Kabini vs Bandipur: Which is Better?

a leopard on top of a rocky outcrop
a tiger walking in a nature reserve
an elephant playing with mud

Bandipur and Kabini are two of the best wildlife parks that you could visit to catch glimpses of the majestic wild cats that roam free in these lush grasslands. From the popular Bengal tigers to the vogueish leopards whose appearance screams royalty, these cats have got style, power and just the right amount of dangerous elements to leave you feeling intimidated while still making you feel honoured to be in their presence. A trip to either Bandipur or Kabini will leave you feeling mesmerised by nature and all its awe-inspiring occupants. Both forests are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and get plenty of visitors every year. They are separated by the gorgeous Kabini river that flows through the forests. At this point, you might be thinking, “Kabini or Bandipur, which is better?” Well, read on to find out!

The Wildlife

Both forests boast incredible biodiversity mainly consisting of tigers and leopards. These forests also serve as a habitat for elephants and wild dogs. Bandipur has always been popular for tiger sightings. Kabini has recently gained prominence for its jaw-dropping leopard sightings where one can see leopards resting on tree branches! The big cats have gotten accustomed to the safari rides and they can be seen walking freely on the grasslands unfazed by the vehicles that pass near them. Kabini has a denser wildlife population than Bandipur. This could be due to the absence of traffic and human intervention in these forests. Tiger families have been proliferating in these forests at an impressive rate. Some are even well-known in the area such as the Tiger Tank Family.

a tiger emerging out of the water
Nagarahole Tiger Reserve Safari

The Location

Both these forests are around 210-225 km from Bangalore and 60-70 km from Mysore. They are well-connected by roads and railways. If you are from Bangalore, we would recommend leaving early in the morning to get the most out of your trip. Even better, stay at The Serai Kabini or The Serai Bandipur and indulge in an eventful vacation exploring the wildlife paradise! We have cosy rooms and villas that will guarantee you and your family a restful stay. We also offer exciting activities such as safari and kayaking that help you experience nature in its rawest, most divine form.

The Forest Type

Both Bandipur and Kabini have noticeably different textures when it comes to foliage. The Bandipur forest is at a higher altitude and arid, mainly consisting of deciduous trees that lose leaves in the winter. It boasts rough, rocky terrain with thick vegetation akin to a thick green blanket that envelopes the area and allows wildlife to thrive in peace. Kabini, on the other hand, mainly consists of moist deciduous trees and eucalyptus plants. It rests on a lower attitude with less vegetation making the area seem more open and transparent. This is ideal for wildlife photographers who wish to capture magical moments on camera.

A shot of the towering deciduous trees from below
Side profile of a Leopard

The Safaris

Both Bandipur and Kabini offer vehicle safaris which is a must-have experience for every visitor. Apart from the safaris provided by the Forest Department, The Serai Kabini and The Serai Bandipur also offer safari packages that you can easily avail for a quality nature retreat into the depth of the forests. Whether you choose to stay in Kabini or Bandipur, we guarantee that both places offer exciting wildlife sightings that will leave you on the edge of your seats as you marvel at the beautiful creatures. Tigers, leopards, panthers, Asiatic elephants and gaurs are some of the animals that you are likely to spot on the trip!

To settle the dilemma of Kabini vs Bandipur, you should analyse your objectives for travelling to these forests. There is something for everybody in both wildlife parks. If your main objective is to take pictures of wildlife, Kabini might be slightly better for you than Bandipur. If you prefer exploring the forest at a slightly higher altitude, Bandipur is your go-to option. It is important to note that Leopards and Tigers can be spotted in both the aforementioned forests. However, the chances of spotting a Tiger are slightly higher in Bandipur. That being said, guests will have a wonderful experience while visiting either of these forests.