Kabini is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Karnataka, probably because of its easy accessibility, lush green landscape surrounding a large picturesque lake, and fantastic sightings of large herds of elephants.
Kabini is 80 km away from mysore and 205 km from Bangalore, and comprises the south-eastern part of Nagarhole National Park. Situated on the banks of river Kabini, this forest reserve is spread over 55 acres of forestland and water bodies.
Once a private hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Mysore, Kabini was a popular shikar hotspot for British viceroys and Indian royalty. Now it is considered to be one of the best wildlife spotthing areas in karnataka, famous for its spectacular wildlife and bird life.
At the south-eastern end of Nagarhole, by the backwaters of the Kabini River, 69 km from Mysore.
Tourist attractions in Kabini
Kabini Dam was built in 1974 for an irrigation project and a huge reservoir was built.The Kabini dam is 2,284 feet long and 58 Mts high. Mastigudi lake is named after the village it submerged and it became the nucleus of the reserve. The kabini is a tributary of the cauvery which runs through Nagarahole and finally drains into the reservior.
Mastigudi temple is visible when the reservoir drains out during summer. The Kabini dam at Beechanahalli village separates Nagarahole from Bandipur.
Kabini Dam is located on the Mysore-Manathavady Road.
Things To Do in Kabini
Wildlife Safaris An excellent home for the Asian elephant. Wildlife safaris are conducted twice a day in jeeps along pre-designated routes. Early morning safari you get to see animals and evening safari you can spot leopards. In summer safari rides are taken towards the river as the water sources dry up, to watch large elephant herds. In the morning Elephant rides are organised.
Boating is a very popular activity they run motorboat rides twice a day on the lake till the edge of the forest for wildlife spotting. You can spot aquatic birds, crocodilies basking on the banks, sambar at the edge of the water etc. Sometimes you also get a chance to see tuskers feeding on tender bamboo shoots.
They also have bamboo rafts, pedal boats, kayaks and rowboats on the lake for you to enjoy the evening sunset.
Birdwatching: If you are are a ardent birdwatcher Kabini is the place to be. There are over 350 species of birds identified here. The riverine habitat surrounded by forests, provides ample opportunities for birdwatching. You will be able to spot grey-headed fish eagles, ospreys and nestling sites of great cormorants on the dry stumps of trees.
Malabar pied hornbill, Malabarlark, Malabar trogon, Indian pitta are the main species to look out for during guided nature walks.
Other Activites Nature walks, Bicycle trails, bonfires and tribal village visits are organised
When to Visit:
All year round, but best between September and May. For wildlife sighting it’s November to June
Dial in code(s):City code:8228
Getting There Distance(s):
208 km South West from Bangalore
69 km from Mysore
Route(s) From Bangalore
SH17 to Mysore via Maddur and Mandya
SH17D (Mananthavady Road) to Antarasante via Chattanahalli and Hampapura
District road to Karapur
How to Reach Kabini
Car: From Mysore’s Hand Post Circle take the Mananthavady Road till Kabini Circle. The road bifurcates here. Take the left arm to Antarasante; 5 km from here you enter the jungle. A little further down is Kabini River Lodge at Karapur. The resorts are 2 km ahead.
Bus: Daily KSRTC service to Kabini from the Central Bus Stand in Bangalore.
Railway station: Mysore junction
Road: 5 hours
Rail: 3 hours + 1 3/4 hours by road
Go on a jeep safari for wildlife sighting; or opt for an elephant safari for a truly unique experience. A third option is by boat or coracle along the river.
Where to Stay in Kabini
Sunkadakatte Guest House
Sunkadakatte Guest House (Reservations, DCF Hunsur) is one of the best places to stay, for the simple reason that it is right inside the forests, 5 km away from the main road and 15 km from Kabini River Lodge. It has two three-bedded rooms with clean, tiled toilets.
Food is served piping hot by the caretaker, who can turn out both veg and non-veg meals. There’s no electricity, and that’s the best part.
As night falls and you recline on comfy cane chairs in the wooden-floored, open verandah, you get to truly experience the wilds.
Wild boars, habituated to human life, come looking for roots and tubers. The distant trumpeting of an elephant, the spine-chilling roar of a tiger in the immediate vicinity, the dull thudding of gaur hooves, the sudden chattering of grey langurs and the alarm calls of sambhar and chital echo all around.
Phone: 0822-2652041 Tariff: Rs 750
Water Woods, located close to Kabini River Lodge, is a colonial theme resort. Run by R. Ram, formerly with the Oberoi Group, the resort offers the whole Kabini experience on a luxurious note.
Price includes stay, all meals and taxes per couple, per night on twin-share. Water Woods has two suites and four standard rooms, and multi-cuisine fare of international class handled by an executive chef, a sous-chef and three other cooks.
The herbal massage with scented oils at the in-house spa, run by ayurveda professionals, is very popular with guests. Ph: 08228-264421-22/ 31 Tariff: Rs 4,500 to 6,500
Krishna Prasad’s Kapila Bungalow
Krishna Prasad’s Kapila Bungalow is another option right near the entrance gate to Kabini, offering close to five-star comfort. Three large luxurious rooms with all modern amenities can accommodate up to 15 people.
The tariff includes all meals, safaris, boat rides, forest entry fees and amateur camera fees. Don’t mistakenly take the Mysore-Murkal-Nagarhole Road when you set out for Kabini from Mysore Ph: 08228-264444 Tariff: Rs 1,250 to 2,500
Quick Getaways from Kabini
Nagarhole National Park (1 km)
Once an exclusive hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Mysore, Nagarhole National Park was renamed after the late Rajiv Gandhi, but faces the same fate as Delhi’s Connaught Place and Connaught Circle which are still called by their popular old names. So it is with Nagarhole.
The park, situated in the Deccan Plateau, forms an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
The Nagarhole River winds through it and finally meets the Kabini, the largest river draining the forest. A dam built on the Kabini has created a splendid lake to the south of the park, which separates it from Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
To the south-east lies the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary while to the west, coffee plantations separate the park from Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. This entire stretch is one of the finest remaining habitats of the Asian Elephant.
Huge herds hang about in Nagarhole, and it’s said that summer is the best time to see them. It is held that Nagarhole is worth visiting in the dry season, when wild animals are spotted in large numbers near the water bodies but don’t bet your money on it. Successive dry spells have shriveled the water sources so much that the animals feel content lying in the shade, away from view.
Then, as the pre-monsoon showers bring the forest alive with streams, the resident birds start their breeding activities and the air resounds with melodious calls. Sprouting grass in the meadows and view lines attract elephants and gaur in large numbers. As rains intensify, the river resuscitates and the grandeur of Nagarhole slowly begins to unfold.