Dandeli: The adventure land of Karnataka
Sometimes your mind seeks relief and peace from the hustle and bustle of city life. That’s when you might plan a leisurely trip. But in some cases, your mind may need something called an adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is a healthy hormone produced by the body when you indulge in adventure activities. There are numerous benefits of this hormone. It takes you into a heightened state of physical and mental alertness, gives you instant energy, lifts your mood, improves blood circulation, and finally releases all the stress.
Okay, enough of Science.
But where and how do we get this rush? The answer is Dandeli. Check out the Things to do in Dandeli in this blog!
Check out our Dandeli Trip from Bangalore and the Trip from Hyderabad.
Located in Uttara Kannada district, Dandeli is a small river town about 460 Km distance from Bangalore. Uttara Kannada is the northernmost part of Karnataka on the Konkan coast bordering Goa. An overnight journey in a private shuttle takes you to this river town comfortably. The Dandeli wildlife sanctuary is home to varieties of animals including Deer, Sloth Bear, Black Panthers, Elephants, and many species of Birds. It offers a variety of adventure sports like White Water Rafting, Kayaking, Zorbing, Jacuzzi, Trekking, and Camping among others. Let us see what’s special about each of these activities in this blog.
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Here are 10 reasons why you must take a weekend trip to Dandeli:
White water rafting
Let us start with the best – River Rafting. The thrill you get when you tumble down the foamy white waters of the fast-flowing Kali river is simply extraordinary. You will be seated, along with your co-adventurers, on an inflated boat called a raft boat. An experienced and certified captain will sail your raft. He will initially brief you on basic rafting etiquette, assign your seats on the raft according to your weight, and give you instructions to follow. The big dips your raft jumps across the boulder-strewn riverbed are called “rapids”. Rapids give you the real kick.
People typically go for short rafting which involves a single big rapid. This rapid is repeated 2 or 3 times. Few folks who don’t have time or money constraints would go for long river rafting which typically involves around 15 rapids and takes half a day. This has to be pre-booked. A short river rafting does not need any advance booking. Don’t know swimming? Worry not, you don’t need to know swimming to indulge in river rafting. The raft is designed such that it doesn’t usually capsize. Life jackets are 100% mandatory.
A Kayak is a small, lean, and colorful boat that usually seats a single person. You will be given a paddle with 2 blades to move across freshwater of river Kali. All it takes is just a few minutes for you to learn how to paddle. You will happily move around in whatever direction you want. What makes Kayaking special is the unique setting of the river surrounded by forest. It feels so relaxing and peaceful that you wouldn’t want to come out.
A life jacket is mandatory for Kayaking like for any other sport in Dandeli. A Kayak usually does not capsize. But few naughty folks can intentionally topple their boat just to take a plunge in the water. Now that’s another kind of adventure.
A traditional Jacuzzi is made in an artificial setting of a hot water bathtub. But at Dandeli, you get natural Jacuzzi because of the flow of water through the rocks. A local expert will take you to a location almost locked between rocks where water rushes with great force. You can put your body parts against this water spring to get a natural freshwater message wherever you want. Head massage? Checked. Back massage? Checked. Jacuzzi stands out among other water sports in Dandeli and is the favorite sport of many. It’s kind of a waterfall created in the middle of the river.
Zorbing, River Crossing, Boating
If you are a ‘touch me not’ kinda person with respect to water, then these are the sports for you.
Zorbing is where you will enter a transparent, inflated globe. The ball floats on the water and rolls around (don’t worry it won’t go with the river as it is tied to a tree). The fun is trying to stand up which is not easy. You will end up imbalancing yourself and falling down. There is a good amount of Oxygen to breathe inside the ball and the activity typically lasts for 10 mins.
In River Crossing, you will be tied to a rope and zipped through from one end to another. Initially, you will climb up a tree to the starting point. Once they make sure your belts are properly buckled, you will be released with good speed across the river. They will teach you how to apply brakes while reaching the other end. You are then escorted back on a boat.
