We have to admit, there’s nothing more real yet magical than watching wild animals just be in their own habitat. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast or photographer or just a traveller looking for a lesser known, outdoor kind of place, then definitely visit Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha.
Spread along the spectacular Satkosia (meaning ‘saat kos’ that’s 14 miles or 22 kms) gorge over the mighty Mahanadi river, this tiger reserve is nothing short of paradise thanks to scenic views, diverse flora and fauna, wild animals and rare birds. The hills along the gorge are covered with deciduous forests that initially were home to tigers, elephants, birds and other animals while the river is home to gharials and crocodiles. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1976 and eventually in 2007, two wildlife sanctuaries - Satkosia Gorge and Baisipalli were marked as the Satkosia Tiger Reserve. The reserve is spread over four districts (Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh) and boasts of rich biodiversity considering it’s the meeting point of the Deccan Peninsula and the Eastern Ghats.
Go boating through the gorge to spot wild animals, birds and crocodiles swimming in the river or soaking in the rays of the sun on the foothills. You’ll need prior permission, though. You can also go trekking along the forest. It’s great if you are into birdwatching. Enjoy the silence of the forest, sounds of the night birds or the wind blowing through the trees while sitting beneath the stars. You must drive through the forests for a one-of-a-kind experience.
There are several places to stay in Satkosia. You can stay at the Satkosia Sands Resort or at the Tikarpada Nature Camp - this one overlooks the gorge and is the best place to stay for picturesque views. If you’re staying at the resort and are lucky enough, you might just catch a glimpse of gaur or sambal in the Badamul area. You can also go camping in Chhotkei, Tarava, Bhaghamunda forest and Baliput (stay in tents!).