From what we have been seeing since the last few years, in families, with friends or what we read online, many experiences should be done to get that fear out of you. Yes it might sound silly but we were anxious of river rafting and yet it was on the bucket list.
I have been to Rishikesh over a decade ago but unfortunately couldn’t participate in the adventure sports and even now Rishikesh is considered the number one destination for rafting.
So when Dandeli plans were firming up, it was exciting and a cloud of anxious moments had piled up even before we went on the rafting. I must say it has been one of the most fun things you can embark upon and if you are someone who would like to try a new experience.
So is Dandeli only for those who want to go river rafting? Thankfully no. The quiet space which is around three hours from Goa is in Karnataka and blessed with lush green Western ghats as its company.
Based on where you choose to stay, either in economic homestays or luxurious resorts, your experiences may include trekking, boating, river rafting or just being laid back and enjoy the calmness. If you are keen to go for river rafting, please ensure you go right after monsoons . This time even in December, the mighty gorgeous river Kali was flowing in great might. Again check out on temperature as summers can be very harsh.
Apart from river rafting, you can enjoy a boat ride in the Kali river where the river rafting (long white river rafting) journey ends and if you are bird watching enthusiast, this might be a place that might become one your favourites. Touted to be home for many exotic birds, including hornbill, you are likely to spot many bird species.
Our itinerary for a two day stay was simple. We wanted to finish river rafting at the earliest. And after a slight uncomfortable overnight bus journey, yet the best way to reach Dandeli from Bangalore, we soon went on for the river rafting. Bookings are taken right at the river banks, though for long river rafting which is recommended needs to be done in advance and online.
Short river rafting is for half an hour and includes only one rapid, but the adrenaline rush is thrilling and thankfully our guide took us for few more rapids.
We also had Jacuzzi bath experience in the river, a complementary experience from the homestay we stayed. Windflower homestay is basic yet we must say it’s clean and the manager is helpful in getting cabs for local transport and doing arrangements for sight-seeing and rafting too. The Jacuzzi natural bath experience right in the river midst is great but you need to be careful as the rocks are slippery and it might be quite a task if you have kids along.
We also went on for a short trek early morning and even included a visit to the Kali Forest reserve where you can go in for Jeep Safari. You need to be present at the Forest reserve office in advance and they have generally two tours, one in 6am and the other at 3.30 pm. A pro tip would be to go with least expectation but enjoy the jeep safari and be there a bit early if you want to avoid disappointment as it gets booked soon.
We however managed to spot snakes, deer, langurs and a few birds. Yes, there are tigers and elephants too but we weren’t lucky enough to see them.
Apart from rafting which did leave a positive impression, yet another activity was just strolling at Eco Park. The space is like a mini forest cover with lots of swings, benches, slides, space to run around for kids and be at peace to watch the gorgeous Kali river.
There are a few tourist attractions like the Kavala caves, Syntheri rocks, Sykes Point to name a few and these can be covered if you have your own vehicle to move around in Dandeli or if you prioritize on what you want to see and hire a cab like we did for a day or for a few hours.
The town is quite laid back, misty in the morning and a great destination for long walks, treks, cycling around and to bond with families and friends.
Mums and Stories definitely recommends this destination and the best part is that it can be covered over two days as a weekend stay.