Southern India 2021
Discover the backwaters, tea plantations, spice markets, incredible temples and the wildlife in the National Parks in search of tigers, elephants and more in this amazing trip, get yourself ready as you experience the highlights of Southern India. Our expedition is designed to let you experience it all, the diverse wildlife and the unique local culture.
Max Group Size: Only 12 participants!
Departure: February 14, 2021
Southern India 2021
Even though mountain Gorillas are the main objective of travelers to Uganda, the country is much more than that, with a concentration of the classic African wildlife in a small territory of impressive landscape. Our expedition is designed to let you experience it all, the diverse wildlife, the primates, and the unique local culture.
- Bandipur National Park
- Houseboat over Kerala Backwaters
Details in Brief:
Duration: 14 days in country
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Departure: February 14, 2021
Itinerary in Brief
Your expedition package does not include your international flight ticket. We highly recommend that you arrive a day before the expedition begins. NPE will be pleased to arrange for the extra overnights needed.
Day 1: Arrive Bangalore
Upon your arrival at Bangalore airport, our tour representative will welcome you at the airport arrival lounge & transfer you to your hotel.
Overnight at Gold Finch (Meals Aloft)
Day 2: Bangalore – Mysore
After breakfast drive to Mysore (3 hrs.)
Mysore is the third-largest city in the state of Karnataka, India, and it served as the capital city of the Mysore Princely Kingdom (Kingdom of Mysore) for nearly six centuries, from 1399 until 1947. Mysore is noted for its palaces, including Mysore Palace, and for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city is host to large numbers of visitors.
The city also lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak, the Mysore Peta (a traditional silk turban), and the garment known as the Mysore silk sari.
Late afternoon visit to Mysore Palace, which is one of the finest Royal Palaces in India. Mysore Palace is a magnificent and beautiful building. It is especially impressive when its façade is illuminated on Sundays and festive occasions. The interior of the Palace is equally extraordinary with its spacious halls, called Mantaps, paintings, and overall architectural beauty.
Mysore Palace is an excellent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture; the domes and the outside construction show
Muslim influence, but the interior of the Palace is a fine example of Hindu architecture. Together, it is a delightful aesthetic blend of Hindu and Muslim artistic styles.
Although the present palace is only a little over a century old, there is clear evidence showing that a royal structure existed at the present location even before the two Yadu dynasty princes, Yaduraya and Krishnaraya, came to Mysore in 1399 A.D.
Overnight at Royal Orchid Metropole (B, L, D)
Day 3: Mysore – Kabini (Nagarhole)
Early morning excursion to Ranganathithu bird sanctuary. Ranganathittu covers an area of less than 1 sq. km, but has a very high density of bird populations, making this a premium viewing site. The most common birds in the sanctuary are painted storks, spoonbills, white ibises, egrets, herons, and partridges. Most of the birds stay on tiny islands within the river and can be approached by boat.
The Kaven River, which runs through the sanctuary, is also home to a few crocodiles.
Later drive to Nagarhole National Park (2 hrs.)
Nagarhole is the perfect getaway for bird lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike; a place rich in forests, little streams, undulating valleys, and fascinating waterfalls. Nagarhole is a haven for many wild animals and is one of the last safe asylums for Asian elephants. Visiting Nagarhole would undoubtedly be an ethereal experience – a trip to paradise and back, and one never to be forgotten.
The misty Brahmagiri Mountains form a perfect backdrop to the natural sounds of the jungle, and the murmuring of the streams and rivers. The snake-like river that winds through the forests is the source of the name of the reserve; ‘Naga’ signifying snake and ‘Hole’ meaning river, it is derived from the Kannada language of the region. Nagarhole is a place of never-ending enchantment, due to the extensive number of species found there including four-horned antelope, panther, warblers, hornbills, spotted deer, mouse deer, pangolin, gaur, and giant flying squirrel among many others.
Overnight at The Serai (B, L, D)
Day 4: Nagarhole
Morning Jungle Safari in the park via shared jeep or canter. Later enjoy a short coracle ride on the Kabini River. A coracle is a small, maneuverable country boat which is ideal for game viewing in this park.
