Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|28 November - 8 December 2021||On Sale|
Discover the fairy tale forests, misty mountains and amazing wildlife of southern India on this once-in-a-lifetime trek for animal charities.
Together we’ll trek through the real life Jungle Book on an extraordinary wilderness adventure in Kerala. We’ll watch out for wildlife every step of the way, as we trek through the rolling green tea fields of Munnar and spectacular mountain panoramas to the Meesapulimalai peak of the Western Ghats.
Described as a treasure trove of wildlife by the WWF, the Western Ghats is home to nearly a third of India’s flora and fauna, from the 48 species of butterfly to singing flocks of cuckoos and colourful armies of frogs to famous big mammals, like leopards, elephants - and maybe even tigers, if we're lucky!
Hiking through heaven by day, by night we’ll camp in tea fields and upon mountaintops, experiencing unforgettable sunsets with birds chattering around us.
At the end of our mountainous Walk on the Wild Side, we’ll spend our last days visiting the amazing Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected home for some of the world’s most critically endangered species.
COVID-19 - keeping you safe
As we hope you know, the health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority.
Our team of experts here at DC has created a brilliant 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety. Please click here to see our ground-breaking plan and rest assured that you're safe booking with us.
Worried about fundraising? Don’t be…
Walk on the Wild Side is an Open Challenge, which means you choose how you fund your adventure.
You can self fund and pay the challenge costs yourself without the pressure of a minimum sponsorship target; or you can choose sponsorship and commit to raising a minimum amount for an animal or wildlife charity or sanctuary of your choice.
It's your chance to do something amazing for the cause closest to your heart; whether you choose to support your local animal sanctuary or a national charity. It's completely up to you.
Our Walk on the Wild Side adventure starts with an overnight flight from London to Kochi airport in India. Our local Ground Agent will meet us at the airport on the morning of Day 2 and from there, we transfer straight to an amazing bird sanctuary in Thattekad.
This was the first bird sanctuary of its kind in Kerala and enjoys a lush and fertile home. Living up to its name, meaning flat forest, Thattekad is a low-lying evergreen forest and a perfect habitat for birds, sitting between two branches of the Periyar River.
Our visit gives us a wonderful opportunity to spot a beautiful variety of both forest and water birds, including more than three species of cuckoos in the Cuckoo Paradise area.
Aside from cuckoos, we look out for orange-headed thrushes, large-billed leaf-warblers, Jerdon's nightjars and the Indian pitta, which visits the sanctuary during winter – and that’s only to name a few!
Tonight, we have our first group dinner and settle down at our comfortable camp in the area, listening to the chattering of birds around us.
This morning, we transfer from Munnar to the Lockhart Tea Estate, at a divergence from the road to Madurai. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to commence our challenge.
Once off the road (1,606m), we follow a windy, dirt trail through the tea trees and stop for tea in the tea worker’s colony. Refreshed and energised with new insight into the lives of the workers here, we continue our undulating route, until descending to cross the road.
We then have a short climb to reach the Lockhart Tea Factory, where we stop for lunch at a pretty, wooden pavilion overlooking the rolling hills of tea trees.
In the afternoon, we have the fab chance to tour the Lockhart Tea Factory and see the tea-making process, from tree to the tea we drink. We also get to try the plantation’s variety of teas. When in Rome!
We continue our trek through a small forest and up to a clearing on the other side of the plantation. This is where we find our charming campsite, tucked amidst tea trees. We finish the day having dinner and watching the sunset over the hills and valleys.
Our day begins with a transfer to the Base Camp at the Silent Valley National Park, home to tea plantations, rhododendron and pine forests - and a whopping range of wildlife! Keep your eyes peeled for elephants, lion-tailed macaques and more!
After refreshments, we hike along a narrow trail through the enchanting forest, full of pine trees, rhododendrons, eucalyptus and mimosa. Our trail trail leads us up from the dense vegetation to the rolling grass hills and we tackle a steep last stretch to the peak, Meesapulimalai.
The panarama from the top is spectacular. We stop to take in the cliffs of the Western Ghats, the flat lowlands of Tamil Nadu and the rolling hills that surround them.
After a short break, we start our descent and make a small loop through a valley where the rhododendrons and pine forest grows wild. We walk through the unique ecosystem of grass land and alongside streams, to the campsite at Rhodo Valley, so named because of all the rhododendrons we’re seeing!
This is where we settle down for the night, camping by the side of the Western Ghats’ mountain meadows.
After breakfast at camp, we head through more pine forests and zig zag through rolling grasslands and the dense sholas of Camp Mamaia, overlooked by handsome mountain ranges.
Pressing on, we pass a couple of lakes, before finishing our morning with a steep and short descent to the tea fields of the Yellapatty Estate, just in time for lunch.
This afternoon sees us once again following a route through gorgeous tea plantations, before ending with a short climb through dense forest, watching out for birds, reptiles and mammals as we go.
We camp on the mountain top, with vistas that more than make up for our long day’s walk. High in the misty mountains, clouds float under our feet as we look out at a panorama of surrounding peaks.
