South India Wildlife in Depth

18 Days : Bangalore > Cochin

  • Bangalore
  • Nagarhole
  • Bandipur
  • Coimbatore
  • Chinnar
  • Valparai
  • Athirapally
  • Neriyamangalam
  • Kumarakom
  • Cochin

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and current price Trip Code: WV20SIWID 

 

 

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  • Introduction

    Take in the incredible variety of fauna and flora in contrasting habitats of parks, reserves and natural settings on this in-depth private tour of Southern India. Engaging and insightful wildlife and nature-based experience are conducted by jeep, boat and on foot.

    A tour designed for wildlife enthusiasts to experience diverse parks, reserves and habitats and to see a variety of fauna and flora, some unique to specific regions in South India.

    Safaris in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve and Bandipur National Parks are known for the opportunity of spotting the big cats; Tiger, Leopards and the Black Panther. The wildlife and nature-based experiences in Valparai, Chinnar and Thattekad are on foot, ideal for birding and taking in finer details of these biodiversity hotspots.

    A few long days of travel are necessary in order to link these stand-out parks and nature reserves together into a sub-three-week itinerary.

    For those who would prefer a more relaxed pace, an additional night at both Rainforest in Athirapally and Windermere River House at Neriyamangalam would be well rewarded. Additional days at any of the major parks included in the itinerary would also be worthwhile for those who have the time.

    As this is a private tour, we can customise the itinerary to meet your particular time frame and interests, including tailoring the itinerary to focus on specific fauna such as big cats, birds or regionally endemic wildlife. Please be in touch to receive a tailor made itinerary.

  • Day 1 Bangalore

    You will be met and welcomed upon arrival at Bengaluru International Airport and transferred to your hotel.

    Check in at the ITC Windsor Manor hotel, an iconic hotel of Bengaluru and a distinguished address in the heart of the state capital. The hotel is architecturally styled on the British Regency era, set within an ambience reminiscent of the halcyon days of the British Raj. The property is centrally located and an ideal base to explore the vibrant city of Bangalore.

    The remainder of the day is at leisure in Bangalore. You could stay in at the hotel and make use of their excellent spa or relax by the pool.

  • Day 2 Nagarhole

    This morning drive from Bangalore to Nagarhole National Park. The journey is around 5 hours.

    You may wish to visit the bird sanctuary at Rangananthitoo, time permitting en-route.

    You could also have an orientation tour of Mysore with your driver, before proceeding to Nagarhole.

    Upon arrival check-into the Kaav Safari Lodge.

    Kaav Safari Lodge, is situated along the very edge of the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. An eco-friendly, boutique property comprising of just four well-appointed rooms with private decks and two luxury tents with private balconies – it is steeped in the spirit of rare solitude of the Kabini forest. Luxurious, but influenced by the local landscape, it offers a unique wilderness experience

  • Day 3 Nagarhole

    Today enjoy early morning and afternoon game drives. The game drives are organized by the Government Forest department and will be in shared vehicles.

    The safaris are a great way to experience the Nagarhole National Park as you traverse different parts of the park on each drive. The animals that you may sight on these drives are elephants, gaurs, different types of deer, lots of birds and if lucky the elusive tiger. Of late there is a Black Panther that has been often sighted on safaris!

    Between your safaris relax and enjoy the facilities and natural surroundings of your safari lodge.

  • Day 4 Nagarhole

    Today a further morning and afternoon safari by boat or vehicle.  The remainder of your day is at leisure.

    Nagarhole National Park: The Park derives its name from naga, meaning snake and hole, referring to streams. The park was an exclusive hunting reserve of the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty. It was set up in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and later its area was increased. It was upgraded into a national park in 1988. This park was declared a tiger reserve in 1999.

    Being an important part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (comprises Nagarhole, Bandipur, Mudumalai and Wayanad Reserve), the park stretches over 643-square kilometres and is separated from Bandipur by the Kabini Reservoir. The park has rich forest cover, small streams, valleys, and waterfalls and a healthy tiger-predator ratio. Elephant are also much more populous here than in Bandipur.

  • Day 5 Bandipur

    This morning enjoy a further game drive into the park.

    Later drive from Nagarhole to Bandipur National Park. The journey is around 3 hours.

    Check in at The Serai Bandipur.  Situated between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Mountains, the Serai Resort Bandipur takes its inspiration from the surrounding jungle and nearby villages. Built seamlessly into the forests that surround it, half of the 14.5-hectare property is reserved for the wild, for the shy deer that peer through your window, for the wild squirrels that dart by, for the astounding birds that swoop around and for the elephants that call from afar.

