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India Travel – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

While I spent most of my time in Goa sunning myself on the beach and drinking cold beers, I did manage to tear myself away and explore what else this hot and heavy Indian state had to offer.  One of my favourite things to do was jump on the back of Roscoe’s motorcycle and road trip it to who knows where.  By pure accident we came across the superb Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and it turned out to be one of the best things we did during our India travels.

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India Travel – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary Monkeys

Cotigao Sanctuary – Getting There

This sprawling wildlife sanctuary is laid out over 85 kilometres in the Canacona Tuluka district of South Goa.  We were staying in Palolem and the ride probably took around half an hour to get there.  The winding hilly roads made the bike ride even more exciting.

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India Travel – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

Animals of Cotigao Sanctuary

From the humble duck, to the flightless eagle, there are creatures here that are too beautiful for words.  With eight huge areas to explore we couldn’t see them all but the ones we did were very photogenic!

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India Travel – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary Ducks

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India Travel – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary Python

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India Travel – Injured eagle, now flightless

The park was almost eerily quiet throughout the day.  We travelled in April during the low season and barely a soul passed us all day.  We did come across a few workers who were maintaining the reserves though. Their colourful sari’s lit up the path.

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India Travel – Workers maintaining the park grounds

I have a particular fear for spiders and much to my relief Roscoe stopped me from walking straight through this guy’s web.

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India Travel – Spider in Cotigao

A real find was the treehouse that sits deep within the jungle.  We followed the beautiful path, laden with crunchy leaves and zillions of ants and came out into a huge clearing.  High up over a watering hole was a rickety old treehouse that despite our tendency towards vertigo, just had to be climbed.

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India Travel – Cotigao treehouse overlooking watering hole

The ladder was truly terrifying but the sense of relief at arriving at the top was palpable.  We must have stayed there for over an hour, hoping that if we were quiet enough one of the park’s boars or even jaguars might stop by for a gulp of water.  Sadly nothing materialised however just as we were thinking about braving the trip back down I spotted a colourful snake cleverly camoflagued and only a metre away from us.  They say the brighter the snake the more poisonous it is so we made a swift exit after taking it’s mug shot.

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India Travel – Snake spotting in the treehouse

Tips for Visiting Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Wear walking boots not flip flops/sandals.  There are plenty of little red ants that will be happy to make a meal out of you
  • Bring a big bottle of water. The sanctuary is massive and though there is a small cafe, it isn’t open in low season and in the stifling India heat you need to stay hydrated
  • Rather than take taxi, hire a bike and get around the park on your own. There’s so much to see and by bike gives you the freedom
  • Be as quiet and respectful as possible. Most creatures want their peace and quiet so if you want to see them, don’t scare them off!

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I love that shot of the 3 women, gorgeous!

Kiri Bowers says:

thanks Andi, Roscoe’s not bad eh?

I was in Goa for a month and a half and kept debating whether to go to this Sanctuary. I went to another one near Mumbai and it was horribly neglected and filthy and the only animals we saw were chickens and dogs belonging to the people squatting there. Because of this, I ended up not going to the Cotigao Sanctuary, even though I was staying in Palolem for three weeks

Looking at you pictures, I made the wrong decision–just the ride to the park on its own seems like it would have been worth the trip.

Kiri Bowers says:

That’s a shame Daniel. I understand your choice from what you had experienced before but it’s always worth checking it out in case you are pleasantly surprised. If you find yourself in Palolem again make sure you go!

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