This was a 3 day trip to Dandeli, a town in the state of Karnataka, India. The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, with its trails and dense forests, is supposed to be home to animals including black panthers, monkeys and elephants, as well as many bird species.
We visited during the month of March, which was hot and dry. The trees were mostly brown with dead leaves. A better time to visit would have been October- January when the whether is better.
Although, we did end up spotting lots of Malabar giant squirrels because the vegetation was all dried out. In terms of actual wildlife-spotting, summer is a good choice, if uncomfortable.
We arrived by train to Londa Junction in the morning- this is the closest railway station to Dandeli. From the train station, we had to travel to Dandeli town. We had 2 options ta this point- taking a direct taxi from the station, or getting onto a public bus. We opted to take the bus, although taxi would have been a good option as well. There were taxi drivers right outside the train station waiting for passengers.
The bus took an hour to reach Dandeli town and we drove through some lovely scenery on the way.
At Dandeli, we had some lunch and headed off to the scooter rental place where we had booked a scooter for 3 days. The rental agency was professional- I would recommend this place.
From there, we drove off to the cottage we had booked at Dandeli Jungle Nest which was a little outside the main town, situated in between farms. The stay was quite isolated, especially at night, since the dirt roads were really poorly maintained and there were no streetlights. There was also nowhere to eat nearby, so we had to eat our dinners and breakfasts at the hotel.
The property was quoite beautiful, and the rooms were simple and neatly maintained. The food was simple Indian cuisine- on weekends they served a small buffet for breakfast and dinner. Lunch orders were also taken.
After having some lunch at the hotel and settling into our rooms, we headed out again on our scooter to the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary offered 2 jeep rides through the santuary- 6am-8am in the mornings, and again 4pm- 6pm in the evenings. We made it in time to catch the 4pm safari.
The landscpae was dry and dusty. The sanctuary is supposed ot be home to tigers, although sightings are almost unheard of.
We did see other animals though- plenty of Malabar Giant squirrls(these could be seen all over if one just looked up), Great hornbill and Malabar pied hornbill, barking deer, chital, and plenty of langurs.
After the safari, we headed back to our hotel before it got dark, and spent the rest of the evening exploring the ponds and fields near the hotel property. After dinner, we headed off to bed.
The next day we headed out to see the Kali river. The kali river is famous for watersports like river rafting and so on. Most of these rae more popular after the monsoons, when the river is more full.
There are a number of small shops along the Kali river that arrange kayaks and rapelling acroo the river. We went to one such shop and kayaked around the river for half an hour or so.
The driveing al around Dandeli was always scenic, as the whole area is forested with a few small villages in between. After the kayaking, we had lunch at a small local eatery and then headed to the Supa dam to see the reservoir. The reservoir was pretty empty and we got to walk quite a bit into the dry reservoir, where the views were pretty inetersting, and we saw a few birds as well.
While driving around, we came across a shop selling honey and other local items. The shop owner told us about their local apiary and we thought it would be interesting to visit it.
After much circling around and getting lost, we finally found the bee keeping place here . The location isn't actually marked on the map though. We were directed to the place by this shop, so perhaps it would be best to ask there first.
The apiary was interesting- they showed us the little wooden beehives. None of the staff wore any protective suits while handling the bees- I even got to hold up a section of the bee house with the faith that they would not sting me. They sold honey and beeswax at the place, which we bought some of.
After this, we headed back to the hotel where we had dinner around a bonfire arranged by the hotel staff, and then headed to bed.
The next day we packed up our stuff and got onto the scooter to head to the Moulangi Eco park. The park had some beautiful trails through the forest that ran beside the Kali river. The river views were beutiful and we spent some time here just enjoying the scenery.
After this, we headed to a so-called "crocodile park", which was actually just a private property beside a section of the Kali river. The intersting aspect though was that it had a fence near the river that you could walk up to, and right on the other side, you could see wild crocodiles on the Kali river!
After some time admiring the monsters, we headed baclk to the bus station to catch a bus to the Londa junction and catch our train back home.