No hardcore explorer wants to be confined in a hotel room when the great outdoors awaits. Camping is an unfiltered experience that brings you close to nature. Wake up in a camp and the first thing your feet touch in the morning is the earth and the first thing your eyes see is the scenic landscape. If that isn’t soul-soothing bliss, we don’t know what is!
Adventure seekers take pride in camping by the foothills of the Himalayas, by the shores of India’s long coastline, and in the offbeat hills of northeastern India. Let’s trace down south on India’s map and open the endless possibilities of camping in South India. The foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains, valleys of Kodaikanal, and plantations of Kerala are perfect for camping. But don’t restrict yourself, South India is vast and so are the camping opportunities! Here are the best camping sites in South India.
Ananthagiri Hills is a densely forested region in Telangana. These hills are the birthplace of the Musi River which flows through Hyderabad and later meets the Krishna River. The presence of a river flowing through the hills has blessed the region with pristine waterfalls, some of which are unexplored.
This is the best camping destination near Hyderabad and is well-loved by nature enthusiasts. The sight of the Musi River making its way down the hills, thick green forests, and the biodiversity of the region make Ananthagiri Hills an ideal camping location. You’ll find many guided treks, camping packages, and adventure sports in Ananthagiri Hills. If you want to camp all by yourself, go ahead because this way you can explore offbeat hidden spots in this vast forested region.
Things To Do
If you’re camping by Kotipally Reservoir near Ananthagiri Hills, go boating or kayaking early in the morning. The view of the hills from this reservoir is so breathtaking that you’ll stop your boat in the middle to just gawk at the densely covered hills.
Don’t forget to trek up to the Godamguda Viewpoint, from here you can see the forest and sky converge to form a perfect panoramic view. The trek isn’t difficult and the climb is pleasant in the morning or late afternoon, make it a point to return before dark though!
As the Ananthagiri Hills stretch eastward, it converges into the Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh. The natural, cultural, and scenic abundance of Araku Valley will make it your favorite camping destination in Andhra Pradesh. The valley is widespread and treats you to beautiful waterfalls, mysterious caves, and the view of Ananthagiri Hills over a distance.
Spend a night in a camp listening to the forest around you breathe and open your tent’s zip the next morning to a view of the Eastern Ghats mountain range. The valley is more scenic in the monsoon, with the different flowers blooming and the call of birds. Park yourself in a campsite near the village if you want to try the local food. You’ll love the Bongulo Chicken, it’s cooked inside bamboo and is the famous local dish of the Araku Valley.
Things To Do
Trek to Dumbriguda Falls, the experience of hiking through dense forests that open up to the falls is quite unique. If you’re someone who enjoys adventure and history, trek to the Borra Caves. Reach these caves during the daytime so you can see its karstic limestone structures.
Trek a bit more and you’ll see the Katiki Waterfalls falling from a height of 50 ft, this splendid view will be the highlight of your camping trip. There are many coffee plantations in this region, so don’t miss out on drinking the coffee of Araku Valley!
Also Read: 5 Places You Must Visit In Araku Valley
Sakleshpur is a hill station and a biodiversity hotspot in Karnataka. Its slopes are rich with tea, coffee, and spice plantations, and its landscape is blessed with year-round greenery. You can hike to the Bisle Reserve Forest or trek to the Jenukallu Gudda peak. The forest is home to a variety of flora and fauna, many elephants, deers, cobras, and birds roam the dense forest of Sakleshpur. If you’re lucky, you can spot the reddish-orange pagoda flower growing in the region.
The abundance of trails and trek routes make Sakleshpur the best place for camping in South India. Sakleshpur is nestled between Coorg and Chikmagalur, so you can imagine how pleasant your stay will be! Step outside your camp at night and you’ll see the sky dotted with stars on a clear post-monsoon night. The proximity of Sakleshpur to cities like Bengaluru and Mangalore makes it an unbeatable weekend camping destination.
