Thattekkad is the only bird sanctuary in Kerala: of the over 253 species endemic to the Western Ghats, 12 are found here. Spread over an extended area of 25.16 sq km, it forms an important part of the overall protected forest cover of the state. The dry deciduous forests of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary are the ideal place to spot small mammals such as the Grizzled Giant Squirrel as well as rued as herds of Asiatic elephant, Indian gaur, sambar, and spotted deer. The 777sq km Periyar Tiger Reserve is, of course the largest protected forest in Kerala, rich in birds and animals, many of which can be seen around the lake.
Day 01: Arrival at Kochi/Transfer to Thattekkad (60 km)
From Thattekkad a ferry takes you to the lodge.
Day 02: Thattekkad
The trek begins after an early breakfast. Led through the sanctuary by our ornithologist you get more than a glimpse of avian life. Stay overnight in a jungle watch tower or at Thattekkad Binding Lodge, a two-bed roomed house adjacent to the sanctuary. Catch a glimpse of nocturnal birds during the trek into the jungle after dark.
Day 03: Thattekkad – Chinnar (105 km)
After breakfast take the ferry back to Thattekkad and drive to Chinnar where you stay at a resort in Marayoor.
Day 04: Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Start early in the morning to meet the team of local guides of the Hill Pulaya community for the trek through the dry deciduous forests of Chinnar. The campsite at Vysiapara is a two-and a-half hour’s trek away. You stay in a thatched hut, built using traditional knowledge and local resources, on a ledge on top of a hill. It also doubles as a patrol station and vantage lookout for forest fires and illegal logging. In the afternoon, go for a short trek to spot the varied herd’s grazing on the plains below.
Day 05: Chinnar – Periyar (60 km)
After breakfast, trek back to Chinnar and drive to Periyar.
Day 06: Periyar Tiger Reserve
After early breakfast, our naturalist will guide you to Bamboo Grove Ecolodge, the only ecolodge in India run by local communities. A boat cruise in the afternoon takes you out on the lake to spot wildlife. After dinner go ‘Shepherding the Night’, a unique trekking programme from 10 pm -1am, with a jungle patrol keeping watch for illegal activities in the eco-development zone.
Day 07: Periyar Tiger Reserve
You are at leisure till afternoon. After lunch the boat cruise takes you out to spot wild animals and water birds on the lake. On the way back, disembark and trek for half an hour to the Forest Inspection Bungalow at Manakavala, on the bank of an inlet of Periyar Lake. The savannah around is ideal grazing ground for wild herbivores. You can see Asiatic elephants, gaur, sambar and wild boar feeding just across the trench that protects the Bungalow from close encounters. Move around with our naturalist and do some bird watching
Day 08: Periyar – Kochi
Wake up with tea and snacks and go for an early morning trek around the Bungalow. Spot wild animals and birds. After breakfast, we start back to Thekkady. You have a fair chance to see some wildlife on your way back too. You should reach Thekkady by half past eleven.
Later transfer by road to hotel in Kochi.
Day 09: Departure from Kochi
Transfer to Kochi airport.
You should also take a shorter birding tour of the Thattekkad bird sanctuary.