Kabini is emerging as a hub for adventure lovers in Karnataka. The Kabini Forest Reserve, located on the banks of the Kabini river in the Kodagu region, has much to offer. An eventful weekend awaits you with a lot of things to do in Kabini like jungle safaris, treks, boating and even biking.
How overwhelming does it sound to ride on an elephant’s back or drive in a rugged jeep through the dense jungle? It definitely sounds very inviting and if you want to experience the thrill of this sort all you need to do is head to Kabini right away.
Located a few hours’ drive from Bangalore, the best time to visit Kabini is between November and June as the pleasant winters set the right mood to unwind. There are multiple tourist activities in Kabini and it’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations because of the world famous Kabini wildlife reserve.
Top things to do in Kabini for your wonderful weekend
But what makes this place a lot more special are the budget friendly rates that would appeal to youngsters and people travelling on a small budget. To help you discover the best of Kabini and keep you engaged with fun through every day of your trip we have put together some of the best activities you can indulge in.
Visiting a forest reserve that is known to shelter a wide range of rare and exotic fauna, a jungle safari would be a must-do on your visit to Kabini. The feel of cruising through the thick forest in a jeep, with numerous chances to spot the wildlife in their natural habitat is sure different from watching animals in enclosures of zoos, away from their home in the wilderness. The open air jeeps are usually tall in height as it enables the visitor to seek a better view as well as for safety reasons.
The Jungle Safari is organized under the supervision and control of the government officials. The slots in the jeep safari are reserved on first come first serve basis, with the safaris being available all through the year. However, the ideal time to visit is from October until June as it’s the best time to spot animals.
The animals commonly spotted here are bear, gaur, panther, elephants, spotted deer, sambar, even lions and tigers! It can easily be considered one of the best activities in Kabini.
Southern India offers a host of opportunities for animal safaris, including elephant rides as well. But one that offers a chance to spot other wildlife while riding through the wild is an authentic experience that can only be found in the dense jungle. The animals take you along a terrain that is often inaccessible to jeeps and other off-roading vehicles.
The Elephant being a tall, strong and sturdy animal has the capability of travelling across the jungle even better than any vehicle. You can avail of the elephant safari at the Sunkadakatte forest, Nagarhole National Park, and the Bandipur National Park. Exploring the forests on the back of an elephant is definitely one of the most authentic ways to explore the wilderness of Kabini.
All of these safaris are organized under the control of the forest authorities. The forest authorities to provide the tourist with a set of rules that must be followed. If you are already planning for the jungle safari make sure you carry a pair of clothing that would camouflage with the forest. Any kind of bright colours should be avoided.
The best time to visit the jungle is any time of the year leaving out the monsoon season. The jungle has a lot to keep you engrossed, and if you’re lucky, you might even happen to spot a carnivore snatch its prey right in front of your eyes. A three-hour tour into the depths of the jungle, under a canopy of thick greenery and the breezy wind blowing through your hair, it is definitely an experience that one should not miss.
Trekking is one of the most enjoyable yet challenging activities in Kabini. A trek along the rolling mountains, surrounded by breathtaking vistas of the Western Ghats on all sides is an ideal way to lift one’s vacationing spirit. Or to try something other than the hills and mountains, how about a hike through the forests under a dense green canopy of green! You will find that to be equally exciting.
These treks are organized by most resorts in Kabini and are conducted under the supervision of a guide. Specifically designed for first-timers, you will find the experience to be only mildly challenging, making the fun aspect of it an effortless outcome. The trekking activity in Kabini is commonly executed on the nearby mountains of Coorg and Wayanad.
Has the title of this activity giving you a slight jitter? Well, we aren’t talking about the motorbike riding we usually see in action movies but it’s a ride through the winding roads of the Kabini Forest Reserve! Be it on a bicycle or a massively powered motorcycle, you are sure to experience a whole new side of biking when it is the dense forests you are biking through.
These bike rides will enable the tourist to explore the destination all by themselves. The pleasant climate, the lush greenery and the smell of the earth will enrich the experience of this activity to another level. So make sure you give this activity a shot and relive your childhood days in one of the most beautiful locations in India.
With over 240 species of birds, from varied colours and sizes, musical bird calls and mating rituals, the dense forests of Kabini are a paradise for bird lovers. The locals in Kabini nurture the birds visiting the vicinity with a lot of care and they expect the tourist to do the same.
As a result of all the precaution, the species have flourished, multiplying, with the locals learning to live in harmony with the wild. Watching them flutter their wings and fly high up in the sky is a sight to behold. Most resorts in Kabini organize guided birding trails into the forest, by the river and also in the nearby fields where the guide has an expertise in spotting rare birds.
The Crested Serpent Eagle, Snakebird, Peregrine Falcon, Cormorants, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Wooly neck stork, Asian Openbill, Drongo and different types of Kingfisher are some of the most common birds you would get a chance to spot on one of these trails.
