Discover the unique beauty of South India! Explore Mudumalai and Bandipur, go boating in Periyar, look out for the rare Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam, see the Elephants of Nagarahole and marvel at the birds of Kumarakom. Round off your adventure with a Houseboat cruise down the scenic backwaters of Kerala!
We had an absolutely fantastic holiday In South India.
– P. Barnes
This trip offers a complete wildlife experience not generally explored by the traveller to India. As well as the majestic tiger, India is also home to striped hyena, red panda, one horned rhino’s as well as a huge offering of other animals, birds and flora. This itinerary is aimed at those who are looking to explore the exotic world of animals in comfort and style. Every itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements perfectly. Each wildlife safari experience has its own identity, feel and character.
SOUTH INDIA WILDIFE HOLIDAY ITINERARY
Day 1: Arrival in Bangalore
After arriving in Bangalore, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You have the option of a city tour, or just relax as tomorrow we have an exciting journey to the beautiful jungles of south India.
Day 2: Nagarhole National Park
We leave Bangalore after breakfast and drive to Nagarhole National Park, which is about 5 hours away. Nagarhole is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is among India’s best national parks. Its rich and varied wildlife includes the Tiger, Leopard, Indian Bison, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Sambar Deer, Chital, Common Muntjac and almost 250 species of birds. The park is best known for its large population of Elephants.
We arrive at Nagarhole around noon, in time for lunch. After lunch, we set out for our first game drive into the park and will stay inside the park until dusk.
We will be spending two nights at Nagarhole Overnight Hotel
Days 3: Nagarahole
We begin the day with an early morning game drive into the Nagarahole forest. During the game drive, you will get a glimpse of the park’s unspoiled beauty. Mornings are the best time to sight animals and you are likely to see herds of Elephants on the banks of the river After the game drive, we return to the lodge for breakfast. Once you finish breakfast, you can take a nature walk and explore the beautiful flora of the park. We return to the lodge for lunch and after lunch, we set out once again to explore Nagarahole.
Day 4: Bandipur National Park
After an early morning game safari and breakfast at Nagarahole, we head out to Bandipur National Park, which is about 3 hours drive from Nagarhole. Bandipur National Park is one of the best-known protected areas in India and is also a Project Tiger reserve. The park is famous for its Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants and for the abundance of sandalwood trees. In addition, it is also home to Leopards, Sloth Bears, Panthers, Chevrotains, Dholes (Wild Dogs), Hyenas, Gaur, Wild Boar, Sambar Deer, Chital, Barking Deer and Mouse Deer.
On arrival in Bandipur, we check in to our lodge and have lunch. This is followed by a game drive into the park. Bandipur National Park is one of the best-known protected areas in India and is also a Project Tiger reserve. The park is famous for its Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants and for the abundance of sandalwood trees. In addition, it is also home to Leopards, Sloth Bears, Panthers, Chevrotains, Dholes (Wild Dogs), Hyenas, Gaur, Sambar (Deer), Chital, Wild Boar, Barking Deer and Mouse Deer.
Day 5: Mudumalai National Park
Today, we go on a morning game drive into Bandipur and return to the lodge for breakfast. We will then head out to Mudumalai National Park, which is approximately 45 minutes away. Mudumalai is as an important wildlife habitat due to its strategic position between several other protected areas that are a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The animals found here include the Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Hyena, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Nilgiri Tahr, Porcupine and Giant Flying Squirrel. In addition, 8 percent of the bird species in India occur in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Day 6: Drive to Munnar
Today is our last day at Bandipur and we go for a game drive in the morning and return to the lodge for breakfast. We then drive for about 8 hours to reach Munnar, stopping on the way for lunch. Munnar is a beautiful town up in the hills, best known for the tea grown here. The tea, which has a delicate flavor of cardamom, can be used to brew the famous Indian ‘Chai’! (Tea), Munnar also offers a splendid view of pristine valleys and mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna, and the aroma of cool, spice-scented air! You can spend the evening relaxing and enjoying the lovely weather and the spectacular view.
Day 7: Eravikulam National Park
Today we visit the Eravikulam National Park. We carry a picnic lunch with us. As vehicles are not allowed inside the park, we explore the area on foot. After a whole day at Eravikulam, we return to our hotel in the evening for dinner. Eravikulam was established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat. It is the only mountain goat species found south of the Himalayas. Sure-footed herds of Tahr are quite elusive, but you may be able to get a good view of them as they browse the hillside vegetation. Eravikulam is also home to a variety of mammals that include the Nilgiri Langur, Lion-tailed Macaque and several endemic bird species such as the streaky brown Nilgiri Pipit and Blackbird. The Blackbird in particular looks very different from the familiar songster of Europe and is regarded by some taxonomists as a possible separate species.
