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Dandeli, a quaint town situated in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka is a popular tourist spot, known for its scenic Western Ghats, sprawling green slopes, adventure sports and the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary along with the neighboring Anshi National Park was declared as the Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve in 2006. The sanctuary is abode to the elusive Black Panther and is a noted birding area. At a distance of about 25km from Dandeli lies the town of Ganeshgudi. Ganeshgudi also revels in the lap of the Western Ghats and is located on the banks of the River Kali. The scenic views and splendid landscapes enhance the much sought after bird watching experience here.
Dandeli is for adventure lovers. If you want to try night camps, angling, nature walks, trips to temples and caves or tiger and crocodile sighting, then Dandeli is really the place to go. Ganeshgudi on the other hand, is for those who like the serenity and whispers of nature. Both these together account for a diverse booming wildlife and bird spree, admired, relished and awaited by biodiversity experts and enthusiasts. One special moment that should not be missed is the daily Hornbill crossing over the Kali river in the evening.
How to reach
Dandeli is relatively easier to reach first by rail, air or road. Ganeshgudi can be reached from Dandeli via road. Rail – Karwar is the nearest railway station 108km away. One can reach Dandeli from Hubli and Alnavar too. Air – The Dabolim Airport in Goa is the nearest airport. Road – Buses run from many cities, such as, Bangalore, Dharwar, Hubli, Londa.
What to see
The wildlife in the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary include the Black Panther, tiger, deer, sambar, Malabar giant squirrel, bison, dhole, sloth bear, jackal and more. It is home to about 200 bird species, including the graceful Great Indian Hornbill and the Malabar Pied Hornbill. Others include the cuckoos, drongos, doves, Indian pittas, thrushes, flycatchers, fulvettas and shamas. Ganeshgudi, is a bird watcher’s delight, not only for the varied feathered friends that one sees, but also because it is one of the easiest ways to photograph them. The dense forest area near the Old Magazine House is tailor made for the birds to fly by, with bird baths and some perches and all you need to do is set up your camera at a safe distance behind the barricade and wait for the flying royalty to descend. Some of the birds that you are bound to find here are, Flame throated bulbul, white Rumped Shama, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Blue flycatcher, emerald dove, scarlet minivet and the Malabar grey hornbill.
Things to do
The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to venture out into to capture the wildlife on camera. Besides, the sanctuary the Kali River is a perfect spot to catch sight of the winged beauties. If not bird watching or visiting the sanctuary, there are some more than exciting activities that one can indulge in when in Dandeli. 1. River rafting, angling, boating can be done on the Kali river as well on one of its tributaries, the Virnoli river. The gushing waters of Virnoli make it a thrilling adventure sporting feature. 2. Kavala Caves – You can trek to these caves and enjoy the wildlife on your way up and down from this religious site. 3. Shiroli Peak – Found inside the Anshi National Park, the peak gives a wonderful view of the surrounding landscapes. 4. Kulgi Nature Camp – Located at some distance from the Dandeli National Park, this camp houses a museum and an interpretation center. 5. Dandeli town – Explore this town, interact with the locals, enjoy the south Indian cuisine and shop the bamboo handicrafts. 6. Supa Dam- Found on the way to Ganeshgudi, the dam area provides shelter to many bird species and is the principal source of generation of electricity in the region. At Ganeshgudi, bird watching is the primary aim of visit. The best birding spot is the Old Magazine House run by the Jungle Lodges, Karnataka Government. An excellent opportunity for newbies in the bird photography field, one can also go for treks into the jungle, river rafting, kayaking and canoeing on the Kali and wake up to the sounds of the forests during your stay here.
Day 1 – Arrive at Dandeli by noon and have a sumptuous lunch. Head into the sanctuary to meet and witness the wildlife in its natural habitat. Enjoy a campfire at night and prep yourself for an early morning start.
Day 2- As per plan we set out early once again into the Park and trail our way to see more of the mammals, reptiles and of course the birds. Post lunch we leave for Ganeshgudi and arrive for the afternoon bird watching session. Enjoy the south Indian dinner and share your photographs and experiences with fellow wildlife and photography enthusiasts.
Day 3 – Wake up to the sounds and chirpings of the forests. Grab your camera and perch yourself behind the barrier and wait for the birds to come by one after the other. Post breakfast, venture out on treks into the jungle and enjoy some adventure sports. Meet up with the group in the evening for camping or chatting over dinner.
Day 4 – We begin early today as well to capture more avian faunas on our lens. You may choose to visit the surrounding tourist areas or indulge in other adventure sporting activities, before carrying on with your onward journey.
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