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“An absolute must for wildlife fans”

Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Ranked #22 of 107 things to do in Panjim
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A 15-minute ferry crossing takes you to one of India’s best known bird sanctuaries for a guided canoe trip around the bird-thronging marshes.
Reviewed 12 February 2014

The morning I visited Chorao island will stay with me for the rest of my life. A truly special trip.

You have to be up bright and early to catch a ferry across to the island.

You meet your guide Uday who lives on the island, he is extremely knowledgeable and speaks excellent english. You set off in a little canoe along the Mandovi river (do not expect comfort). The sights and sounds you will experience are simply amazing - all different kinds of wildlife can be seen and heard as drift peacefully in the morning sun.

If you love wildlife - go on this trip.

3  Thank Kasey232009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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97 - 101 of 116 reviews

Reviewed 20 January 2014

Although new to birdwatching and not particularly early risers, my husband and I wanted a change from Goa's beach scene, and opted for a morning boat-ride with the birds at the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island.

We woke pre-dawn and scootered through misty, empty roads to catch the 6:30am Pomburpa ferry to Chorao island. Fortified by hot tea and samosas, we finally connected with our field guide, the knowledgeable, seasoned and cheerful Uday Mandrekar (who is far more skilled at spotting birds than giving driving directions).

We gingerly crossed the muddy rock path to his canoe - non-slip shoes are a plus - and, along with a couple of German visitors, set off on a very relaxing ride on the quiet Mandovi river. Uday started pointing out birds almost immediately - Brahmini kites, kingfishers, flycatchers, all manner of stork-billed blue-breasted green-shanked yellow-tailed bee-eating avians (our bird vocabulary instantly exploded), along with a couple of crocodiles - lucky us! - and broke the silence occasionally with information on local ecology, economy and history. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride, the company and our new feathered friends. We debriefed over home-made tea and coconut biscuits in Uday's house after the 1.5 hour tour, and pored over his guest book and all the literature in which he's featured.

It's good to remember that this is a sanctuary, not a circus. Sightings are not guaranteed - but it helps to go early in the morning between Oct-Mar, be patient and vigilant. We'll be back!

* Uday is an excellent guide; book a day in advance: +91-9822583127 or +91-9545062069.
* Cost: Rs 800-1000 for the tour, plus Rs 50 per camera and Rs 50 per person sanctuary entry fee (excludes getting to/from Chorao Island).
* Best time to go: early mornings Oct-Mar
* Duration: ~1.5 hr
* Getting there: From Mapusa: take the ferry from Pomburpa jetty, then drive another 7-8 km to the Madel ferry side. From Panjim: take the ferry to Madel. The ferry is free for people & scooters, and costs ~Rs 10 per car.

13  Thank Rayna_Jhaveri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We visited this sanctury late at 10 AM but there were still many birds we can see. Don't go to walk in forest. Go for river ride.They will take you deep in the jungle and stay still there.
Taking a fine camera will enhance your trip.But try to go in early morning as 6-7 AM...

1  Thank Atharva K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

If you are in Goa during birding season (late Oct to Mar), this is a must visit place but you have to do the trip in right manner. First thing, arrive early. We started from our hotel around 6:45 AM and reached the Ribandar ferry station at around 7:20. If you can go even earlier, it will be better. Here you have to take a ferry to get to the island. If you in a cab, the cab can also go on the ferry. Once you off-board on the island, you will see the park gate and office on your left. You have to pay a nominal entry fee here and can walk in but that’s not the right way to do it. After paying entry fee, find a guide and a boat. I am not sure if there are any official forest department arranged boat trips (though I saw some signs later on some boats) but you can hire local “unofficial” guides. Uday is the most experienced and famous guide and we were lucky that as soon as we landed on the island, first person who approached us was Uday. So after paying the entry fee, we went to his house with him. Yes his house! The island has a population of about 10000 with schools and hospitals. Uday has two boats, a small canoe type for 3-4 people and a large motorboat for 8-10 people. He took us for a boat birding ride for about an hour through the island canals. This guy is very knowledgeable and has eyes as sharp as an eagle. He could spot tiny kingfishers deep in wooded areas from 300-400 meter distance. We spotted about 10 different types of birds. It was an hour well spent on open water in a pleasant weather. And yes, don’t forget to take you camera and binoculars.

9  Thank Girish T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2013

a 4km road journey and half an hour's free ferry ride,leads us to this place.knowledgable and friendly people within the sanctuary.a must visit,when you are in goa.visit as early as possible in the morning to enjoy birdlife

4  Thank sivaglobal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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