Microland Expedition - Macro Photography Tour
Coorg, Karnataka Coorg, Karnataka Coorg, Karnataka Coorg, Karnataka Coorg, Karnataka Coorg, Karnataka

Coorg, Karnataka
3 to 6 August 2017
Bookings Closed: Please note that bookings for this Tour have been closed. Please get in touch with us if you have questions.


  • An authentic three-night, four-day monsoon expedition to a place teeming with wildlife
  • A Photography Tour replete with exploration and adventure and organized to perfection
  • Quite possibly excellent images of several amphibian, reptilian, insect and botanical species
  • Extensive learning on photography in general and macro photography in particular
  • A chance to experience a verdant forest at night and animal adaptations to human activity
  • A wealth of natural history learning from ace Toehold Skipper Sachin Rai

Deep in the heart of the Western Ghats is a precinct where the nightlife by far betters the jamborees of urban discotheques. It thrives not on the music of sound but that of silence, and it reveals itself not in flamboyant strobes of light but when a judicious seeker makes gentle use of it.

Join the carnival to celebrate the diversity of life and go on a journey of endless discovery and amazement. Enter 'Microland'.

How is it?

Known rightly as a 'biodiversity hotspot' the Western Ghats are a life-rich haven home to an incredibly diverse array of life-forms.

Situated in the midst of this paradise and often called the 'Scotland of India', Coorg or Kodagu (which means 'dense forest on steep hills'), situated at a height of 4000 feet ASL in southern Karnataka, bustles with lesser fauna, birds and big mammals.

Mist-laden trek routes, fast-flowing streams, freezing waterfalls and rain-soaked coffee plantations interspersed with dense patches of evergreen forest culminate to create an ethereal setting for the cradle of nature.

The location of Coorg, combined with the presence of paddy fields, orange groves, coffee estates and thick forest, has ensured that the invaluable variety of botanical life forms continues to flourish as well. Covering more than 8.8% of the floral diversity of India and 37% of that of Karnataka, it supports a stunning 1332 species.

Leopard, barking deer, mouse deer, flying fox, civets, squirrels and otters account for the impressive mammalian diversity of this part of the Western Ghats. Highlights of the fascinating bird life, comprising 350 species, include Malabar trogon, Asian fairy bluebird, Nilgiri flycatcher, Nilgiri laughingthrush, great black woodpecker, Malabar whistling thrush, white-bellied treepie, hill myna, vernal hanging parrot and white-rumped munia among others.

And in the monsoon, the rejuvenating rain injects new life into its inhabitants by day and opens up a whole new world at night.

What you will see and photograph:

Trek deep into the dark woods, walk through streams and get into the thick of things to understand the 'microeconomics' of nature. Observe the social life of frogs, the nocturnal activities of endemic snakes, the fleeting lives of butterflies and the obscure world of insects. On this memorable journey of adventure, entertainment and a wealth of education on the adaptations, behaviour and a myriad other aspects of the many creatures we are fortunate to share the planet with, you can expect the unexpected.

On the 'ground floor', lizards, spiders, caecilians, scorpions, beetles, centipedes, millipedes and an array of insect life will keep you riveted at every step.

Frogs are a primary target of the Tour. And with Sachin Rai at the helm, who has probably the most comprehensive online resource of Indian frog images on his website,, the prospects are glorious.

Probable bush frogs include Raorchestes luteolus, R. glandulosus, R. akroparallagi and the tiny R. tuberohumerus besides the wrinkled frog, Nyctibatrachus sp., which is endemic to the Western Ghats, the torrent frog; Micrixalus sp. and the key amongst all species, the extremely rare and coveted torrent toad, Ghatophryne ornata.

Encountered snakes may include the beautiful green vine snake, the redoubtable Malabar pit viper and the cool cat snakes, wolf snakes and shield tails.

The forests patches, coffee plantations, grasslands on hill slopes and streams afford ideal opportunities to photograph various subjects including wild flowers, many species of mushroom and fungi, snails, crabs and frogs.

This colourful pre-eminence of lesser-known wildlife constitutes the unique versatile attraction of this marvellous land which will let you take a plunge into a bottomless ocean of macro photography.

All along the way, the Tour Skippers will ensure that the intricate and often abstruse concepts of macro photography in the wild, whose complexities compound with variables like weather, subject and light, are demystified.

During the breaks, you can relax reflecting on the pretty view of the hills, trek up to the nearest waterfall, watch birds or veer off on a nature-trail - Coorg offers a world of opportunities amid the rain-drenched foliage and intoxicating weather to re-establish your connection with the roots of life.

Please note: Although the focus of this Tour is on photography, non-photographers are most welcome.



At Toehold, we are passionate about photography just as you are, which lets us understand your travails and needs perfectly. And we use this insight to specially design our Photography Tours so they give you a toehold to excel at the art and set you up for success.

