Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Kerala Laughingthrush © R Wasley
Nilgiri Flycatcher © R WasleyKerala Laughingthrush © R WasleyIndian Scimitar Babbler © R WasleyNilgiri Blue Robin © R Wasley

South India Ultimate Endemic Birds Tour (13 days) B130

Tour ref. no. B130
Duration: 11 nights (13 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Kochi – Thattekkad – Periyar – Munnar – Chinnar –Ooty – Mudumalai – Mysore – Bangalore
  • Sought-after endemics, some restricted to Nilgiri Hills – includes Laughingthrushes
  • Stunning birds at Eravikulam: Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, Indian Blue Robin
  • Indian Pitta, Black Baza, Oriental Bay Owl and Slaty-legged Crake at Thattekkad
  • Asian Elephant, Gaur (Indian Bison) and Nilgiri Langur at Periyar
  • Spectacular views around South India’s highest peak – Anamudi
  • Colourful South India culture

Introduction

Highlights of this tour are almost impossible to list!  Could it be your first-ever view of the elegant White-bellied Treepie, a White-bellied Blue Robin (Shortwing) or perhaps a striking Black-and-Orange Flycatcher?  The diverse tropical forests at Thattekkad (also known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) hold a huge range of fantastic species including Indian Pitta, Black Baza, Oriental Bay Owl, Slaty-legged Crake and the wonderfully cryptic Sri Lanka Frogmouth, easily missed without the help of your experienced guide.  At Periyar Tiger Reserve and elsewhere you’ll see fascinating mammals such as Asian Elephant, Gaur (Indian Bison) and the glossy-black, blond-headed Nilgiri Langur; Tigers are there but are difficult to see in South India.  Add in some fabulous butterflies, spectacular scenery, a colourful culture and lovely food for a truly memorable holiday!

There are many ways to extend this tour, so please contact us for details

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you.

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Note: You can fly into Kochi from the Middle East or via Mumbai or Delhi and other key Indian cities.

Day 2: Kochi - Thattekkad

Meals: Dinner

Arrive in Kochi International Airport. You will be met at Kochi airport (look for your driver outside the airport with your name on a placard) and be driven to Thattekkad (1½ hours) where you will meet up with your guide.  For the remainder of the day explore the best local birding sites with a focus on endemics and your target birds.

Thattekkad is home to most of the endemics of the Western Ghats.  You should see White-bellied Treepie, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Wynaad Laughingthrush, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill and owls which could include Mottled Wood Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl if you are lucky. Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Red Spurfowl, Grey Jungle Fowl, Indian Pitta, Black-throated Munia and the Grey-headed Fish Eagle are all likely. Areas to visit include Palamattam area near Thattekkad, extending to Edamalayar and Urulanthanni which form the part of the lowland forest areas around Thattekkad.

Days 3 and 4: Thattekkad

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Explore the key local areas of Palamattam near Thattekkad, extending to Edamalayar and Urulanthanni in the lowland forests around Thattekkad.  On one evening you’ll visit Charupara to listen to and hopefully see Jerdon’s Nightjar along with one or two other species.

Day 5: Thattekkad - Periyar

Meals: Breakfast

Today at a time to suit you, you’ll drive to Periyar and birdwatch for the remainder of the day local to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve.  It’s well known for Asian Elephants and you can see Gaur (Indian Bison) here.

Periyar National Park contains a variety of habitats from grassland and dry deciduous forest to evergreen forest and riverside scrub.  You will spend the day searching for some special species including the difficult to spot Wynaad Laughingthrush.  Other birds to look out for are White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Black Eagle, the striking Black Baza, Pompadour Green and Mountain Imperial Pigeon, the uncommon migratory Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Grey-breasted Prinia, Thick-billed Warbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and the spectacular Asian Fairy Bluebird among other more widespread species.  Your birding here will consist of three walks into the rain forests at different areas of the park, notably Anchurly, the boat landing area and Karadikavala.

Your stay here is on a bed and breakfast basis and other meals are payable directly; you will find some good places to eat locally.

Day 6: Periyar

Meals: Breakfast

Explore the above mentioned areas with your guide.  Entrance fees to Periyar Tiger Reserve are included.

Day 7: Periyar - Munnar

Meals: Breakfast at Periyar and dinner at Munnar

Leave for Munnar via the Ghats to Khambam where Large Grey Babbler, Common Babbler, Jungle Bush Quail and Grey Francolin may been seen, you will proceed to Bodi Ghats en-route to Munnar for a sighting of the rare Yellow-throated Bulbul.   Blue-faced and Sirkeer Malkohas, Short-toed Snake Eagle and Black Eagle are all seen locally.

Lunch is payable directly today so you can have it at a location that fits best with your birding plans.

