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Bangalore to Dandeli – A Day in the Dandeli Jungle Camp

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From Bangalore to Dandeli Jungle Camp

Our Dandeli trip started with a bus ride from Bangalore to Dharwad. Dharwad to Dandeli is about 55 km, and we booked a bus to Dharwad instead of Dandeli for we couldn’t find any direct ac and sleeper bus from Bangalore to Dandeli.

The bus journey was like any other night stay, except the desperation of the travelers for the occasional pee halts. If you ever use the sleeper buses in India, remember that you will sleep well but also remember to pee before you board the bus. And irrespective of how sleepy you are, if the bus stops in between and the conductor shouts that they are stopping for the toilet, drag yourself out of that questionable blanket and make use of the break. You never know when the bus will stop the next time.

Our bus journey was about 10-hour, and when I opened my eyes, we were approaching the Dandeli town. Now, we had to make way to the Dandeli Jungle Camp – one of the best places in Karnataka for nature lovers.

Walking around in Dandeli wildlife sanctuary, Karnataka.

Dandeli Jungle Camp, Karnataka – One of the Oldest Jungle Lodges in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

Dandeli Jungle Camp is situated about 2 km inside the Dandeli forest reserve. Situated in village Pradhani, about 8 km from Dandeli town, Dandeli Jungle Camp is one of the oldest hotel/lodge in Dandeli.

Local stories say that this camp was put up in 1994 by a foreign lady in collaboration with an Indian businessman to bring international tourists to Dandeli. The duo ran the property together for years while the lady brought travelers, and the businessman maintained the property.

Some time later, their work relationship broke off, and the property was later sold onto the current owners of the Dandeli jungle camp.

We had asked Dandeli Jungle Camp to book a taxi for us that would take us from the Dharwad bus stand to the camp.

All the costs are told per person in Dandeli. If you book an entire package including accommodation, food, safari, and other activities, you would be quoted a per person price by the locals.

So the taxi was also per head, and the charges were about 700 for one person.

The drive from Dharwad to the Dandeli forest where the camp was located took about an hour. But the time seemed much less for throughout the one-hour drive we made videos of the fog that had enveloped our car that was trying her best to cruise the hazy landscape fringed by deep forest on both sides.

Towards the end of the journey, we got off the gravel road. Then we were on a mud road that cut through an even denser jungle. The camp was about a kilometer off from the main road.

I instantly liked the rustic rooms set amidst the thick Dandeli jungle. Soon after breakfast in the camp, we walked around and found many cashew nut trees, jackfruits, pepper, kokum, bananas, areca nuts amongst other trees in the forest.

While you take a walk near the camp, it is hard to miss the families of langurs that stay nearby. The old and young langurs seemed to have started their day much before us for they appeared in high spirits. A group of spotted deer ran even further inside the forest as soon as they saw us walking close by.

The next day we went on another guided walk with a person from the jungle camp that lasted for about forty-five minutes. I wasn’t a big fan of that walk for most of the time we just walked behind the guide for he didn’t tell us anything about the place. Perhaps, he thought we weren’t interested.

So if you are at the Dandeli jungle camp maybe you want to tell the manager or the guide to keep the walk a bit more conversational. After all, the locals who stay there know many stories and understand nature better than us all.

on a Dandeli trekking expedition in the Dandeli jungle camp. on a trip from Bangalore to Dandeli

Things to do in and around Dandeli Jungle Camp

Your day in the Dandeli jungle camp would be an assortment of the activities you would have chosen.

Some activities to do in Dandeli are honeybee interaction, natural jacuzzi, hiking, visit the Kali backwaters, white river rafting, a trip to the Syntheri rocks, and many other water sports such as zorbing, kayaking et cetera.

I had chosen a mix of these things in Dandeli to do a little bit of everything that the area offers.

A Visit to the Syntheri rocks

After a vegetarian breakfast, we headed to Syntheri rocks, which were about thirty-five km from Dandeli.

Syntheri rocks are carved out by the river Kaneri from a monolith granite. Now the river flows freely against the 300 m high cliff of Syntheri.

Visiting Syntheri rocks must have been more adventurous and fun when people were allowed to go near the water. But as many people have lost their lives by jumping in the river or in some other careless way, the authorities don’t let you go close to the river.

I saw the Syntheri rock formation from far. To be honest, the best part of the visit to the Syntheri rocks was only the to and fro drive from the Dandeli jungle camp to the rocks. We sat at the back of the jeep and faced the free wind of the Dandeli forest.

Go here if you just want a good drive around. Else you can skip this place.

A view of the Syntheri rocks, Dandeli. It is one of the Dandel nearby places to see.
A view of the Syntheri rocks, Dandeli

As we returned from the Syntheri rocks, a simple but sumptuous lunch awaited us at the camp.

Monkeys welcoming us for lunch at the Dandeli camp.
A sumptuous vegetarian buffet at the jungle camp

A Visit to a Honey Bee Farm

Soon, we were heading to a Honey Bee farm for some honeybee interaction.

