The Western Ghats in Southern India is home to most of India’s endemic species. A treasure trove of amphibians, reptiles, birds and butterflies. The region is ideal for herpetology tours and entomology expeditions and is a birders paradise. The Western Ghats are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Key species to look out for are:
Reptiles: King Cobra, Malabar Pit Viper, Hump-nosed Pit Viper and Bamboo Pit Viper
Amphibians: Purple Frog, Blue-eyed Bush Frog, Dancing Frogs and Malabar Gliding Frog
Endemic Species: Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Marten, Brown Palm Civet and the Malabar Grey Hornbill.
Kerala is in the south-west of the country. An unhurried way of life blends well with inland waterways, sunny beaches, spice plantations and forested hills. Coconuts, seafood and spices usually inspire delicious meals.
Cochin is a port city and a good entry point. Spice dealers from across the world have lived and worked here, leaving their influence in the styles of architecture.
From Cochin, an excellent spot to aim for is Munnar. It is centred in verdant green tea estates, and on the edge of the Western Ghats. The temperature is more refreshing than in Cochin. Hiking up to the higher peaks of the surroundings brings the reward of pretty forests and beautiful views.
Converted wooden rice boats are famous for exploring the backwaters of Kerala. Spotting aquatic life from the ‘houseboats’ along 1500kms of rivers and channels is a favourite. The beaches are perhaps less attractive with choppy seas and dangerous swimming. Kerala would combine well with the Maldives or Goa.
Monsoon season hits the area in June, but the heat starts to build from April onwards. January to March and October to December are better months to visit this area.