On arrival at Munnar bird locally to your hotel with your guide.

Day 8: Munnar

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today your journey takes you to the Rajamalai area to explore the sholas (high altitude montane forests) and grasslands for Nilgiri Pipit, Painted Bush Quail, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-bellied Shortwing, Broad-tailed Grassbird and Grasshopper Warbler.  Munnar is also the place to see the endangered endemic Nilgiri Tahr, a type of mountain goat.

Day 9: Munnar - Chinnar - Ooty

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

There’s a long day ahead of you today.  First you will head down the mountains to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (2½ hours) located in the rain-shadow areas of the High Ranges of the South Western Ghats in Kerala.  It was declared a sanctuary in 1984 due to its ecological, floral and geomorphologic significance.  You should see Asian Elephant, Spotted Deer, Sambar and Gaur besides birds which might include Jacobin Cuckoo, Grey Junglefowl, White-bellied Drongo, Blue-faced and Sirkeer Malkohas, White-naped Woodpecker, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Jungle Bush Quail and Yellow-legged Buttonquail. This forest reserve is also the ideal habitat for one of the most endangered mammals of India, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel and you can also see both Brown Fish Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl here if you are lucky.

You will then set course for the hill town of Ooty (a drive of around 5 hours), arriving by afternoon.  Ooty (Udhagamandalam) is a hill station, at about 2,200m in the Nilgiri Hills.

Day 10: Ooty - Mudumalai

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

The Cairnhill Reserved Forest and Dodabetta will be our main destinations, where the endemic Black-chinned (Nilgiri) Laughingthrush occurs as well as Black-and-Orange, Rusty-tailed and Nilgiri Flycatchers.  We will also look for Nilgiri Blue Robin, Nilgiri Thrush and Kashmir Flycatcher as all of these species are recorded here, though they can prove elusive at times.

After the morning birding at Ooty, you will make your way through the Kallatti Ghats to Mudumalai (a drive of around 2½ hours).  Mudumalai, at the foot of the Nilgiri Hills, is one of the many reserves located within the forest belt between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Mountains.  The terrain is varied with hills, valleys, ravines, watercourses and swamps, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and scrub forests making it ideal birding country.  Here you should see Jerdon’s Bushlark, White-bellied Minivet, Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Blue Robin, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-bellied Woodpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Thick-billed Warbler and Painted Bush Quail.  Birding will be on foot with your guide.

Day 11: Mudumalai)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Further explore the local area on walks and one safari drive (included in price).

Day 12: Mudumalai - Mysore

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Today you will drive towards Mysore (2 ½ hours), birding along the way.  You’ll also visit the Billiranga Temple near Bandipur if you missed the Broad-tailed Grassbird earlier.  Also seen here are Paddyfield and Rich­ards Pipits and Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark and enjoy some small wetlands by the roadside on the way.

Night in Mysore.

Day 13: Mysore - Bangalore

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, you’ll enjoy birding en-route to Bangalore, which will include a visit to the famous heronry, and explore (from a boat) the islands on the Cauvery River at the Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary.  Expect the drive to be around 1½ – 2 hours.  A rowing boat journey enables close up views of Eurasian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Black-crowned Night Heron, three species of Cormorant, River Tern, Great Thick-knee and many other species such as Marsh crocodile.  You will also be visiting the Ramanagaram hills en-route to look for vultures.  Arrive at the airport by night fall.

Tour ends

The price, names of hotels and a list of inclusions/exclusions are shown below.  Note: we can tailor the itinerary to suit you with changes to hotels, adding days and/or adding new locations.  Tour extensions are available eg. The Andamans,  so please contact us for details.

Price per person:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1445
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1380
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1305
Single room supplement £225
Supplement for changing Hornbill Camp Cottage Tent to a room at Tapovan can be supplied on request.

Price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Thattekkad Hornbill Camp, Cottage Tent with attached bathroom 3
Periyar Wildernest 2
Munnar Olive Brook  2
Ooty Taj Savoy  1
Mudumalai Jungle Hut  2
Mysore Regaalis  1

Price includes

  • Accommodation in standard rooms/cottages with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrances to all Sanctuaries and National Parks as listed in the itinerary
  • Short rowing boat ride at Ranganathittu on a shared basis
  • All currently applicable taxes

Price excludes

  • Any international airfare to/from India including International airport tax
  • Any internal flights within India
  • Meals not specified
  • Tourist visa and travel insurance
  • Camera fee where charged
  • Any additional taxes levied by the Government of India on the tourism sector in future
  • Any expenses of personal nature such as hard/soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls, tips etc.
  • Any item not mentioned in the price includes section.
  • Any increase in the entrance fee to National Parks or Sanctuaries in the future. The price is based on the current entrance fee
  • Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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