Night Trails: As night descends upon the Kabini landscape, a whole world of nocturnal life emerges. Those of you not lured by after-dinner television can explore nature around the resort at night, armed only with flashlights and a spirit of adventure. Naturalists will escort you around the areas just outside the resort, and close to the Kabini’s shoreline. This is where you will encounter the fascinating nocturnal world of beetles, spiders, owls, moths, lizards, and even plants as you
partake in this unusual nighttime expedition. Overnight at The Serai (B, L, D)
Day 5: Nagarhole
Morning Nature Walk: A guided Nature Walk is one of the best ways to explore the treasures of nature. A naturalist will unravel the beauty of birds, insects, trees, and wildflowers on this expedition. The walk would take you along the banks of the Kabini river, and then through the scrub and fields along the nearby village roads.
During the afternoon, you will cruise through the serene backwaters of the Kabini River on a motorboat, viewing sleepy crocodiles and chirpy birds, busy with their morning catch. You will have the opportunity to view a variety of wildlife, including elephants, coming to the river for a bath or a drink.
Overnight at The Serai (B, L, D)
Day 6: Kabini – Bandipur National Park
After your leisurely breakfast, we will drive to Bandipur National Park (2 hrs.)
Serai-Bandipur, unlike any other resort in the region, is situated very close to the Bandipur National Park. Because Serai- Bandipur rubs shoulders with the Bandipur National Park, it provides an experience quite unlike anything you’ve ever
experienced. It isn’t uncommon to hear the calls of wild animals and the trumpeting of elephants as they pass by the resort.
Among other things, the Serai -Bandipur offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the magnificent Nilgiris Mountains. Look out of your bedroom window, and you’ll be presented with a perpetually changing view of the Nilgiris. Bandipur National Park teems with wildlife and provides a safe haven to a wide variety of animals, including the four-horned antelope, gaur, Asiatic elephant, leopard, sloth bear, black napped hare, black leopard, and a host of bird species like the barbet, babbler, warbler, and the Indian peafowl.
Upon arrival in Bandipur, check in to the hotel. Overnight at The Serai (B, L, D)
Day 7: Bandipur National Park
Morning and afternoon shared jeep/canter in search of the wildlife in this beautiful park. You will have the option to hire a bicycle from the resort to go on cycle trails around the resort and enjoy bird watching. For those who enjoy staying up a bit later, there is stargazing in the evening under the clear skies.
Overnight at The Serai (B, L, D)
Day 8: Bandipur – Wayanad
After an early morning Safari and a delicious breakfast, drive to Wayanad (2 hrs.)
The Tranquil Resort comprises 400 acres of private coffee and spice plantation nestled in the lush forest of Wayanad; this is an exotic location in Kerala. The name says it all, the Tranquil Resort is a small private estate that offers a luxurious homelike experience surrounded by an environment of exquisite ecological beauty and unending relaxation.
The elegant suites & tree villas enjoy a panoramic overview of the coffee plantation. This resort offers you your own personal and private sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life. In addition to simply relaxing, you can also enjoy leisurely walks and bird watching in and around the plantation. The main cropping season for coffee and areca nut is between mid-January – mid-March, and at this time, the plantation buzzes with activity.
In addition to a pool and Ayurvedic massages, the Tranquil Resort also offers nature walks. You can choose from 12 different routes ranging from “Braveheart” to “Teaser” walks. Guests are provided with walk maps and the routes are well marked out with signboards.
Overnight at Tranquil Resort (B, L, D)
Day 9: Wayanad
Full day free to enjoy activities in and around Wayanad .
Afternoon activities include a coffee plantation visit. Wayanad has a successful spice cultivation program, and visiting those who grow spices in the area is now a part of the district’s development plan. The idea of the spice tour was conceived as an alternative source of income for small scale farmers and planters in Wayanad. Spice tours are also arranged to provide an introduction to the spice growers’ lifestyle to travelers.
Cooking class followed by dinner. Overnight at Tranquil Resort (B, L, D)
Day 10: Wayanad – Cochin
After breakfast drive to Kochi (7 hrs.)
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.
In the evening visit Kathakali Dance theatre for a live performance of the famous Kathakali dance show. Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala, and the impressive facial expressions, hand gestures, and dance moves that will leave one spellbound.
Overnight at Eighth Bastion (B, L, D)
Day 11: Cochin
Morning sightseeing tour of Cochin city visiting Bolghatty Palace, St Francis Church, Jewish Synagogue (remains closed on Friday & Saturday), Dutch Palace (Mattancherry) (remains closed on Friday).
You will also get to see the iconic Chinese fishing nets, Cheenavala, that are unique to this city. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, not in China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood using these massive nets, with a whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen being dotted with them.
