Dandeli was on my wish list after I read a travel article which indicated that it had the largest concentration of black panthers in India. This interest got me reading on Dandeli and I found out that it is also a fabulous birding destination and is also a good place for white water rafting.
In addition to a number of birds (we saw over 100 during the trip), we also got to see the malabar giant squirrel.
How to Reach: Hubli is the nearest airport which is around 75 kim from Dandeli. Direct flights from Hubli to Mumbai have been started by Spicejet. Train from Mumbai is also convenient. Take the Puducherry Express (11005) from Dadar (DR) and get off at Alnawar (LWR). This is an overnight journey and takes you to Alnawar by 10:30 in the morning. Alnawar is around 35 kms from Dandeli. We arranged for our pickup from the resort who charged use 1200/- for the journey which took around an hour.
We stayed at Kali Adventure Camp is one of the several resorts operated by Jungle Lodges and Resorts (govt of Karnataka undertaking). We just loved our stay here. Check out review for the resort here. Booking can be done at http://www.junglelodges.com/.
The resort allocates a staff member for all your activities. If you plan to do birding, ask for Shashi. He has over 30 years experience in birding and helped make our birding experience that much more enjoyable. The resort charges on a per person basis based on the room type that you opt for. Charges cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, evening snacks and various activities (transport if involved).
Itinerary: Our tour was a purely birding tour. The manager at the lodge meets and plans your activity according to your choice. Out itinerary was as below
Day 1: Arrive at the lodge. After lunch proceed for wild life safari. (Our safari was washed out due to heavy unseasonal rains)
Day 2: Early morning birding at Timber Trail. Return to resort for breakfast. Relax. Coracle ride. After lunch proceed to Ganeshgudi.
Day 3: Another session at Timber Trail.
There are a number of things that we could not try for paucity of time. But one can do white water rafting, Kavala caves, Syntheri Rock, etc.