Nagarhole National Park Safari

Sprawling across the foothills of the Western Ghats, the Nagarhole National Park forms the most significant part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park gets its name from the two Kannada words “nagara” (meaning snake) and “hole” (meaning rivers), owing to the scores of rivers and streams snaking throughout the dense tropical forests and valleys.

What you’ll see

Nagarhole is supremely famous for having the highest density of herbivores in all of Asia. Be prepared to spot some of the rarest mammals like the endangered Asian elephants and Gaurs roaming the forests alongside chitals, Sambar deer, antelopes and more.

The park also has a healthy number of predators like the Bengal tigers and Indian leopards. If you’re one of the very lucky few, you’ll catch a sight of the extremely elusive Ghost of Kabini – the magnificent Black Panther.

Nagarhole is recognised as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area as it is home to several globally threatened and endemic species. Here, you will find the critically endangered white-backed vulture, snakebirds, spotted eagle and black-necked ibis among many others.

Nagarhole National Park Zones

The park is split into two zones, A and B. Jeep safaris take you through both the zones, starting at the Kabini gate in the south.

Zone A is a densely wooded area with rich flora where you will find much of the mammalian population and flocks of migratory and native birds. You will also spot the conspicuous flame of the forest, golden shower and clumping bamboo trees.

Zone B is famous for the stunning Kabini backwaters, where herds of Asian elephants, gaur and deer roam. This zone also gives you a chance to explore the riverine flora, find water birds feasting on fish and spot amphibians like the fierce marsh crocodiles.

Nagarhole National Park Safari

There are many ways to explore the wilderness of the national park and each one of them takes you on an exquisite journey.

Jeep safaris are popular all year round as they take you straight into the deepest part of the jungles where wild animals reside. On this safari, you’re likely to find predatory mammals hiding in the thickets as they wait for prey. Birdwatchers also opt for jeep safaris as they can spot birds fluttering through the canopies as well as by the scores of lakes in the park.

Another option for land safaris is a bus safari. It can accommodate 16-20 people at a time and lasts shorter than the jeep safari, especially during peak season to avoid long waiting queues. Though the bus doesn’t venture too deep into the park’s forests, you will still cross paths with numerous animals.

The most enthralling safari at the Nagarhole tiger reserve is the boat safari on the River Kabini, which divides the Nagarhole and Bandipur National Parks. The boat stays close to the shores, making it easy to find families of mammals lounging by the riverbeds, especially during the summers when they come close to the waters. You’ll also spot the vicious marsh crocodiles lurking in the waters, abundant aquatic life and many water birds.

Where to stay

There are a few forest lodges within the Nagarhole National Park which allow you to enjoy the wilderness from up close. However, you can also stay at lodges in the surrounding areas like Kabini, Karapura or Kutta.

Sketch itinerary

Day 1: Check in and safari!
Pick up from Bangalore or Mysore
Lunch at the resort, followed by tea
Head out for a safari at 15:30 hrs
Campfire and dinner at the resort
Overnight in lodges

Day 2: Morning safari and check out
Have a cup of tea/coffee
Head out for a morning safari 06:30 hrs
Return to the resort for breakfast
Depart for Bangalore or Mysore by 11:00 hrs

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Check in and safari!
As you arrive at Mysore/Bangalore, you will be picked up and driven to the forest lodge, where you will enjoy a lip-smacking Indian lunch. Get settled in your lodge by teatime and embark on your first safari! You’ll drive through the beautiful landscapes and spot exotic animals. Return to your lodge for a campfire and dinner. Overnight in lodges.

Day 2: Morning safari and check out
Today, you’ll wake up in the lap of nature and head out for your morning safari, where you’ll be more likely to spot birds and hear their melodious songs as you ride through the park. You’ll return to the resort and have a scrumptious breakfast before bidding goodbye to the wild. You will be driven back to Mysore/Bangalore. 


Travel to and from Mysore/Bangalore
2 jeep safaris
Accommodation in lodges
All meals

Sketch itinerary

Day 1: Check in and safari!
Pick up from Bangalore
Lunch and tea at the resort
One evening safari at 15:30 hrs
Return to resort for dinner and campfire
Overnight in lodges

Day 2: Safaris in the wild
Morning tea/coffee
Coracle boat ride or jeep safari at 06:30 hrs
Return to the resort for breakfast
Lunch, followed by safari at 15:30 hrs
Return to the resort for a wildlife film, bonfire and dinner
Overnight in lodges

Day 3: Morning safari and check out
Morning tea/coffee
Wildlife safari at 06:30 hrs
Return to the lodge for breakfast
Depart for Bangalore by 11:00 hrs

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Check in and safari!
Your day will start with a pick up ride from Bangalore to the Nagarhole National Park. Here, you’ll devour an Indian buffet lunch and head out for your first safari after tea. You’ll drive through dense jungles and along beautiful rivers, spotting an umpteen number of animals. Return to the resort for dinner and a campfire. Overnight in lodges.

Day 2: Safaris in the wild
You will wake up in the midst of the wilderness, enjoy a cup of tea and choose between a coracle boat ride on the River Kabini or a jeep safari deep in the forests. As you return to the resort, you’ll be served breakfast and have the rest of the morning to your leisure. You will then embark on another safari post lunch and get to revisit your favourite spots from the previous day. Return to the resort for a wildlife film, campfire and a delicious dinner. Overnight in lodges.

