Spotting a tiger at the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala takes a lot of time and a huge heap of luck. Fortunately, the unique bamboo rafting trek, which lasts nine hours, provides you with the former in plenty! Long walks through the dense green jungle (with breaks built in for coffee and a breather) are concluded with a three-hour excursion on the placid man-made Periyar Lake. The rafts are basic – literally bamboo sticks lashed together with rudimentary seating – but sturdy, as they glide over the water. You might not see much beyond the giant squirrel, Nilgiri langur, bison and elephants (if you’re lucky), but the gentle swaying of the raft and the rejuvenating greenery are reward enough, even if you miss seeing a tiger that day.
Make It Happen
The trek is from 8am to 5pm, and can accomodate a maximum of 10 people/day, so book in advance (00-91-4869-224571; www.periyartigerreserve.org, info@periyartigerreserve. org; Rs. 2,000/person + Rs. 50 park entry, with all snacks and meals). The closest city, Kochi (140km) is five hours away, so stay overnight at the nearby Rangerwood Nature Castle (00-91-4869-222004; www.rangerwoodperiyar.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rs. 8,000/couple for a one-night, two-day package with stay, meals and activities).