We depart from Cochin after breakfast and drive through a scenic ghat road to Munnar. We reach Munnar in the afternoon on Day 1 and spend the next two days exploring the high altitude habitats around Munnar for two noteworthy endemic mammals of the Western Ghats - the Nilgiri Tahr and and the rarely seen small carnivore, the Nilgiri Marten.
Munnar is a small hill station town (1500m) nestled among tea plantations and wet montane forests (sholas) in of the Western Ghats of Kerala. Significantly, a short drive from Munnar will take us to Rajamalai (2000m), within the scenic, high altitude Eravikulam National Park, where the Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic mountain goat, are regularly sighted. Rajamalai is an excellent place to observe and photograph these normally shy animals. We will also visit a beautiful montane elfin forest within the Pampadam Shola National Park (1900m) on Day 2. Here we will make a special effort to find the extremely rare Nilgiri Marten - an endemic Mustelid, typically restricted to higher moist forests of the Western Ghats. While the sightings of the elusive marten is far from assured, we can expect see Malabar Giant Squirrel, Gaur and Sambar, in this scenic location.
Munnar and surroundings are also excellent for high altitude bird specialities of south India and the bird list includes several endemics - Black and Orange Flycatcher, White-bellied Shortwing, Broad-tailed Grassbird, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Grey-breasted Laughing Thrush - and other specialities among winter migrants (warblers, thrushes), and rarities such as Yellowthroated Bulbul and Painted Bushquail. The unique montane forests and grasslands in the upper reaches around Munnar are floristically interesting.