Kerala has 02 national parks and 12 wildlife sanctuaries. Out of the total stretch of 1800 km of Western Ghats mountain ranges, 450 km falls in Kerala. In terms of area, it amounts to 21856 sq km of the geographical area of the state. The figure equals to 56 percent of the total geographical area of Kerala whose flora and fauna is sustained and nurtured by 44 rivers that flow through the region. The entire area is rich in luxuriant tropical moist vegetation and evergreen & semi-evergreen forests. 24 percent of Kerala's landmass is covered in forests which are home to large varieties of animals, birds and plant species. Our 05 days long Kerala wildlife tour would help you to explore the myriad hues of Kerala wildlife sanctuary in a convenient manner.
Day 01 : Wildlife sightseeing in Kochi:
We will start our Kerala wildlife tour with a visit to Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (locally known as Thattekad Sanctuary) which is home to more than 250 species of birds. There is a 3 storey Watch Tower inside the Kerala wildlife sanctuary from where you will be able to view various varieties of birds in their natural habitat. A dormitory is also there inside the sanctuary. Nijayapilli Peak (523 m) is the highest peak of the sanctuary from where you can have a bird's eye view of the entire region. The sanctuary is spread over 25 sq km and is situated 48 km from Aluva railway station. Brief about the flora and fauna of the bird sanctuary is provided below :
Bird Species : Jungle Nightjar, Malabar Trogon, Large Pied Wagtail, Indian Roller, Malabar Hornbill, Crow Pheasant, Malayan Night Heron, Mottled Wool Owl, Crimson-throated Barbet, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Woodpecker etc.
Mammals : Leopard, sloth bear, deer, porcupine and elephant
Reptiles : Python, Cobra, Lizards and other snakes
Plants : Teak, Mahogany, Karinjili, Rosewood, Kanala, Vellapine, Kunthirikam, Kambacom etc.
By Air : Kochi International Airport is 71 km from the sanctuary
By Rail : Aluva Railhead is 48 km away
By Bus : The bird sanctuary is 13 km off Kothamangalam bus stand on Pooyamkutti Road.
Day 02 : Wildlife sightseeing in Munnar
Second day of our Kerala wildlife tour will start with visit to Eravikulam National Park, which is home to Nilgiri Tahr mountain goat whose population in the park is estimated to be 1300. The park is spread over 97 sq km area. Its rolling plateaus have high altitude grasslands interspersed with Shola forests. The base elevation of the park is 2000 m above the sea level. Atlas Moth is another prime attraction of Eravikulam National Park which is the largest of its kind in the world. Rajamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is part of Eravikulam National Park which is 15 km from Munnar. Anamudi Peak (2695 m or 8983 ft) is the highest peak of South India which is within the precincts of the park. One can have a bird's eye view of the entire Kerala wildlife sanctuary from this peak. Brief about the flora and fauna of the park is provided below:
Mammals : Nilgiri Tahr, Sambhars, Malabar Civets, barking deer, leopards, langurs, Small clawed otter, dusky striped squirrel, tiger, elephants, golden jackal, dole, Indian Muntjec, ruddy mongoose, etc.
Birds : More than 130 species including Nilgiri Pipit, black and orange flycatcher, Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Yellow-throated Mountain. There are more than 100 species of butterflies also.
Reptiles : Python, crocodiles, lizards and other snake varieties.
Plants : Neelakurinji, Eupatorium Glandulosum, orchids, balsams, shrubs, high altitude grass etc.
By Air : Madurai Airport is 142 km while Kochi International Airport is 150 km from the national park.
By Rail : Aluva (130 km) is the nearest railway station to the sanctuary. This railway station is in Ernakulam district of Kerala.
By Road : Rajamalai bus stand is 18 km from the sanctuary.
Day 03 : Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park is basically a Tiger Reserve and is spread over an area of 777 sq km. The beautiful Periyar Lake at the center of the park is a prime attraction for the tourists. We will enjoy a joy boat ride in Periyar Lake. 40 tigers have been counted in the park in the latest survey. It is the most popular and highly visited national park in Kerala. Kumily is just 4 km from the national park and a nice destination for excursion. Nearby Cardamom Hills offer a panoramic view of the entire region. Some the animal and bird species that you can spot in the park are:
Mammals : Tiger, Nilgiri Tahr, Sambhar, elephants, dole, wild dog, mouse deer, gaur, barking deer, lion-tailed macaque, bonnet macaque etc.
Birds : Periyar National Park is home to more than 240 species of birds and 100 species of butterflies. Darters, kingfishers, blue winged parakeet, Racket Tailed Drongoes, cormorants, Malabar Hornbill, flycatcher, hill mynas, ospreys, hill mynas etc. could be easily viewed in the park.
Reptiles: King Cobra, Monitor Lizard, Flying Snake, Flying Lizard etc.
By Air : Periyar National Park is 140 km from Madurai Airport and 200 km from Kochi International Airport.
By Rail : Kottayam Railway Station is 114 km from the national park
By Road : Regular buses ply for the sanctuary from nearby cities like Kottayam (4 hrs), Ernakulam (6 hrs) and Munnar (5 hrs).
Day 04: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is locally known as Vembanad Sanctuary and is situated in Kottayam district of Kerala. Located around the banks of Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is an ornithologist's paradise. The 14 acre sanctuary has Kavanar River running through it. Tourists come to Kumarakom for two main reasons - to watch its bird sanctuary and to cruise into its charming backwaters. Following species of birds and animals are found in Kumarakom:
Birds : Cormorant, waterfowl, Siberian Crane, darter, cuckoo, egret, flycatcher, lark, teal, heron, duck and Brahminy Kite, wood beetle, parrots, pin-tailed duck.
Animals : Elephants, deer, Sambhar, Langurs, jackals, foxes etc.
By Air : You can reach to the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary through Kochi International Airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
By Rail : Kottayam Railway Station is 15 km from Kumarakom.
By Bus : The Kumarakom Bird sanctuary lies on State Highway No. 1 which connects it with Kottayam and other nearby destinations like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Day 05: Backwaters Houseboat Cruise
Kerala's enchanting backwaters are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna of the region. That's the reason Kerala wildlife tour is incomplete without a cruise into the serene backwaters. We will have houseboat cruise of Kumarakom backwaters and Alleppey backwaters. The rich marine life of backwaters is simply amusing as you will be able to view several kinds of colorful fishes in the waters. Besides this, the backwaters are also visited by numerous birds like kingfishers, flycatchers, larks, darters, herons, egrets etc. You can also view elephants, Sambhars, deer etc. roaming on the banks. Look out for tigers and leopards with your binoculars as you may spot them in the adjacent dense vegetation of the backwaters.