Duration: 2 days
Expenditure: INR 2500/-
A small town in Karnataka, Dandeli is the lesser-known paradise for all those people who love trekking and camping in the forest area. This beautiful place with its turquoise blue water provides you the perfect weekend getaway from your monotonous and laborious life and has everything that you need to feel rejuvenated again, including a clear, blue river and a blossoming cool, green forest.
I had never heard about this place before coming to Hyderabad and I am now glad that I decided to visit this place because it is just too beautiful and mesmerizing to be missed out on. Although it lies a little out of the way and you would need to change a lot of public transport to finally reach this place, it is completely worth the effort. I had one of the best camping experiences here where we went on a night trek through the outskirts of the forest.
It was truly a memorable trip for me and I surely want you all to experience what I did too. This place makes you realize that there are life and beings outside of us and we are just a small, insignificant creature in the face of mother nature.
5 Reasons to Visit Dandeli
Watersport Adventures in Dandeli
Do you love water rafting or were you always interested in kayaking? Then, this is the place to do it all. With Kali river as your host, you can perform all these activities and much more and have the time of your life. There are several adventure camps which provide you a chance to try water activities like rafting, water zorbing, kayaking, coracle riding, and much more.
So, if you ever thought of doing water rafting but missed out on it in Rishikesh, then this is certainly the next better place to try it. The water is cool and clear and provides a perfect environment to all these activities.
Trekking in the Forest
If you always wanted to trek through the forest, then this is the place to be at. There are numerous camps set up here near the outskirts of the forest and the camp guides take you for forest treks both in the morning and night.
If you were wondering whether you see any animals around here then the answer is yes. In fact, if you get up early for sunrise and walk through the road, you might even glimpse a deer or two and hear them going for their morning drink.
I would know it because I was shit scared when we heard moving sound from both the sides of the road at 5.30 in the morning. Yes, it is dark at 5.30 and any movement sounds like it would be your last but the whole thrill of it is just too good to be missed out on. If you are lucky, you might also spot a Panther here.
Watching the Turquoise Blue River
River Kali runs through this district and I can’t even explain to you how gorgeous its water is. Imagine a scene. You are walking since 30 minutes in the scorching heat and you don’t see any camp nearby and suddenly you come across this huge bridge and below this bridge is a sparkling blue river and the sun’s rays are dancing on its surface and illuminating it from the inside. You can see all the fishes and stones inside and you haven’t seen a river so blue in your life. Yes, that is your river, Kali.
Trust me, this is one of the most beautiful rivers you would have seen and looking at its clear, blue water, you would only wish that you could stay here forever. I certainly wished.
Camping in the Woods of Dandeli
This place is famous for camping and just swarms with camping sites but no need to worry, all these camps are mostly secluded and lie far away from each other giving you a feeling that you are the only one in the miles around.
Honestly, you won’t find many people around here and no big village too, a few huts and houses are scattered on the way but by 6 P.m., everything is dark and apart from occasional cars passing by, the whole road is empty and dark. Plus, there are no streetlights which make this area a whole lot mysterious.
This camping site would contain many small tents and a large lawn area for you to chill out and play around the bonfire. Trust me, it is a completely lovely experience and the camps are really nice and cozy.
Adventure and Thrilling Activities in Dandeli
Now, the main reason why you should visit this place is due to the thrill and adrenaline that it would provide you with. Are you wondering how? Don’t worry, I have covered that part too.
So, these campsites lie on the outskirts of the forest and you can easily spot Panther and snakes here. In fact, I almost stepped on a snake when coming back from our evening back.
It was dark around and we were using our phone’s torchlight to see around and luckily, the moment I switched on the torch I noticed that I am about to step on a snake and so, I stopped midway and retreated my steps. It took me a few seconds to gather my wit and realize what I had escaped just a few moments back.
If you are an adventure junkie, then you would definitely love the forest treks and walk along the campsite road when it is dark. It is completely dark and you can’t see a thing without a torch. So, as your vision diminishes and your hearing senses expand, you hear a lot of movement from the jungle. This is mostly the animals moving by but it is a completely spooky experience.
