Andaman: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
Andaman is the land of blue treasures.Wherever you go your are guarded by hues of blue ocean set amidst a clear sky playing a plethora of colours. From dense green mangrove creeks to thick forest to iridescent coral leafs and rugged beach stans everything spells of enchanting nature’s palette.
It’s a never ending paradise for nature lovers. Sitting there you would feel the natural world that lies in the surroundings and be a part of it. Almost all the places in Andaman gives you this experience but there are certain experiences which a nature lover in Andaman can’t miss. Let’s take a look at few of such life changing experiences
#1 Kayaking Through the Bioluminescent Sea in Havelock
There are certain parts of the sea which glows extra bright at night due to the presence of certain microorganisms called algae which emit light. This phenomenon is called bioluminescence which can be witnessed in some rare parts of the world. Some regions of Havelock harbours these microorganisms which make the water in the area glow at night. With every paddle through the water you would witness these a splash of glistening water inhabited by these phytoplanktons, The chemical reactions in these phytoplanktons make them glow just like the one you witness in fireflies
So, kayaking through this enchanting illuminated sea is one rare adventure nature lovers look forward to in Andaman. It feels as if you are experiencing the ocean just like Pi from Life of Pi.
#2 Climb The Highest Peak of Andaman, Saddle Peak
A substantial part of Andaman encompasses moderate level trekking experiences which nature lovers love. However, it’s one particular trek that a nature lover in Andaman must try, Saddle Peak Trek. This 732 metres high mountain located in Diglipur is the highest peak of Andaman. It’s this hard 75-80 degrees 8-9 hours trek through paths and steps made with natural roots that you witness beautiful streams hidden in a dense forest of ancient trees. The streams are so clear that you would want to take a sip from it while the beautiful display of flora and fauna waits for you to explore. For safety and security reasons one must complete this long trek before dusk and reach the base by 4:30pm
#3 Explore the Wildlife on Elephanta Beach Trek in Havelock
One of the most sought after experiences for nature lovers in Andaman is this moderate level half an hour trek through a muddy lush green tropical forest laden with mangroves to reach the serene Elephanta Beach in Havelock. It’s primarily a guilty pleasure for a nature lover walking through these green forest sighting birds and even an elephant if you are lucky, The place was named after Elephants which were brought on the island to carry logs and building materials back in the colonial time. Ferries are also available here
#4 Witness Sea Turtle Hatching at Kalipur Beach
North and Middle Andaman is known for Sea Turtle nesting habitats and here special arrangements are made by the Forest Department to safeguard turtle eggs by building nurseries so that dogs don’t gobble them up. The ideal location to witness this is Kalipur Beach in Diglipur where hundreds of sea turtles come to the beach to hatch their eggs. At night when you are walking by the beach you will witness an ethereal scene of a large camouflaging area of turtles quietly hatching their way to the sea. March to April is the season when hundreds of turtles hatch out from the nurseries and are left into the sea by the morning. So, a nature lover visiting the islands in December-April must visit this spot in search of the turtles
#5 Experience The Pristine Coral Reefs of Jolly Buoy & Redskin
There are some pristine coral reefs near Wandoor in South Andaman. However, only 2 of these beaches are open to the public which is often missed by a nature lover in Andaman . Redskin and Jolly Buoy are colourful no-plastic coral reef zones where you get to witness the corals in their distinct colours and aura. They remain open alternatively for 6 months so that the corals reproduce and regenerate without any hindrance. So, take a forest permit and hop on to the boat from Wandoor and witness this litter free natural beach. Both of them part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and are preserved natural heritage
#6 Experience the Natural World of Caves, Mangroves & Mud Volcanoes in Baratang
One of the most visited places in North Andaman, Baratang is a nature lover’s dome. Instead of covering it all in a day, stay over the night in Baratang and enjoy the beautiful evening sunset at parrot island and watch the birds return home. Then hop on a private boat to reach the naturally curved limestone caves. It’s a nature’s wonder how this beautiful cave is curved by water falling drop by drop for millions of years. You can even feel 1-2 drops falling on your cheeks if you wait. The caves are guarded by a dense mangrove creek and take an 1 hour trek to reach. And while you are at it don’t miss the mud volcano where bubbling mud comes off from heaped mud hills due to some gaseous reactions. Andaman is the only place in India where you can witness this.
#7 Visit the Exotic Wildlife of Chidiya Tapu Biological Park
This 2001 established Biological Park near Port Blair came into existence after Port Blair’s large zoo was closed down and converted into Mini Zoo with fewer animals. Since then Chidiyatapu has served as a chief attraction to witness endemic species of exotic animals specially reptiles like salt water crocodiles and big trees like sea mahuas. It lies close to the beach and closes around 4pm so you take a quiet stroll by beach and enjoy the setting sun as well. You can see spotted deers, barking deers wild boars, and various species of birds and butterflies 40 hectares of conserved forest land
#8 Bird Watching in Mayabunder & Havelock
Bird watching is one of the most sought after passions amongst nature lovers and they are sure to look for rare endemic bird species not found elsewhere. So, if you are one such nature lover in Andaman then take out some time for this slow activity and go to the best spots for bird watching in and around Port Blair. There are professional birders who would specially take you to favourable bird watching spots in Port Blair, Mayabunder and Havelock. However, do remember it would take quite some time as it is a slow activity.
#9 Witness The Ocean While Scuba Diving in Havelock
The luscious Prussian blue waters of Havelock island is just the right spot to witness the ocean and if you are a nature lover you must take a dive into the trenches of the ocean. This is a once in a lifetime life changing experience which changes your perspective of life and makes you aware of the world. Witnessing the ocean life first hand while scuba diving through the water is the ultimate Andaman dream for many.
#10 Swim With the Sea Cows While Snorkeling in Neil Island
Neil Island is another popular place to visit for a nature lover in Andaman. The Sea Bed here is coral studded and plethora of colourful fishes live in them. So, snorkeling in these waters opens up a different world and if you are lucky you can swim with the harmless state animal of Andaman, Dugong or Sea Cows.
#11 Discover Hidden Creatures in Intertidal Walks in Chidiyatapu
A rare insight into marine life specially life in Mangrove forests awaits you if you go for these Intertidal Reef Walks conducted by a marine conservation NGO Reef Watch in Chidiyatapu. These walks explore the mangroves when water subsides after a tide. So in between the low tide and high tide when the mangrove roots are exposed you get to certain creatures like crabs, clams and molluscs.
#12 Try Your Hands at Game Fishing in Havelock
Game fishing is an extremely rare form of adventure sport which a nature lover in Andaman enjoys. If you are one of those who would love to race against time only to catch a fish only to relish watching it go back to the ocean when you release it, then try this out in Havelock. You would certainly feel the joy of catching fishes depicted in Hemingway’s Old Man the Sea.
#13 Enjoy the Solitude Trek of Lalaji Bay Beach
Long Island is a secluded island with pristine wildlife surviving amidst a population of less than 1000 people. One of the least visited places in Andaman, this is the holy grail for any nature lover. Here there is only one resort which hosts around 25-30 people at a given point of time and you are primarily living in solitude. The chief attraction here is the Lalaji bay beach, a sandy blue beach hidden by dense tropical jungle. You walk through this jungle to reach the glowing sea beach where you can enjoy marine life in solitude. You can get the whole beach for yourself, it’s that secluded. The trek to the beach from the resort takes about 3 hours and you’re sure to enjoy this solitary trail through nature’s paradise.
That’s what life of a nature lover feels like in Andaman and you are sure to try this once you end up in those salty waters, irrespective of your perception of the natural world.