Elephant and Big Cat Haven

Nagarhole (& Kabini) National Park

Nagarhole is ideal elephant territory, and home to the largest population of wild elephants in the world and the Gaur, or Indian bison.

Elephant and Big Cat Haven

Nagarhole is part of the largest contiguous forest covering in Asia, the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve, bordering three States in the Western Ghats – Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Nagarhole river snakes through the rich tropical forests giving its name to the park.

The stately teak forests of Nagarhole include India’s oldest teak plantations, dating to the mid-1800s. The panoramic landscape is dotted with wild elephants, sometimes as many as two hundred, accompanied by Gaur, Sambar, Spotted Deer and otters, and perhaps a few crocodiles at the water’s edge.

Three major predators co-exist in Nagarhole in high densities due to the abundance of prey – Tiger, Leopard and Dhole. The reserve is famous for its Black Panthers (melanistic leopards). These individuals have excess black pigments, but their typical leopard rosettes are also present.

Other mammals include Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Jackal, arboreal giant squirrels and Hyena. In addition to over 300 recorded bird species, several species of venomous snakes and reptiles and raptors are also found here.

Kabini & Nagarhole – are they the same or two different reserves?

In short, Kabini is a section of the bigger Nagarhole National Park.

Nagarhole National Park is accessible to visitors from both the north and south. The southern section of the park lies near the backwaters of the Kabini river and the Kabini Dam, and hence is commonly referred to as Kabini.

Over the last few years, due to the growing number of excellent leopard sightings, Kabini shot into the limelight as the best place to photograph Leopards in South India. The popularity only went up further with regular sightings of its Black Panther. World-class resorts and lodges around the backwaters of the Kabini river have also sprung up.

Therefore, for most wildlife lovers, the southern section of the Nagarhole National Park became the place to visit, and its popularity eclipsed the overall identity of Nagarhole National Park and that of its northern section which is now commonly referred to as Nagarhole, to distinguish it from the southern section, Kabini.


A coracle ride down the Kabini River offers excellent chances to spot herds of elephants and other mammals that have come to the banks for a drink and the birds that flock around the shores.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)