Why Coorg is a Great Holiday Destination
Coorg is a serene town situated amongst the Western Ghats in Southern Karnataka. The town is famous for its varied wildlife, exotic beauty, and world-class coffee. And lately, it has grown to be among the popular places to visit for tourists. The original name – Kodagu, was named Coorg by the British.
- Coffee Trail & Plantation Stays: The climate of Coorg is well suited for coffee plantations. Merging with the mountainous surroundings, the coffee plantations become a paradise for both nature lovers and couples alike. There are also beautiful homestays amidst nature that give a boost to eco-tourism. You can also have guided tours of the plantations and beyond.
- Unique Cuisine: Once you taste the local food, it is going to be teasing for your palette! The dishes have locally grown spices in abundance, which contribute to the rich flavours in Coorg’s cuisine. And being close to the Kerala border, there is a strong influence on the Keralan cuisine.
- Trekking & Camping: The undulating landscape, together with the breathtaking waterfalls and associated scenic beauty, also makes it a great eco-tourism destination. You get to experience nature amidst mother nature! Camping in Coorg is one of the reasons that many adventurists visit the place. Apart from the popular camping places, there are many offbeat sites too that are known only to the locals.
- Wildlife: The forests among the mountains are home to many species of flora and fauna – a wildlife preservationist's paradise. Such is the bio-diversity that there is one national park and three forest reserves in and around Kodagu. Photographers and enthusiasts can take the help of professional guides to organise guided tours.
5 Points to Remember for First-time Visitors
- Takes Time to Reach: Madikeri – the central point in Coorg, is not a stone's throw away from the nearest city. It takes at least three hours from the closest airport or railway station. You should enquire about the driveway from your hotel. While the route from Mysore is shorter, the one from Mangalore is more picturesque.
- GPS is Misleading: In most hill stations, you would need to take the help of locals to find your way through. Coorg is no different. However, sometimes it could be challenging to find someone to show you the way. You shouldn’t rely on GPS for Coorg. You would be astonished to know that the direction indicated by the GPS could be misleading. It is because it will show you the shortest route. And that could be directly down the hill or through a jungle! It would be better to take a local guide along with you.
- Treacherous Monsoon: Coorg, being in the tropics and a mountainous region, receives heavy rains during the monsoons – between June till September. It is usually an off-season for Coorg, and tourists fall to a trickle. It is also the time when the slimy leeches bother you the most.
- Might Be Crammed with Tourists: If you had a feeling that Coorg would be a quiet place, you are mistaken. It could be packed with tourists during the peak season. You will need to choose a unique location if you prefer peace and tranquillity.
- There are Beaches Nearby: If you had researched well, you must know that there are a few beaches near Mangalore. Being at the beach during a holiday to hills is a unique experience altogether. There are a handful of excellent beaches – some of them are Panambur and Tannirbhavi.
The Absolutely Best Camping Spots in Coorg
Gonikoppal is the commercial hub of Kodagu district due to its closeness to the Mysore district and neighbouring Kerala. Srimangala is a village and almost 60 kilometres from Coorg, and many campsites are located among thick forests. While you may set up a tent on your own, there are several camps set up by nature-loving companies. The mountainous backdrop provides a thrilling experience. You can also indulge in other adventurous activities like trekking, and stream walking.
Being in the midst of the forest, you will need to undertake a trek to reach the campsites at Srimangala. The sites are usually large and built from natural materials to preserve the natural surroundings. There is a river nearby where you can enjoy your day. You must explore the Iruppu falls and Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary that are nearby.
The location has a number of campsites. One of them is offered by Thrillophilia and is located at the foothills of the Brahmagiri hills. One of the main attractions of this campsite is that it faces the river nearby. The organisers will keep you busy through fun games, plantation walks, and bonfires.
The Votecad camp at Srimangala is located near the Iruppu falls. The camp offers you sumptuous Kodava cuisine along with a warm campfire. The organisers also provide an excellent Kodava valaga performance by local artists and leisure walks through the coffee plantations.
