ECO-TOURISM POTENTIALS OF THE SANCTUARY AND ITS SURROUNDING AREAS :
The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary is undoubtedly a popular tourist attraction in the Vidarbha region. It has a fascinating variety of plant and animal life as well as a picturesque landscape which make it a nature lover’s paradise Nearly 25,000 tourists visit this sanctuary every year.
The concept of wildlife tourism is often criticized for being contrary to the objectives of wildlife conservation. This is, in fact, no true. The agreed policy on “Wildlife Tourism” is that wildlife tourism should not be discouraged outright but can compatibly he allowed having any deleterious effects on the eco-system. It is through this media only we can highlight the fact that wildlife areas are vital for human survival and welfare.
The resources of the sanctuary provided an opportunity for active recreational pursuits. Tourists’ activities are more or less sightseeing, strolling playing in the open spaces, sitting in the shade and taking refreshments, photography, bird watching and also enjoying trip to forest areas. Within tourist complex a children part with various items like slides, merry-go-round, towers single and double bars and many others things of children’s interest exists.
Special attractions in the vicinity which a tourist to the sanctuary may also enjoy include a trip to Navegaon National park situated at a distance of 35 km form Sakoli. The Navegaon Bandh lake has a picutersque setting with hills surrounding it. It has become a picnic spot now and a large number of tourists visit this place on every weekends and holidays. The Iteadoh Dam, about 18 km. Form Navegaon is frequently visited by the tourists. The settlement of Tibetans i.e. Tibetan Camp at Gothangaon is also one of the attractions for the tourist, who visit to see the settlement, Buddhist temple, carpet weaving centers etc. (It is 10 km. From Iteadoh) Patapgharh fort is old ruined Gond fort. There is Mahadeo Temple which attracts thousands of devotees on the Mahashivratri day (February-March).
Other tourist spots are :
Darekasa famous for prehistoric caves (100 km.) Sirpur and Bagh Irrigaion Project etc. All these spots are in Gondia District. In addition, Dongargarh in Chattisgarh is about 100 kms. Form Sakoli is important temple place. Many devotees visit this temple during Navartri- Dussehra.
TOURIST INFLOW :
The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest and well known sanctuary of the Vidarbha region, nearly 25,000 tourists visit this sanctuary every year. The rainy season is a closed period. November- December are also April – May are the peak months as far as the number of tourist concerned. The weekends and the public holidays are the crowded days. Most of the tourists belong to the “day tourists” group. Very few tourists avail the facility for camping overnight.
ACCOMODATION ARRANGEMENT :
For those tourists who are interested in staying close to the natural surroundings, eight rest houses having 19 suites of two beds each and one youth hostel of 32 beds capacity is available within the sanctuary. Total number of beds available is 70 beds. The number of beds available rest house wise is as follows:
The charges for these rest houses are as per the G. R. No. FRH/1099/CR-114/F-9 dated 22/9/1999. The statement showing the revenue obtained and the number of tourists staying in various rest houses is given in the Appendix No. 21.
All these accommodation facilities are provided by the forest department. No accommodation facilities are provided by the other department like Tourism, P.W.D. Irrigation or by provide establishment. All these existing accommodation facilities have been created prior to the formation of wildlife wing. These are located along the Nagzira lake which is also a prime habitat for wildlife. Their location has greatly disturbed the animal movement. Hence it is very necessary to close these tourist facilities in near future and develop alternative tourist facilities at the Pitezari and Murpar entrance gate.
Presently there is one canteen owned by the department but given on two years contract basis and it is situated within the recreational zone of the sanctuary. It serves various delicious eatables, tea, coffee etc. at reasonable rates.
ECO – TOURISM ZONE :
Presently no such zone exists. Eco-tourism activity is confined mainly to the areas adjoining the Nagzira Lake, Chital road, Circular road, Tiger road and Bison road. There is an urgent need to have a separate eco-tourism zone to achieve the management objectives effectively.