Kerala: Walks and Wildlife
Trip Code: AITKWW
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With around 5% of Kerala’s total surface area devoted to the protection of wildlife, the state is home to an amazing variety of plants, trees, and wild animals.
This is an ideal trip for anyone wanting to get close to Kerala’s beautiful natural environments. Experience a range of ecosystems, from rainforests and grasslands to rugged peaks, and engage in activities from rainforest trekking, bamboo rafting and wilderness camping, to animal, bird and butterfly watching.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit different levels of fitness and experience.
Day 1 Wayanad
Arrival at Cochin and drive 7.5 hours to Wayanad. Spread over altitudes of between 750m and 2100m, Wayanad landscapes encompass rice paddies, savannah grasslands, spice, tea and coffee plantations and jungle covered mountainsides. The area is known for some of the finest scenery in southern India. Rest and relax, overnight in the Resort.
Day 2 Wayanad
Leave early for a half-day trek through the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Home to a good population of Asiatic Elephants, it also shelters spotted deer, wild boar, bison, bear and a small population of tigers. In the afternoon, visit a scenic three-tiered waterfall in the middle of the rainforest.
Day 3 River Nila
Early morning trek to spectacular Chembra Peak. At 2100m, the challenge of this trek is amply rewarded by panoramic sunrise views over Wayanad. Continue on for a moderate 4-hour trek to watch for wildlife. In the afternoon, drive 4 hours to the banks of the River Nila, where you will spend the night in a riverside hotel / farm house.
Day 4 Silent Valley
After breakfast drive 3 hours to Silent Valley, the most remote and least visited of Kerala’s wildlife sanctuaries. High up in the watershed of the Western Ghats, this 90 sq km area of rainforest, recently saved from dam-builders bulldozers, ranks as among the most pristine in India. Overnight in the jungle camp.
Day 5 Silent Valley
Jeep Safari to Sairandhri Forest Camp, where there’s an observation tower giving a panoramic view over the reserve. Silent Valley has one of the largest viable breeding populations of Lion Tailed Macaques, a true arboreal monkey that is highly endangered. See also a good population of birds, butterflies and orchids. Rainforest trek to Kunthipuzha. Overnight in the jungle camp.
Day 6 Chimmony
After breakfast, drive 4 hours to Chimmony. Established in 1984, this 100 sq km sanctuary on the Western slopes of the Nelliyampathi hills is a combination of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forest. Here you can bamboo-raft through the reservoir and trek through the wilderness. Overnight rainforest camping.
Day 7 Thattekkad
Travel 2.5 hours to Thattekkad. This globally acclaimed 25 sq km sanctuary has excellent birding and butterfly watching. Ornithologists have identified 275 species of birds, most of them endemics. Visitors can expect to see rarities such as the crimson-throated barbet and Malabar grey hornbill. Stay overnight in the forest camp.
Day 8 Munnar
Travel 2.5 hours through tea and coffee plantations and cardamon forests to Munnar. One of the most popular hill stations in India, Munnar, at an altitude of around 1600m, is known for its vast acres of tea plantations and its misty, cool climate. Overnight in a Farm House / Resort.
Day 9 Chinnar
Drive 2.5 hours along winding mountain roads to Chinnar and trek to the Vysapara Hills. This 91 sq km site hosts a variety of wildlife, including deer, leopards, tigers, elephants, and Kerala’s only population of the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel. It is also an excellent location for spotting birds, with 225 species recorded to date. Overnight in a jungle hut.
Day 10 Chinnar
Trek along the Pambar River trail with its peaceful water and bird sounds. The scenic, undulating terrain, with rocky patches, and the dry deciduous forest of this sanctuary makes it easy to view the varied wildlife. Overnight in a tree house built by the local community using materials available in the region.
Day 11 Periyar
Travel 6 hoursto the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the largest and most varied wildlife reserves in India, it occupies 777 sq km. Sixty-three species of mammals have been recorded here and the checklist of birds has 323 species. Go on ‘night patrol’ and experience the unique atmosphere and sounds of the forest. Overnight in jungle lodges.
Day 12 Periyar
You have the opportunity to take a nature trek and go bamboo rafting, allowing you to get close to grazing animals; there are occasional tiger sightings, but you are more likely to spot elephants. Look out for the many hundreds of bird species. All the Western Ghats endemics except the Nilgiri Laughing thrush are found here. Overnight in jungle lodges.
Day 13 Vallakkadavu
After breakfast, drive 2 hours to the Vallakkadavu camp site. Part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, this is an ideal location from which to observe wildlife. Take a short trek through the evergreen and semi-evergreen forests around the camp. Overnight in tents.
Day 14 Cochin
Take an early morning trek for your final fix of wildlife viewing. Drive approximately 4 hours to Cochin airport for flight to onward destination.
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