Seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat is a humbling experience. Just like standing before the Himalayas can be for most of us. For one, you’re watching the majestic animal in its home territory, so you’re the outsider there. And then you marvel at its poise, grandeur and freedom. At some point, you both look each other in the eye and in a few moments, it walks away, as if to show its irreverence. That reminds you about how you both are so different from each other and yet so similar in many ways. People take pains to reach out to the wilderness just so that they can meet the wild animals. It’s magical, the way you long to see them all. Among the best jungle safari in India, Dandeli stands out for being the most approachable and also for being one of the few where you can spot the tiger and the elusive rare Black Panther.
Dandeli jungle safari is an experience of a lifetime. The quaint town is hidden amidst the dense foliage of teak, jackfruit, acacia, sal and other trees as well as some exotic orchids, at the base of the western ghats. This area has the advantage of dense forests, thick grass almost for the whole year and plenty of watering holes, including the river Kali, its many tributaries, ponds, lakes and streamlets.
Instead of venturing out on your own, you can choose from one of the many jungle safari resorts in Dandeli. Whistling Woodzs has earned its reputation for being the most preferred resort for water sports, adventure activities, excellent food and a variety of options for accommodation. Its jungle safari package is much sought after. The jungle safari booking can be done in advance from the resort’s own website only.
Dandeli may not be the largest jungle safari in India, but it is definitely one of the most vivid and allows views of a plethora of wildlife. Whistling Woodzs Resort offers a unique Jungle Safari to its guests. All guests are accompanied by trained and experienced guides who know the local terrain very well.
As you near Dandeli and Ganeshgudi, you will start spotting the peacocks who boldly venture on the road, the foxes and jackals that also stop in their way to greet you with a stoic face. Rabbits, bison and elephants are also frequently spot even on the state highways leading up to Dandeli.
The Jungle safari packages are so attractive that you would never miss this for anything else on your Dandeli trip. Of course, apart from water sports, the animals in the jungle safari are the next best draw, especially for the young at heart. The Whistling Woodzs resort organizes meticulously planned Jungle Safari trips for its guests. It includes a sturdy vehicle that can provide the utmost safety for the guests. The guide and the driver know the terrain so well that they can take you to the exact spots where the animals frequent, especially in the morning and evening.
The Dandeli tiger reserve is spread across almost 834 sq. kms in this region and is a protected site. Tiger spotting is common because the guides can spot them with their footprints. Crocodiles are also plentiful. Normally, you would venture at least 20 to 30 kms deep inside the jungle if you start early , 6 am to 8 am or 4 pm to 6 pm being the best, which is the time animals come out of their zones for food or water. Carry your binoculars, a hat, plenty of water for when you’d feel thirsty in the humid environs and closed shoes if you’re the brave-heart to walk some distance.
Generally, months after the monsoons, ie. October to June is the best time for jungle safari. The monsoons are generally avoided as the terrain becomes inundated with water making traversing, even in a rugged vehicle, quite difficult.
Traversing the forest in a jeep or a similar sturdy rugged vehicle makes it extremely safe for wildlife lovers to see them up close. If you’re really lucky, you would spot a tiger, a leopard or a sloth bear. Elephants are very common as are smaller animals like the barking deer, pangolins, gaur, etc. The Malabar squirrel (the state animal of Maharashtra – Shekru) is commonly sight in this jungle, swinging merrily from one tree to the other. Keep your eyes and ears alert and your senses sharp so you never miss a single rustle in the bushes. Mind you, keep a safe distance from all animals, who will never harm you if you don’t pose a threat to them. The animals in a jungle safari remind you about nature’s myriad hues, forms and intelligence. The strength, agility and sharpness is worth learning for our lives too.
Apart from wild animals, Dandeli is a bird watcher’s paradise, led by the king of this jungle- the Great Indian Hornbill. Its loud and shrill cry is unmistakable. The guide will show you how to spot this huge bird with majestic wingspan as it glides over the river water hunting for fish or hops from one tree top to the other. These birds can be spot early morning, noon and mainly in the evening. Over 200 other species of birds have made Dandeli their home. Jom Paryekar, the resident bird expert at Whistling Woodzs is eager to engage you in bird watching and bird identification simply based on their cries and whistles. His deep knowledge and accuracy leaves you awestruck as you embark on a jungle hike with him early morning.
A jungle safari in Dandeli is like a trip to fairyland- replete with all the adventure, surprises, anxiety and joy. It’s nature’s own way of showing you a world that’s pristine, self-sufficient and worth preserving. That’s something you would always take back for years to come. Or maybe return again the next year, for the wildlife never calls you, it’s just that you get pull towards the jungle.