Kerala is the magical ‘showcase’ of some of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Asia. From national parks to forest reserves and animal reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala boasts of unique, abundant, exotic, and rare species of flora and fauna as well as tigers, elephants, monkeys, birds, and mammals.
List of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala
There are 14 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 tiger reserves in Kerala and we have included the top 10 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala that attracts both international and domestic tourists. Each of these wildlife sanctuaries in kerala with unique flora and fauna is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers.
There is so much to take a look at in the wild spaces of Kerala which you can discover only when you visit national parks in Kerala.
1. Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park is known to the world as the sacred haven of Tahr, the endangered goat-like mammal that lives in the Western Ghats and is the best wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala. Spreads over 97 sq. km, Eravikulam National Park is situated in Munnar, the most popular tourist spot in India. The park also features Anamudi peak, South India’s highest peak. This national park in Kerala houses a plethora of fauna and fauna making it a top spot for Munnar sightseeing. People flock to this national park to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Strategically located at Devikulam Taluk of Idukki district, Eravikulam National Park is home to many endangered species and another dynamic biodiversity. Neelakurinji flower (small blue flowers) that blooms every 12 years is one of the major attractions of the land. Along with enjoying the breathtaking views, this is one of the best national parks in Kerala for trekking and hiking. Some of the exciting flora include epiphytic orchids and balsams; and the stunning fauna line includes Nilgiri Langur, Indian Bison, leopards, etc.
How to reach Eravikulam National Park?
By Air: Madurai International Airport is the nearest airport, which is about 142 km, and Cochin International Airport, the second nearest airport is about 111 kilometers via NH 85 from Eravikulam National Park.
By Rail: Angamali railway station is the nearest station (about 108 km) from Munnar and Aluva, the second nearest and busiest station (109 km) from Munnar.
By Road: Munnar is the nearest town to the park and is located 13 km away. Munnar is well connected by roads from Kerala and the neighboring state, Tamil Nadu.
Best time to visit: Eravikulam National Park is opened on all days and will be closed from February to March every year due to the calving time of Nilgiri Tahr. The visiting hours are from 07:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.
2. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect example of rich and dynamic wildlife and the biggest and most popular among Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. Spread across 925 sq km of protected forest, the 350 sq km was later declared in the year 1982 as the National Park. The Periyar wildlife sanctuary also features tiger reserve and elephant reserve, as it is home to a massive population of tigers and elephants. This is one of the most renowned wildlife sanctuaries of South India known for wild elephants and thickly established Western Ghats forests. Apart from tigers and elephant, the four main species that can be seen at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary are Nilgiri Langur, Gee’s Golden Langur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, and Bonnet Macaque.
Tourists can enjoy boat cruising at Periyar Lake and can get a deep insight into the vibrant wildlife of Periyar by taking a Jeep Safari, or even an elephant safari.
How to reach Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport (200 km). Madurai International Airport is the second nearest airport (140 km).
By Rail: Kottayam is the nearest railway station (at 114 km).
By Road: Kumily is the nearest town to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (4 km).
Best time to visit: October to June is the ideal time to visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
3. Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary
Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is an undisturbed natural sanctum located in one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, Kollam. As a wildlife lover, if you wish to see the free-roaming animals and enjoy the beauty of nature, then Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is the best choice for you. The long and muddy trekking trails invite tourists to watch the compelling beauty of evergreen forests. Parappar Dam built across the Shendurney river is a perfect picturesque point near the sanctuary.
The place is home to one of the rare tree species, Glutatravancorica; locally known as Chenkurunji. The ecotourism activities like trekking, camping, and boating offer an incredible opportunity to watch a herd of deer. A jungle trekking and camping program called Idimuzhanganpara Nights and Kurumthotti Top Hut Camping are arranged for tourists to explore the wilderness of the forests.
Covered by evergreen forests with an astounding variety of plant species and rich wildlife, this Kerala national park is a must-visit for tourists visiting Kollam.
How to reach Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary?
Nearest International airport: Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala (53 km)
Nearest railway station: Shengottai railhead in Tamil Nadu (15 km)
Buses operate on a regular basis from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.
Best time to visit: From October to June. The visiting time is from 07:00 am to 06:00 pm
4. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The diverse ecosystem sprawling along the eastern slopes of Western Ghats is the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spreads over 90 sq km in the Idukki district, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded as the national wildlife sanctuary in the year 1984 and is one of the most recent Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala.
