Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorão Island, Goa is located on the Mandovi River. The backwaters and the river islands of Goa had fascinated me for a very long time. But every time I visited this little state of India, I was too occupied exploring different beaches and parties in Goa that I never really made the efforts to head out to hidden places like these. Last time I was in Goa for a media trip to attend Goa Tribal Festival, my accommodation was arranged at Miramar beach, the central part of Goa. I was so happy to know that Chorão Island on Mandovi River was quite close to Miramar beach. On one of the mornings, I took the pain of getting out of my bed early and head out to explore the Salim Ali bird Sanctuary.
How to reach Chorão Island for Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
You need to reach Ribandar ferry point by road.
By bus: It is around 10 km from Panjim bus station. Try and take the first bus from the respective location to reach Panjim bus stand by 06:15 am. Take the bus from Panjim bus stop to reach Ribandar at around 06:30 am.
By private transport: Drive and reach Ribandar jetty. You can load your car/2-wheeler on the ferry to Chorão Island.
You need to take a ferry from Ribandar to Chorão Island. There are frequent ferries to and from Chorão Island.
The ferries keep lining up at the ferry point one after the other and they take off once they are fully loaded.
The first ferry is lined up at 06:30 am.
The good news is that the ferry ride is free for the passengers!
It is a 20 minutes ferry ride to Chorão Island. The entry gate to the sanctuary is exactly opposite to the ferry drop-off point. There are a few stalls near the entry gate that serve breakfast and refreshments early in the morning.
I had a crazy experience of taking various modes of transport to reach the ferry point. I waited for the bus at Miramar beach and gave up on the wait, and hitched hiked to Panjim. I then took a morning walk on the bridge over Mandovi river and finally caught a bus to get to the Ribandar.
How to explore Salim Ali bird Sanctuary
There are boats on hire, provided by the sanctuary department. These boats take you around the islands, through the mangroves. Generally the boat-rider doubles up as a guide also, who help spot the wildlife on this island.
Boat and entry charges for Salim Ali bird Sanctuary
The entire boat can be hired for INR 750.
It can take maximum 10 passengers, so for a group of 10, they charge INR 75 per head.
Entry fee - INR 10 per person.
Camera charges - INR 25 per camera
Video camera charges - INR 150 per camera
Apart from the wildlife, it is a beautiful experience for a morning boat-ride on the river through the mangroves. The reflection of the mangroves on the still waters makes the Mandovi river quite picturesque.
The boat navigates through some narrow passages between the mangroves. I enjoyed the ride more than bird-watching!
Birds in Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
The guide on the boat helped us spot some beautiful birds.
The Brahminy Kite perched on the top of the tree.
The Osprey, also known as fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk.
The Whimbrels were seen in plenty.
My favourite was the kingfisher! The perfect brand ambassador for Goa!
The local fisherman use the canoe boats for fishing on Mandovi river.
On the boat ride, we also caught glimpse of Penha De Franca Church located on the banks of Mandovi river.
In the end you are given an option to be dropped-off at a location on the island. You can walk to the entry gate of the bird sanctuary on a beautiful path carved through the mangroves. I highly recommend this walk. There's a possibility to spot some more wildlife on this trail.
Namaste! I'm Medhavi Davda.
I travel to Evolve..
In Nature, I confide..
I find my calling in the Himalayas..
In the Oceans, I meditate..
A High-Altitude Trekker & PADI certified SCUBA Diver, I love exploring the heights and depths of the planet with my regular doses of mountains and oceans.
Discovering myself & life through nature, adventures, travels, sports and dance has been an addiction since my existence!
Quite fond of the natural & cultural diversity of India, I've travelled extensively in my own country before exploring international destinations.
I had left my 9+ yrs of career in Software Industry in a quest to make a living out of my passions. I packed my basics in my car (gave away the rest) and lived in different parts of Himachal Pradesh for 16 months. This invaluable time taught me to experience life from a broader perspective.
I'm currently living in Mumbai to work with an Adventure Travel company as a product manager for Scuba Diving. I continue living a minimalistic life.
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