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Tholpetty reserve, about 20 kms from Mananthavady, is one of the best places in Kerala for sighting wild elephants. Other than elephant herds, there is good chance to spot bison, deer, monkey, giant squirrel and a range of other animals.
Tigers and leopards are present here. However, they are rarely seen in the peripheral zones where tourists are permitted. Travel to the sanctuary itself is an experience.
One of the popular ways to explore the woods is the jeep safari, conducted by the forest officials. Jeeps are provided by the forest department and they come with a driver and a guide. These two hour rides through jungle tracks are great to spot wildlife including elephants. No wonder, these rides are popular.
The catch though is the rides get booked out fast, so book early if you want to get into one. Visitor times are limited to 7 – 9 A.M and 3 -5 P.M.
Guided trekkking are also conducted daily. Five hour treks start at 8 A.M and finish around 1P.M.
Sanctuary entrance itself is in the middle of the forest. Accommodation options around are very limited.
Pachyderm palace is a small outfit offering stay near the entrance of the sanctuary. The main building is a Kerala Styled house. They also have a tree house at the rear for those who want a close to the woods experience.