Discover India's unspoilt south on a trip that explores Periyar National Park, the backwaters of Kerala and its amazing bird life, elephants at Nagarhole National Park, and guided walks, game drives and boat tours in Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Less travelled than northern India as tigers are more elusive and difficult to spot in the south, this region is nevertheless a true gem when it comes to natural wonders and wildlife that you get to experience away from the crowd. Elephants and birds are the key focus with numerous mammal species such as Indian bison, sloth bear, chital, leopard, wild boar, giant flying squirrel, lion-tailed macaque and occasionally tiger. You travel through six different national parks and reserves on foot, by boat and vehicle safari - a complete wildlife immersion!
➕ Day 1: Overnight flight from UK to Bangalore
➕ Day 2: Arrive Bangalore and overnight
On arrival in Bangalore, you will met and transferred to your overnight hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Taj West End, 1-night
➕ Days 3-4 : Nagarhole National Park: vehicle safaris and nature walks
The morning transfer from Bangalore to Nagarhole National Park takes around five hours and you should arrive in time for lunch. In the afternoon enjoy your first vehicle safari, returning to your lodge at around sunset. You stay here two nights with sunrise and sundowner vehicle safaris, plus nature walks to fully explore the beauty of Nagarhole.
Accommodation: Kaav Safari Lodge or Serai Kabini Resort, 2-nights.
➕ Days 5-6 : Bandipur National Park: vehicle safaris and nature walks
After a dawn vehicle safari in Nagarhole you head for Bandipur National Park, well known as one of the Project Tiger Reserves established in the mid-1970s. It is a great conservation area and hosts a good population of Asian elephants.
You stay here for two nights and will have plenty of time to also explore this world renowned reserve on morning and afternoon vehicle safaris. Nagarhole is home to Asian elephant, Bengal tiger, sloth bear, wild dog, hyena, wild boar, barking deer and mouse deer and is also the place where 'black panther' were spotted (leopard with melanistic black colour, due to recessive allele) and characterised by its forest of sandalwood trees.
Accommodation: The Windflower Resort & Spa, 2-nights
➕ Day 7: Fly to Kochi
After a final early morning vehicle safari in Bandipur, transfer (approximately five hours' drive) to Bangalore airport for your flight to Kochi where you spend the night. You have some free time if you wish to visit Fort Cochin area.
Accommodation: The Malabar House, 1-night
➕ Days 8-9 : Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Munnar and Eravikulam National Park
Today you drive to Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary and spend a few hours exploring this magical place, home to various endemic species, and the delightful Sri Lankan frogmouth. The sanctuary is considered one of the richest bird habitats in India, with fascinating forest and water bird species such as the Malabar grey hornbill, orange-headed thrush and collared scops owl.
After lunch you continue to Munnar, your base for the next two nights. Munnar is a beautiful town nested in the middle of tea plantations, with fantastic views over the valleys and mountains. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
The next day you spend the day exploring the stunning Eravikulam National Park on foot, returning to Munnar in the evening.
Accommodation: The Windermere Estate, 2-nights
➕ Days 10-12 : Periyar National Park: nature walks and boat ride
This morning you transfer to Periyar National Park. Arriving at lunch time you visit the spice gardens and will notice the lovely aroma of cardamom and pepper in the air. Walking is the best way to explore Periyar, as this gives you the best chances to see the smaller animals, insects and monkeys. On one evening you are welcome to join the jungle night patrol which is a unique experience only available in this reserve.
On your last day in the park you have the opportunity to experience a unique approach to the nature and wildlife here by spendnig the full day around the Periyar River on a guided bamboo rafting and walking tour.
Accommodation: Spice Village Hotel, 3-nights
➕ Days 13-14 : Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: boat ride and bird walk
The drive to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary will take around four hours. After a relaxing lunch and afternoon, explore the scenic backwaters of Kerala by way of an evening cruise on a houseboat (also known as 'Kettuvalloms') to Alappuzha (Alleppey). The next day is dedicated to visiting Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary with its flocks of herons and egrets.
Accommodation: Kumarakom Lake Resort, 2-nights
➕ Day 15: Drive to Kochit
In the morning, transfer to Kochi for your last night, with time to explore the town.
➕ Day 16: Fly back to the UK