    There are areas near the resort, great for birding, that you can explore with a naturalist. The property is built near the elephant corridor and the path that wildlife often use to move between Bandipur and Mudumalai National parks

    This afternoon set out on a game drive at Bandipur in a shared vehicle.

  • Day 6 Bandipur

    Today enjoy a morning and afternoon safari into the park.

    Bandipur National Park and Tiger Reserve was once the favourite hunting ground for the Maharaja of Mysore. This is now a highly protected haven for wildlife with a healthy Tiger population.  This National Park was formed by including most of the forest areas of the then Venugopala Wildlife Park constituting and established under the Government.

    Currently the park stretched across 880 sq kms including some adjacent reserve forest areas that were added to the reserve. Some of the animals that are commonly sighted include elephants, gaurs, spotted and sambar deer and recently there has been Tiger sightings

  • Day 7 Coimbatore

    Early this morning set out on a birding walk with a naturalist. The area around the resort is excellent for birding as it is wedged between the national parks and the Ooty hills. There are some bird species that are endemic to this region.

    After breakfast drive up the hills to the colonial hill station of Ooty. After an orientation tour of the town with your driver, board the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway steam train from Ooty down the hills to Mettupalayam and enjoy the stunning views.

    Your driver will meet you on upon arrival at Mettupalayam Railway Station and transfer you to Coimbatore for an overnight stay at the Welcomhotel.

  • Day 8 Chinnar

    Later this morning drive from Coimbatore to Manupetti.  The journey is around 3 hours.

    Upon arrival check into Chinnar Eco Living. This is an aesthetically built eco friendly property with just 6 pool villas. In a rural setting and bordering the Annamalai National Park the property is ideal to explore the local village life and wildlife sanctuaries.

    This afternoon you may wish to visit a local farm where they process farm produce like coconut, areca nut and other produce, coir units and a local village temple. A staff member from the property will be happy to accompany you.

  • Day 9 Chinnar

    Early this morning drive to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary for a long jungle walk with tribal trackers.

    The Jungle walk in the Chinnar Sanctuary is a great wildlife experience to see a variety of birds and with an opportunity to also see some mammals.

    The drive from the Eco Lodge to the Sanctuary is around 45 minutes. Initially the drive will be through the Anamalai Sanctuary which is the Tamil Nadu area of the same jungle, where you may see wildlife.

    This programme is operated by the Kerala forest department as a part of the Eco Development Project and the trackers who guide the walk are tribals who live in the forest.

    There are a few options for the walks based the duration and the terrain that you are comfortable with. A packed lunch is provided.

  • Day 10 Valparai

    This morning depart Chinnar for the drive to the tea town of Valparai. The journey is around 3 hours.

    The drive up these hills is one of most spectacular road journeys in Southern India.

    Valaparai is one of the oldest tea plantations in South India. It’s elevation and the hills surrounding the estates with different types of terrain ranging from open grassland to thick Shola forest make it one of best habitats for wildlife. It is very common to see wildlife in the estates and people visiting this area are never disappointed.

    This is perhaps the only place where you can see the highly endangered Lion Tailed Macaque.

    Upon arrival check into the Stanmore Garden Bungalow, which has 360-degree view of the tea plantation and surrounding hills.

    This afternoon take a short walk in the estate and visit a tea factory to see the processes involved in tea manufacture.

  • Day 11 Valparai

    Early this morning walk in the plantation bordering the jungles, a good area to see birds and wildlife. It is common to spot the highly elusive Giant Hornbill in these hills.

    Should you be interested you could go on a long walk in the hills with picnic lunch

  • Day 12 Athirapally

    This morning enjoy a spectacular drive from Valparai through the forests of Sholayar and Vazhachal to Athirapally. The journey is around 3 hours.

    Upon arrival check in at Rainforest, a boutique property of 10 rooms, all overlooking the famous Athirapally Waterfalls, surrounded by thick evergreen jungle, tucked away in the Sholayar Forest.

    You may wish to take a walk in the area. The Waterfall trek, a half an hour walk to see the grandeur of the roaring falls or the Forest walk through a carpet of greens, to spot elephants and deer.

  • Day 13 Neriyamangalam

    This morning drive from Athirapally to Neriyamangalam visiting the Pazhayaveedu Plantation en-route. The journey today is around 3 hours.