Day 8: Periyar – Wildlife reserve
After breakfast we embark on a three hour drive to reach the Aranya Niwas Hotel in Periyar. The hotel is located inside the Tiger Reserve in the Cardamom Hills. After a delicious lunch, we visit the spice gardens for which the area is well known. Since the olden times, spices were traded like gold in India and you see why…the cardamom and the pepper grown here has a superb aroma! We return to the hotel at dusk and end the day with dinner. Periyar is one of the Project Tiger Reserves of India. It is one of the most picturesque and beautiful wildlife reserves in the world. In addition to the Tiger, Periyar is also home to the Indian Elephant, Gaur, Sambar (Horse Deer), Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Dhole (Indian Wild Dog), Fox, Leopard and the elusive Nilgiri Tahr.
Day 9: Relax and Nature Walk
We begin our day with a ride into spice plantation area on Elephant back. It is the best way to see the forest and the animals! We return to the lodge for breakfast. You get to relax for a while and in the afternoon we head out for a nature walk. As the sun sets and the dusk sets in, its time for us to return to the hotel, have dinner and call it a day Overnight Hotel
Day 10: Periyar
Start the day with a boat ride on the Periyar Lake. It is the best time to spot birds and do keep an eye out for the Flamingos! After the boat ride, we return to the lodge for breakfast. Walking is the best way to explore the Park and you get to see some of the smaller animals, insects and monkeys when you are on foot…we do precisely this and walk in the forest till lunch time. You have the rest of the day to yourself, you can either relax or spend the day exploring the serene surroundings (with optional activities including – bamboo rafting, border hiking
Day 11: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
After an early morning boat ride and breakfast in Periyar, we drive to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which is about 4 ½ hours by road. Situated in the backwaters of Kerala, Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise. The main attractions here are local birds like the Cuckoo, Owl, Cormorant, Moorhen, Darter, Brahminy Kite and Duck.
There are many migratory birds like the Siberian Crane that can be spotted here. Parrot, Teal, Lark, Flycatcher, etc. are also often sighted here. Some of Kumarakom’s migratory birds come from the Himalayas, and a few from as far away as Siberia. On reaching Kumarakom, we check-in to our resort and have lunch. After lunch, we take a five minute boat ride and walk a short distance to enter the bird sanctuary. Birdwatchers are in for a treat here!! In the afternoons, you are likely to see large numbers of Herons and Egrets fly in to roost here. We stay in the Sanctuary till dusk, and we then return to the lodge for dinner.
Day 12: Kerala to Alappuzha
We cruise in the backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat, locally known as ‘Kettuvalloms’. Located in the southwestern part of India, Kerala is one of the most beautiful parts of India. It is popularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’ because of its exquisite beauty and greenery. The houseboat takes us to Alappuzha (also called Allepey). Savor the beauty of the landscape as we drift along the narrow canals and paddy fields of the scenic backwaters.
Overnight Bungalow, Overnight Hotel
Day 13: Koch
At Alappuzha, we leave the houseboat in the morning after breakfast and we drive to Kochi (formerly known as Cochin). You have the day to yourself and can explore Kochi. Kochi is a pleasant market town surrounded by coconut plantations and built on the canals, which serve the area’s coir industry. It is also one of India’s principal seaports
Overnight Sakalava Overnight Hotel
Day 14: Last day
This is the last day of the tour. You can either explore the town or stay in at the hotel to relax till it is time to go to the airport to board your flight.
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We had an absolutely fantastic holiday In South India. We were looked after very well by our driver Sunil and we had regular calls from the office to check everything was OK.
Our driver Sunil really helped make the holiday. The style of driving in India is a little unnerving to us but Sunil is probably the best driver we have ever come across and we relied totally on his expertise.
The hotels varied from being good to fantastic. Only one was in need of renovation and that was being addressed. It was still worth the stay because of the fantastic mountain views.
Food was excellent everywhere.
With regards to animals, unfortunately no tigers but plenty of other animals. We saw a wild boar playing chasing with an elephant at the lakeside, leopards at close view, the nilgri mountain goats, and clearly recall the excitement of coming across two elephants in a nearby bush when on a nature walk. We did not actually see these elephants but heard the low rumblings and had to make a safety retreat while the guide assessed. We stood within the bushes in the forest trying to spot the elephants, noise of birdsong and crickets around us and leeches crawling across our shoes.
The elephants moved deeper into the shrubbery and away from us. This was an unforgettable experience.
This type of holiday might not suit everyone and involved around 2300k travel. But this allowed much of the length of Kerala to be seen and we went from the top of the mountain at Munnar to the lowlands (under sea level) at Kumarkarom. We saw traditional and tribal dance. The houseboat was yet another fantastic experience and the beauty of the lake at Backwater Ripples was my favourite view.
Thank you for arranging this for us and thanks to everyone involved. We had a fantastic time.