Your tour concludes with a visit to Fort Cochin – a small community in itself. Since it is a natural harbor
and one of the most important trade centers in the south of India, Kochi Fort of Kerala is one of the most significant towns in the state. One can see a unique blend of Dutch and Portuguese influences in Fort Cochin, due to colonial occupation of Cochin for many years
Cooking class followed by dinner. Overnight at Eighth Bastion (B, L, D)
Day 12: Cochin – Houseboat
After breakfast drive to Alleppey (1 hr.) to board Houseboat, on arrival check-in at Houseboat.
Sail along with the meandering network of Kerala backwaters, witness the exceptional water world and experience its countless gems. Just before sunset, Houseboat ties up for the night & dinner is served onboard.
Overnight onboard Houseboat (B, L, D)
Day 13: Houseboat – Kumarakom
Following breakfast onboard, drive to Kumarakom (1 1⁄2 hrs.). On arrival in Kumarakom, check-in at the hotel, Kumarakom Lake Resort.
Overnight at Kumarakom Lake Resort (B, L, D)
Day 14: Kumarakom & Fly home
After breakfast on time transfer to Cochin airport to connect flight for onward destination. (B)
Using decades of experience, and with the help of our local partners, we have crafted this itinerary in detail to create a program that maximizes opportunities for exploring sites, and to facilitate wildlife encounters. Our expeditions use the best accommodations available. However, unpredictable circumstances such as weather, flight delays, or cancellations, labor strikes, road conditions, traffic, hotel overbookings, and other factors may force adjusting the program on site.
These events or realities are out of our control and are an inherent risk when traveling, especially on expeditions to this kind of remote destinations. Your Expedition Leader might also decide to alter the program in case opportunities arise to improve cultural or wildlife experiences.
Please note that the expedition leader and hotels could change without notice due to force majeure reasons. No refunds will be given for program changes beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
The Rwanda Extension
Details in Brief:
Duration: 4 days in country
Leader: Local Naturalist Guide
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Itinerary in Brief:
Day 1 – To Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park
Today we leave Uganda behind us as we have a scenic drive through the Switzerland of East Africa to Kinigi in Rwanda. We travel via the Kanaba Gap, Kisoro, and the Cyanika border into Rwanda – the land of a thousand hills. We arrive at Volcanoes National Park and Five Volcanoes Lodge. “In the heart of Central Africa, so high that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are the great old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet and heavily covered in rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”.
The Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen, bamboo forests, open grassland, swamp, and heath. Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans) is situated in north-western Rwanda. It borders Virunga National Park in the Demographic Republic of Congo And Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. It is a 90-minute drive for Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo). The park was first gazetted in 1925 and was the first national park in Africa.
Volcanoes National Park was the base for the famous American Naturalist, Dian Fossey to carry out her research on gorillas. She arrived in 1967 and set up the Karisoke Research Centre. Dian Fossey is widely credited with saving the gorillas from extinction by bringing their plight to the international community. Dian Fossey was later murdered by unknown assailants and she is buried near the research center.
Best known for the mountain gorillas, other mammals that reside in the park are the golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena and bushbuck. There are 178 recorded bird species with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Overnight at Five Volcanoes Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 2 – Gorilla tracking day
After breakfast, we take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest to where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes between 2300-3500 meters above sea level. The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located, all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain in a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including a waterproof bag for cameras and film. Please note: plastic (e.g. carrier/shopping) bags are illegal in Rwanda.
Overnight Five Volcanoes. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Drive to Park Headquarters & Golden Monkey Trekking
After breakfast, we take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of golden Monkey trekking lunch at the lodge afternoon drive to Kigali.
Overnight at Hotel Des Mille Collines (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Return Home
This morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight (B)
Using decades of experience and with the help of our local partners we have crafted this itinerary in detail and have created a program that maximizes the opportunities for exploring sites and to facilitate wildlife encounters while using the best accommodations available. However, unpredictable circumstances such as weather, flight delays or cancellations, labor strikes, road conditions, traffic, hotel overbookings, and other factors may force adjusting the program on site. These events or realities are out of our control and an inherent risk when traveling, especially on expeditions to this kind of remote destinations. Your Expedition Leader might also decide to alter the program in case opportunities to improve the cultural or wildlife experiences are found. Please note that the expedition leader and hotels could change without notice due to force majeure reasons. No refunds will be given for program changes beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
HOTEL NO. 5
Hotel No. 5 is a stylish boutique hotel nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe, Uganda. Ideally located 10 minutes from Entebbe International Airport, Hotel No. 5 may be located in Uganda’s second largest city, but the peaceful hotel grounds will provide an escape from the buzz and activity of Entebbe.