It is a unique home to the Great Grizzled Squirrel of India, one of the most endangered species on the planet. Comprised of dry deciduous forests, hillocks, green plains, waterfalls, and other rich biodiversity, the sanctuary is highly recommended to fit in the list of World Heritage Sites.
Situated amidst the Western Ghats, this national park in Kerala is the most promising destination to enjoy nature in full swing and is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.
How to reach Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: Coimbatore Airport is the nearest aerodrome, placed at a distance of 115km
Cochin International Airport is the second nearest airport- 208 km
By Rail: Pollachi railhead – 60 km
Aluva railway station – 200 km
By Road: It is situated on the Marayoor – Udumalpet Road. The most popular town near to Chinnar is Munnar, which is only 65 km away.
Best time to visit: November to February.
5. Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary is situated in Chittur taluk of Palakkad district. Located in the Western Ghats, this is one of the most scenic wildlife sanctuaries in kerala known for constant efforts to preserve the dwindling tiger population. The protected area is placed at an altitude of 1438 m above sea level and is declared as a Tiger Reserve in the year 2009. The first scientifically managed teak plantation belongs to this sanctuary.
Nestled between the Anamalai hills and the Nelliampathy hills, it covers around 643.66 sq km of greenery and is regarded as the top protected ecological park in India. ‘Kannimara’, the world’s oldest teak, which is believed to be 350 years old, is the other major attraction of this place.
The woods and wildlife of this Kerala national park are ideal for romance, wildlife, and adventure holidays.
How to reach Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: The Nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport (110 km)
By Rail: Pollachi railhead is the nearest Railway station (39.0 km)
Palakkad is the nearest railhead in Kerala (79.3 km)
By Road: The Nearest town is Pollachi, which is a town in Tamilnadu. Hire taxi via Parambikulam Road and Ambarampalayam – Sethumadai Road to reach Parambikulam.
Best time to visit: From November to April, the climate is well set for tourists to indulge in bird watching.
6. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
Idukki, the other name of nature and Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is the other example to add to the list. Elegantly cradled by two famous rivers, Cheruthoni and Periyar, and located about 750 meters above sea level, the sanctuary is spread over a grand 77 sq km. Located within close proximity to Idukki Arch Dam, this captivating Kerala national park is ideal for birdwatching and is also home to exotic species of snake. Mainly comprising of both evergreen and deciduous forests, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary in kerala is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife. Elephants, tigers, sambar deer, jungle cats, grey jungle fowl, the Malabar grey hornbill, cobras, vipers, to name but a few.
How to reach Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: Nearest airport – Cochin International Airport (113.8 km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Kottayam (85.3 km)
By Road: Closest major hub – Ernakulam (120 km)
Best time to visit: December to April tends to be the ideal time to visit Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary.
7. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
An integral division of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of amazing wildlife and fantastic landscape and is the second-largest among the Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala. It is established in the year 1973 and is a proud extension of the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka. Famous for its rich biodiversity, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in kerala is the real pride of Kerala. With hilly terrains interspersed switch dense valleys, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most picturesque national parks in Kerala. The prominent river of Kerala, Lakkidi goes through this sanctuary. Tourists can also get to know more about the incredible tribal communities such as Adiyars, Paniyas, Kurichyas, Kattunaikkans, and Ooralis.
Recent studies prove that Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary has the largest tiger population in Kerala. The protected area is listed under Protect Elephant and hence acts as a major Elephant Reserve in the country.
How to reach Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode (125 km)
By Rail: Kozhikode (Calicut) Railway station
By Road: The nearest town is Sulthan Bathery (Wayanad – 14.1 km)
Best time to visit: June to October.
8. Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary
Popularly known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary is the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. The sanctuary is named after the eminent ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali. It is based on the recommendations made by Dr. Salim Ali, the Government of Kerala established this sanctuary in the year 1983. Positioned on the Njiyapilli Hill, the scenic beauty of this bird sanctuary in Kerala cannot be described in words but can only be felt and enjoyed.
Tourists can enjoy the magic of avian life by visiting this sanctuary. An average of 300 species of birds inhabits this area. The word meaning of Thattekad is ‘flat forest’ and simply got the name from the low-land forest area. The forest area is spread across 25 sq. km. and is ideally located in between the tributaries of the longest river of Kerala, Periyar.