Imagine you and your friend are walking a road in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by forest on both the sides and not a single soul to see for miles ahead. Doesn’t that sound frightening to you?
So, trust me this place is the perfect place for all those adventurous people who are looking for a thrill and excitement in their life.
How to reach Dandeli
Now, let’s talk about how will you reach here.
There is no direct train or bus to Dandeli from Hyderabad so, you would need to reach Hubbali first and then take a bus to Dandeli. You will find many trains and buses to Hubbali from all the major cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, etc.
Next, you need to leave for Dandeli from Hubbali and the ticket cost would be around 10-15 INR per person. You will find one bus going in every 1 hour. There are also many autos and shared autos taking you there too.
If your camp is near Dandeli, it would be better to get off at Hubbali. But if it is anywhere near Ganeshgudi, then you would need to get down at Londa. From here, you would need to go to the bus stop and an auto will take something around 150-200 INR for this distance.
From the bus stop, you will find a bus to Ganeshgudi in every 1 hour. It would take you around 1-1.5 hours to reach Ganeshgudi bus stop and then again you would need to walk or take an auto to your camp. Many camps offer the facility of pick and drop at a cost of 200 INR per person. We chose to walk and had to endure a walk of 2.5 km in the scorching heat.
Going back is even trickier from this place as you would either need to catch your train from Londa or from Hubbali. For this, you would again need to start from the Ganeshgudi bus stop and wait for a bus or take a shared taxi.
A bus can take an indefinite amount of time to come so we opted for a shared taxi to Dandeli. This costs us around 30 INR per person and takes around 2 hours to reach. From Dandeli, you may find a bus to Hubbali. However, it won’t be as frequent so you can either wait for the bus or take a bus to Dharwad and then continue.
It will take you 1 hour to reach Dharwad from Dandeli and the bus will cost 15-20 INR.
From Dharwad, you will find there are regular buses to Hubbali which take around 1 hour. They will drop you near the railway station, costing somewhere about 15 INR.
Please note that Dandeli and Ganeshgudi aren’t developed cities so you might not find a lot of private taxis here. Make sure you leave early for the return journey or you might end up missing your train or bus.
Where to stay in Dandeli
Our recommendation: Fly Catcher Camp, INR 1500/- per person
Website: Fly Catcher Adventures
There are many camping sites over here which you can choose from. Some of them are Bison River camps, Fly Catcher camp, etc. You can always find a lot of camping companies online.
A camping package would cost you somewhere around 1500-2000 which would include your meals, stay and a few water activities. We stayed at the Fly Catcher camp and it was an amazing experience for us. Our guides were quite helpful and kind and really made the whole trip more fun for us.
Our camps had beds and blankets and proper washrooms for taking bath and peeing. You will also find charging points here and adapters which will allow you to charge multiple devices at a time. You can also order snacks and buy beverages from their counter.
Some of the activities that you can enjoy here are:
- Water rappelling
- Water Rafting
- Water Zorbing
- Coracle Riding
- Night Jungle Trekking
- Jacuzzi Bath
What to Eat
Try the Oranges
In the camps, the food will be provided for you. However, please note that this food would be made in a large quantity for all the people camping. As a result, it would be simple but delicious.
You might not find a lot of snack shops here so, better to stock up on a few snacks before you leave. Here, you can also get delicious oranges to eat which would cost you just 5-10 INR per orange.
Best Time to Visit
Our recommendation: Monsoons and Winter (September – March)
Dandeli is an amazing hill station which can be visited at any time of the year. But if you want to enjoy the green forest, we would recommend you to go during the monsoon season.
Things to remember
Carry Cash. No ATM nearby.
Camping away requires a lot of smart packing and even though, you would be provided with a place to stay and eat, there are many things to keep in mind. Make sure you take all these items with you to ensure a tension-free camping experience:
- Mosquito repellent
- Trekking shoes
- Loose, cotton pants
- Loose t-shirts
- Portable Charger
- Camera batteries