Introducing Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Ask any Keralan what the prettiest part of their state is and most will whisper: Wayanad. Encompassing part of a remote forest reserve that spills into Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Wayanad’s landscape combines epic mountain scenery, rice paddies of ludicrous green, skinny betel nut trees, bamboo, red earth, spiky ginger fields, and rubber, cardamom and coffee plantations. Foreign travellers are making it here in increasing numbers, partly because it provides easy access between Mysore or Bangalore and Kerala, but it’s still fantastically unspoilt and satisfyingly remote. Importantly, it's also one of the few places you’re almost guaranteed to spot wild elephants.
The 345 sq km sanctuary has two separate pockets – Muthanga in the east bordering Tamil Nadu, and Tholpetty in the north bordering Karnataka. Three main towns in Wayanad district make good bases and transport hubs for exploring the sanctuary – Kalpetta in the south, Sultanbatheri (Sultan Battery) in the east and Mananthavadi in the northwest – though the best of the accommodation is scattered throughout the region.
Most hotels and homestays can arrange guided jeep tours to various parts of Wayanad.