Now when I was told that we could do some honey bee interaction, I agreed to the activity even though I couldn’t completely understand what interaction implied in this scenario.

I didn’t know that one of the highlights of my Dandeli trip would be a visit to a honeybee park where a local family has turned their home into a homestay & their garden into a honeybee farm.

First, let us get the ethical question out of the picture. Is it good to have a honeybee farm? Yes, of course. For else the dying honeybees won’t even have these manmade homes that are there to let them grow and take out the extra honey.

But we should notice that the farm people only take out the extra honey that the bees don’t need for their consumption and growth.

Did you know that every third bite we take comes from an animal-pollinated plant and bees form 90 percent of the troupes that pollinate plants? To collect one drop of honey the bees travel for about two to three kilometer, and one kilogram of honey is collected by these hard workers by traveling as much as a human would in three rounds around the earth. The eggs that the queen bee lays put an end to the male bee for he dies as soon as they mate.

As the caretaker at the farm unfurled these statistics that are just a Google search away yet I didn’t know most of these things, I couldn’t help but wonder that nature is full of magic.

The caretaker was doing a fine job of informing us about what is important for the environment, and I hope I am able to retell those stories while keeping the facts intact.

honeybee farm dandeli wildlife sanctuary
No Bee, No We

The caretaker then approached the wooden card box that served as home to the bees silently, and then she knocked lightly at the box.

This would let the honey bees know that someone is around, and they won’t startle. She whispered.

After about a minute, she opened the box. Now I was looking at some fifteen-twenty thousand bees that were busy working and making honey in their home.

Many wooden slabs are put in the box. These slabs create different sections for the bees. Honeybees had built a hive on each section.

The lady took out one of those slabs slowly, and then explained a lot more about the bee lifecycle.

When we held the hive against sunlight, it shone like gold. All this while the tiny bees didn’t stop to rest or look at us intruders.

honey bee farming photo

Then the lady said that we could touch the bees lightly.

I am not sure about you, but I was really admiring those bees at that moment. They do so much work and pollinate all the plants and yet we just send them away.

I caressed the bees gently, sort of thanking them for their work. She asked me to even kiss the bees, and when I did, the bees didn’t buzz.

That honey bee farm had about .2 to .3 million bees.

Sometimes even bears visit the farm at night, the caretaker said.

I wasn’t surprised as we all know that bears can go to any distance to find themselves some sugar.

Don’t you think the bees are lovely? And they don’t bite for fun. They would only bite you if you come too close to them unannounced or bother them.

Instead of killing the bees, let us install tiny homes in our house for them as most of them are facing extinction.

If you are staying at the Jungle camp Dandeli, you can choose this activity as part of your Dandeli travel package. But if you are staying somewhere else, you can ask your homestay or hotel to arrange the visit for you.

The honeybee farm is located inside a private homestay, and you can also navigate to the farm yourself.

honey bee farm dandeli forest reserve karnataka
Honeybee Farm, Dandeli Forest Reserve, Karnataka

Kali River Backwaters

Form the honeybee farm, we went to the Dandeli backwaters.

Backwaters are formed when a part of the river becomes stagnant for the current can’t reach it. Generally, backwaters are created due to excessive rain that finds a path to merge with the river but is never able to pull the current of the river.

Dandeli backwaters have been formed due to the Kali river, the one that gives life to Dandeli. I have talked about the Kali river in detail in my guide on the Kali adventure camp and the activities to do in Dandeli wildlife sanctuary. But to give you an idea, Kali river flows through Dandeli before meeting the Arabian sea. It is this river that has given life to the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary and the local life nearby.

A promenade next to the backwater was a perfect place to end our day. We didn’t have any more activities to do and decided that we would spend our evening at the promenade watching the sunset.

You can easily spend a few hours at the backwaters. Just take a walk on the path, relax and watch the peaceful water, and you can even do yoga if you like.

I ended my day with some yoga in the receding sun rays, and it seemed like the perfect thing to do.

children playing+near+backwaters+Dandeli+jungle sightseeing in dandeli
Children playing near the Kali backwaters in Dandeli.
sitting at the kali river backwaters in dandeli
It was a perfect setting for a portrait mode
Homes near dandeli backwater kali river
People have constructed many homes near the Dandeli backwaters and depend on it for their daily activities.

Dandeli Jungle camp often arranges bonfire with some tea and snacks in the evening. The dinner would be a sumptuous affair with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

As a pescatarian, I was happy there for I had fish for both dinner and lunch.

Campfire at night

A day in the Dandeli Jungle camp flew by quickly. You can take your day at your pace there. If you don’t want to do any activities, you can just book a room at the camp. Visit, the only official and approved resort booking agency in Dandeli, to book your stay and/or the activities in the camp.

