Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Birds having affinities with Himalayan and Western Ghats, a variety of raptors, the hills of Satpuda range, the thrill of coming across a python or flying squirrel, pangolin or big/ lesser cats and the scenic beauty of moist deciduous forest... all this can be enjoyed by an eco-tourist at Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary encompasses an area of 607.71 sq. km in Narmada district, which comprises a major watershed, feeding the Sardar Sarovar and the Karjan reservoirs. Hilly tract of the Sanctuary bordering Narmada supports some of the best forests in Gujarat. The physical aspect is dominated by the Rajpipla hills. DhamanMal, the highest peak located in the eastern portion, is about 882 m in altitude. The general slope of the area is towards the west.
The forests are some of the best and the densest in the State and are known for richness of biodiversity. The sightings of various bird species, which have more affinities with Himalayan and Western Ghat, have unfolded a hitherto unknown, but interesting aspect of the area. Moist deciduous forests have very high scenic and aesthetic values. The flora of the ecosystem represents remnants of semi-evergreen to moist deciduous forest. Much of the vegetation is modified due to influence of the biotic pressure and forestry operations.
Moist teak forest, moist mixed deciduous forest, dry deciduous scrub, dry bamboo brakes and dry tropical riverine forest, constitute varied habitats in the Sanctuary. These forest types merge into each other imperceptibly. Teak is the principal species. Patches of pure bamboo dominate the western and north-western parts. A study documented 575 species of flowering plants in the Sanctuary.
How to get there
By road: The Narmada river runs through Narmada district, along the border of Vadodara district, and through Bharuch district, emptying near the city of Bharuch into the sea. There are various sites along the way, and therefore various ways to visit the river. By road: Bharuch, Rajpipla, Chanod, and Dabhoi are accessible by buses. The Sardar Sarovar dam site can be reached by private vehicle.
By rail: Bharuch is the nearest railway station.
By air: The closest airport is at Vadodara.