    The Pazhayaveedu Plantation is a tradition plantation home amidst rubber plantation, pineapple and fruit farm. This is an ideal place to experience life on a plantation with host Cuckoo and Joseph happy to walk you through the estate and their home. For those interested in architecture their home is a beautiful example of a plantation home built in traditional Kerala style. Have a tour of the plantation to see how rubber is tapped and processed, how spices are grown and harvested and the seasonal fruit that are grown. Lunch will be at the bungalow.

    Afterwards a short drive to Neriyamangalam, an area known for its wildlife and tribal population, located on the banks of the Periyar River.

    Upon arrival check-into the Windermere River House, set amongst swaying coconut palms on the banks of the Periyar River, a small boutique hotel. Located at the foothills of the Western Ghats, it is flanked on one side by jungle and the other by hectares of rubber plantations, making for a stunning, remote setting.

    The architecture and décor of this thoughtfully designed property are influenced by traditional Keralan designs and colonial-period plantation homes. It comprises of just five individually decorated stylish, spacious and airy rooms that have been tastefully furnished with antique reproductions using local teak and rosewood. Rooms on the ground floor open out on to the lush gardens, whilst the rooms on the upper floor open out on to a private balcony. Other facilities include a spacious living room with a small library and an outdoor pool and yoga pavilion overlooking the river.

  • Day 14 Neriyamangalam

    The day is at leisure to explore the area with your driver.

    This morning visit the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.

    The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, is one of the important bird sanctuaries in India. Salim Ali, one of the well-known ornithologists has described this sanctuary as “the richest bird habitat on peninsular India”. The literal meaning of Thattekkad is flat forest, the region is an evergreen low-land forest and is located between the branches of Periyar River, the longest river in Kerala. Much of the forest has now been converted to agricultural and plantation areas, but the surviving areas certainly give glimpses of the rich bird diversity of the once widespread lowland forests of Kerala. A trip through this sanctuary would certainly be a bonanza for any birder with over 270 species in a relatively small area of 25 sq kms area. One should see the rare Mottled Wood Owl, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Malayan Night Heron, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, Grey-headed Bulbul and the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon.

    There is also the option to go on a kayaking trip on the river. This is also an excellent opportunity to spot birdlife.

  • Day 15 Kumarakom

    After a relaxed breakfast drive from Neriyamangalam down to the backwaters of Kumarakom. The journey is around 3 hours.

    Check in at the Coconut Lagoon. One of the first resorts on the backwaters, Coconut Lagoon is located deep in the heart of Kerala’s green backwater country.

    A 12-hectare eco-friendly property, Coconut Lagoon is set in a coconut grove on the shore of Vembanad Lake, surrounded by palms, fruit trees, flowering shrubs and organic rice paddies. Rare-breed Vechur cows, the prettiest cows in India, grazing tethered between the bungalows, complete the idyllic picture. A river resort, it is accessible only by boat. Your driver will drop you at a jetty from where you take a short boat ride through a channel, into a narrow flower fringed canal, disembarking at the reception desk!

    Later you go on a village walk, visit the nearby bird sanctuary or try your luck at some country fishing!

  • Day 16 Kumarakom

     Early this morning set out on a birding session with an inhouse naturalist. The backwaters, being an area below sea level, offers a unique breeding ground for a variety of birds and mammals in the wetlands. Explore the wildlife on foot and canoe through the narrow waterways of Kumarakom.

    The remainder of your day is at leisure.

  • Day 17 Kumarakom

    Your day is at leisure for optional activities.

    There are a number of relaxing activities at Coconut Lagoon. Explore the resort area with a naturalist who will explain the profusion of flora and fauna on display or take a stroll to the nearby village – the path to the village runs alongside paddy fields and waterways, providing glimpses of local life.

    Spend some time in the enchanting butterfly garden, go canoeing or fishing with one of the local fishermen. If cooking is of interest, learn some of the secrets of traditional Kerala vegetarian and seafood cooking with one of the resort’s chefs. And, of course, there’s always the option to indulge in a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage.

    You could also opt to visit the port city of Cochin for a guided tour. A half-day sightseeing program will introduce you to Cochin’s main attractions, including the Mattancherry or Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church and the famous Chinese fishing nets.

  • Day 18 Cochin

    Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to Cochin airport for your departure flight. The transfer time is around 2 hours. Hotel checkout time is midday.

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