Things To Do
Camp on the bank of Hemavathi River and fall asleep to the sound of water, then wake up to explore Sakleshpur’s various trek routes. Trek to the Bisle View Point and you’ll see the entire rainforest spread out like a living breathing creature. If you have time on your hands, hike to the Manjarabad Fort which is built in the form of a star and is an architectural marvel.
If you’ve already visited Munnar for its tea plantations and gorgeous views, consider going back and camping in Munnar’s rolling hills. This hill station of Munnar is popular for its mesmerizing waterfalls, widespread tea estates, and jungle resorts.
You’ll find all kinds of camping packages in Munnar, right from basic all-inclusive camping to glamping, its glamorous cousin. But whatever your choice, the view outside will be of the same green Munnar hills. We’re sure the view out of your tent is enough to make you fall in love with the ‘Kashmir of South India.'
You can camp between the tea plantations and explore the narrow puzzle-like trails. Find a spot for yourself and see the tea workers go about their daily activities. If you want an aerial view, camp on a hilltop from where you can see the entire Idukki district. There are also jungle camps if you want to explore Munnar’s raw side. You can spot the grizzled giant squirrel, the Nilgiri langur, and flowers like the Neelakurinji (which bloom once in 12 years!).
Things To Do
Challenge yourself for a trek to the Anamudi, which is at an elevation of 8,842 ft. This is the highest peak outside of the Himalayan mountain range in India. From this peak, you can see the entire Munnar town and all the ranges of Kerala over a distance.
Set on a trek to Meesapulimala in the neighboring Tamil Nadu and you’ll see tribal settlements, offbeat lakes, and tea plantations. If you feel like taking a pitstop on the way, explore the tribal culture and food, scaling the 8,724 ft Meesapulimala peak can wait! If you’re looking for leisure, camp by the Anayirangal Dam and see the mist settle on the calm waters in the morning.
Wayanad, with its dense woods, seamless mountains, and diverse wildlife, is a paradise for campers. Even a week would seem less to explore Wayanad’s hills, paddy fields, waterfalls, and rivers. Add to it adventure sports and delicious food and you have among the best places for camping in South India. The entire Wayanad area of 2,132 sq km has many campsites and resorts offering you the best views of the Western Ghats. Possibly the Western Ghats’ beauty is best seen by staying atop a treehouse in Wayanad.
If you want to explore Wayanad at its rawest, go camping in Valad. This village is famous since the Kabini River flows through it. Bonfire mixed with the tunes of a guitar against the sound of the Kabini will give you a camping experience like no other. The area around the Banasura Dam is also a lovely spot for camping in Wayanad.
Since Wayanad has a protected river delta, you can expect to spot many native and migratory birds passing by your campsite. You can spend a lazy weekend cooped up in a warm tent reading a book, occasionally looking up to see the Banasura Hills. Sounds fun, right?
Things To Do
Camp in Kuruvadweep or Kuruva Island if you want to indulge in bird watching. There are campsites on the banks of River Kalanidhi, you can sit on the river’s shore or swim in the river waters, whatever floats your boat (or no boat). You can even indulge in several adventure sports in Wayanad.
Wayanad lets you go mountain biking, river crossing, caving, and trekking, just keep your adrenaline pumped! If you simply want to sit by a river and try your hand at fishing, go ahead, no one will judge you! Make full use of camping in this paradise!
Kodaikanal is a hill town in Tamil Nadu and is popular for its forests, cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls. A terrain so diverse, it serves you several opportunities for trekking, hiking, and biking. The part of Kodaikanal around the man-made Kodaikanal Lake is the most frequented by tourists; travelers go walking and cycling around this star-shaped lake. As you travel further up into the dense hills of Kodaikanal, the real adventure begins.
Camping at the base of the mighty Kodaikanal mountains feels like an otherworldly experience. You can wake up to views of mist enveloping the peaks and the sound of waterfalls nearby. Go during the summer and you’ll have relief from the heat, after all, Kodaikanal is at an elevation of 6,561 ft above sea level!
There are several campsites near Berijam Lake; minibuses take you to the lake site where you can spend your time bird watching. Take our word and step out of your tent, the trekking trails, crystal clear falls, and valleys of Kodaikanal await you.