Please Note: Another amazing thing to do in Dandeli is going on a jungle safari. The jungle safari in the Dandeli tiger reserve would be a bit far from the jungle camp, but please enquire at your hotel as all Dandeli accommodations arrange jungle safari through Kali adventure camp and other authorized tour companies.

How to reach Dandeli? What is the best way to go from Bangalore to Dandeli?

I wanted to go on a Bangalore to Dandeli road trip. But as I realized that the distance between Bangalore and Dandeli is about 500 km, I backed out. 

For this time I only had about three days to spend in Dandeli, and we couldn’t use two of those in driving to and fro between Bangalore-Dandeli. 

We took a bus from Bangalore to Dharwad. Though buses go directly from Bangalore to Dandeli, we couldn’t find any nice sleeper bus on the route. So instead, we traveled to Dharwad. 

The many options to reach Dandeli:

Bangalore to Dandeli bus

You can either take a direct bus from Bangalore to Dandeli. Or you can first travel to Dharwad or Hubli, and then go to Dandeli from there.

Hubli to Dandeli distance is about 75 km, and you would need roughly two hours to arrive at the Dandeli town. 

Dharwad to Dandeli distance is about 55 km. Amongst the two cities of Hubli and Dharwad, I chose Dharwad for it was closer to Dandeli.

Book a sleeper, AC bus from Bangalore to Dharwad or Bangalore to Hubli on RedBus. If you book a direct bus from Bangalore to Dandeli, you wouldn’t get any AC, sleeper bus. 

A note to travelers who aren’t used to long-distance buses in India — AC, sleeper, and multi-axle coaches are the best buses to travel in India. You don’t need ac buses for it is hot, at least not always, but you need the ac coach for they are more comfortable and clean. If you travel on a regular bus, you won’t be able to sleep. Whenever I have taken a non-ac coach, I have always struggled throughout the night with the dust and unbearable honking. 

As the windows are always closed in ac buses, you can just pull up the curtain and sleep. Ac buses provide light blankets. I also always carry a shawl and my memory-foam neck pillow to be comfortable. 

 Though multi-axle buses cost more, they have better shock-absorbers. So even though your bus might be driving on a bumpy road, you wouldn’t feel the jumps too much. 

As a long-term traveler, I have to think of these little things to take care of my health and body irrespective of how much I am traveling. Else I wouldn’t be able to sustain this travel-and-live lifestyle. 

If you would really love to do the Bangalore to Dandeli distance by car, then keep two extra days for the journey. 

Though you can take local buses to travel from the towns of Hubli or Dharwad to Dandeli, those are local buses with frequency sometimes as low as one bus per hour. Take a taxi if you would like to reach Dandeli as early as you can. 

Bangalore to Dandeli train

Many trains go up to Hubli and Dharwad. Check the tickets on IRCTC — the official Indian railway booking website. To just check the availabilities and other train routes, I use the Indian Railway Government Website on which you cannot book tickets but see the rail timings. 

You can pay via a credit or debit card on the IRCTC website. But I am not sure if the transactions would be smooth if you have a foreign card. Try and please let me know in the comments?

Remember that online tickets booked in waiting get canceled automatically. Also, you would need to show an identification card to the ticket collector when he comes to check your ticket. A pan card, passport, Aadhar card, any government authorized identification works. A passport would suffice for foreigners.

Please note: Dandeli railway station doesn’t exist, yet. You can only go to nearby places such as Hubli or Dharwad. 

Bangalore to Dandeli flight

You can fly from a few airports in India to either the Hubli airport, which is about 80 km away from Dandeli, or to Sambra or Belagavi airport, which is about 100 km from Dandeli. 

The nearest airport to Dandeli is the Hubli airport.

I didn’t fly to Dandeli as I could easily take a bus to Dandeli from Bangalore. Also, I love land journeys. 

But if you are coming from Delhi or some far-off place, flying to these cities could be a good option. Then hire a taxi or an inter-city Uber to reach Dandeli.

Kali river backwaters, Dandeli

How to reach Dandeli Jungle Camp, Dandeli?

I had booked a taxi to go from Dharwar to Dandeli Jungle camp, and it cost me about 700 rupees one-way per person. You can request the camp to book a taxi for you.

Or you can travel to Dandeli from the Hubli or Dharwar bus stand/railway station by a local bus. Though the local buses are frequent, expect a longer wait and travel time if you choose to take a bus between the connecting towns and Dandeli.

Langurs roaming freely in the Dandeli Jungle Camp

I spent my second day in Dandeli in the Kali Adventure camp. In my travel guide to the camp, I have talked about the things to do and places to see in Dandeli at length. Read the article here to plan your Dandeli trip.

That’s all, folks.

Do you have any more questions on how to go from Bangalore to Dandeli or about staying in the Dandeli forest? Please let me know in the comments.

Please note: My trip to Dandeli Jungle Camp was arranged by The ideas and opinions in this article are mine, as you can tell.


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