For a heady rush of adrenalin, for the thrill of capturing leopards, jackals or even the viper, head to the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary; which is actually a part of the reserve forest. Hire a local guide and explore this dry evergreen forest, which is one of the few eco-centres of Andhra Pradesh. Kambalakonda’s four mountainous terrains offer some amazing trekking trails coupled with picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes. Keep the camera ready and capture mesmerising clicks of leopards, jackals, Indian pangolin, cobras, Russell’s viper, Indian muntjac and chitals. Also keep a look out for flocks of partridges, Asian paradise-flycatcher, quails, treepies, blue-tailed bee-eater, spot-billed duck and hoopoes. Spread over 7,146 hectares, Kambalakonda is a wildlife sanctuary in the Eastern Ghats. It is an abode for rare species of endemic flora and also supports varieties of animals like leopards, barking deer, wild boar, spotted deer, sambar and monkeys. Safe routes are earmarked for trekking within the sanctuary. Peacocks, deer, emus, lovebirds and other endangered species can be spotted here.
Formerly under the control of the Maharajah of Vizianagaram, this reserve forest is now protected by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department since March 10, 1970. This wildlife sanctuary is located along the Highway just outside the city on the way towards Vizianagaram – Srikakulam. Working closely with the locals of Shambuvanipalem, ethnic cottages have been designed to facilitate overnight camping. For the adventurous, these cottages that can be booked for overnight or weekend stays. There is a cafeteria inside but with limited service. Essentially, the philosophy of this sanctuary is to ‘provide minimum facilities without disrupting the natural wildlife habitats’. People of the surrounding villages are trained to act as guides for visiting tourists and trekkers. These guides have lots of information on the habits and mannerisms of the fauna and interesting titbits of data on the flora.
A day at the reserve forest is indeed an adventure of rare sorts. Spending time in the company of peacocks, deer, emus, lovebirds and other endangered species is a refreshing treat for eco-tourists. The reservoir that was formed during the construction of the earthen bund across a stream has now become a haven for birdwatchers. A boat ride on this lake, an early morning trek and a stay in the log huts – the back to nature package will allow you to connect with nature, albeit on a controlled extent. Trekking, boating, hitch-hiking, horse-riding and crossing bridges can all be experienced in one go. Located close to the city opposite the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, the Nature Park has been developed to safeguard the ecosystem, create awareness on nature and promote tourism.