Kitam (Bird) Wildlife Sanctuary
Located between 1200 feet and 3200 feet above sea level and covered within a thick temperate vegetation of shrubland and Sal-chir and pine forests, Kitam is home to more than 200 species of birds and butterflies. The beautiful village of Sumbuk and its gladiolas fields, few age-old temples and the emerald green Rangit River make Kitam one of the most beautiful and untouched wilderness in the lower altitudes of Sikkim. Characterized by warm summers and pleasant winters, Kitam Bird Sanctuary bursts with a healthy population of residents like Rufous-necked Hornbill, Grey-crowned Prinia, Rufous-throated Wren-babbler, Yellow-vented Warbler, Wedge-billed Wren-babbler and many more. Migratory birds start visiting from October every year. Peacocks roaming freely is a common sight here. Located between Namchi and Melli, Kitam is also close to some of the most popular tourist destinations like Samdruptse, Solophok, Ravangla and Tarey Bhir.
Places to see in Kitam: Kitam bird sanctuary is flanked by two villages – Sumbuk and Kitam. Though the major attraction is the Bird Sanctuary, the snaking River Rangit and Manpur River also steals the show. You can take long nature walks along the wide banks of Rangit and rest your tired feet on its cold water. Other attractions include the Alley Khet, which is a meadow with some great views of the hills and rivers, some age-old temples, Peepal trees, dilapidated Stupas and a Monastery.
Kitam village seems to belong to the Middle-Ages, with 200-year old traditionally built mud and bamboo huts and weekly markets selling local produces and vegetables. One of the highest points of Kitam Bird Sanctuary is the small forested area of Tumbol Schor, which offers great panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Nearby Sumbuk is also known for its galdioli farms – a visit to these farms blooming with bright red flowers is a treat to the eyes. You would also find a mammoth sized 100-year old litchi tree at Kitam.
Nearby attractions of Kitam: Just 12 kms from Namchi, Kitam is close to a whole lot of other touristic destinations of South Sikkim like Kewzing, Ravangla, Temi Tea Garden (Sikkim’s only tea garden), Solophok (famous for being Chardham) and Samdruptse. Spending a couple of days in the wilderness and tranquility of Kitam Bird Sanctuary after completing the hectic touristic itinerary of Sikkim would be a soothing relief before returning home.
Things to do in Kitam: Being the only bird sanctuary in Sikkim, Kitam boasts of some watch towers and view points for bird viewing. However, to view birds you have to walk along the beaten paths of the sanctuary skirting through the mountains and river banks. The guided birdwatching trips begin in the morning at around 5:30 am and it takes around 4 hrs. There are 4 different birdwatching trails around the sanctuary and you can opt any of them depending on your choice.
Some of the trails end up on the banks of River Manpur where you can continue you riverside nature walk for a few kms and enjoy butterfly watching. Some of the commonest sightings are of Chestnut-breasted Partridge, White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Slender-billed Babbler, White-naped Yuhina, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Beautiful Nuthatch, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Grey-crowned Prinia, Yellow-vented Warbler, Rufous-throated Wren-babbler, Wedge-billed Wren-babbler and others. Other than bird watching, you can also indulge in activities like angling and rafting in River Rangit. Local Govt. registered guides are arranged by the homestays and accommodation to take the guests through the forests and activities.
For complete details about the sanctuary, exact location, kind of animals, birds & reptiles you get to see there, best season to visit, how to book a wildlife package for this sanctuary, how to reach there, which saafri gate to take, also recent sighting details for all popular sanctuaries & tiger reserves, and LOT MORE, download our app – WildTrails India – available both on Android and iOS