Ten-Second Takeaway

A short drive from Panjim, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on a lush green island that is surrounded by mangroves and is inhabited by gorgeous birds. 

Back To Nature

For those of you who want to explore Goa beyond the bars and the beaches, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary promises a real treat. Around 4kms from the capital, Panjim, the sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao. To get there, you can either ride your bike or hire a cab to the Ribandar Ferry Wharf. If this is a budget trip, then hop onto a bus at the Kadamba bus terminus. The best time to visit is in the colder months when the birds are out in full force.

Once you are at the wharf, you can hop onto a ferry that will cruise through the River Mandovi to bring you to Chorao. The sanctuary is only a short walk from there. You will have to drop by the forest guard’s office at the entrance and get permission to visit the sanctuary. While the best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February, do make it a point to drop by early in the morning {or at sunset} so that you spot plenty of birds.

Cruise Through

Photo: Rajiv98761

Photo: KanikaJSR

A great way to make most of your time here is to hire out a boat that goes through mangroves. The forest department runs these boats and you can sign up for hour long cruises through the mangroves to spot birds. These rides cost around INR 900 but you can split the fare with fellow visitors too. You can then spend the next 60 minutes gliding through the waterways surrounded by lush green mangroves. Here you can spot Brahmini Kites, colourful Kingfishers, Cormorants, and Ibises — enjoying a spot in the sun or gracefully flying around. The boat can also be used to get to the watch tower {not during a low tide though} where you can get a bird’s eye view of the verdant setting while bird watching.

In Cuckoo Land

Once you are back on land, you can take a leisurely walk through the sanctuary. Just follow the demarcated pathway and you’ll be able to train your eyes on plenty of purple herons and egrets. Eagles, woodpeckers, mynas, drongos, sandpipers, kites and curlews are also part of this gorgeous ecosystem. Don’t forget to stop by the creek where you can spot a variety of crabs roaming around as well the mudskipper fish that can be spotted during a low tide. Apart from the birds, the sanctuary is also home to otters, fox, jackals, and marsh crocodiles. However, these are a rare sight.

 Featured Photo: Rajiv98761