Amazing Animals in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
There’s no doubt that there are some really awesome animals to see in India, and neighbouring countries Nepal and Sri Lanka have equally as amazing animals. Here’s a list of the coolest animals in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka as encountered by travel bloggers! Complete with tips on how you can see them for yourself (without going to a zoo).
Leopard spotting in Nagarahole National Park, India
Our getaway to The Serai Kabini with friends wasn’t meant as a forest safari trip. It was largely to relax in pristine surroundings. The safari turned out to be the highlight of the trip. My husband, 5-year-old daughter and I signed up for the afternoon safari. The resort arranged for the permits into Nagarahole National Park and the transport arrangements.
Nearly 45 minutes after spotting a variety of wildlife – deer, birds and a few elephants, we turned back. And that is when we saw this leopard sitting calmly by the roadside. After a few minutes, it got up and started walking away. Our jeep tracked it for another half an hour. Thankfully, the grass was not thick, and the animal was easily visible for the most part of its journey.
How to see leopards in India
India has a large number of national parks – popular ones include Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba in Central India, and Bandipur, Nagarahole, Periyar in South India.
The season runs from October to May. The weather is best from Nov to Feb, but the sightings reach the peak in the hot dry months of March to May.
By Shweta | Zest in a Tote
Finding a Tiger at Tadoba Andheri National Park, India
It was the beginning of March and the temperature was already at a high of 40 degrees Celsius. I was at the Tadoba Andheri National park eager to sight a tiger. I had high hopes on Tadoba as it was flourishing with tigers at that time. Our safari was through the buffer zone fringing around the core forest. We were in the territory of Tigress Maya and Sharmili and they had a litter recently.
The buffer zone was amazing to ride through. Thick bamboo trees leaning on the way, bushes and trees and branches bending down to say hello to your face. If at all we have to spot the tiger here, it has to come directly on our way, out of the thick jungle. Otherwise, it is pretty difficult to spot. Pink-legged stork spread out for the sun to dry its wings. We stood in silence among the tall dried grass, waiting for her.
“Sshhh… silently look there!” whispered my jeep driver. I was still straining to find her at the other end of the lake through the binoculars when the driver exclaimed, “here, right here!” I looked at a close vicinity and there she was right there, just a few meters away, walking cautiously, looked up just for a minute and then walked into the bushes.
How to see a Tiger in India
Tadoba Andheri National Park has a reputation that tourists are almost guaranteed to spot a tiger in this park. It’s located in Central India; Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The park is open every day except Tuesdays and the day of Holi Festival. Advanced bookings must be made, click this link for more.
PLEASE NOTE: Tadoba Andheri National Park offers an Elephant Safari which would involve riding on the back of an elephant. The admin of this blog HIGHLY DISCOURAGES her audience from riding elephants or using the suffering of any animal for our own pleasure. If you’d like more information as to why elephants should not be ridden, please read this post by Expert Vagabond.
By Chittra | Masala Box
Crossing paths with Elephants at the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Bandipur, India
We were at the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve and were feeling a little disappointed as we had not been in sighting wild animals like tigers or elephants. We had only managed to see some shy and graceful deer and some wild buffaloes. The vehicle coursed through the interior of the forest and then returned to the road that ran through the periphery and our hopes of any further sightings sank.
Just as we sat back in our seats with an air of resignation. The vehicle rounded a sharp curve and the driver brought it to a sudden halt and gestured excitedly in front of him. Some of us had actually dozed off and we all came to life as if electrified. In front of us, crossing the road was an elephant with two baby elephants in tow. We watched with bated breath as they gracefully crossed the road, oblivious to the human presence near them and disappeared into the forest.
It had all happened so suddenly and the experience of the sighting was over in the twinkling of an eye. This encounter was probably one of the cutest that we had and would stay etched in our memories for a long time.
How to see elephants at Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage International Biosphere reserve. It includes the Mudumalai, Mukurthi, Wayanad and Bandipur national parks. The biosphere is an area of 5,520 sqm km and is spread across the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
Trekking is the best way to explore the wildlife of the biosphere reserve, where you can enjoy not only the sights of species of animals from a close distance but also the gorgeous views of the Western Ghats. Tigers and elephants are the most popular attractions in this park if you’re lucky enough to spot one!
By Sandy & Vyjay | Voyager
Seeing Elephants in Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka
If you want to see a wild elephant in Sri Lanka, you are pretty much guaranteed to see one in ‘Uda Walawe National Park.’ The park is located in the southern part of the country and is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants who are attracted to the area because of a nearby reservoir. It’s believed that a herd of some 250 elephants reside permanently in the park!
Also within the park is the ‘Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home’ which was established to care for abandoned elephant calves. The elephants are released into the park when they are old enough to care for themselves. This is a far more ethical elephant transit home/orphanage than the Insta-famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage close to the capital of Colombo.
How to see Elephants at Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka
The best time to try to spot Elephants at Uda Walawe Park is on a sunrise or dusk safari. On a safari in the park, you might also see crocodiles, water buffalo, a variety of birds and a Sri Lankan Leopard if you are REALLY lucky!
Keep in mind that Yala National Park is closed to the public between early September and mid to late October.
