Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary is located 15 kms from Sulthan Bathery in North Kerala.
Wayanad has two important wildlife sanctuaries – Tholpetty and Muthanga. They are actually two divisions of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. However they are separated by human settlements and generally considered as two independent wildlife parks.
The dense forest of Muthanga have rich populations of plants and animals.
There are several reasons for such bio diversity. Annual rainfall of 3000 – 4000 mm and fertile soil create ideal situation for life forms to thrive.
Muthanga is part of ecologically sensitive Nilagiri biosphere, the protected area that spans about 5500 sq. kms in the hilly regions of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Muthanga reserve, which is 345 sq. kms in area, is connected to wildlife sanctuaries at Mudumalai and Bandipur.
Animals such as elephants move between these reserves.
Of course there are many more species including commendable populations of birds, butterflies and reptiles.
Although there is opportunity to see many of these animals, the prime attraction is elephants. The jungle here has a significant population of them. Hence Muthanga was declared as a Project Elephant site.
There are also a few tigers. Occasionally visitors see them.
However Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary has the same drawbacks you experience at the nearby Tholpetty reserve. So you will hear mixed reviews.
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary offers two choices to visitors – a one hour jeep ride and a three hour trek. Most people opt for the jeep safari.
The jeep safari has two time slots. If you are opting for the morning slot, be there before 7 AM and get into the first jeep itself. Since several jeeps take off one after the other, animals shy away from the sides of the jungle path. While people in the first few jeeps may see some wildlife, others are generally disappointed.
The reverse is true for the afternoon slot. That is, there is more chance to see animals the closer it gets to the evening. However, there are no guarantees.
The jeeps are rough vehicles. Sitting in the back of a jeep facing inward is not a nice experience. The sides and the back of the jeep are closed, so you can see animals only through the small windows on the side. The jungle path is a mud lane, which gets soggy during the rains and dusty other times. Expect bumpy ride. An average sized adult will have to sit a bit bent to avoid hitting the roof.
There is more chance to see wildlife in the three hour treks. At least you can avoid the feeling of being rushed in a motor vehicle.
This sanctuary can be visited year round. If there is any better time to visit, that would be March – May when animals such as elephants arrive here from the neighbouring reserves.
The contact is - Wildlife Warden, Wayanad Wildlife sanctuary, Sulthan Bathery. Ph: 04936 220454
How to reach
Wayanad is reachable is only by road. From Karnataka, you can arrive here via Gundlupet. If you are travelling from the south, arrive at Kozhikode. From there take the road to Thamarassery and follow the mountain road that lead to Wayanad.
If you are taking public transport to Wayanad from South Kerala, there are two choices. Take a bus or a train bus combination.
Wayanad has no railway. So if you are taking a train, the place to arrive is Kozhikode. From there take a bus to Sulthan Batheri. Or else, take a bus to Kalpetta and from there to Batheri.