Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park was set up in 1983 with the objective of protection of marine life such as corals and the nesting sea turtles prevalent in the area. Situated in Wandoor on the Andaman islands, which is 29 km away from Port Blair, the park is placed under the protection of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
About Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The park is made up of 17 islands in total and covers 281.5 square kilometres of land. There are sea creeks running throughout the park. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park comprises of 2 major island groups, namely the Labyrinth Islands and the Twin Islands. They are situated 16 km south from Port Blair. These 17 islands belong to the Rutland Archipelago. They are situated between South Andaman Island and Rutland Island.
Best Time To Visit Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The best time to visit Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park would be between October and February since the days are comfortable and the nights are cool. The days are not very humid and unlike the arduous months of June to August, you will hardly experience any rain during this time. The islands are within visual distance from each other so if there is ever a weather disturbance at one island, fishermen or boatmen can usually tell.
5 Things To Do In Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
From visiting the breeding ground for turtles to engaging in snorkeling and scuba diving, here are some of the best things to do in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park:
1. Visit A Turtle Breeding Center
A record number of sea turtles are nesting at Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Crowds of people gather at the beach to watch turtle hatchlings make their journey to the water. The turtles are a critically endangered species in India. In order to improve their numbers, the park is making every possible effort. They also help turtles recover from injuries sustained by getting trapped in fishnets.
Location: Twin Island
Snorkeling in the park is a famous water sport, where you can get face-to-face with the underwater world. Don’t worry if you haven’t tried it before, with a little practice you can dive in like a pro and get up close to the colorful fishes and beautiful coral reefs. The islands are blessed with the hidden treasure of splendid corals and diverse marine life.
Cost: INR 600 per person for 10 -15 minutes of snorkeling
3. Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving in the park is a popular pastime for tourists who want to explore the majestic underwater world. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is famous for being home to an exquisite coral reef, and colorful schools of fishes of every size and shape. Due to the absence of predatory fishes near the beaches and coral reefs, it is a safe place to go scuba diving. Novices as well as experts can easily enjoy an underwater trip here, but they have to be certified first as well as accompanied by a guide.
Cost: INR 3500 for a 30-minute drive
When planning to indulge in bird watching in the park, the best thing to do is to visit the spots that are most likely to be home to the exotic migratory birds or the local birds, whatever your preferences might be. The most popular bird watching spots in the park is Jolly Buoy Island. Getting to these spots, when you are in Andaman, is quite easy since there are regular suburban and city buses plying on the roads, operated by private as well as government agencies.
Location: Jolly Buoy Island
5. Boat Rides
Riding a banana boat is another fun-filled and thrilling thing to do in Mahatma Gandhi Park. At a time, 6 people can ride the banana-shaped boats. They are tied behind a speedboat to gain rush. It is a perfectly safe activity as long as you have your life jackets on and follow the instructions given. You should ideally get the boat tickets with time stamp of the trip to avoid congestion in Wandoor jetty.
Timings: 8:30 A.M – 10:30 AM (the ferries run on a half-hourly basis)
Permits For Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The tourist permit you receive on arrival is good for here, but additional fees will apply if you plan to hire a boat or arrange a dive trip since this is a National Park. Normally only 150 permits are issued each day on a first come first serve basis, but in high season the number of permits are sometimes increased by Forest department. A camera requires an additional permit of INR 25. Plastic bottles are not permitted in the park. The security deposit is INR 100 for up to 3 bottles.
How To Reach Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
The entry fees for visiting Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park for adults INR 50 and for foreigner INR 500. You can reach Wandoor by a hired taxi or by bus in under 45 minutes. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is part of the Wandoor, which is easily accessible by road from all the major cities of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Buses are available from and for Port Blair every 30 min. or so. Local buses ply from 6 AM to 8 PM.
The park was closed for rehabilitation after the 2004 tsunami, but has since reopened, with damage seeming to be less than assumed. Both Red Skin and Jolly Buoy islands are open for tourism throughout the year. What’s the wait for? Book your trip to Andaman today with TravelTriangle and set off for the idyllic Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. This trip will definitely be worth your time and money!
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