Eco tourism means enjoying nature and surroundings by being one with them, not disturbing the delicate balance and harmony of the existing environment, people or wildlife. When this approach is adopted, it becomes beneficial in more than one way, whether it is getting support in conservation efforts, providing an economically viable opportunity to local communities to pitch in, or making the traveller more educated and enthusiastic in his pursuit.
Here is a look at some of the eco-tourism destinations in Kerala.
Thenmala, which means honey hill, is India’s first bio planned eco-tourism destination. It is located in Kollam district of Kerala. It allows equal opportunity for leisure, fun or adventure and has trained people to assist or you can decide to find your way around with the help of well placed signboards or information pointers. The Thenmala project is divided into three different zones, which are cultural, leisure and adventure. The cultural zone offers an opportunity to taste authentic Kerala cuisine, souvenir shopping, a look at traditional music and dance art forms etc. Sway bridge, boardwalk, tree top huts and sculpture garden constitute the leisure zone while adventure zone leads you into forest trails, trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing and river crossing. Shenduruney wildlife reserve share space with the project area where boat rides, riverside trekking takes you closer to nature. A rehabilitation centre for stray deer is also located nearby . Battery powered buggies are also available to take you ar.ound the forest.
Gavi is for nature lovers. With untouched natural beauty and vibrant wildlife, Gavi beckons you for camping, trekking, jeep safari, boat ride, bird watching and visits to coffee and cardamom plantations. Elephants dominate the wildlife population, while some endangered species like Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-tailed macaque are also spotted here. Govt. provided camping site is there right inside the jungle so you can listen to the sounds around when night falls.
Munnar resonates with Mountains, meadows, winding roads and tea gardens. It presents the perfect ecotourism opportunity for those who love adventure and excitement while exploring nature. Trekking and camping tours are arranged with local guides which takes you up to ‘Meesapulimala’ the second highest peak in the Western Ghats at 2663 mt above sea level.
Arippa is a lesser-known destination in the Western Ghats at 52 Kms distance from Trivandrum. What makes this high altitude forest area unique is the presence of a wide variety of birds and wildlife. It is a virtually unspoiled destination developed as a community connected ecotourism project by Govt. of Kerala. Trekking, camping, river bath, birdwatching are among the activities available. Stay can be in tents or Govt. guesthouse.
Nelliyampathy again is a high range area in Western Ghats adjacent to Nenmara village in Palakkad. The route to Nelliyampathy pass through as many as ten hairpin curves and multiple vantage points offering stunning panoramic views of Palakkad and neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Another picturesque location Pothundi Dam is adjacent. Seetharkundu, Mampara are ideal destinations for trekking or sightseeing trips. High areas have plenty of coffee, tea cardamom plantations offering a close look at bio farming. Orange is also cultivated here. Surrounding hills are rich in wildlife as well as birds population.