Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary
This small wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 152 sq km in the northeast corner of Maharashtra in the Bhandara district. Nestled within the Vidarbha mountain range, it is often referred to as the ‘green oasis’ in the region. It's rocky and undulating terrain is covered with thick Teak forests that support healthy populations of some of India’s most endangered floral and faunal biodiversity.
The scenic beauty of this park is absolutely mesmerising, as one drives through thick and lush green vegetation, with a view of tall mountains in the backdrop. Add to this, sightings of animals such as the Bengal Tiger, Common Leopard, Jungle Cat, Mouse Deer, Indian Gaur, Sloth Bear, four horned Antelope, and the Spotted Hyaena to name a few mammals. The skies and treetops are dotted with some of the most beautiful and colourful birds, such as Storks, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Hornbills, Pitas, Shrikes, Flycatchers, Cormorants, Egrets and Herons. The park is home to more than 166 bird species. It forms the catchment area of several lakes in the region such as Nagzira, Thadezari, and Chirkhamara, which support several varieties of freshwater fish, and attract migratory water birds. These water bodies make this park a bird watchers paradise, and an ideal weekend getaway destination for locals from nearby cities and towns.
The Sanctuary is part of the proposed Nagzira-Navegaon Tiger Reserve, and is an important forest area that provides connectivity to the southern forests of Maharashtra. It is amongst the lesser known forests of central India, and therefore not severely affected by large-scale tourism. It currently attracts only hardcore wildlife lovers and wildlife photographers, who enjoy observing the wildlife as much as the pristine landscape, and simply being one with nature.
Open jeep safaris are organised by the forest department that takes tourist in the park for wildlife viewing.
Navegaon National Park
Located close to Nagzira is Navegaon. Though Navegaon is better known as a bird sanctuary. A picturesque lake is located in the heart of the sanctuary that attracts many migrant species in winter. A number of wild animals could also be sighted. The vertebrate fauna includes, besides a number of fishes, 209 species of birds, 9 species of reptiles and 26 species of mammals which include tiger and leopard.
Best time to visit
October – April