Monkey at Dandeli

Things To Do in Dandeli (2024)

Have you ever considered that wildlife safaris aren’t exclusive to the African continent? India boasts remarkable jeep safaris in its lush forests, showing wild animals thriving in their natural habitats. Each forest presents a distinctive experience, providing an excellent opportunity to observe these creatures up close in their native homes.

Every India-bound holiday I plan invariably includes a sojourn to the enchanting forests, driven by my profound love for Indian woodlands. For our annual year-end getaway, my friend and I opted for the serene haven of Dandeli. In this write-up, discover the myriad activities to engage in while exploring the wonders of Dandeli.

Things to do in Dandeli

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Dandeli Retreat - Open Sky Circles
Dandeli Retreat – Open Sky Circles

About Dandeli

Nestled in the Uttara Karnataka district within the Western Ghats of southern India, Dandeli emerges as a captivating town. Its expansive forest serves as a pristine haven for diverse wildlife, featuring inhabitants like tigers, black panthers, leopards, elephants, sambar deer, spotted deer, gaurs, and sloth bears.

Another captivating woodland worth exploring in Karnataka is the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

Dandeli proudly is the second-largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, honoured with the designation of a tiger reserve. Beyond its mammalian inhabitants, the forest also boasts a vibrant array of avian and reptilian species, adding to the richness of its biodiversity.

Dam at Dandeli

How to Get to Dandeli?

By Air

Unfortunately, there are no direct flights or trains connecting Bangalore to Dandeli. The nearest airport is in Belgaum, with IndiGo offering regular flights connecting major cities to Belgaum. The airport is approximately 90 kilometres away from Dandeli.

By Train

The train journey from Bangalore to Hubli is an overnight affair, and tickets can be booked through the IRCTC website. Upon reaching Hubli, a taxi or car is essential to cover the approximately 1.5-hour journey to Dandeli. Our travel involved taking a train from Bangalore, followed by a cab ride to reach the picturesque destination of Dandeli.

Note: It’s advisable to inquire with the staff during your accommodation. In certain cases, they may organize pickups from the Hubli train station for added convenience.

By Bus

A direct bus service operates from Bangalore to Dandeli, covering the distance in approximately 10 hours. Bus bookings can be made through the Redbus website for a convenient overnight journey.

By Road

The distance from Bangalore to Dandeli spans approximately 478 kilometres, and the journey by car typically takes around 8 hours. While this represents the quickest and most straightforward route to Dandeli, it’s important to note that it entails a substantial amount of driving.

Best Time to Visit Dandeli

The optimal time to visit Dandeli extends from October to May, encompassing the winter and summer seasons. These months offer favourable conditions, with summers particularly advantageous for wildlife observation. The warmer weather enhances visibility, making spotting wild animals easier. Water bodies become critical locations for wildlife sightings, as animals frequently gather to quench their thirst during the day.

Monkey at Dandeli

Despite the challenges posed by the rainy season, which spans part of this period, typically from June to September, the forests of Dandeli undergo a transformative beauty during these showers. While spotting wild animals becomes more challenging in the rain, the lush landscapes illuminated by the raindrops create a picturesque and captivating setting. The unique allure of Dandeli persists throughout the seasons, providing visitors with distinct experiences and perspectives, whether it be the vibrant wildlife during favourable weather or the enchanting beauty of the forests during rainfall.

Kingfisher bird at Dandeli

Where to Stay in Dandeli?

Dandeli presents various accommodations, ranging from resorts to homestays, ensuring a suitable option for every kind of traveller, even those on a budget. Allow me to suggest the following accommodations for your stay in Dandeli.

Resort / Homestay NameFeatures
Kali Adventure CampNext to River Kali
Karnataka Government-Owned
Kulgi Nature CampNext to Kali Tiger Reserve
Glamping Tents
Parampara CottagesAmidst Nature
Budget-Friendly Stay
Whistling WoodzsLuxury Stay
Spacious and Clean Cottages
Shreeyog Nature ResortClose to Dandeli Town
Luxurious Cottages
Ala Carte Menu
Summary of Places to Stay in Dandeli

Kali Adventure Camp

Managed by Jungle Lodges, Kali Adventure Camp in Dandeli is my top choice for accommodation. Nestled along the banks of the River Kali, it offers a range of stay options, from standard rooms to nature-immersed tents. Bookings feature diverse packages covering accommodation, meals, and engaging activities for a comprehensive experience.

Kali Wilderness Camp
Kali Wilderness Camp

Kulgi Nature Camp

Nestled just beyond Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Kulgi Nature Camp offers a unique glamping experience with approximately 12 tents, perfect for thrill-seekers. Beyond accommodation, the camp provides trekking, rock climbing, and night safaris. They host informative sessions on Dandeli and conservation efforts.

