TOP 5 – NOT SO GOA WEEKEND GETAWAYS
One couldn’t be more blessed while living in Goa as there is everything one could ask from the stunning beaches to the hills. But then, just sometimes one needs a break from this amazing little state. So why travel far when there is a lot to choose from with only a hop, skip and a short car ride away.
Nestled in the Swapnagandha valley, amidst thick expanse of forest tracts at 800mtrs above sea level, overlooking the Vazra falls and the entire panoramic view of Goa is Wildernest. This is probably one of the best places as an unsung wonder created to introduce you to your roots of nature and culture. The stunning landscape is probably best viewed from the perfect vantage point of the infinity pool. The rooms or cabins are rustic chic with breath-taking views of the valley beyond and the just the spot for sit with a great book and appreciate these natural wonders and be a part of it in perfect silence. The food at the resort is basic but flavoursome and perfectly done. If you are the adventurous kind, then a trekking into the hills to do wildlife spotting can be arranged by the resort, so one can choose from foot trails or machans for bird watching and much more. There is an expanse of wildlife around the resort and on a very rare occasion one can spot a Tiger. Wildernest a hidden paradise and a perfect weekend getaway.
WHISTLING WOODS AMBOLI
Surrounded by forest off Highway 180, this modest hotel is five minutes’ walk from several eateries in the village center, nine minutes’ walk from the main bus stand and 3 km from the Amboli Ghat. The monsoons are the perfect time to take a trip to Amboli as the waterfall is gushing and you can often find revelers there taking in the stunning views and bathing in the water. However if this is not your cup of tea, then relax and watch rolling mist in the evening at the stunning little hotel. This basic nature resort offers you fantastic rustic ambience adjacent right next to a forest with super clean basic rooms. Great bird life surrounds this place and fantastic amphibian and reptile diversity can be round which a short walk from here. All the places to visit and all within walking distance such as the Amboli Ghat Waterfall, Shri Hiranyakeshwar Temple with breathtaking views, Amboli Forest Park for the adventurer, Mahadevgad Fort for a bit of history, Kavalesaad Point.
DANDELI WILDLIFE SANTUARY
Dandeli city is situated on the banks of River Kali in Uttara Kannda District (border of Goa and Karnataka) and it is located at 145 Km from Goa. The calm and peaceful Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 834.16 sq. km and rewarded as the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is neighbouring the Mahaveer sanctuary in Goa. The altitude of Dandeli varies from 100 m to 970 m; the highest point is the Hegada Temba.
Dandeli is also a perfect place for white water rafting and has become one of the important tourist destinations of Karnataka and attracts many local and foreign tourists. This is a natural habitat for wildlife home to Tigers, Leopards, Black Panthers, Elephants, Gaur, Deer, Antelopes, many kinds of reptiles like Crocodiles and various kinds of snakes.The birds in Dandeli wildlife sanctuary include the Golden-Backed Woodpecker, crested Serpent Eagle, white breasted Kingfisher, grey Hornbill, great pied Hornbill and the Malabar pied Hornbill.
Safaris in open jeeps into the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary accompanied by trained naturalists are the best way to view wildlife at Dandeli. There are several other activities possible here such as white water rafting in river kali, adventure activities like kayaking, canyoning and mountain biking. The best time to visit the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is between March and October. The sanctuary is open between 6 AM and 6 PM daily. Accommodations at Dandeli comprises of fully furnished-tented cottages with attached baths. Rooms at spacious lodge with attached baths.
Nearby attractions include Vantage Point to view Supa Dam, Backwaters of Supa Dam, and Crocodile viewing on River Kali, Kavala Caves, and Ulavi Channabasaveshwara temple.
The short drive from Goa to Nagarmadi Waterfalls is definitely worth a visit in the monsoons. Lush green mountains and yellow rice fields border the road at you meander through the Goan landscape. The journey is approximately 3 hours to reach Karwar. You can stop and have a peep at the naval base on your way. Then a short 10-minute trek from here one can find this impressive fall with water flows through huge rock formations. For the experienced and brave if you climb over some of the bigger rocks you are rewarded with stunning views and the discovery of a natural spring flowing down under a large rock which gathers into a pool of clear fresh water and the perfect place to swim. Rather untouched by the public this pool is maintained its pristine beauty. One can experience the fish pedicure you while swimming as there are plenty in the water. You can swim under the rocks to the flowing spring water. The water is chilly and the place in an undiscovered treasure! Please insure on the visit that you take back all trash bought by you.
COTIGAO WILFLIFE SANCTUARY
The southernmost National Park of Goa covers an area of 86 square kilometres on the border with the neighbouring state of Karnataka and on the banks of two rivers of Talpona and Galjibaga. About 9km southeast of Palolem, and a good day trip, is the beautiful, remote-feeling Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Goa’s second-largest sanctuary and easily it’s most accessible, if you have your own transport. Don’t expect to bump into its more exotic residents including Gaurs, Sambars, Leopards and spotted Deer but Frogs, Snakes, Monkeys and brightly plumed birds are in not short supply. If you are serious about spotting some wildlife, you may stay back in the forest department cottages, comfortable and clean but basic at the entrance of the part with a fully functional canteen serving clean and delicious meal hot meals.