Although it is the smallest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is also the most popular with children, families and eco-tourists. Its convenient location in the Ponda Taluka combined with its manageable size of just 8 sq. km; make it an ideal destination for a day trip. The sanctuary is well equipped to entertain both day trippers and overnight visitors.
In addition to the plethora of animal and plant life that one can experience within the sanctuary, there are also a number of other attractions including a zoo, deer safari park, botanical gardens and Nature Interpretation Centre.
Where to Go
This sanctuary is located in the Ponda Taluka of North Goa. It is easily accessible from both Panaji and Margao, being located 50km from Panjim and 38km from Margao. In fact there are tourist buses available to reach the sanctuary from both these places.
When to Go
With its abundance of sights and activities this sanctuary is an extremely popular place to visit throughout the year. Most tourists, especially eco-tourists flock here in the season from October to March, but the monsoon season is also held to be one of the best times to visit since the life-giving rains enhance the scenic beauty of the place.
The Bondla Wildlife park is open to visitors every day except Thursday throughout the year from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The cost of admission for adults is Rs 5 and children Rs 2. Extra charges include Parking (Rs 10 for a two wheeler and Rs 50 for a four wheeler), Cameras (Rs 25) and video cameras (Rs 100).
Flora and Fauna
The area encompassed by this sanctuary in the Ponda Taluka is covered in moist deciduous forestation with a few patches of evergreen vegetation. Some of the common trees found here include the State tree of Goa Terminalia Crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood.
There are a number of animals that make their home in this place. They include the Gaur, Goa’s state animal, Sambhar deer, panther, jungle cat, leopard, toddy cat, wild boar, porcupine, scaly anteater, and the Malabar giant squirrel. There are watchtowers set up at strategic locations where one can observe the animals in their natural habitats.
The park also houses a number of birds. The most common amongst these include Ruby throated yellow bulbul, which is the state bird, the common grey hornbill and golden backed woodpecker. There are also a number of rare species that visit the park. The park rangers are more than happy to assist enthusiastic and budding ornithologists with the best vantage points from which the birds can be seen and photographed.
Besides the plant and animal life that abounds within the safety of the sanctuary, there also a number of other popular activities that one can indulge in during a visit to the natural park.
Zoo – The little Bondla Zoo exists within the larger confines of the wildlife park and is home to a number of animals. These include Tigers, elephant, Panther, Gaur, Sambar, Deers, Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Wild Boar, Crocodiles, Reptiles and many more.
Botanical Gardens – These beautifully laid out gardens are enjoyed by nature enthusiasts and botanists alike. There are number of rare tree and plant species that make these gardens a paradise for students of botany and researchers. The beautiful and colourful flowers make the gardens a delight to the eye.
Deer Safari Park –There are number of species of deer that visitors would encounter on a deer safari. The most common amongst these include spotted deer, hog deer, barking deer and the mouse deer, which is also known as Chevrotain.
Nature Trails – For those energetic persons who like to view nature at close range, there are a number of hiking and trekking trails that crisscross the park. These tours are usually conducted by knowledgeable guides who can point out the different species of flora and fauna that one might encounter as well as interesting and rare sights.
Rehabilitation Centre –One of the most commendable steps taken by this sanctuary in the preservation of the environment is the rescue centre that tends to wounded animals, especially leopards that have come into too close a range of human habitation.
Nature Education Centre – Besides the vast number of exhibits that the centre possesses, there is also a well-stocked library attached to the centre and movies/documentaries can also be screened on request.
This is a great day trip to make on your Goan holiday and it also makes for a change in scenery for those who wish to spend a couple of nights away from civilization. There are many activities and amusements that keep a visit here action-packed and full of fun for everyone in the family.