Spread over 85.65 sq km, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is crossed by Talpona River. The Galjibaga River flows along its southeastern boundary. Dense trees cover this area, with some of the tallest being about 30m. There are many animals in the sanctuary; langurs, bisons, boars, leopards, black panthers, deer, wild cats and pangolins. The chirping of birds and various jungle noises are music for the ears of those used to urban chaos and its clatter.
What to experience:
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary has a lot of picturesque bandharas. There is a 3m-high watchtower at Tulsimol from where you can spot animals as they come to drink water. The best time to do so is early morning.
The tree top shelter at Bhutpal is a perfect retreat. Within this sanctuary is the enchanting Bela Lake. Galjibaga and Palolem Beach make for great picnic spots. It’s an ideal place to laze around and watch life go by.
The ancient temple at Kuskem, which is around 12km from Hathipal, the entry point of the sanctuary, is worth exploring. The Nature Interpretation Centre, run by the Forest Department, conducts wildlife exhibitions and is a rich source of information.
Among the other places to visit is the Jeevothan Parthagal Math, which is a centre for Vedic studies. The temple dedicated to Lord Parshuram is 3km from Hathipal. Legend has it that he is the creator of Goa.
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the southern end of Goa in Canacona taluka, is 10km southeast of Chaudi. It was established in 1969 to preserve a remote and vulnerable area of forest lining the Goa-Karnataka border.
You can hire a taxi either from Margao (53km) or Panaji (86km). There are also bus services from Karwar that halt at Canacona. The sanctuary is 10km from Canacona. Using your own conveyance will prove expedient if you want to explore the sanctuary at your own pace.
The timing is from 9am to 5pm.
To book the four-bed Forest Rest House at Poinguinim (4km), contact the Deputy Conservator of Forests (South Goa), Madgaon. Ph: 0832-750246
The Ecotourism Complex at Hathipal (at the entry point of the sanctuary) has four-bedded tents, a twin-bed mini cottage and a mid-sized cottage that can accommodate up to six people.
More great attractions can be found in the Explore Wildlife in India page.