Kerala is home to some stunning bio-diversity. It’s many forest reserves are home to countless species of mammals & birds, including many endangered species. Connect with nature’s plentiful bounty through our ‘Tiger By The River’ tour, as we take you through bend after bend of unparalleled natural beauty!
In the North you will visit the beautiful coastal city of Calicut and travel to Wayanad by road (3 hours) with one of our storytellers. On the way you might want to visit Edakkal caves and its pictorial remnants of civilisation dating back to 5,000 BC.
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of a wildlife safari in Muthanga wildlife sanctuary, a biodiversity hotspot in Wayanad. The 24-kilometre safari is a chance to spot the Asian elephants, bears, wild gaurs (bison), spotted and sambar deers or even a leopard. After a lunch in a local home, we take you on a Spice Tour, tea trail and finally cool off at a waterfall in the middle of a rainforest.
Traditionally, Kerala is a major exporter of spice. Several communities have been engaged in the cultivation & plantation of spices since centuries. The Spice tours were started with the objective to support small farmers and spice planters in and around Wayanad as an alternative, supplementary source of income. The tour provides a glimpse into the lives with special focus on the struggles of spice farmers against fluctuating prices and globalisation.
Trek up the magnificent Chembra Peak, the highest point in Northern Kerala. The peak is in the midst of high-altitude shola grasslands and offers panoramic views all round. It’s a moderately tough trek at about four hours, with the chance of spotting wildlife in the early hours. After descending we rest for the day at a boutique hotel/homestay.
From Waynad you will travel to Silent Valley (3 hours), one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity hotspots, and set up a camp at a property near the jungle.
On the next day we will travel uphill by jeep to reach the Sairandhri Forest Camp. Silent valley has one of the largest viable breeding populations of lion tailed macaques, a true arboreal monkey - a highly endangered species and a good population of birds, butterflies and orchids. A small trek will lead you through the rainforest to Kunthipuzha, which flows through the valley.
Our naturalist will lead you on a light trek through the wilderness, which comprises of tropical evergreen and deciduous forests. The day ends camping under the starlit sky by the rainforest.
Drive on to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary (2 hours), a paradise to observe birds. Ornithologists have identified more than 253 species of birds in the 25.16 sq km area. Here you will stay overnight in a forest camp.
Munnar is a breathtakingly beautiful hill station known for its misty col climate, tea plantations and forests. Enjoy the sense of space while you stroll through the tea plantations, or just sit back, and unwind as you switch-off, sip on some exotic tea & watch the world pass you by – trust us, it’s worth it.
A 2 h drive from Munnar will take you to Chinnar Wildlife Sancturary and trek upwards through the jungle to Vysapara Hills, which is an excellent spot for spotting wildlife. We camp overnight in a jungle hut.
The next morning we continue to trek and follow a river. The forest’s vegetation, dry & deciduous, makes it easy to spot wildlife while on foot. The terrain will be undulating with rocky patches that add to the scenery.
From Chinner the journey goes on to Periyar (5.5 hours) where we catch the night patrol at dusk. The naturalist will take you to observe and listen to the jungle in the dark, guided by torchlight.
Next day, trek during the day and use bamboo rafts to navigate Periyar lake. 63 species of mammals have been recorded in this protected area, along with 323 species of birds. All the species endemic to the Western Ghats except the Nilgiri Laughing Thrush are found here. Out of the 119 species of butterflies recorded, 20 are Western ghat are endemic.
From Periyar we move base to Vallakkadavu Camp (2 hours). We go for a short trek around the camp and stay overnight in tents.
One of the most unique eco-tourism programs in India, this program supports people who live on the fringes of the forests as trackers, guides and interpreters. Due to several ‘social re-engineering’ and political decisions, many of the tribal people have been forced to leave the forest and are no longer associated with it in their day-to-day activities. This particular trip focuses on their role as care takers of the forest, its resources and wildlife, and by doing so also assures them a decent livelihood with dignity. Sustainable income through responsible tourism ensures increasing interest amongst local community members, which in turn supports conservation of wildlife and forest resources. Poaching, forest fires and brewing illicit liquor in forest areas have been reported by our assistants and trackers. The authorities have successfully handled these activities with support from VSS (Forest Protection Committee) and EDCs (Eco Development Committee). Except in the rare case of communication problems in terms of naturalist’s interpretation, all the associates in this program are locals. The now famous ‘Periyar Model’ has successfully rehabilitated several former poachers as protectors. The majority of the accommodation used in this itinerary is operated by local community members belonging to the Eco Development Committees (EDCs) and supported by our team of naturalists and professionals. The benefits are transferred directly to the community members and are not token gestures.
Copyright 2014 The Blue Yonder