Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

Valpoi, Goa 403505, India

Head north of Valpoi to reconnect with nature in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. The 80-square-mile preserve, nestled in the Western Ghats, is considered an area of high biodiversity, with wildlife ranging from black panthers and leopards to sloth bears and Bengal tigers. In fact, it was recently proposed that Mhadei become a part of Project Tiger, a government initiative to conserve a viable tiger population. Look high! The sanctuary is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (an official designation by BirdLife International and the Audubon Society), with 255 recorded species. Besides wildlife, the preserve is dotted with dozens of waterfalls, most notably the dual Vazra Sakla and Virdi Falls. There are no public tourist facilities; allow yourself three hours for a self-guided exploration of the sanctuary.

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