Parampara Cottages

Parampara Cottages, nestled in the wilderness, provides an affordable and charming stay with delightful cottages. Ideal for budget-conscious travellers, the stay offers all-inclusive amenities and exciting activities like kayaking, boating, and trekking. An ideal retreat for those seeking budget-friendly serenity in the heart of nature.

Parampara Cottages
Parampara Cottages

Whistling Woodzs

Spanning 7 acres, Whistling Woodzs near River Kali offers luxurious accommodation. With Premium Cottages, Tree Houses, and Twin Cottages, prices vary based on your choice. The property boasts diverse activities, from jungle walks to kayaking. Private rafting tours add an extra adventure to enhance your overall stay.

Sheeyog Nature Resort

Shreeyog Nature Resort, located near Dandeli town, is an ideal luxury retreat offering four cottages and diverse room options. Its strategic proximity to town amenities allows convenient access, while the resort’s commitment to luxury is evident in meticulously designed accommodations. With a blend of convenience and luxury, Shreeyog Nature Resort is a standout choice for an upscale Dandeli retreat.

Shreeyog Nature Resort Dandeli
Shreeyog Nature Resort Dandeli

Things To Do in Dandeli

Having experienced Dandeli on more than four occasions, I recommend planning a stay of approximately 4 to 5 days in this captivating city. The abundance of activities makes this duration ideal for immersing yourself fully in Dandeli’s beauty and adventures.

Many of these activities can be conveniently arranged and booked through the various hotels or resorts in the area. This allows visitors to seamlessly integrate their preferred experiences into their itinerary, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling stay.

Whether exploring the natural wonders, engaging in thrilling adventures, or simply basking in the serenity of the surroundings, allocating a few days in Dandeli provides ample time to make the most of the diverse offerings and create lasting memories.

White Water Rafting on River Kali

An essential adventure in Dandeli is partaking in White Water Rafting, an exhilarating pursuit tailored for adrenaline enthusiasts. Set against the backdrop of River Kali, the rafting expedition boasts a course featuring 1 to 10 rapids, each classified as a 3+ rapid on the scale of intensity. The cost of this thrilling rafting experience begins at INR 600 per person, delivering exceptional value for the excitement it promises.

Rishikesh and Zanskar in Ladakh are other places in India where you can do white water rafting.

Having personally engaged in this activity thrice, I can attest to the memorable experiences it offers. The rush of navigating through the rapids, surrounded by the pristine beauty of Dandeli, creates an unforgettable journey. White Water Rafting in Dandeli satisfies the cravings of adventure seekers and provides an opportunity to forge lasting memories amid nature’s splendour. For those seeking an adrenaline-fueled escapade, this activity stands as a highlight, adding an extra layer of excitement to the overall charm of Dandeli.

Dandeli - White water rafting

Forest Jeep Safari at Dandeli National Park

Spotting wildlife in Dandeli can be challenging due to the dense forest cover, but the Jeep Safari offers a compelling way to explore the rich diversity of trees and plants in the area. Priced at around INR 600, this safari provides an immersive experience in the lush forest environment. The Jeep Safari operates twice daily, from 6 to 8 in the morning and 4 to 6 in the evening. You cannot book the safari online and must visit the forest counter to purchase the tickets.

Baby elephant at Dandeli

While there was once the option for a night safari, the challenge of spotting wildlife persists. Despite the difficulty, I have encountered diverse species, including civet cats, snakes, and various deer like the sambar deer. The allure of witnessing wildlife in their natural habitat remains elusive, yet the beauty of the forests is undeniable. The captivating scenery, marked by abundant trees and plants, becomes a treasure to cherish. In Dandeli, even when wildlife sightings are scarce, the sheer splendour of the untouched wilderness leaves an indelible mark on the visitor’s experience.

Snake at Dandeli

Coracle Boat Ride on River Kali

A must-do activity in Dandeli is embarking on a coracle boat ride along the serene River Kali. This unique experience offers a remarkable opportunity to witness freshwater crocodiles and various species of water birds in their natural habitat. The coracle ride, organized by the Kali Wilderness Camp under Jungle Lodges, ensures a memorable and immersive encounter with the rich aquatic life of the region.

Eagle with a catch - Dandeli

Bird Watching

Dandeli is a haven for diverse bird species, with a notable focus on the renowned Hornbills. Among the four distinct kinds of Hornbills, including the Indian Hornbills, spotting them is a delightful experience. These majestic birds can be easily observed near water bodies, within the forest, and even near Dandeli town, adding a touch of avian charm to the natural surroundings.

Hornbills at Dandeli

Sinteri Rocks

Sinteri Rocks is a beautiful destination, boasting stunning rock formations intertwined with underground river systems. The area is adorned with numerous beehives, adding to its unique charm.

