Planning a short trip to escape from your monotonous routine and charge you up? Want to go on an adrenaline-filled weekend getaway with your gang? Want to spend glorious time in the midst of the lush beauty of nature? A yes to all this, but a big question mark when it comes to deciding a place? We have a suggestion, Dandeli!
Dandeli is a town situated in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka, in the middle of evergreen forests. The scenic beauty of Dandeli is enhanced by the River Kali roaring through the town, making way for a huge number of tourist spots and adventurous activities. Situated at a distance of about 465km from Bangalore, it takes about 10 hours of travel time to reach there. Rainy season would disrupt all your water activities, and the summer would be too much of scorching heat to enjoy outdoors, so the best time to visit would be from November to March.
Pic: River Kali
The first and foremost thing any visitors would be looking for is accommodation. Being a famous hub for tourists, Dandeli is populated with an enormous number of resorts. The ones on the river bank and the most beautiful, such as Bison River Resort, Hornbill River Resort, Whistling Woodzs, Kingfisher Jungle Stay, etc., but are also the most expensive ones. If you have your own vehicle to travel around the town, which is highly recommended BTW, then it would be a better choice to choose one of the resorts in the interiors, which offer the same comfort at lesser prices. We had chosen to stay at the Panther Jungle Stay in Dandeli, where we chose tent accommodation and made it an experience to remember! It cost us around Rs.1000 per person. All resorts offer a number of activities with their package such as a swimming pool, pond kayaking, Burma bridge crossing, and so on, but since there’s much more to do outdoors, we suggest you not to get too hung up about the activities. There’s one thing to keep in mind though! Since there’s not much to do after it gets dark, make sure the resort you’re staying in offers a camp fire. It’ll be a wonderful experience, you can enjoy your dinner and dance away your worries around the camp fire, and settle in for a cozy night in your tents!
Pic: Our tents at the resort
Pic: Camp fire !!
The biggest highlight about a visit to Dandeli would be the White Water Rafting on River Kali. Yes, it is as exciting as it sounds! Different resorts offer you different rafting facilities, quoting different prices for different lengths such as 3km, 6km, 9km etc. And they’ll all be willing to negotiate and give you discounts. But, rather than going for any of those, we suggest you opt for the rafting arranged by the government, which is for 13km and costs 1350 per head. The bookings for Rafting – Kali Adventure Camp will have to be made online, on Jungle Lodges. There are 2 slots in a day, one at 9am and another at 2pm. The 9am slot is preferable since it’s operational every day, and most of it will be done before you get sunburnt. The 2pm slot will be operational only if the dam isn’t opened and the water hasn’t reached a dangerous level.
So, book your slots and be at the reporting point at the given time, where you’ll be asked to sign your waiver forms. You’ll be taken to the rafting starting point in their vehicles, each seating 10 people and costing Rs. 500. After being assigned your rafts and guides, collecting the necessary equipment, and getting your instructions, you’ll soon be on your raft in the river, for an adventure of a lifetime! The water is calm at places, and very frothy with a strong current in other places. They’ll take you through the entire stretch, making you row with all your might, allowing you to jump into the river at safe points, pointing out various notable landmarks alongside, and taking you for a surprise surfing like experience that’s sure to give you goosebumps! The entire activity goes on for almost 2.5 hours, at the end of which you’ll be exhausted but you’ll still want more! The last stretch of the rafting experience takes you through a silent water trail through a wonderful growth of mangrove forests, where the water and nature around will calm your nerves and make for a soothing time, and you’ll be eerily reminded of the scenes from the movie Anaconda! The same vehicle which dropped you to the starting point will take you from the end point to the reporting point.
You would surely want photographs and videos of this thrilling activity captured, which can be easily arranged with your rafting guide for Rs. 1000 per raft. They’ll do this with a GoPro camera, and give you the memory card at the end. A tip: at some point during the beginning of the rafting, you will cross White Water Resorts where they’ll click mind-blowing pictures of you! Make sure you go and collect them later on.
Pics: Our Rafting Experience !!
You just can’t get enough of the time you spend in water at Dandeli, so make sure you visit the aforementioned White Water Resort at Ganeshgudi. Fly Catcher Adventure Team organizes a whole lot of water activities there, including but not limited to Water zip lining, zorbing, kayaking and rappelling. Each of these range around Rs.100 – Rs.200 per person, and are well worth it since it’s in the roaring river and not in some dead pond inside some resort. The most enjoyable activity we experienced here is the Jacuzzi, where the water current is extremely high and you can just sit on the rocks there for a wonderful Jacuzzi-like experience. It’s like no other!
Other honorable mentions among the places to visit in Dandeli would be:
- Sykes point: A view point within the Wildlife Sanctuary, from where you can see the entire forest layout and the serpentine river making its way through. Ideal to visit during sunrise or sunset.
- Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary: A dense forest area home to a large number of monkeys, elephants, deer and black panthers all living in their natural habitats. Hosts a huge number of bird species as well. Safaris are available, for Rs.500 per person.
- Syntheri rocks: Huge rock formations carved out over time by the river flowing alongside. A tiny trek to reach it, makes for a good time to spend the evening at.
- Kavala caves: Limestone caves having well-known stalagmite formations and winding tunnels. Has an ancient temple at the entrance, and involves climbing down a significant number of steps to reach the entrance of the caves. The tunnels can get so low at points where you’ll have to crawl on all fours to get through, making for an exciting adventure. Bonus point is the breathtaking view of River Kali as you exit the caves from above, as it cut through the jungles.
- Supa dam: A dam built over River Kali, near Joida.
- Moulangi eco park: A small park on the riverside, an ideal place for a picnic and for kids to play around. Has a beautiful view of the river, and swings and slides to play.
- Crocodile park: A place in the river where crocodiles are bred and you get to see them live, swimming around or lounging on an island.
- West Coast paper mill: An eco-friendly paper mill that has been around since a long time. Visit to gain first-hand knowledge and insight on how a paper mill works!
Pic: Syntheri Rocks
Pic: View from Moulangi Eco Park
We hope this review of Dandeli was helpful to you. Let us know what you like most about the place when you visited, we’ll be waiting to hear from you! You can reach out to us for more information and details as well, we’ll sure be happy to help. Happy adventures, folks!