The lodge provides a thatched central lounge, bar and dining area which is raised with wooden decks all around, allowing guests to savor the morning sunrise for breakfast, sunset in the evening and 180-degree river views throughout the day. Laundry, open bar (Imported brands at an extra charge) and wifi in the main building are included.
The lodge is perched 100m (328ft) directly above Nyinambuga Crater Lake and has eight individual cottages set on the hillside. Designed to blend with the landscape, the lodge was built using all local materials such as traditional mud render and thatching, providing the lodge with its key qualities of light, space, simplicity, and openness to nature. Each cottage consists of an airy bedroom with en-suite bathroom (containing bathtubs and showers, plenty of hot water and flushing WC) and private veranda. Includes complementary laundry and wifi in the main house.
KYAMBURA GORGE LODGE
The main lodge building was originally a coffee store and processing plant, surrounded by coffee plantations. The original structure has been sensitively restored to create a stunning and contemporary living space, balancing the history of the building with a series of distinct luxurious spaces for guests to relax. Laundry, open bar (Imported brands at an extra charge), wifi in the main building and 1 massage per guest are included.
MAHOGANY SPRINGS LODGE
Mahogany Springs offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. At Mahogany Springs it is the little touches that make the big difference, from the tiny details in the design of the lodge through to the unrivalled service levels provided by the highly trained management team.
THE FIVE VOLCANOES BOUTIQUE HOTEL
All services ranging from high-end accommodation with heated rooms, fully fledge spa services, modern restaurant etc. to packed lunch and refreshment packages to non-resident guests – as the only facility in that region and is situated 10 minutes from park HQ.
HOTEL DES MILLE COLLINES
This is a 4-star hotel situated in the middle of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The hotel boasts 112 exclusive rooms, which have all been completely refurbished and upgraded to a high standard. All of the rooms have their own balcony and access to wireless internet. The hotel will be having its Grand reopening in February 2011.
Note: All prices are in US$, per person, and based on double occupancy. Domestic Air prices are estimated and may change due to price variation by the airline.
*New Paths Club member prices include direct wire payment bene t plus additional discounts. If Club Members use a credit card, a 5% surcharge will apply.
Included in Land Cost:
- Services of New Paths Expeditions in-house support team.
- 24/7 services of an NPE Senior Leader during the expedition.
- Local Guides
- Comfortable, modern, 4X4 vehicles, customized for maximum viewing with open roof hatches. These are usually Toyota Land Cruisers or comparable vehicles.
- Professional, experienced drivers, and guides, who are knowledgeable in all aspects of Uganda and Rwanda Safaris.
- All accommodations and meals as stated in the itinerary
- All excursions as stated in the itinerary
- Emergency International communications available.
- Books available in the vehicles to help identify the flora and fauna.
- Umbrellas, bean bags, and blankets in the vehicles.
- A courtesy bag which includes tea, coffee, biscuits, and paper napkins.
- Coolers in our vehicles
Bottled water in vehicles
Laundry included in several of our lodges.
- International and domestic flights.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Gratuities for Local Master Guide, Driver and Expedition Leader (may be added to your final invoice, if desired).
- Gratuities for optional treks guides.
- Personal expenses and incidentals, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, e-mail, and laundry.
- Trip cancellation, travel delay, and baggage loss insurance.
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
Deposits and final payments:
- In order to guarantee your space on the Uganda Expedition, a deposit of $1,500 is required at the time of booking.
- The remaining cost will be charged 120 before the expedition begins.
- Using these funds, New Paths Expeditions will make a deposit of 30% of the cost of your domestic air tickets to guarantee your seats in the needed flights. Please note that even though New Paths Expeditions will make the mentioned deposit, the domestic air tickets are not included and their cost will be added to your final invoice. In case you cancel your expedition, due to airline policies, we will not be able to refund the cost of the tickets, nor we will be able to transfer them to another expedition participant.
Download the Complete Expedition Details
“After 20 years of traveling, we never learned so much and had as much fun as with you guys!”
Jack N. Douglas-CO
“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY
“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA
“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA