The Kabini Forest Reserve (most popularly called as Kabini) is one of the most popular wildlife destinations not only in Karnataka but in all over India. It is 80 km away from Mysore and around 230 km from Bengaluru (Bangalore). Kabini is the south east part of Nagarhole National Park (also called as Rajiv Gandhi National Park).
Kabini is Situated on the banks of the Kabini River, the reserve is around 60 acres forestland. The beauty is Kabini has steep valleys and beautiful back waters. Kabini is very famous for the ghost of the jungle, the most elusive Black Panther. Kabini also has lots of bird species including the most rare spot bellied eagle owl, serpent eagle, hawk eagle, jungle myna, bee eaters, spotted dove, babblers, Asian paradise flycatcher, drongo, and much more.
Kabini is one of the best Wildlife National Parks in India. Kabini visit is too addictive to handle and personally for me being in south, it is a real temptation. Given a chance, I would settle in Kabini.
Jungle Safari in Kabini
All the Jeep safaris in Kabini is managed and controlled only by the Jungle Lodges and Resorts. Even if you stay in private resorts, you have to rely on Jungle lodges and resorts for the safaris. One of the best managed safaris in terms of discipline in jungle safaris.
The only other option is Dommanakatte Safari provided by the forest department (FD); but safari is on a canter and you have to come in to the counter to book the safari.
Note: Don’t expect too much comfort on a Canter if you are a wildlife photographer.
Rainy Season in Kabini
Unlike most of the wildlife destinations and tiger reserves in Northern India, Kabini is open even in rainy season. Though the big cat sightings (Black Panther, Tiger and Leopard) are very less in Rainy Season, the lush green jungle is a visual treat. At-least once you should visit Kabini on a rainy season to enjoy the jungle and specially the backwaters.
At Rainy season and winter, the outlook of the jungle totally changes – tiger and leopard would be healthy with a nice coat and shiny skin, every other species too in a fresh outlook, lush greens all over, and obviously lesser crowd.
Jungle Lodges and Resort Safari Timings
Morning – 6:30am till 10am
Evening – 4:00pm till 6:30am
Kabini Stay and Safari Cost
Jungle lodges and resort will take care of your stay, food and all the safaris, the tented accommodation is the cheapest within and as on July 2017 (it is INR 9,800 for one person for one night) and the cottages accommodation are 30% more expensive. Kabini food and service is top class. Kabini is the cheapest in that area when you compare the total cost to your pocket.
The other stay options here are Bison Resort, Waterwoods, Orange Country, Serai etc. When you compare the total cost to pocket including food, stay, safari and all inclusive, Kabini is indeed the cheapest. But overall Kabini as a wildlife vacation spot, is one of the most expensive when compared to other wildlife destinations.
Note: Even at Kabini, if you sacrifice the jeep safari and ready for canter safari, then there are budget tour operators who takes care of full boarding and safaris at around INR 3,500 for one person one night (60% cheaper).
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About the Author:
Alvis Lazarus is a Wildlife Photographer from Nazareth. Top Shot Winner 2017 (National Geographic) and Your Photo Winner 2017 (BBC Wildlife). Alvis’s work is published in Nat Geo, BBC Wildlife and Conde Nast Traveller Magazines. See his work here: Instagram | Facebook | Website