Day 3: Safari and check out
Today will be your last day at the park. You’ll head out for your final safari after tea and witness the park slowly awaken under the golden morning light. You will then return to the resort for breakfast and will say your goodbyes to the stunning nature around. A drive back to Bangalore will be arranged for you.


4 jeep safaris or 3 jeep safaris + 1 coracle ride
Accommodation in lodges
Transport to and from Bangalore
All meals

Best time to go/Weather

Each season at the Nagarhole National Park comes with a unique array of flora and fauna. So, plan your trip according to what you’d love to see!

Summer stretches from March to May, with temperatures soaring up to 33 degrees Celsius. Flocks of exotic birds fly out to the drying lakes to feast on fish. The scanty foliage also makes it easy to spot animals as they make their way towards the perennial water bodies within the park. You’re most likely to spot elephants by the rivers during your boat safari in this season.

Winters last between October and February, making for the most pleasant months to visit the park. You will find the prolific herbivorous population munching on the shrubbery that was left lush and thick after the monsoon showers. Migratory birds add on to the hundreds of native bird species that flutter through the canopies of the park.

During the monsoon months of June to September, some parts of the Nagarhole tiger reserve remain closed. However, you can enjoy jeep and bus safaris and witness the magic that rains cast over the area. The rivers are in full spate and the valleys are dotted with tumbling waterfalls, creating an exquisite landscape that will leave you spellbound.

Safaris at the Nagarhole National Park are massively popular among nature enthusiasts. That’s why the park has easy connectivity to most cities.

By road
There are frequent buses and ample cab services from Mysore, Bangalore, Madikeri, Coorg and Coimbatore that take you to the Nagarhole tiger reserve.

By rail
The closest railway station is at Mysore (80 kms). Mysore is well connected to most cities across India by regular trains. You can hire a cab or a bus from the station to the park.

By air
The nearest airports are at Mysore and Bangalore. However, Bangalore is the closest international airport. You can take a connecting flight from Bangalore to Mysore and head towards the park via road.

On a safari, choose clothes that don’t make you stand out against the earthy tones of the forest. Stick to neutral colours like light browns and tans. Cover your arms and legs to protect yourself from dust particles, the sun and insects. Always apply an insect repellent and SPF 50+ sunscreen irrespective of the weather. Shoes or sneakers that comfortably cover your feet are an ideal choice for safaris.

In the summer months, choose light cotton or linen clothing. Wear a hat and sunglasses for additional sun protection.  Keep a bandana on hand that you can soak in water and drape over your neck if it gets too hot.

During winters, wear your clothes in layers and wear caps that cover your ears.

Remember to carry a raincoat or windcheater and leech proof socks during the monsoons! 

While on safari at the Nagarhole National Park, you need an SPF 50+ sunscreen, sunglasses and a cap for protecting yourself from the sun. Carry a refillable water bottle as you need to stay hydrated on your long safari. To avoid pesky insect bites, carry a bottle of insect repellent. Carry jackets and caps during winters and a raincoat or windcheater during monsoons. Finally, bring a camera with ample memory and a fully charged battery, and a pair of binoculars so you can see everything the park has to offer!

No prior physical of fitness training is needed for your safari at the Nagarhole national park as you’ll be seated throughout the day. This also makes it a suitable adventure for all ages.

Nagarhole National Park Safari - Frequently Asked Questions

Nagarhole is accessible all year round and each season is unique. Summers (March-May) are the best time to spot animals and birds by the various perennial water sources. Winters (October-February) have comfortable temperatures and luxuriously green landscapes. They’re also the best months for birdwatchers to catch a glimpse of migrant birds. Some parts of the park are closed during the monsoons (June-September), however, the scenery comes to life with lush thickets, gushing rivers and tumbling waterfalls, leaving visitors spellbound.

You can choose to travel via road, rail or air. There are frequent buses and ample taxi services from Mysore, Bangalore, Madikeri and Coorg. The nearest railway station is at Mysore, which is well connected to major Indian cities. The closest airports are at Mysore and Bangalore; however, Bangalore is the only option for international travellers. You can then travel to Mysore via a connecting flight and head towards the park via road.

Jeeps accommodate 6-8 people, buses, 16-18 people and boats, up to 20 people at a time.

Yes, they are, but only under the supervision of a guardian.

The park is split into 2 zones, A and B. Zone A is a densely wooded area, perfect for spotting predatory and herbivorous mammals. Zone B is famous for the Kabini backwaters, perfect for spotting Asian elephants, gaurs and water birds.

Layer your clothes during the winters and wear caps that will protect your ears from cold winds. Stick to mellow colours and wear insect repellent and sunscreen irrespective of the weather.

Wear light and comfortable linen or cotton clothes. Carry hats and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Also keep a bandana handy that you can soak in water and drape over your neck if the heat grows strong.

Yes, but it is requested to keep them on silent and refrain from playing loud music or speaking on the phone.

There are many forest lodges within the park and in the surrounding areas of Kutta, Kabini and Karapura.