Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Safari

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is Kerala’s second largest wildlife sanctuary. Home to rare, endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna, this sanctuary serves as a significant habitat and migration corridor for its prolific wildlife. It shares its borders with the Bandipur, Nagarhole and Madumalai national parks, which form a major part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Being one of the safest natural habitats for Royal Bengal tigers, Asian elephants and vultures, thousands of nature-lovers from around the world are attracted to the verdant landscapes of Wayanad each year.

What you’ll see

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is always lush with semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests. These tangled thickets are the perfect home to numerous species of avifauna, both native and migratory, like the Indian peafowl, cuckoos, babblers, owls and more. One of the keystone species of Wayanad is its vultures, especially the critically endangered white-rumped vultures and red-headed vultures.

Wayanad is also an important habitat for the majestic Bengal tigers and plays a significant role in connecting other major tiger habitats and reserves, like the Bandipur, Nagarhole and Madumalai national parks. On your safari, you will hear the shrill trumpets of the Asian elephants, that are another one of the keystone species of the sanctuary. Among these, you will also find several panthers, gaur, deer, bonnet macaques, langurs, bears and more.

The marshy riverside, tropical climate and evergreen shrubbery make for the perfect home for several species of monitor lizards and snakes, including pit vipers, geckos, coral snakes and of course, the deadly King Cobra.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Safari

The vast expanses of the sanctuary can be explored via a thrilling safari ride, which can accommodate up to 7 people. The compact vehicle takes you deep into the jungles and gives you the best chance to encounter Bengal tigers and Asian elephants. With multiple pitstops throughout your ride, this is the perfect option for wildlife photographers and avid birdwatchers.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can opt for a trek or nature walk through the sanctuary to truly connect with the awe-inspiring nature and wildlife surrounding you.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Zones

The sanctuary is divided into four ranges or sections, with the most popular Muthanga range sharing its borders with the Bandipur and Madumalai national parks and the Tholpetty range connecting to the Nagarhole national park. The other less frequented sections of the sanctuary are Sulthan Bathery and Kurichiat, which house hundreds of species of flora and fauna.

Where to stay

There are plenty hotels, resorts and homestays surrounding the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary that can suit any budget and travel dates. 

Best time to go/Weather

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the very few national parks in India that remains open during the monsoons. Each season here is unique and has its own charm, so, there’s always something new to look forward to at this sanctuary.

During the summers (March-May), the temperatures can touch a high of 35°C. You can choose to catch a thrilling safari through the sanctuary in the morning and explore the surrounding coffee, tea and rubber plantations in the afternoon when it gets the hottest. Be ready to spot the infamous tigers, giant elephants, panthers, chital and various other mammals seeking shade deep in the thickets of the lush jungles.

Winter (October-February) is the most popular season at Wayanad, with pleasant temperatures and stunning greenery from the recently-departed monsoons. During these months, the melodious cacophony of hundreds of migratory and native bird species will flood your ears. Since Wayanad shares its borders with the Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai National Parks, it serves as a migration corridor for many mammal species during the winters, thereby offering visitors the best chances of spotting unique wildlife.

Monsoons (June-October) at Wayanad are perfect for those looking for an offbeat experience close to nature. The rains give new life to the prolific flora, carpeting the entire landscape in a gorgeous emerald. This season sees lesser crowds and heavy rainfalls, making treks and nature walks in the sanctuary particularly enthralling. You can even opt for a jeep safari in this season, if you wish to encounter the bigger beasts of the wild, like tigers, elephants and more.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular tourist spot for nature lovers all year round. This means that it has easy connectivity to major Indian cities to allow for easy travel.

By road
It’s fairly easy to reach Wayanad from Bangalore, Kozhikode, Coimbatore and other South Indian cities via road. You can hire private cabs or buses from any of these cities to reach the sanctuary.

By rail
Nilambur railway station is the closest to the sanctuary, followed by Kozhikode. Both stations are well connected to the rest of India and have bus and cab facilities to help you reach Wayanad from the station.

By air
The closest airport for both domestic and international travellers is the Cochin International Airport at Kozhikode. You can cover the rest of the journey via road by hiring a cab or a bus from the airport.

During your safari at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, wear clothes that cover your arms and legs to shield yourself from dust, sunlight and insects. Choose neutral colours like tan, khaki or brown as bright colours may startle some animals. Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers that cover your feet. Irrespective of the time of the year, apply an SPF 50+ sunscreen and insect repellent.

In the summers, wear linen or cotton clothing to keep you cool. Sunglasses and a hat are ideal for keeping the harsh sun away. Remember to carry a bandana that you can dip in cool water and drape over your neck when it gets too hot.

Winters here are not too cold, so a jacket and a scarf will be enough to keep you warm and comfortable.

Remember to carry raincoats and windcheaters during the monsoons as the area receives a considerable amount of rainfall.

The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary safari is long, hence, carry a refillable water bottle, especially during the summers. Always carry an insect repellent and SPF 50+ sunscreen to keep insect bites and harsh sunlight at bay. Carry jackets and woollen caps during the winters and a hat and sunglasses in the summers. If you’re visiting during the monsoons, don’t forget to carry a raincoat or a windcheater. Lastly, have a fully charged camera with ample memory and a pair of binoculars on hand to fully explore the sanctuary!

There is no prior requirement for undergoing fitness training for your safari at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. You will be seated throughout your safari with little to no walking around. This also makes the trip suitable for all ages. However, if you opt for a trek, you will need a moderate level of fitness to ensure that you can comfortably endure several hours of walking through the jungle.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary Safari - Frequently Asked Questions

Wayanad is one of the few sanctuaries in India that remains open during the monsoons. Each season has a unique experience to offer, so choose the dates of your visit accordingly. Summers (March-May) can be scorching, especially during the afternoons. In this season, opt for morning safaris and visit the nearby coffee, tea and rubber plantations later during the day. Winters (October-February) are an extremely popular time to visit, with pleasant temperatures, common sightings of animals basking in the sun and a chance to catch glimpses of various migratory birds. Monsoons (June-October) come with heavy showers and lesser crowds, making it perfect for a quiet and offbeat visit or an enthralling jungle trek.

The best way to reach Wayanad from Bangalore would be via road. You can hire cabs or buses from there and even other South Indian cities like Kozhikode and Coimbatore. The closest railway stations are at Nilambur and Kozhikode, while the closest airport is the Cochin International Airport at Kozhikode. Bus and cab services are easily available at these railway stations and airports to reach Wayanad.

Seven people can be accommodated during one jeep safari.

Yes, but only under the supervision of an adult.

Winters here are not harsh, but are quite pleasant and cool. A windproof jacket and a scarf over your regular clothing should be enough to keep you warm and comfortable.

Wear light cotton or linen clothes that will keep you cool throughout the day. Carry a hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from the harsh sun. Additionally, carry a bandana that you can dip in water and drape over your neck when it gets extremely hot.

Yes, but visitors are requested to keep them on silent and refrain from speaking on the phone or playing music.

There are multiple homestays, resorts and hotels surrounding the sanctuary which offer comfortable accommodation fitting all budgets and travel dates.