The Cumbarjua Canal is a narrow stretch of brackish water, about 15km long, that connects the two main rivers of Goa, namely the Mandovi and the Zuari. The marshy banks of the canal form a delicate and intricate mangrove ecosystem which is one of the best places for crocodile watching in Goa.
Where to Go
The Cumabarjua canal is best viewed from the deck of a boat. Crocodile cruises are a popular way of visiting this stretch of Goan backwaters, which is located about 20km from Panaji, which is the capital city of Goa.
When to Go
The crocodile cruises are mostly conducted in the cooler months of the year, i.e. October to March, when the crocs can easily be seen sunning themselves on the marshy banks of the canal; but the canal can be seen all the year round by intrepid explorers.
What to See
This narrow body of water connects the two largest rivers of Goa, i.e. the Mandovi and the Zuari. The marshy banks of the canal are covered with mangroves and form an ideal place for the crocs to sunbathe in peace, whilst providing them with ample camouflage.
This 15 km long stretch of water that connects the Mandovi to the Zuari is the best place for crocodile watching in Goa. An easy, 20 minute drive from Panaji, it is estimated to be the home to about 40 to 50 Muggers. Usually, muggers are freshwater inhabitants, but in this unique spot they have been introduced to brackish water and have adapted to this ecosystem, a phenomenon which is not found anywhere else in India.
The island of Cumbarjua, from which the canal gets its name was a no man’s land between the Portuguese and Bijapuri territories, and was a hotly disputed asset. It is theorized that the crocodiles were introduced into these brackish waters about a hundred years ago in order to dissuade invaders.
Also to be found along the banks of the canal are the Peregrine falcon, white-collared Kingfisher and a wide variety of butterflies. These along with the sleepy mangroves and crocodiles have attracted many tourists and nature-lovers who enjoy the bio-diversity that is to be found here.
The crocodiles themselves are used to the presence of humans and if they are feeling anti-social will simply swim away.
The intricate and delicate mangrove ecosystem of the Cumbarjua canal, along with its unusual inhabitants, makes it a unique tourist spot in all of India. A peaceful backwater cruise down this little marshy stretch is a relaxing way to spend the day and is sure to give you plenty of great memories to take back home with you.