Beginner's Guide to visiting NAGARHOLE NATIONAL PARK, KABINI
Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), is a national park located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India. It is one of India's premier Tiger Reserves along with the adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The park ranges the foothills of the Western Ghats spreading down the Brahmagiri hills and south towards Kerala stateThe park covers 643 km2 (248 sq mi) located to the north-west of Bandipur National Park. The Kabini reservoir separates the two parks.
Out of the entire area of 643 Sq Kms only about 20% is open for tourists for wildlife viewing. The tourist area of the park is divided into 2 zones namely: Zone A and Zone B. Zone A goes through the dense jungle while Zone B takes you to the Kabini Backwaters. Both have their own beauty and charm, so enjoy the safari no matter which zone you get.
There are two gates to enter the park from Kabini area. One from the Forest Dept gate called Damannakatte gate where the Forest Dept runs its exclusive safaris while the other is the Tourism dept gate which is operated by the government run Kabini River Lodge (part of JLR)
The safari from Forest Dept gate called Damannakatte gate is carried out exclusively by the Forest Dept in two 26 seater Mini buses twice a day. One safari costs Rs. 500/- per head for a Indian National while it costs Rs. 2,500/- per head for Foreign Nationals including children. The morning safari starts at 0600 hrs and ends at 0900 hrs while the evening safari starts at 1530 hrs and ends at 1815 hrs. Normally, there should be a minimum of 10 persons to run each safari. The tickets for the morning safari are sold at 1600 hrs the previous day while the tickets for the afternoon safari are sold at 1000 hrs the same day. If there are sufficient people to run one mini bus, it can run in both Zones A and B however, if both the mini buses are running on the safari then the bus booked first goes to Zone A and the other to Zone B.
Meanwhile, safaris from the Tourism Dept gate are meant exclusively for JLR guests and associated resorts. A one night stay at JLR resort includes all meals and 2 safaris - one Jeep safari and one Boat Safari. JLR guests would mostly get the Jeep in the Jeep safari while associated resort guests would always be in the mini buses. Here, the Jeeps are equally divided into Zones A and B while the route for the boat safari always remains the same. The cost of each safari for associated resorts varies from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000 per person per safari depending on the resort.