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Wildlife spotting in Goa

The Indian state of Goa is bursting with spectacular coastline, dense green forests and rivers running towards the abundant Arabian Ocean, the habitats for an amazing array of wildlife. Whether you're basking in the sun on a white sand beach or trekking inland, you're sure to spot some exquisite members of the animal kingdom.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

A couple of hours' drive inland from the popular coastal resorts of Baga Beach and Candolim you'll find this vast sanctuary, which works to protect the biodiversity of the Western Ghats.

Covered in thick forest with moist deciduous vegetation, you'll be met with sacred groves protecting rare trees and thousands of beautiful and unusual flowering plants.

As for wildlife you can see here, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is known for the odd sighting of elusive Bengal tigers. With a knowledgeable guide you can expect to see Indian gaur, deer, civets, wild boar, black-faced langur and bonnet macaque. If luck's on your side the sanctuary is also home to black panthers, sloths, leopards and flying squirrels.

Bhagwan Mahvir Mollem National Park

This is another easily accessed park, on the eastern border of Goa, less than two hours drive from the coast. Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, surrounded by tropical evergreen and moist deciduous forest, this reserve is popular for its jungle safari tours and hiking trails.

As you look out for the usual suspects including tigers, panthers, hyenas, wild boar and deer, the parks other attractions will keep your senses occupied. From the 12th-century Tambdi Surla Temple to a collection of gushing waterfalls, Bhagwan Mahvir Mollem National park is a picture perfect destination for spotting native species.

Crocodile watching cruise

Navigate crocodile infested waters on a half day cruise down the Cumbarjua Canal, also known as Crocodile Canal, just outside Baga Beach. As you make your way through tranquil mangrove creeks, passing local fishing communities, you'll spot these formidable creatures basking in the morning sun or skulking in the shallows.

The locals worship these ferocious predators and this 15-kilometre stretch of water is one of the only places in Goa where they coexist peacefully with the community. This is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Dolphin spotting

There's something wildly fascinating about these playful and intelligent sea creatures and to see them frolicking in the wild is truly a phenomenal experience. Dolphin spotting is a popular activity along the whole coast of Goa but you'll find some of the best tours from Candolim, Calangute and Baga.

Along the way you'll also catch glimpses of iron ore being ferried out to sea, the Portugese Fortress of Aguada and views of the Millionaire's Palace overlooking the sea. You can watch kingfishers and eagles sweep across the water as you wait for the pods of dolphins to arrive.

Explore the underwater world

Goa has an abundance of islands in its sea, estuaries and rivers, with many boasting colourful coral reefs and tropical fish. You'll find an array of boat tours to some of the bigger islands such as Grande Island which include hours of snorkelling in the warm Arabian Ocean and scenic palm-lined beaches.

For those that want to go a little deeper, there are plenty of dive shops to be found in the main coastal resorts. Experienced divers can explore shipwrecks and rocky pinnacles straight away or take an organised trip to Pigeon Island to mingle with schools of barracuda, groupers, snappers and cobia. Beginners can still get their feet wet by taking a short PADI scuba course available at all accredited dive schools.

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