The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Bondla wildlife sanctuary is the only zoological park in Goa. Being the only one of its kind in Goa makes it quite famous. Located in Northeastern part of Goa in Ponda, Bondla zoo is a popular destination for tourists as well as children. There are Cotigao wildlife sanctuary and Mahaveer national park in Goa but what makes Bondla different from these two is that it has a zoo and other attractions as well. Bondla zoo is not only for the children who love to watch wildlife, it is also for the nature lovers as there is a lot to explore once you are there. The sanctuary is covered with moist deciduous forest and evergreen vegetation all over.
Once you enter Bondla wildlife sanctuary, the zoo is not the only thing but there are other attractions too. The deer safari park is quite interesting and so is the botanical garden. Though the sanctuary is small in area but it houses a rose garden, Nature Education Centre and Eco – Tourism cottages. Once you reach the zoo, you have to pay the necessary entry fees. Then you start walking through the forest and after a few bends, you finally reach the zoo. The place offers a very soothing environment not only for the visitors but for its inhabitants as well.
Flora and Fauna
The various kinds of wild animals and reptiles are scary but at the same time fascinating. When I visited the zoo, the tiger was pretty lethargic to get up and say a ‘hi’ to the visitors, so we just saw it sleeping peacefully in its manmade den. We also saw porcupines there.
The variety of animals you can see there are Wild Boars, leopards, tigers, Bison, deers, sloth bears, jungle cats and Indian peafowl. There are a number of crawling snakes like cobra and viper. If you are lucky, you might see a few colorful migratory birds which often enhance the beauty of Bondla zoo.
Best time to visit this wildlife sanctuary
The best time to visit the Bondla zoo is definitely during the months of November to February. These are the best months according to me because the sun is not as harsh as it is during summers. And during this time, if you are lucky you might see some migratory birds who fly down to India to escape the harsh winters. You will definitely have a glimpse of animals taking sun bath outside there shelter.
The most important factor to visit the zoo during this time is because you have to walk in order to explore the zoo. So the pleasant weather might help you in that. Hopping from one end of the zoo to another is a fun activity. The zoo authorities also maintain a small garden where you can relax if you are tired.
How to reach Bondla Zoo ?
There is a bus that travels from Tiska to Bondla except Thursday, the timings can be checked in the Bondla forest department site. Locals travel in that bus but for tourists and people traveling with their kids should visit by their own conveyance. It is around 52 kms from Panjim.
If traveling by road, you need to follow the following routes:
- From Margao: Margao – Ponda – Usgao- Ganjem-Bondla. This is around 36 kms and takes around an hour to reach depending on the traffic.
- From Panjim: Ponda – Usgao – Ganjem – Bondla. This 52 kms road trip is quite fascinating but might take around 1 and a half hours to reach Bondla.
- You can hire a taxi, rent a bike or rent a self-driven car too. Traveling options in goa are in abundance. You can chose your ride and move according to your plan. The road that leads to Bondla wildlife sanctuary is very beautiful. Greenery everywhere and the calm atmosphere is simply amazing.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary Route Direction
- If you feel hungry or thirsty anytime during your trip, there is an eatery named ‘Den’ which will fulfil your requirement.
- The Nature Education Centre imparts great knowledge about the wildlife and flora of the place to the tourists. They also showcase a number of exhibits, books and videos.
- Being an eco-tourism site, Bondla wildlife sanctuary is a no-plastic zone. So, you must not litter places with plastic wrappers.
- There are comfortable cottages inside the sanctuary. The forest department has provided comfortable accommodation for all those who wish to spend a night or tow here in the lap of nature. These cottages can accommodate 24 people and there are two dormitories which shelters 48 beds.
- At around 4 pm, they also conduct elephant rides. Its better if required once you are there.
- Always remember, each and every animal on earth has as much right to be here as you and me, so don’t disturb the animals.
- If staying overnight, don’t forget to spend the early mornings and evenings under the open sky. It is so beautiful and exhilarating that you will long to come back again and again
The experience of visiting the Bondla zoo is exquisite as well as memorable. Though the area of the zoo is pretty small that does not stop it from being one of the best tourist attraction for the Goans as well as the tourists.
Some useful points
- Timings of the zoo: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Thursdays closed)
- Entry fee: Rs.5 for adults and Rs.2 for children.
- Camera charges: Rs.25 per camera
- Parking charges: Rs.50 for cars and Rs.10 for bikes.
- Cottages – Rs.1000 per day
- Dormitories – Rs.600 per head
(In case rates are revised, consult the concerned authorities).