Things To Do
Hike to the Dolphin’s Nose on a chilly winter day and you’ll see the clouds kissing the cliffs of Kodaikanal. This point is at an elevation of 6,600 ft and treats you to an uninterrupted view of the Kodai Hills. Trek to the Pillar Rocks viewpoint and you’ll see nature’s brilliant artistry at work.
If you’ve had your fill with mountain tops and clouds, head over to the Guna Caves. These caves are formed by the Pillar Rocks and are pretty spooky after dark, so don’t go exploring the caves alone! Camp in the pine forests of Kodaikanal if you want to be one with nature. Who knows you’ll end up spotting a Nilgai or a deer amidst the tall pines?
Now let us tell you about an amazeballs camping experience you’re missing out on. Pondicherry offers you both beachside or forest camping sites. If you were to ask us, we’d suggest you go beach camping in Pondicherry.
Many tourists frequent the beaches of Pondicherry, you can opt to spend a peaceful night in your tent or join the active nightlife near the beaches. Check out the backwaters of Pondicherry if you want to spend a night camping in a treehouse. The view of the moonlit water at night will stay with you forever.
You can go camping on Paradise Beach or Karaikal Beach. How amazing to step out of your tent and directly onto the golden sand! There are also some hiking trails that lead you to virgin beaches or to small hills. Trek to a hilltop and you can see an aerial view of the beaches.
Once you’re done camping by the shores, check out the streets and tourist spots of Pondicherry. There are so many beautiful sightseeing places in Pondicherry that you won’t feel like leaving. And if you’re a fan of nightlife, you sure aren’t leaving!
Things To Do
If you’re camping on a beach, go ahead and explore watersports like jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking. You can even go boating in the backwaters of Pondicherry. Most camp organizers will arrange a bike for you, hop on one, and go explore the French colonies of Pondicherry. While you’re here, don’t forget to try the popular food of Pondicherry like Khowsuey, Masala Puri, and Crab Masala. Apart from that, there’s no doubt that your campsite will arrange the best barbecue for you!
After this detailed overview of the best camping sites in South India, we’re sure at least one of them will make it to your upcoming travel plans. Most of these camping spots are a road trip away for South Indians. But if you’re from North India, the scenery and food will keep you coming back to the South. When are you setting your camp?
Which Places Are Best For Camping In India?
Here’s a list of the best places to go camping in India:
Is Night Camping Safe?
Yes, camping at night is safe if you take all the necessary precautions. Carry a torch, be aware of local wildlife, and take someone with you while venturing outside the campsite in the dark. If you sense any kind of threat, alert your camp master. If everything is under check, night camping with friends is actually fun, it’s like an outdoor sleepover!
Is Camping Safe For A Solo Traveler?
Yes and no. Go camping as a solo traveler only if you’re an experienced camper and have good knowledge of the area you camp in. There is a constant threat of wildlife or a risk of getting lost in dense forests. It’s always better to go camping with a group. But if you’re a seasoned traveler, go ahead and camp alone, there’s nothing stopping you!
Do You Have To Make Your Own Food While Camping?
Only if you want to! Most campsites arrange food for their guests, you can get a low-key meal service or proper buffet service, depending on the camping package you choose. If you're going by yourself without any trip organizers, you can carry your food supplies or ask a local to arrange food for you.
What To Carry On A Backpacking Trip?
Carry an extra set of clothes and socks, torch, power bank, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, dry snacks, and lots of water on a backpacking trip.
What Is Glamping?
Glamping is a mix of ‘glamourous’ and ‘camping’. It’s similar to camping but has resort-style amenities like bed, electricity, indoor plumbing, room service, and buffet meal service. To put it in simple words, it’s just camping but with added comfort and luxury.
What Is The Language Of Kerala?
Malayalam is the primary language spoken by the locals in Kerala.
What Languages Do They Speak In Karnataka?
Many residents in Karnataka regard Kannada as their mother tongue and that's the main language spoken for everyday use. Other languages known are English, and Hindi.