Camping on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats, we wake early to see a breathtaking sunrise with our breakfast. This lights us up to continue our trek along the mountain ridges of the eastern slopes. This awards us with incredible vistas of the mountain range’s second highest peak, the highest tea estate and the lowlands of Tamil Nadu.
All the way, we keep our cameras and binoculars handy, ready to see the myriad of endemic birds and wildlife in the area. Described as a treasure trove of wildlife by the WWF, the Western Ghats mountain range is home to nearly a third of India’s plant, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. We’re bound to see monkeys and butterflies and it’s possible we could catch a glimpse of the elusive leopards and perhaps even the tigers living here.
We pass through a range of vegetation today, from shola and evergreen forests to mountain tops and grasslands to tea plantations and villages, until we finally reach the Top Station.
Our camp awaits us, where we have dinner before a good night’s sleep.
We’ve made it to our last day of trekking! With only around two hours left to walk on the wild side, we stick to the Shola forest and look out for the diversity of plant and animal species unique to sholas.
We have a chance to spot birds like the Nilgiri Flycatcher, the Kerala Laughing thrush, the Black and rufous flycatcher and flocks more! This national park is also known for adorable golden-chested Nilgiri Martens, Malabar giant squirrels, Sambar deer and Nilgiri langurs.
Eventually, we meet our finish line and transfer back to Munnar for our well-earned celebration dinner and a rest.
After breakfast at the hotel, we have a three-hour transfer out of the Munnar hills to the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary near Thekkady.
Nestled in the Cardamom hills of the Idukki district, this invaluable National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the critically endangered Bengal tiger and Asiatic elephants, among giant and flying squirrels, fruit bats, mongoose and more.
Needless to say, we make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the rest of our morning wildlife spotting!
In the afternoon we wander around the exquisite spice gardens, before ending our day at our hotel in the area.
We rise early today to spot even more wildlife, including the local early birds, before transferring in the afternoon to the backwaters of Kerala. Our drive takes us to the fairy tale-like village of Kumarakom.
Sitting atop the Vambanad Lake, the village is laced with canals and home to cuckoos, Siberian storks and many a houseboat.
After more wildlife spotting and dinner, we overnight in a hotel in Kumarakom.
Bidding goodbye to the gorgeous Kerala, we transfer to the Kochi airport after breakfast and catch our overnight flight back to the UK. Our adventure ends here and you make your own way home from the airport.
Pay your registration fee and your challenge costs yourself.
Pay the balance
Pay your registration fee and raise the minimum target for your chosen charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
As we hope you know, the health and safety of our participants is always - and has always been - our highest priority.
Our team of experts here at Dream Challenges has created a brilliant 14-step initiative, to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety. Please click here to see our ground-breaking plan and rest assured that you're safe booking with us.
With even the government unsure how exactly the coronavirus situation will eventuate, we can't make any guarantees; but we can promise you that we will always put your health and security first and will always be just and flexible in any decisions we have to make, regarding postponements and transfers.
If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against travel to India in 2021, the tour will either be postponed until a safer time or cancelled.
In this situation, we will email all participants registered for the challenge with options you can take, such as transferring to the postponed date or another challenge.
All tour operators and holiday insurance providers, including us, take our guidance from Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice. Dream Challenges is also proud to be a member of ATOL and ABTOT, which means your money is always protected.
Absolutely! As part of our amazing 14-step initiative to minimise the risk of coronavirus and maximise your safety on all our challenges we're delighted to have found a fantastic travel insurance policy, which covers you for COVID-19.
Walk on the Wild Side is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part in this trek will have a low level of fitness when they sign up.
This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, while exploring one of the world's most beautiful countries and supporting animal charities around the world.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our Dream Challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for the Walk on the Wild Side Trek India 2021. Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising. You may also want to reach out to the fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. Everyone who is at least 18 years old by the challenge date is more than welcome to join this awesome Walk on the Wild Side challenge.
You will of course need a pair of walking boots and you'll also need to bring your own three-season sleeping bag. We will supply you with a comprehensive list of everything you will need to take on the event well before your departure date.
We stay in comfortable camps in the mountains, tea plantations and National Parks for the first seven nights of this challenge. All camping equipment, except for your sleeping bag, is provided and already set up for us upon our arrival at each camp.
For the last two nights, we'll sleep in three-star class hotels on a twin sharing basis.
Yes of course! Let us know if you'd like to extend your stay by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org before 12th November 2020 and we can look at options to fit your dates.
Your registration fee of £299 per person is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
Your challenge costs of £1,750 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the Sponsorship option) cover:
In addition to paying your registration fee (£299) and either paying your challenge costs or raising the minimum sponsorship target, you'll need to budget for your:
The group size for this challenge will be a maximum of 40 people.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy that provides appropriate cover for this type of activity. We will send you the details once you have registered. You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in India.
You will be required to obtain a tourist visa for entry into India, we will send you all the relevant information and forms to do this before the challenge.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.
Once you have registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the challenge. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.
During the trek, we'll have two qualified doctors accompanying the group from the get go and at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of experienced challenge guides and porters.
Porters will carry your luggage, food and water, so you will only need to carry a small day pack, containing essential accessories and equipment.
We’ll have an event leader, plus two qualified event doctors, who will be with you the whole time.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home