floor cool and shady. Depending on the season, majority of the vegetation here wear shades of light & dark green cover.

Animal Sighting

This dense cover is understandably too tempting for the animals who live there, so much so that they avoid coming out in the open. They obviously don’t seem to enjoy sighting a human visitor as much as we enjoy sighting them. However, as a human visitor you don’t need to feel dejected, your best chance of spotting maximum animals is during early morning and late evening hours before dusk when animals come to drink water from one of the watering holes.

The sanctuary’s treetop watchtowers are the perfect place to be in, for such sightings. So, the trick to sight various animals in the sanctuary is simple; go to any one of the six treetop watchtowers, all of them are strategically located to offer a good view of the watering hole where animals come to quench their thirst. They usually come during early morning hours and late afternoon before dusk, be patient.

Getting Your Car To Sanctuary

The park boundary is approximately 1.5 kms further away from the entrance of the sanctuary; and you can expect to walk a considerably long distance further after entering the park to get to one of the 6 treetop watchtowers. So, if walking for long distance is not your cup of tea then consider taking your own vehicle to the sanctuary. Visitors can enter the jungle in their private vehicles, however in these cases the forest officer will accompany you to guide you throughout the tour.

If you don’t have a private vehicle and you don’t prefer walking either, then there is provision of Jeep safari which is organized by the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary management.

Trekking

Apart from animal sightings, a trekking day-trip can be planned to the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, there are up to 8 pleasant trekking trails options that are open to the visitors to choose from. The trek ranges from 500 metres to 5 kilometres, taking you to the depths of the forest. You may also opt for a forest officer to accompany you for your chosen trek, this way you’ll be guided and informed in detail about the typical flora and fauna of this forest along your route. Detailed information about the trekking trails can be obtained from the reception desk.

Eco-Tourism

The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary has an eco-tourism centre near its entrance which comprises of, a nature interpretation centre, accommodation arrangements, restrooms, a library, a reception desk, a rescue centre, a canteen, children’s park and a forest ranger office. Do visit the nature interpretation centre for detailed insights about the flora and fauna of the forest.

Meet Ancient Tribe

In addition to animal sightings and trekking, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the rare opportunity to meet members of the ancient Kunbil and Velip tribes, the original inhabitants of Goa. They reside in the forest region and do not like to be bothered; but off late they have opened up to some interactions with the visitors, they are still shy though. Kunbi, a popular Goan folk dance have originated from these tribes. A brief interaction with members of these communities can help you learn a lot about their culture and way of living.

Riverside

Finally, whether you’re visiting the sanctuary alone or in a group with friends & family, you can spend some time lazing on the banks of Talpona & Gallgibaga river streams within the sanctuary itself under the dense green shade. Families occasionally come to the site for day-long picnic alongside the sweet rippling sounds of the streams, which makes for a soothing time.

Overnight Stay Option

Not many visitors opt for it, but if you would like to spend some more time in the forest then you also have an option of booking an overnight stay at the sanctuary itself. But to do that, you need to obtain prior permission from the Deputy Conservator of Forest office in Panaji or Margao. The sanctuary offers small cottage accommodation with basic facilities; and upon request, they can also arrange for canvas tents, mosquito nets and safe camping sites within the sanctuary.

Summary

Irrespective of whether you will be visiting the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary for a day-long trip or a stay-over, you’ll have a soothing experience in the calmness of the forests of Goa. This combined with a touch of physical activity and intellectual enhancement.

Point To Be Noted My Readers:

  • The sanctuary is open to visitors daily from 9:00 AM To 6:30 PM. The cost of ticket per person (adult) is Rs.20/-, plus if you intend to take cameras with you then you’ll have to shell out additional Rs.30/-. Additional charges are applicable if you opt to take your private vehicle within the sanctuary premises for forest tour, Rs.75/car.
  • If you are coming to the sanctuary in your own vehicle then please make sure that the vehicle is appropriately fuelled-up, as there no fuel pumps in the surrounding area for quite a long distance. Also, there are no garages / mechanics nearby, so please make sure that your vehicle is in mint condition.
  • The drive pathway inside the sanctuary is a bit rough, drivers of vehicles with low ground-clearance need to be cautious when driving through certain rough patches.
  • There is a canteen at the entrance, but if you intend to take the trek then carry some food / snacks & water for the walk.
  • If you are planning to take the trek then please make sure to take your passes from the interpretation centre; otherwise you’ll have to make a long walk back.
  • If you want to be well informed about the Forest, then please consider opting for the guided tour instead of trying to navigate through the forest on your own. The stationed forest officers are well-versed with the area and can provide much detailed information about the flora and fauna of the region. This would not only give you a much better tour experience but will also give the sanctuary and the locals a much needed economic boost.
  • Avoid planning your visit during monsoon season, the muddy trail gets quite slippery. Also, animals tend to come out less from the dense forest. Post monsoon, October onwards is the best time to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):

Where exactly is the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary?

Canacona Taluka, Khotigao, Goa 403702 (South Goa), It is closer to South Goa beaches like Palolem (Approx. 24 Kms), Polem (Approx. 30 Kms), Galgibag (Appox. 23 Kms) and Colomb (Approx. 23 Kms).

What is the Nature Interpretation Centre?

The Nature Interpretation Centre at the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary has a repository of information for visitors who are keen to learn more about the plants and animals found in the sanctuary. It displays a collection of photographs, graphics, facts, statistical data and other details of the flora and fauna of different species found in the sanctuary.

How much time is sufficient for a complete tour?

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 86 square kilometres and is the 2nd biggest sanctuary in Goa. Most tourist plan a day trip which is sufficient enough time for a decent outing. The sanctuary is operational daily from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM.

Do I need to carry anything specifically for the sanctuary tour?

Indian nationals need to carry their Govt. Issued photo identity proof & Foreign nationals need to carry their passport. In terms of trekking gear, come equipped with a cap, trekking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and other season specific accessories.

Any specific tip for the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary tour?

If possible come to the sanctuary in your own vehicle for better convenience; even if you want to trek, you can park your vehicle in the sanctuary parking.

Are there any other attractions near Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary?

Kuskem / Kuske Waterfall overlooking the Kuskem village is a wonderfully soothing sight during monsoons. It is a rainwater-fed waterfall and about 20 kms away from Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.

Another site worth mentioning here is the Sadashivgad Hill Fort which is a historically significant site built in 1715 AD. The top of the fort offers a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea. This site is approximately 38 kms away from Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.


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