Early morning I got up to the tunes of the jungle. At 6:30 am, we started to drive towards Timber Depot for bird watching – especially for the Hornbills. Dandeli is known to be rich in timber, especially for teak and rosewood. The Dandeli teak auction is believed to be biggest in Asia. The timber trail has been transformed as conservation of the rare species of Hornbills. India has 10 species of Hornbills and Dandeli forests alone has four species residing in Timberyard – Malabar Pied Hornbill, Great Pied Hornbill, Indian grey hornbill and Malabar grey hornbill. Hornbill festival was organised at Dandeli by Karnataka forest department in 2018, in order to create awareness and conserving the hornbills.
Hornbills – How unique
Hornbills are the unique birds and after knowing the facts about their living, I have got real interest to know more. The presence of hornbills indicate the richness and health of the jungle, so Dandeli is definitely intense in nature. The most pleasing fact about them is that they mate for life. They live and fly in pairs. If any of them die, even then they won’t pair with other. This is the extent of fidelity. Also, they never drink water their entire life. They feed on figs which are considered toxic. They never bath in water, they do group mud bathing and it is a sight to watch. It’s interesting to know about hornbills.
After satisfactory birding at Timber depot, we drove to Crocodile park next to Dandelappa temple – Dandeli got its name after this temple. A quick visit to the temple followed by the walk to crocodile park. As I entered the park, I observed the Kali river stream and crocodiles floating. As I looked beyond the fence, the crocodiles were huge in number basking in the sun, still and living on the waste release from the paper factory. Their scaly skin and sharp teeth looked creepy and scary. They remained stubborn and motionless for hours. After some time, we headed back to the camp for the healthy breakfast and kokum juice. We again set to explore the water sports at Dandeli. The previous day, the adventurous river rafting had thrilled me. This time for relaxing water sports – Kayaking and Natural Jacuzzi.
I boarded the kayak and started paddling over the Kali river. The sun was harsh but the water was soothing to drive through. I had already fallen in love with Kali river for her rejuvenating nature. The guide in the other kayak tried some stunts and splashed waters on me and I hardly splashed back. He also thought me how to splash the water by hitting the paddle over the river surface tangentially. Totally enjoyed the kayaking and lazy paddling in the river. I had done kayaking in other lakes, but nothing can beat the natural river kayaking.
The next activity was Natural Jacuzzi and this was the first time I heard about Jacuzzi bath. Without any clue how it would be, I just followed the guide. The guide took me in the raft and we paddled to the first rapid of Kali river rafting. Reviving the experience of the rafting, we landed on the rocks near the first turbulent rapid. The water gush looked mind-blowing and forceful. We walked to the other small adjacent rapids and slowly landed with support on one of the streams, in a way that the water spouts from the back. The rejuvenating water therapy relaxes every muscle of the body. Soaked wet in the water to the fullest satisfaction and natural massage of the rapids is soothing to the core for around 30 minutes.
After admiring the mystic charm of Kali river, I was heading back to the stay. On the way, we stopped at Supa dam backwaters. The view was extraordinary to behold. This is definitely a perfect spot for sunset.
Nature walk at Dandeli Jungle camp
I thought to go to the wildlife safari at 3:30 pm but we were out of time. That was a mere disappointment! We had lunch and strolled to a nature walk inside the reserve forest of Dandeli Jungle camp. The walk was through the thick jungle and all that I could hear was the avid sounds of the wilderness. I was accompanied by a guide from the stay whom I followed, making way with a long stick. I was slightly scared as the forest became secluded and there were high chances to spot some wild animals as it was late evening. He also showed me the footprints of wild boar and bison. Whenever he showed these footprints, my heart would beat faster owing to more chances of spotting wild animals. In some time, I could spot a glimpse high-speed orange animal amidst the greenery running towards me. The next blink it turned its direction and disappeared. The guide told me it was a DEER! Though it made me feel alright, I was worried if some leopard was chasing this deer 😛 Anyways we moved ahead and started heading back to the stay.
For one last time, I went and explored the surroundings of the camp. After a quick dinner, Mr Dharmesh accompanied and drove me towards the bus stop. We spotted a small fox crossing the road with its eyes reflecting the light. We then resumed the drive and arrived at the bus stop. I met Mr Sanjay who took all the attention on this Dandeli trip. Bidding goodbye to them, I departed from Dandeli with a bunch of experiences and memories.
The Last Note
Staying in Dandeli for over three days gave me all amazing experiences, nature can give. Right from adventurous river rafting, bird watching, soothing kayaking, facts about hornbills, a jungle camp amidst the forest and what not. The trip is etched in my memory and I close my eyes to teleport myself to the banks of Kali river. Dandeli is surely a great tourist attraction in Karnataka. It has activities for all seasons throughout the year. I would surely visit Dandeli, again and again, to explore more places and rejuvenate in the lap of nature.
- How to reach Dandeli – The place is 450 km from Majestic, Bangalore.
- By train – Alnavar station is the nearest railway station. Make sure to book train tickets well in advance as the seats get filled up on weekends because the same train leads to Goa.
- By bus – There are direct buses from Bangalore to Dandeli main road.
- By private vehicles – If you have the privilege to drive a car, you can take it and the stretch is little long but worth a long drive.
- Accommodation –
- Always book with official travel partners of Dandeli Tourism – http://www.dandeli.com or call them +91-94839-40400 for an end to end travel, accommodation, itineraries and activities. Just go for it and relax in the lap of nature.
- When to visit Dandeli- Since Dandeli is a hub of wildlife, water sports and bird hot spot, each season is unique. So you choose what activity you need and visit accordingly. I visited in March last week.
- Jan, Feb, Mar
- Ideal for bird watching with the winter already set in.
- Best for hiking and trekking in the jungle camps and capture amazing greenery.
- With abundant water during this period, Whitewater rafting is another adventurous water sport to dive in.
- Tips – Onset of winter demands warm clothes. Moisturisers/sunscreens are a must.
- Apr, May, June
- Best time for wildlife enthusiasts as spotting wildlife is fairly easy in dry vegetation and peak summer.
- Dandeli Anshi safari is great to spot leopards, black panthers and tigers. Best of luck.
- An ideal time for all water sports – Whitewater water rafting, Kayaking, Zorbing, Natural Jacuzzi and Coracle Rides.
- Tips – Sun is really harsh and sunscreen is a must even for 10 minutes of walk. Wear lightweight and body covering clothes for easy hiking.
- Jul, Aug, Sept
- Monsoons rains and Dandeli greenery is truly romantic for nature lovers and couples.
- Best time Rappelling, Trekking, White Water Rafting, Monsoon Camping, Monsoon Cycling, Coracle Rides, Jungle Safari and Nature walks.
- Tips – Raincoats, umbrellas and long boots to protect from rains. Mosquito repellent can be handy.
- Oct, Nov, Dec
- Best time for the activities at Dandeli from wildlife to water sports.
- Weather is pleasant at this time. Keep yourself warm with jackets. Torches may be handy as the days are shorter.
- Jan, Feb, Mar
- General tips :
- Dandeli is a small town and only basic things can be bought here from local shops. So carry whatever is needed.
- A pair of shoes is mandatory for hiking and walking in jungle camps.
- Hats and sunglasses to protect from beating sun.
- Umbrellas or raincoats for the rainy season.
- Sunscreens are a must – I repeat!
- Torch, mosquito repellant can be handy.
- Only Airtel/BSNL mobile network/internet is available occassionally.
- Please don’t dump trash anywhere. Be a responsible traveller.