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Finding Kabini

by Payel Kundu on October 10, 2019
Kabini River

Shall we talk a bit about Kabini? Because I don’t think we have done that enough. Even though it’s quite popular amongst a relatively small group (inclusive of many novice as well as some professional wildlife photographers), it’s almost unknown to the rest. So what is Kabini or rather where is it? At the origin of it all, there is a river – a river called Kabini. It’s a short and sweet river that starts somewhere in Kerala and runs across the state of Karnataka touching upon many villages and towns on its way. But it’s not the start that concerns us, nor does the end. It’s actually a patch in between, somewhere in its path, where it passes between two beautiful forests. Or rather it divides a forest into two parts – Bandipore National Park and Nagarhole National Park. Around this place the river also gets wider as a result of a manmade dam ahead on its route. And this is the area that is famously known to tourists as Kabini and this is the area I am referring to in this blog.


Birds perched on a dead tree

But why would you even consider going there? Well there are multiple reasons. Or if you are crazy about traveling, then probably none needed. For others, if you could picture, imagine a village by the bank of a river, adjacent to national parks. Imagine the rich flora and fauna of the place, imagine the beauty of the meandering river. Imagine watching sunset behind the distant forest right across the river, the reflection of the evening twilight on the rippling water. Imagine taking a walk during dark night only having the sound of flowing water as your company or waking up in morning to birds chirping. If this feels like a pleasant dream to you, then there’s your reason to visit Kabini.

However, most tourists go there to explore Nagarhole National Park, which is accessible from Kabini through one of its many gates. There are morning and evening safaris available by Canter as well Boat (No need for advance booking). Boat takes you on the river keeping forests on both side. You can enjoy various types of birds from the boat across the water and across land. But the chances of tiger or leopard sighting is higher with Canter, since it explores the forest from inside. And if you are very very lucky, you may even end up meeting the famous black panther of Kabini (I wasn’t that lucky).

Kabini River
Jeep Safari at Kabini

So how do you reach there?  There are multiple airports within 300 KM of Kabini – Bangalore, Mangalore, Coimbatore and Kozhikode. But Bangalore is definitely the most convenient option. It’s about 270 KM from Kabini. Roads are in decent shape and it takes around 5 hours to reach by car. There are many KSRTC buses also plying in this route. But most of them would stop at Karapura, which is a good 10 KM from the hotels. If you are travelling by train, nearest station would be Mysore which is around 70 KM from Kabini.


At Waterwoods Lodge

How about accommodation? Plenty of accommodation options available in there and most of them are quite good. To be honest, they are a bit expensive and it could be a hurdle in your trip. But I would suggest check it out, you won’t be disappointed. Most of the hotels are located at the bank of the river, which is as good as it sounds. And I would recommend the same to visitors. But there are hotels further inland as well, which is more in line with forest resorts.

During our planning, we had considered Red Earth, The Serai, Waterwoods and The Bison. We had shortlisted the last two based on review, images and description, and finally went with Waterwoods based on room availability and tariff. The place was brilliant especially the room and the staff. My complete review is available in TripAdvisor


Rest of the blog is the detailed entry of all birds & animals that we came across during our trip. If you are interested, then scroll down and enjoy. Or else, catch you later!

Great Cormorant - quite common near rivers/lakes Cormorant
Another common bird - Great Egret Cormorant


Oriental Darter AKA Snakebird
Darter with wings open Darter


Indian Pond Heron (left) & Purple Heron (right)
Pond Heron Purple Heron


Painted Stork Painted Stork
Wooly Necked Stork Wooly Necked Stork


Grey-headed fish eagle - a pair of them
Darter with wings open Darter


Kite Found a Brahminy Kite right inside our hotel
Osprey - a fishing bird Osprey


Birds at Kabini
Flock of Cormorants resting on a branch
Jungle Hen Parakeet
Grey junglefowl on top of a tree Plum headed Parakeet


Hoopoe Sighted Hoppoe after a long time


Green imperian pigeon (L) & Yellow-footed green pigeon (R)
Purple Heron


Kingfisher A Common Kingfisher (its hardly common though)


Tiny bird called Barn Swallow Coppersmith Barbet
Swallow Barbet
Wagtail Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail Forest Wagtail


Squirren Giant Malabar Squirrel
And the mighty Tiger Tiger


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