Coorg has earned itself the rightful title of ‘adventure capital of Karnataka’. Located on the eastern edge of the Western Ghats, it has a diverse topography, with mountains, coffee plantations, thick forests, paddy fields and rivers. These form a suitable backdrop to a number of activities like rafting, kayaking, canoeing, trekking, camping and microlight flying. Base yourself at any one of the regional hubs listed below for your choice of activity:
Kutta: Serves well as base camp if you want to climb the Brahmagiri Peak, tumble down the white waters of the Upper Barapole River in a raft, or experience flying in a microlight. It is also closest to Bengaluru, if you are taking the Nagarhole route.
Kakkabe: Tadiandamol, the highest peak in Coorg, is just next door here. You can also indulge in kayaking or canoeing on the Kakkabe River, or book yourself for half-day adventure activities like quad biking and the jungle gym with Now or Neverland.
Kushalnagar: Pitch tents by the Harangi Dam and go kayaking in the still waters of the reservoir. You can also climb the Kotta Betta (the third-highest peak in Coorg).
Madikeri: Most central to all the regions; stay here for a total experience of Coorg. Explore sightseeing options around town, or indulge in your chosen adventure activity.
1. Rafting (off Kutta)
Experience the monsoon by getting soaked in the gushing waters of the Upper Barapole (Kithu-Kakkatu River), and manoeuvre the rapids (1–4 class) with Coorg Whitewater Rafting. Their base camp is located in the Ponya Devarakad Estate. The camp is well organised, with hot showers, a bonfire, and a quiet stretch where guests are oriented and trained before setting out. Arrive here in T-shirt, shorts and floaters to get briefed and to sign the indemnity bond, before you start. Enjoy the 2.8km stretch, where you bounce across rapids of varying difficulty; for nervous first-timers, be assured that you are guided by experts, and a safety kayak is always close by for rescue.
2. MicroLight Flying (off Kutta/Gonikoppa)
Experience a ‘wind in your face’ adventure with Muthanna of Coorg Sky Adventures, in a two-seater open plane which takes you to a height of 3500 feet. This activity is extremely sensitive to the weather and time of day. Before experiencing the adrenaline rush of flying in a microlight, you have to sign an indemnity form – and arrive at 7.30am or 3.30pm sharp, in sturdy footwear, to cross the paddy-field runway; these are the only two time slots available owing to the wind conditions. The most suitable weather for flying is between November and May. Use your discretion if you are a heart patient or have an altitude-related disorder.
3. Brahmagiri Trek (off Kutta)
The forested Brahmagiri range is a challenging trek that varies from moderate to difficult and is suited for the physically fit. The trek involves an overnight stay and offers an excellent opportunity to spot wild animals and delight in Coorg’s impressive biodiversity.
4. Kayaking & Canoeing (off Kakkabe)
Enjoy the more tranquil side of the Kaveri River with Jungle Mount Adventures at their seven-acre campsite, flanked by paddy fields. Experience, with the aid of instructors, a ride on a kayak (3-man) or a canoe (2-man) on this 20ft-deep stretch of the river at the edge of the camp. The facility offers stay in basic camp rooms, food, gear and a bonfire at the end of the day. Ideal for a day trip. Only guests with bookings allowed.
5. Tadiandamol Trek (off Kakkabe)
The highest peak in Coorg offers a short but demanding trek of 5km. It can be covered in a day, and is suitable for trekkers from of intermediate level, although physically fit beginners may take a shot at it too.
6. Quad Biking & More (off Kakkabe)
Indo-British company Now or Neverland presents a host of adventure activities, including quad biking, jungle gym, paintball and mountain biking. The most exciting of these is to take a 250cc quad bike off road through forests and slushy tracks on a 1km circuit. Supervised by instructors and with top-notch safety equipment, this makes for a safe family outing. Soar above the forest canopy on ropes, zip lines and strong wires for a tree-top aerial assault on an obstacle course speckled with walkways, bridges and tunnels.
Want more details? Check out our Short Escapes from Bengaluru.