It’s important to note that the water currents in this region are both high and hazardous, leading to a prohibition on swimming for the safety of visitors. Despite the restriction on swimming, Sinteri Rocks offers a captivating experience, allowing exploration of its remarkable geological features and the fascinating presence of underground river networks.

Ullavi Caves

The Ullavi Caves, steeped in ancient history, are reputed to be an astounding 3.6 billion years old. Embarking on a half-day trip to explore these caves is an awe-inspiring experience, often combined with a visit to the nearby Sinteri Rocks. The cliffs surrounding the Ullavi Caves tower to an impressive height of approximately 1000 feet, creating a dramatic landscape that adds to the allure of the journey.

To reach the base of the caves, adventurers must conquer a challenging ascent of 1000 steps, further enhancing the sense of exploration and adventure associated with this remarkable site. The Ullavi Caves offer a glimpse into the geological wonders of Dandeli and provide a profound connection to the ancient past, making it a captivating destination for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and historical significance in their explorations.

Kavala Caves

Crafted by natural forces in prehistoric times, the Kavala Caves showcase a geological marvel with volcanic origins. Ascending these caves involves navigating approximately 375 steps, making the journey both stimulating and rewarding. Renowned for their stalagmite formations, these caves are the optimal location to witness the captivating interplay of rocks shaped over time.

Sunset at Dandeli

Is Dandeli Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Dandeli proves to be highly secure for solo female travellers. The staff at camps and resorts are notably affable, ensuring the well-being of their guests. When travelling alone, I prefer to organize all my activities through accommodations or go with a reputed travel agency to maintain a secure environment.

Elephant at Dandeli

While Dandeli is generally safe, I recommend exercising caution, particularly at night, as in any other location. Trusting your instincts and staying vigilant is always a good practice. It’s essential to avoid venturing into the forests alone, not only because it is against the law but also due to the presence of wild animals. Adhering to these precautions enhances the overall safety and enjoyment of the solo travel experience in Dandeli.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Dandeli

Q: What is Dandeli famous for?

Dandeli is famous for its lush forests, adventure activities like white water rafting, and rich biodiversity. It is the only place in South India that is a popular destination for activities like white water rafting on the Kali River. The region also has a wildlife safari in the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and trekking, camping, and birdwatching. Additionally, Dandeli is renowned for its scenic landscapes and river activities and for being a hub for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Q: What is the best time to visit Dandeli?

The best time to visit Dandeli is from October to May. The weather is pleasant during these months and suits various outdoor activities. Adventure enthusiasts enjoy the summer months from March to May when activities like white water rafting are at their peak.

Q: Is 2 days enough for Dandeli?

While you can enjoy some of the highlights of Dandeli in a two-day trip, a more extended stay would allow for a more comprehensive exploration of the region and a more relaxed experience. I suggest at least 3 days to explore what the town and its surroundings can offer.

Q: How much does a Dandeli trip cost?

As a rough estimate, a budget-friendly trip might cost around INR 5,000 to 6,000 per person for one day. A more comfortable and luxurious trip with additional activities could cost upwards of INR 10,000 per person for one day.

Q: Is Dandeli expensive?

The short answer is yes unless you prefer camping and solely engaging in typical tourist activities.

Despite the activities having fixed and reasonable costs, accommodations in Dandeli typically charge per person per day, contributing to the overall expenses. Additionally, transportation options are limited, and if you opt for 4-wheel jeeps from the resort, it can significantly increase the total cost of your trip.

Q: Is Dandeli safe for girls?

Yes, Dandeli is generally considered safe for girls. The region attracts many solo female travellers, and accommodations and adventure operators prioritize safety. It’s advisable to take common-sense precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and trusting your instincts. Overall, Dandeli is known as a welcoming destination for travellers, including solo female visitors.

Closing Notes

Dandeli holds a special place as one of my favourite destinations in Karnataka. Having visited twice, the place’s allure continues to beckon me for another visit. It stands out as an exceptional weekend getaway, offering many experiences. I highly recommend exploring this captivating forest, as it never fails to leave a lasting impression.


  • The prices mentioned in the post are valid only at the time of publication. Ensure that you check the booking websites for up-to-date information and prices.
  • My opinions and views are unbiased. If the post is a collaboration, then they are specifically mentioned.
  • Ensure that you check the relevant websites for up-to-date information on COVID protocols.
  • For any adventurous activities, please note that there is a risk that can be dangerous. Ensure you read the terms and conditions recommended by individual agencies and do them at your own risk.
  • For visas, it is best to see the embassy website for changing rules.
  • While using the recommended guides, auto-drivers or taxi drivers, do your due diligence and trust your judgement.

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    PIN for later reference – Things to do in Dandeli

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