After you are done with adventure activities, it’s an amazing feeling floating on the water with life jackets, lying flat, stretching your arms and legs, relaxing your body, looking at the blue sky, and hearing birds chirping all around. It’s a great combination of fresh mountain water accompanied by the hot and humid climate of Dandeli. It refreshes you more and more each passing second.
Dandeli has a huge dam built across river Kali originating from western ghats. Water stored in this dam is released for adventure sports and power generation. It forms backwaters. After an action-packed day, you can head to Dandeli backwaters which is a picturesque location for bird watchers. The calm and serene location is ideal to take a lovely stroll, breathing fresh air. This area is also famous for its peaceful sunsets. Make sure you get your profile picture clicked in the backdrop of blue waters, thick green jungle, and the golden yellow evening light of setting sun.
Camping in jungle
An eventful day might have been over, but the night has just begun. This is your third visit to the camp after your morning breakfast and late afternoon Lunch. By now you know your tent and whom you are sharing it with. It’s a properly fenced private property – a homestay cum campsite and well lit up. Enjoy a hot cup of tea and relax for a while. The camp folks will set up a bonfire for your group, and assign you a music system. There are usually no restrictions over there. You can even have your limited drinks or smoke without causing inconvenience to others. The homestay folks will take care of the safety and security of everybody. There is no danger of wild animals inside the campsite premises. Just don’t dare to go for a night walk in the jungle.
Make sure you don’t miss early morning hues in the forest. The morning mist accompanied by the rising sun gives another beautiful experience. This time is also ripe for some good selfies. You can compensate for your lack of sleep in the vehicle later.
Konkan is famous for its unique cuisine with delicious varieties of food, both for Veg and Non-veg. The campsites at Dandeli take pride in their food. It has a good amount of coconut, red chilly, and other spices. They serve Chicken in Dinner for nonveg. Veg has good options too at night. Food is usually a buffet system at the campsite. The coconut chutney and sambar for breakfast are something to look forward to.
Ulavi is a small remote village perched in the middle of the Dandeli reserve forest cut off from any civilization. It’s just about a 30 min journey from Dandeli town. It offers a great trekking opportunity in the forest to a cave system that has interesting stories behind them. 5 minutes into the trek, you will spot a bird-watching tower set up by the forest department. From here, one can experience cool breeze and birds singing in their natural setting. A 30 minute downhill trek will take you to a cold water spring which has a legend behind it. Your guide will explain this story. Another 20-minute trek will take you to the base of the rock formation that is home to Ulavi caves. It used to be a challenging rock climbing from here. But recently, the villagers and forest department have come together to construct steps and steel ladders to reach the entrance of the caves. You will have to crawl through a tunnel to enter the cave system that has many interconnected chambers. One of these chambers opens up to a vast expanse of dense forest and open sky overlooking a deep valley. This very sight is magnificent and worth all the effort.
Having seen the Ulavi caves of Uttara Kannada, you are so close to the Karwar town of the Konkan coast. Karwar does not warrant a separate trip. It’s best to merge it with your Dandeli trip. This border town has many tourist attractions and of course, pretty beaches. The fresh waters of the Kali river will give away to the vast expanses of the Arabian sea. In fact, this is where the Kali river, where you played all the water sports a day before, will have its final journey into the Sea. It’s indeed a double bonanza.
Among the top attractions of Karwar are – Warship museum, River garden, and Karwar beach. This is a relaxing day strolling across tourist spots in the beach town. You can take a dip in the Sea if you wish. Or just put your hat on, remove your slippers and take a stroll on the soft sand. After a lovely sunset, it’s time to say Adieu to everything and set on your return journey towards Bangalore. Don’t forget to exchange your Instagram accounts with your fellow travelers before getting down. An action-packed weekend comes to an end.