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Dandeli Wildlife Park

Rapids, rodents and relaxation.

sunny 23 °C
View Indian Caves and Temples Tour 2011 on Grete Howard's travel map.

One of the benefits of staying in a tree house with only three walls, is being able to see the sunrise without getting out of bed. More pale and interesting rather than dramatic and colourful, it was still worth waking up for.

Sometimes the best decisions are made on a whim; until we arrived yesterday and were offered some activities for this morning, we hadn't even considered white water rafting. Kali River is a very popular place for rafting, and three lads in our boat had driven 400 kilometres from Hyderabad this morning (setting off at 03:00) just for the fun of it for a few hours, before driving back!

After a few safety instructions, we headed for our first rapid, which was also the steepest. We certainly got a lot of upper body exercise with the paddling, and the knee muscles from getting down into the raft when hitting the rapids and back up again as soon as we reach the bottom. The river ends in a dam some kilometres downstream, and once or twice a month they let some water out, making the water level drop dramatically and rendering the rapids unraftable. Having noticed the sudden water level drop, we had to get a move on to beat the clock.

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Between each set of rapids, were stretches of calm water, where we were able to relax a little and enjoy the scenery – watching the Brahmeny Kites, cormorants, darters and very rare fish eagle; the latter making the guide very excited. Apparently there are crocodiles in the river, but no rafters have ever been eaten. Yet. Now they tell us! A 12-year old boy was killed a couple of years ago, but that was 'by accident'. OK. They later found his body, minus one hand, so assumed the crocodile hadn't killed for food, but because he'd been disturbed.

The hotel manager assured us we'd get wet, and he wasn't joking! Water splashed over the raft in each of the rapids, and in the last one, we went back for seconds and thirds, letting the turbulence push us back into the
rapid, with the water gushing over us, completely engulfing the raft and filling it with water. Although a reasonably safe and extremely fun thing to do in an inflatable raft, this activity has claimed the life of more than one kayaker in the past.

We were amazed to find that the tissues I'd placed inside a zip-lock bag and put in my trouser pocket, were still completely dry after all this soaking. Such great inventions zip lock bags, although no match for the rodent who'd somehow found my supply of Bombay mix in my luggage back at the tree house, making a huge mess in the process.

Although dripping wet, we soon dried off on the back of the pick up for the hour return drive to the lodge. The wind and the dust doesn't do a great deal for your hair style though.

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We were greeted with the message that the hot water was ready for us to freshen up before lunch, and I have to say I'm impressed with not just the heat of the water, but also the water pressure and the flushing toilet half way up a tree.

A very leisurely afternoon was spent on our veranda, watching a large troupe of black langur monkeys move through the resort. Apparently it is quite unusual for the langurs to be around this area, partly because of the dogs (who were nowhere to be seen this afternoon), and partly because they are so weary of humans. Feeding on berries and leaves, the mothers would pick up their babies and jump from branch to branch, swinging by their tails, picking nits from each other's backs. They provided hours of amusement.

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I never thought I'd be going to bed in the Indian jungle wearing jeans and a fleece, and covered with three blankets. I was determined not to be cold tonight!

Posted by Grete Howard 19:23 Archived in India

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