Nangala Village, Virajpet
The town of Virajpet is the second town of the district of Kodagu, in Karnataka. Amidst the lap of nature, the site offers some indoor and outdoor activities. The Nangala village near Virajpet is another excellent site for camping in Coorg. The surrounding coffee and areca nut plantations also make it an enjoyable experience. The site offers magnificent picturesque views of the farms, and nature lovers can have a mix of sports and other fun activities.
The campsite from Thrillophilia at Nangala Village requires you to do a trek to the site along with the organisers. You will also be taken to a guided tour of the surrounding plantations. The campsite is quite large, and the organisers even arrange for a short game of cricket, badminton or volleyball. There is a bonfire to spice up your night. You may also enjoy the rifle shooting and boating experience at the camp.
If you want a premium vacation stay, you can visit the Coorg Evergreen County at Bittangala. It gives you a superior experience amidst nature. The estate offers accommodation in a tribal cottage set-up. The organisers keep you occupied through a campfire with barbeque. You can also go trekking or a plantation walk with an escort.
Madikeri, a hill town, is the headquarters of Kodagu district. Surrounded by the Western Ghats mountain range, it has a large number of camping sites amidst nature. It is known for the Raja’s Seat and the Omkareshwar Temple nearby. Known to be heavenly to adventurists, there are many campsites nearby.
Thrillophilia offers a beautiful campsite at Madenadu. It is set among nature and is a hit among nature lovers. You can enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains on the way. The scenic beauty of the waterfalls and the coffee plantations is sure to take your breath away. The fresh surrounding air will invigorate you into various activities like trekking, jeep rides, and different indoor games. Campfires and coffee estate walks will also light up your spirits.
Another renowned camp organisers are the Civet Creek Camp with their campsite at Bettigeri, located 12 kilometres from Madikeri. You can also visit a number of sightseeing locations from the campsite; viz. the Abbey Falls, Nisargadhama, and the Tadiyandamol hills. You can keep yourself busy with various indoor games; viz. table tennis, darting, and carrom. You can also have a game of cricket or volleyball. The organisers also undertake a coffee plantation walk and a trek to the falls nearby. You can spruce up the night with a campfire and barbecue.
Foothill Camping at Kushalnagar
Like other camping sites, Kushalnagar is also nested in a biodiverse environment. The main attractions are the streams around the camp. It is also an excellent location for some adventurous water sports. Apart from the plantations surrounding the site, the waterfront will surely take your breath away. Camping under the stars is always a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of life.
The camping site of Thrillophilia is located among the coffee plantations of Kushalnagar. Apart from enjoying nature, you are also offered several fun activities. Cycling, trekking, and rope activities will keep you occupied during the camping period. Sightseeing of close-by attractions, Rifle shooting, quad biking are other activities that can be undertaken by adventure lovers.
Adventure Nest – an adventure tourism services provider from Bengaluru conducts camping trips to Kushalnagar. Their campsite is near the Harangi Dam offering an enjoyable experience. You can go kayaking in the reservoir or take a stroll on the banks. Those looking out for more adventure can climb the Kotta Betta - the third highest peak of Coorg.
Heravanadu Village Jungle Camp
Situated almost 8 kilometres from Madikeri is Heravanadu Village. The jungle camp is another of those located in the heart of nature. After going through swerving roads and the surrounding plantations, the best option is to stay in the lap of mother nature.
Exploring the wilderness and taking a walk is among the most romantic activities you can do here. You can also visit nearby tourist attractions like the Rajas Seat and Abbi Falls. Also, try to visit Talacauvery and Bhagamandala if time permits.
Tadiandamol Monsoon Camp
Tadiandamol at 5700 ft is the highest peak in Coorg and is in the south-eastern part of Coorg. It is located 8 km from the town of Kakkabe and approximately 35 km from Madikeri. Visiting the hills during the monsoons is an added attraction altogether. However, the rains are always heavy during the season, and you will need to be an avid lover of the storms to pay a visit to Coorg in this season. There are quite a few camping activities that also take place during this time. Camping in the Western Ghats during the rains is worth remembering for a lifetime.
