Dandeli City, Karnataka India - Travel and Tour Guides with Photos.
There are quite a few jungle safari camps centred in and around Dandeli in Karnataka State, India which offer "jungle" orientated trips and activities. This can include hiking, trips by jeep into the Indian
jungle to try and spot tigers, crocodiles, leopards as well as the myriad of birds native to the area plus options for other excursions such as white water rafting on the Kali river. With these camps often situated by the Kali or it's tributaries they are also pretty good for just lazing around and doing nothing much at all except watching the river and enjoying the kingfishers catching and eating fish whilst hornbills and other birds busily go about their business.
Travelling too and from Dandeli, Karnataka.
If staying in Goa then getting down to Dandeli from the railway station at Vasco da Gama is a little involved - there is a train available which does the 4 hour trip several times a week - this gets you as far as Londa Junction. This train is always quite heavily booked up so pre-booking as early as possible is a good idea -
please see our about India
topic covering Indian Railways. From Londa you have to hire a jeep or take a taxi the 90kms or so to the City of Dandeli - this trip is
through jungle on at times quite poor roads (Karnataka roads are often not the best surfaced in the world) and sometimes tracks at times. The cost for this is usually calculated by the kilometre and typically should be around 8rs/km but all things in India are usually about negotiation - remember that the km rate will include the return journey and because the area is full of sometimes
dangerous wildlife then you may have to pay towards a co-driver. The roads in the jungle are dangerous particularly at night with the constant possibility of leopards, wild elephants and wild boar being around so if they had to stop for any reason - for instance a puncture - one of them could be the look-out for any dangerous animals.Both driver and co-driver will also charge typically 2
to 300 rs for their overnight stay at or near Dandeli.
If the intention is to return to Goa then obviously the trip details are reversed but it is worth checking if possible that the train from Londa to Vasco da Gama is in fact running or has not had a timetable change - or is just simply many hours late. An alternative way back to Goa or elsewhere is to again hire a car and driver(s)
which you can arrange at Dandeli - you get to see lots of countryside and it really is not that expensive.
About the small Indian City of Dandeli - Karnataka State. Dandeli is quite a busy place especially around it's main street with loads of people moving about plus taxis, jeeps, scooters, lorries and bicycles etc. flying around seemingly everywhere - but it is a very interesting
place to wander around since there just seems to be something going on - hard to explain really.
India's gorgeous River Kali goes pretty much through the centre of Dandeli city and there are also several tributaries around the immediate area - one of these River Kali tributaries was where we spotted our crocodiles with the help of a local guide from one of the nearby villages.
Trips and things to do whilst staying at or near one of the Dandeli Safari Camps.
White Water Rafting
We were taken by an old jeep for a few Kms to a clearing alongside the River Kali so we could do a little cruising on the water. Firstly we had to sign a disclaimer and then we were kitted out with lifejackets and helmet etc. and got onto
our raft. There were three rafts with half a dozen of us on each going on our trip - the rafts each had a fully qualified instructor plus another instructor
was out on the river in a kayak. We were given around 45 minutes of safety instructions - this also involved us having to jump into the river and be "rescued" and have
to "rescue" other raft crew. We did sort of mildly wonder as we bobbed around in the water if their were any crocodiles around but were told that there
"probably" were not...
Once back on the rafts we were off to experience our first of five rapids - the whole trip down the River Kali took abut 75 minutes but it
was really exciting and we all survived it and nobody got eaten either.
Trek in the Jungle This can be as long or short as you wish - perhaps just an early morning walk heading off high into the jungle mostly perhaps on narrow paths or even having to bash the way through foliage before dropping back down to the huge lake in the area where there is also a Dam. The guide should offer information about about the jungle and what you
are seeing in the way of types of trees and plants as well as about the birds and other wildlife encountered during the walk. There are plenty of animals around including snakes, leopards and wild boar but they can be very difficult to spot of course.
A trip out to Syntheri rocks is really interesting to do especially first thing in the morning or late afternoon. There is a bit of a walk often down many steps and going through dense forest to the river Kaneri where there are the beautiful rocks and cliff face.
The rocks comprise of monolithic granite and have been carved into caves and crevices by the strong river current - there are lots of birds around plus many bats occupying the caves. As the evening closes in the whole area becomes quite magical and it is quite necessary to just sit on the rocks watching the busy
river and simply enjoying the peace and quiet. The climb back up is a pretty hot and humid affair because of the many steps - so once back in the jeep another stop off on the way back at a small jungle cafe for a welcome cup of tea is a good idea.
On our trip the guides tried really hard to find us as much wildlife as possible - after our cup of tea and although it was not
part of our payed for itinerary we diverted back into the heavier jungle and went back onto the tracks again for another go at wildlife spotting for an hour or so.
Trying to spot some crocodiles.
Although we had seen crocodiles in India at a Goan wildlife park
we wanted to try to see them in the real wild i.e. on a river bank. This trip took us back to the outskirts of Dandeli and the banks of the River Kali where a local villager said he could probably find us a crocodile or two for us to look at. A little way from the main river on a small tributary
along the bank we soon spotted several small crocodiles but we were probably too noisy and they quickly disappeared into the undergrowth. However shortly afterwards just across the river we saw a 13 to 14 foot crocodile sprawled on a mud bank apparently asleep. By now we had several local villagers with us and they started throwing stones into the river to make splashes and wake it up a little. It eventually opened it's eyes and then did a half yawn so we could clearly see it's massive mouth and impressive teeth - crocodiles certainly do have very impressive teeth when you are this close and there is no fence etc between you and it. A few minutes later our crocodile got fed up with us and went into the water - the speed at which this huge crocodile moved was
amazing - the huge reptile was into the water in a split second despite it's bulk. We sort of wondered (...) if it would continue heading across the narrow strip of river towards us but our local Indian villager said not - that it had headed off down river out of the way. However he was high up on the river bank whilst we were on the water's edge so we sort of meandered up the bank (as fast as we could) just in case....
Evening Jungle Safari.
Another of the things to do whilst in India is to go really deep out into the jungle and hopefully see some tigers and leopards etc. These trips tend to start a little before dusk and involve spending often hours slowly driving along jungle trails and tracks - once darkness falls the guides try to spot the animals using powerful spotlights (to pick up the animal's eyes amongst the often dense jungle). Sadly apart from some antelope and a few monkeys we did not spot any cats - apparently there are only 9 tigers in this extensive protected zone at the moment although the park authorities are planning to bring in another 25 tigers soon.
In the end
on the trip we took we returned back to the camp cat-less but the experience was pretty good nevertheless. The evening ended with everyone sat round a huge log fire drinking some beer, eating various curry dishes and having a good chat. (My son said that probably several leopards were also sat around watching us
watching the fire thinking about their next meal...).
Incidentally you can find that the evenings out in the jungle in Karnataka get surprisingly cool and warm clothing is necessary - something to remember to take if you go out there. We did get warmed up one evening around midnight when the guides decided it was time to head off into the jungle just on the off chance of spotting a leopard so we all crammed into jeeps along with a couple of locals and off we went for an hour's somewhat
hectic drive up in the hills in the jungle - great fun.
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