Bhitarkanika National Park is situated in Kendrapara district which is about 162 kms from Bhubaneswar, the state capital. The park encompasses an area of 672 km² of the Bhitarkanika Mangroves, a mangrove swamp which lies in the river delta of the Brahmani, Baitarani, and Dhamra rivers. Bhitarkanika is home to the largest population of salt water crocodile, water monitor lizard, king cobra, python and many other reptiles and amphibians besides herbivores.
Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, the sea front of Bhitarkaniaka attracts as many as five lakh Olive Ridley sea turtle for nesting during February – March every year. Migratory birds like bar-headed goose, brahminy duck, pintail, shoveller, gadwall and pelican are prominent among winter visitors. The heronry at Bagagahan is unique where more than 50,000 resident and local migratory wetland birds nest during rainy season.
The area is a treasure trove for botanical and zoological studies and research. The floral diversity of this landscape is known to be the largest in India and second largest after Papua New Guinea in the world.
Ideal time to visit Bhktarkanika is from November to February. During this period one can see lot of crocodiles basking under sun. To witness mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles one has to visit Gahirmatha beach during February and March.