A must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts, this national park in Kerala housing over 280 rare species of water and land birds is considered the richest bird habitat of peninsular India. Ranging from water birds and prey birds to pet birds, it’s fantastic and fun to watch the avian life freely flying through the forests. Some of the species you can see at the sanctuary are Sri Lankan Frogmouth, White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Bronzed Drongo, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Indian cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Racket Tailed Drongo, the Malabar Grey Hornbill, and Shama.
Located in the northeast of Kochi, this is the most important and largest bird sanctuary in Kerala.
How to reach Thattekad Wildlife Sanctuary?
By Air: Cochin International Airport (43 km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station: Aluva, (48 km)
By Road: The sanctuary is located about 12 kilometers from Kothamangalam. Buses ply between the major cities in Kerala and Thattekad to take passengers to their destination.
Best time to visit: All seasons except the monsoon is ideal for visiting the sanctuary.
9. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The ultimate destination for birdwatchers is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located at Kumarakom in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The sanctuary is also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary as it is erected on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Located in Kottayam taluk, this breathtaking bird sanctuary in Kerala is the favorite destination for many native and migratory birds. Spread across 14 acres of land, the sanctuary was earlier known as Baker’s estate and is home to a large number of migratory birds even from the Himalayas and Siberia. From sociable birds to prey birds, birders can see a wide variety of birds including wood beetles, waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, Siberian Cranes, parrots, flycatchers, teal, and larks.
Boating trips around this Kerala national park are a delight for bird watchers and nature lovers.
How to reach Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?
By Air: The Nearest aerodrome is Cochin International Airport (94 km)
By Rail: Kottayam Railhead (about 13 kilometers)
By Road: Private and public bus services are available from major cities. Or you can hire cars or taxis from Kottayam to reach the destination.
Best time to visit: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a year-round tourist destination. It is best to visit the sanctuary from June to August as the season marks the breeding season of many wetland birds.
10. Silent Valley National Park
A magical extension of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley National Park got its status as the National Park in the year 1984. The legend has it that Sairandhiri (the other name of Panchali from Mahabharata) hid in this place along with her husband, Pandavas, hence named the place as ‘Sairandhrivanam’. Tourists can see the majestic Nilgiri Plateau to the North and the lush Mannarkkad Plains to the South. The national park in Kerala preserving the evergreen forest in Sahya Ranges is one of the most magnificent gifts of nature to mankind.
The perfect place of magical silence, the Silent Valley features an incredible line-up of flora and fauna. Tourists can expect anytime leopards, elephants, Malabar Giant Squirrels, and many more in between your visit. With breathtaking views, astounding wildlife, and over 1000 species of flowering plants, the Silent Valley National Park still creates wonders for the tourists!
Tourists can take a dreamy journey into the wilderness of the forest through trekking and also opt for 2-day camping called Keerippara Camping to relish the charm of nature.
How to reach Silent Valley National Park?
By Air: Coimbatore International Airport (73.9 kilometers) via Anaikatti Road and Mannarkkad – Anakkatti Road.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Palakkad (49.8 kilometers) via NH966 and Mannarkkad – Anakkatti Road
By Road: The Nearest town is Mannarkkad, which is located 32 kilometers away from the destination.
Best time to visit: Visit the park from December to April to watch the beguiling beauty of nature and wildlife.
While Kerala is famous for its backwaters, beaches, and lush greenery, the national parks in Kerala are a must-visit for all wildlife lovers too.
Plan your trip to Kerala with Iris Holidays and enjoy the sight of animals in their natural habitat in wildlife sanctuaries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wildlife Sanctuaries in Kerala
Which is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala?
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in Kerala which is Spread over an area of approximately 777 sq km. Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area located in the districts of Idukki and Pathanamthitta in Kerala.
Which is the first wildlife sanctuary in Kerala?
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is the first wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. The first official action towards the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Kerala was taken in 1934 by the Maharaja of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, by declaring the forests around Periyar lake as a private reserve to stop the encroachment of tea plantations.
Can we see tigers in Kerala?
The forests of Kerala, it seems, are providing the right environment for tigers. Kerala’s first tiger reserve, Periyar, with an area of 925 sq km had come into being in 1978. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is the second tiger reserve in Kerala. This is located in the district of Palakkad.
What is the forest area of Kerala?
As per the report, the state currently has a total of 20,321 sq km of forest cover, which is 52.30% of the total geographical area. Much of the forest cover of Kerala is spread over the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats represents one of the world’s 18 hot spots of bio-diversity and is considered to be a repository of endemic, rare and endangered flora and fauna.