By Eleonore | Eleonore Everywhere
Spotting a Leopard in Sri Lanka
Our guide tells us that the chances of seeing a leopard are always low and our best chance is a long distance fleeting glimpse of perhaps only a tail. Only 40 minutes into our trip a male Sri Lankan Leopard comes out of the bush and walks through the grass only 20 meters away from us, then before we think our luck can get any better he walks right in front of the vehicle and into the bush on the opposite side of the road.
Even our guide is flabbergasted and slightly emotional, sightings like this are few and far between and he says he is lucky if it’s once a month.
How to see a leopard in Sri Lanka
We saw a Leopard during a full day personal safari at Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. I can’t say enough good things about this experience. We stayed in the neighbouring town of Tissamaharama and went with a company called Shehan Safari which we were very impressed with. A must see in Sri Lanka.
Kev and Jade | Two Tall Travellers
Cruising along with Spinner Dolphins in Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka
We searched for two hours one early morning in March, crisscrossing the flat ocean. The wait was worth the while! What we thought were small waves over the horizon were dolphins swimming towards us at full speed. In perfect synchronized dance, they jumped and broke the water, riding along our boat and not minding us.
Seeing the dolphins in their natural habitat, hundreds and hundreds of them moving as in one mind was a unique experience. We watched the incredible show for several hours, cruising ahead of them again and again. And the dolphins kept coming, over and over! We finally departed the area and returned to Kapitiya with awe in our eyes. No wonder Sri Lanka is now one of the top destinations for dolphin watching!
How to see dolphins in Sri Lanka
The coast off Kalpityia is one of the best areas for dolphin watching in Sri Lanka. During the winter months from December to end of March, large pods of hundreds of Spinner dolphins roam the calm waters of the Laccadive Sea west of the Puttalam Peninsula.
While a part of us would have loved to jump in the water with them, this is not luckily permitted, and our boat skipper was that clear to everyone on board. Not all tour operators are mindful of the animals, but Scuba Diving Kalpitiya has a good reputation for knowledgeable staff.
By Patricia | Ze Wandering Frogs
Cheeky Monkeys in the Golden Temple in Sri Lanka
On the hike up to the Golden Temple of Dambulla in Sri Lanka, you’ll likely encounter the adorable Toque Macaque monkey. This species is native to Sri Lanka and known for their 90s throwback “bowl cut” hair and a love of stealing things from tourists. Given their native status, you’ll likely see these monkeys elsewhere in Sri Lanka, such as Sigiriya.
In my experience, the toque macaques were more concentrated at the Golden Temple than other spots in Sri Lanka, and thus easier to watch and snag great photos without disturbing or encroaching on their space. That said, these cheeky monkeys will likely try to encroach on your space, especially if you are carrying yummy treats or flowers, which are one of its favourite foods. Therefore, it is best to keep any potential monkey snacks hidden while hiking up to this temple.
By Meg | Frost + Sun
Seeing a one-horned rhino at Chitwan National Park, Nepal
You wouldn’t expect that in the nation of Nepal you would come across too many of the big game wildlife, but in the southern parts of the country bordering India are large wildlife preserves and national parks. The one-horned rhino can also be found and well protected in these parks from poachers – constant support from the local government and conservation groups keep volunteers and rangers employed.
There is a rise of eco-tourism in this area to see the amazing wildlife. Tigers, leopards and buffalo can be spotted in the region. Tourists help the local economy and wildlife preserves keep the areas pristine and well maintained.
How to see a Rhino in Nepal
Chitwan National Park on the Terrai lowlands in Southern Nepal is a biodiverse environment with dense jungles, grassy plains and large rivers that protect many bird species, rare wildlife including leopards, Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinos and other rare mammals found in the national park.
Getting to the park entrance is a relatively long 9 hours + bus journey from the capital at Kathmandu. If you have limited time, you can easily fly to the regional Bharatpur airport and arrange for your lodge for pick up service from the airport. A typical roundtrip airfare is approximately $100 USD.
For more images and story about visiting this area, check out my post on Chitwan National park for more details and background to this amazing region of Nepal.
By Noel | Travel Photo Discovery
Tiger Spotting in Bardina National Park in Nepal
If you want to see the tiger in its own habitat, you don’t have that many options. But one of them could be Nepal, in the amazing Bardia National Park. We spotted the tiger while on a two-day safari and believe me, it’s truly a majestic animal. Bardia is not at all a crowded park, you could easily do a multiple-day safari without seeing other tourists. This is one of the reasons for which it still hosts a lot of wildlife.
The key to spotting a tiger is having patience. And I mean tons of patience. Our guide took us to a lookout because he had news from the rangers that some tiger cubs were not far away. And wherever there are cubs, for sure a protective mom will show up.
So after hours of waiting and trying to not make any noise at all, the mom appeared. She was moving gracefully and looking at us. Although we were hidden and around 500m away, she definitely knew we were there. My hands were shaking on the binoculars and couldn’t believe that a real tiger was so close to me! A truly unforgettable experience!
How to see Tigers in Nepal
Bardina National Park is 15 hours on a bus from Kathmandu. There are also daily flights to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu for approx. US$158 which make the journey much shorter (about one hour). Safari tours can be booked in the town of Nepalgunj.
March and April are the best times for sightings at Bardia as the weather heats up and the animals will come down to watering holes to drink in the heat of the day.
By Andra | Our World to Wander
It’s always amazing to see rare or endangered animals or animals that you grew up watching on TV in real life. But before you do any activity that is animal-related, always ask yourself this: “Is this animal suffering for my benefit?” and then decide if the activity is still worth doing.
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