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An intimate small group journey featuring behind-the-scenes wildlife experiences and once in a lifetime encounters.
Destinations > India > Conservation Collection: South India
06 Apr & 16 Nov '23
South India is home to some of the richest wildlife habitats in Asia, including the rich tropical forests of the Western Ghats, the dry jungles of Mudumalai and the forests of Nagarhole National Park.
Visit all of these areas on this eight night itinerary, seeking out the endemic species and icons such as the Asian Elephant, Tiger and Leopard, while staying in unique accommodations from rainforest lodges to family-run jungle cottages.
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The TreadRight Foundation is proud to endorse our inaugural Conservation Collection. These meticulously crafted itineraries are designed for curious travellers who share our passion for protecting people, wildlife and planet.
Learn more about the series
Stay in unique, hand-picked accommodations that are evocative of your destination
Enjoy safaris and guided walks in some of India’s premier wildlife destinations
Each day you will be led by experienced guides to make the most of your experience
Discover the unique culture of this fascinating country
Back to India Tours
Wildlife SOS Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center has been instrumental in rescuing and providing life-time care for over a hundred sloth bears rescued from the dancing bear trade, poaching, ill-kept zoos and human-bear conflict situations. Spend the day getting an in-depth look at the center's activities and perform some volunteer work.
Along with other important wildlife reserves
including Wayanad and Nagarhole, Mudumalai is part of a large block of protected land that is home to the largest contiguous tiger population in the world, an estimated 724 animals.
Incredibly rich in flora and fauna, Nagarhole
is home a healthy elephant population and
predators including Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, dhole and golden jackal. Over 270 species of bird are found here, including the critically endangered Oriental white-backed vulture.
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Upon arrival in Bengaluru, transfer to the nearby hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
After an early breakfast, we drive to the nearby Wildlife SOS Bear Rescue Center, Bannerghatta. To battle the rampant practice of bear trafficking and enforced dancing, Wildlife SOS established a rescue center for sloth bears. The center also works with the Kalandars, the main community that practices bear dancing in southern India. To date, the organization has rescued and cared for over one hundred sloth bears. Spend the day learning about the work done at the center and take part in volunteer activities guided by staff. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we depart early for the airport and our short flight to Kozhikode, on India’s tropical Malabar Coast. After a local breakfast, we continue by road for the short scenic drive to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Our home here is CGH Earth’s Wayanad Wild, nestled in the heart of the rainforest (the last 30 minutes of the journey will be in the hotel’s four-wheel drive vehicles).
This afternoon we take a guided walk through the surrounding forests with the lodge naturalist and learn about the unique biodiversity of the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, in part due to their exceptional level of plant and animal diversity. We have a chance to see some of these endemics this afternoon, including the engaging Nilgiri langur, the Malabar giant squirrel, Malabar grey hornbill, and others. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we walk some of the nearby trails, exploring more of the forest and taking in views of the Ghats. The trail traverses rainforest creeks, hillsides and coffee plantations, a key cash crop of the region whose plantations are used by much of the forest wildlife. There will be time to relax around the hotel in the afternoon, and in the evening there is an optional guided night walk into the forests around the property. These forests are home to a range of elusive creatures only active after dark, and we may spot unique frogs and lizards, the fascinating slender loris, and one of several species of civet. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast we depart by road through the scenic hill country of south India and into the drier habitats below the ranges. Our base is in the dry jungles near the hamlet of Bokkapuram, near the hill station of Masinagudi and adjoining Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Our family-run accommodation is in simple cottages below the beautiful Nilgiri Hills, in another of the south’s great wildlife areas. We meet our hosts, Anushri and Vikram Mathias, and settle in over lunch.
This area constitutes the buffer zone of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve which is home to a wealth of wildlife including tiger, leopard, Asian elephant, Indian gaur (bison), sloth bear, hyena, wild boar, spotted and sambar deer, and many others. The area is renowned for its bird life, including a multitude of woodpeckers, barbets, eagles, kingfishers and many others. It is one of the few regular sites for the rare whitebellied minivet, and is one of the last south Indian strongholds for several vulture species. After lunch, we take a nature walk around the lodge with the resident naturalist, seeking out some of the resident birds and other wildlife. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we explore more of the local jungles, as we take a walk around the Bokkapuram area. Hike to the lower slopes of the hills following a perennial stream, amidst mixed evergreen forests and bamboo patches that are home to woodpeckers, barbets, and many species of raptor. There is also a chance of seeing some of the mammals of the area. In the afternoon, drive the short distance into Mudumalai National Park for a game drive. The park is well known for good herds of Asian elephant, and big cats are sometimes seen. (B)(L)(D)
After an early breakfast we transfer by road to Kabini near Nagarhole National Park, one of south India’s most important wildlife habitats. The lifeline of Nagarhole as well as adjoining Bandipur Tiger Reserve, is the river that divides the parks into two – the Kabini. The reservoir on this section of the river has created optimal conditions for wildlife viewing, and its banks are frequented by all the large mammals of the reserve, as well as delightful family parties of smooth-coated otters. The park is known for excellent sightings of big mammals such tiger, Asian elephant, gaur (often called the Indian bison), dhole (Asiatic wild dog), sloth bear, and leopard.
In the last few years, it has gained fame as the home of a confident melanistic (black) leopard that has been regularly sighted on park safaris. Our home here is the beautiful Evolve Back Kabini. This afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy this special property – take a swim, enjoy a massage, read a book overlooking the water, or if you wish take a nature walk with a lodge naturalist around the resort grounds. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we cross the reservoir by boat for our first jeep safari into the Nagarhole forests, where we seek out some of the species found in these beautiful semi-evergreen forests. After returning to the lodge for lunch, we will take another excursion into the park in the afternoon. Depending on conditions, this may be a boat or jeep safari, with boat sightings generally being better as the park dries out after November. Either option is sure to produce some memorable wildlife sightings. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at the resort. (B)(L)(D)
This morning is at leisure for some final relaxation around the resort and the beautiful grounds. Later we depart for Bengaluru, where we will bid farewell at the airport where our journey ends. If you would like to extend your journey, speak with one of our destination specialists. (B)
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