Boating along the backwaters is an absolutely surreal and refreshing experience, unlike the boating activities you might have tried in the lakes in cities like Bangalore. The boating on the backwaters is a treat for the eyes with the scenic beauty that is visible on every side. While boating, you might also spot a few animals strolling around, on the banks of the river. The locals in Kabini use these waterways to travel from one location to another.
The best time for the boating in Kabini is at the dawn and around the time of sunset as you can witness the changing shades in the skies even as you sight birds flying back to their nests.
The Kabini Dam
The Kabini dam that was built back in 1974 has a majestic structure ranging from 58m in height to 2,284 ft in length. It is situated near the Bichanahalli village, in the district of Mysore. This dam is the anchor to villagers and animals residing in and around the area. Strategically located right in the midst of the forest makes it a popular place to visit in Kabini.
A laid-back evening spent at the dam would be a refreshingly tourist-like experience and you would also get to spot a range of unique species of birds that fly back into their nest as sundown.
The region around the dam was treated as a relaxation spot during the British era because of the soothing sound of the gushing waters and the enticing view it comes with. The main source is the Kapila River and it is also fed by five other rivers. These clear waters shelter a rich aquatic ecosystem as they continue to flow through the Western Ghats from Kerala and finally merge with the Kaveri river, before reaching the Bay of Bengal.
Nagarhole Wildlife Tour
Rajiv Gandhi National Park, commonly known as the Nagarhole National Park is another place in Kabini that offers a lot of exciting activities for tourists. Nagarhole is a beautiful place that not boasts of a vast and dense flora but also shelters a rich wildlife. Nagarhole is a 247-mile park that is well-maintained by the forest authorities and a tour through this park is a pleasurable experience.
The government officials also provide a bus and jeep ride with every morning and evening that lasts for about an hour. If you are planning to indulge in this activity in Kabini make sure you head out from the park gate well before sunset as the route leading to resorts and lodges is often taken over by herds of elephants.
The best time to visit any of the national parks in Karnataka is definitely in the summers as the animals move out of their shelters in search of their prey. The park remains shut from July to October due to the heavy monsoons that turn the forest into a slushy base. As Bandipur National Park is a close neighbour to the Nagarhole National Park, the traveller can also witness the forest life at Bandipur, if time permits. Nagarhole is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is one of the best wildlife reserves in the country.
After an exciting day of adventure, the perfect way to unwind is definitely some retail therapy. Many would argue that there’s nothing more satisfying than shopping on a holiday as you would basically be taking a piece of your vacation back home, in the form of souvenirs that depict the culture of the destination.
Shopping at Kabini is really limited unless you chose to explore the towns in the Kodagu region to fetch yourself some interesting goodies. There are a few stalls and shops that are set up across the village where the locals sell handicraft items like wall hangings, coin pouches, wooden cutlery etc. From chocolates and spices to the ever so popular coffee of Coorg, make sure you grab some goodies for yourself before bidding adios to the holiday. Shopping should be a part of your things to do in Kabini.
Another simple yet beautiful activity that is more like a tradition in most houses and resorts in Kabini is the bonfire that is set up a few hours after sunset. It’s an incredible feeling to sit around the warm flames with your loved ones as well as interact with other people coming from different parts of the world. The resort owners and the locals in Kodagu are hospitable enough to serve you with the best of food, sightseeing, conversations and also keep you entertained with a different activity every day.
Take your time, relax and enjoy every bit of this surreal experience, away from the cacophony of the bustling big city. There’s a common saying that the most unexpected and low key locations unfold the most interesting surprises; Kabini is a perfect example that fits this saying.
So come to the Land of Kabini and nourish your soul with the beauty of nature. It’s no exaggeration that this place is heaven on earth and indulging yourself every day in the multiple activities mentioned above will keep you wanting for more.
Most visitors choose to drive or hire a cab from the nearest railway station at Mysore (95 km/4 hours) or the nearest international airport at Bengaluru (235 km/6 hours), as Nagarhole has to be accessed by road. Public transport options are few and far between, with a handful of local buses that ply up to Karapura, the stop closest to the park.
Kabini River Lodge (Jungle Lodges & Resorts): The state tourism department run resort was the former hunting lodge of the Mysore Maharajah, and retains its regal, colonial flair. Set on the banks of the Kabini in a vast ground of bamboo and teak trees, there are a range of cottage and tent options, a central dining area, as well as a wood-lined bar. (Doubles from Rs 17,700 including meals and safaris).
Jungle Inn: Situated near the quieter Veeranahosahalli gate, in the northern part of the park, Jungle Inn offers modest but comfortable cottages in green grounds, and a common dining hall. Meals are wholesome, and the property’s proximity to the park gate is a bonus. Doubles start at Rs 3,500 and include all meals.