Get Beyond Limits is an organiser of treks to the peak via the ridge walk. There is an initial trek through the rainforests of Tadiandamol, providing a panoramic view of the surroundings. Sipping wine with a bonfire in the background will enliven your spirits.
Elephant Camping Near Dubare Elephant Camp
Being in the midst of an elephant camp on the banks of the Cauvery is an experience in itself. The Dubare Elephant Camp is the crucial base for the elephants belonging to the government of Karnataka. The organisers will be able to arrange a quality time for interaction with the elephants. You can also have a glimpse of the elephant training activities that happen around here. Nisargadhama and Veerabhoomiare are the other places of attraction. Visit these places through prior bookings and take a local guide along with you.
The camping site is also rich in wildlife diversity. You will find a variety of birds and sightings of deer, wild dogs and gaur are common. If you are fortunate, you can also spot a tiger or a leopard. Beware of the snakes in these areas!
Some Must-Visit Places on the Camping Trail
The Abbey Falls, almost ten kilometres from Madikeri, cascading down the mountains is a treat to watch. Located amid the typical Western Ghats, the lush greens among the meandering mountains are a visual treat. There is an overbridge near the falls from where the photographers can take umpteen snaps. If you are on the bridge for quite some time, you may experience some of the water sprays onto you.
You may also visit the falls if you attend one of the camping expeditions nearby. Trekking through the pathway to the falls is a treat in itself. To go towards the falls, you will need to go through exotic plantations of pepper, coffee, cardamom and various other spices.
Talacauvery is known to be the source of the Kaveri river. Numerous pilgrims pay a visit on Cauvery changrandi to see the rise of the spring's fountainhead at a specific time of the day. Tourists can also climb the nearby hill for a panoramic of the surrounding scenic beauty.
Some of the jungle camping in Coorg are near this historic place. When you are not exhausted doing the various fun activities at the camps, you can pay a visit to the spot with your friends and co-campers. It will be an experience worth remembering!
Being the highest peak in the area, it is a favourite destination for trekkers. Reaching the top requires a lot of effort, but the view is breathtaking. No wonder it is quite favourite among adventures and an attractive place for camping at Coorg. And, lo behold! There are two great spots for camping. One is the base camp near the big rock, and the other is at the peak. It is best to set up the camp at the base camp as you will get water nearby, and several tents can also be put up. Camping at the peak is not recommended for beginners.
Barapole River is excellent for water rafting, and you will always find some of the rafting enthusiasts braving the rough waters. The Upper Barapole – called the Kithu-Kakkatu River has some of the most challenging rapids for rafting.
The experience of the choppy waters tossing your boat as the river rushes through is exciting. Rafters can also have a view of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of the camp organisers also have rafting at the Barapole river within their itinerary. Experts oversee these rafting sessions.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a major tourist attraction in Coorg. There are several camping sites near the temple. There are also conducted tours that are organised by the camp organisers along with a local guide. There is a water tank in the temple that houses several beautiful fishes.
Nagarhole National Park
The Nagarhole National Park was once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Mysore. Many rivers, including the Kabini River, traverses through the national park. It is also one of the most beautiful habitats for the Royal Bengal Tiger. There are also many trekking and camping opportunities at the national park. The organisers also organise guided tours with the help of local guides.
How to Reach Coorg...
Reaching Coorg is very straightforward! The nearest airports are Mangalore (135 kilometres) and Bangalore (250 kilometres), while the nearest railway station is Mysore - almost 120 kilometres away. Mysore is well-connected with the rest of the state. Alternatively, tourists can detour at Hassan (115 kilometres) also. If you want to take a road trip to Coorg, then you'll have to take a detour at the major cities of Mangalore or Mysore.