The Toehold team at your disposal will keep you tuned and geared, so you come in empty-handed but go out with bagful of images and tales of an experience that is better lived than heard.

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Please note: The Tour commences at Coorg at around lunchtime on 3 August. Transport between Bangalore and Coorg will be arranged at extra cost.

  •   DAY 1   3 August 2017, Thursday: Arrival at Coorg

    We drive from Bangalore to Madikeri and later reach Kabinakkad by lunchtime. Upon our arrival we will be picked by the property jeeps and taken to the beautiful homestay up in the hills. Enjoying a leisurely lunch, we set out late in the afternoon to look for birds and other wildlife around the place.

    Returning to camp for a refreshing cup of coffee or tea, we set out again after dark to embark on our first night walk of the Tour, looking to get introduced to frogs, insects, snakes and other beautiful small life-forms, after which we treat ourselves to delicious home-cooked food and retire amidst frog calls all around.
  •   DAY 2   4 August, Friday: All-day Exploration

    Waking up early, we go for a walk around the coffee estate. The forest patches are a great place to see various birds and some good butterfly and dragonfly encounters may materialize in and around the property. We return by breakfast and rest till lunch, and after the afternoon meal, set out looking for insects, flowers, butterflies and various other creatures that would make ideal subjects for macro photography.

    Post-lunch, we explore the forest and probably undertake a stream-walk. Returning by evening, we dine and set out again looking for nocturnal creatures, and possibly watch in amazement the wonderful adaptation of many beautiful frogs to life in the coffee plantations and hear their calls from vantage points in the bush.
  •   DAY 3   5 August, Saturday: More Exploration of Amphibians, Herps and Other Smaller Life-forms

    Depending on the previous night's excursion, we decide what time to wake up and go for a walk. After breakfast we rest till lunch. The property generates a part of its electric power from an on-campus waterfall. The walk to the waterfall is most beautiful, winding through patches of dense forest and grasslands. We undertake a walk through some great habitat to reach this waterfall, the surroundings of which are a fantastic place to find various types of mushrooms, snails, spiders, and if fortunate, snakes. We will also spend time making slow-shutter speed waterfall and landscape images, learning how to use various filters.

    The walk should yield some bird sights if the weather conditions are favourable. It is likely to be dark by the time we return, which is a great time for frog encounters. As we pass through different habitats, we may encounter various frog species.

    Back in the camp, we enjoy an interactive session with the Skipper and participants get their images reviewed if desired before we dine and put our heads to pillows.
  •   DAY 4   6 August, Sunday: Morning Nature Walk and Return to Bangalore

    On the last morning of the Tour, we go on a brief nature-walk around the coffee estate before breakfasting and departing for Bangalore, which we should reach in the evening.

INR 19,600
5% GST Extra
Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
Toehold Patrons
INR 18,650
5% GST Extra
Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
Toehold Patrons: Customers who have participated in at least three previous Toehold Photo Tours.

  • Accommodation for Tour duration on twin-occupancy
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hot beverages (coffee/tea) for Tour duration
  • Any entry fees and other expenses for forest exploration and treks
  • All interactive sessions with the Tour Skipper
  • All applicable taxes
  • Transport from your hometown to Coorg and back
  • Bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Any extra meals or snacks ordered
  • Medicines and other incidental expenses
  • Anything else not expressly listed under Inclusions
Payment Terms
  • 50% advance on confirmation of participation for the Tour
  • 100% payment on or before 30 June 2017
Cancellation Fees
  • 10% on or before 21 June 2017
  • 25% between 22 and 28 June 2017
  • 50% between 29 June and 5 July 2017
  • 75% between 6 and 12 July 2017
  • 100% on or after 13 July 2017

  • Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of cancellation fees.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Participants who have a medical history of blood pressure, heart-related problems or asthma are advised to seek medical advice before enrolling for this Tour.
  2. Fitness to complete the Tour is the only criterion for participation.
  3. Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. shall not be responsible for injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveller in connection with terrorist activities, social or labour unrest, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel partner's control.
  4. All clients travelling with Toehold Travel & Photography Pvt Ltd. must complete and sign a reservation form and the "Release of Liability, Assumption of Risk & Arbitration Agreement" form.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can participate in this Tour?

    This Tour is open to everyone above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian). If you are younger than 18 and can't bring an adult guardian, please talk to us to find out if we can accommodate you.
  • What are the requisites?

    Apart from nurturing an interest in forests, wildlife, lesser fauna, flora, photography or any combination of these, participants should be fit enough to walk moderate distances in sometimes slippery and wet habitat for up to four hours at a stretch. If you are unsure of your fitness level or suffer from known illnesses, kindly consult your physician before signing up for the Tour.
  • I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?

    Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold's eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, to make the most of the Tour, we recommend that you be familiar with the basics of photography. If you're not, we suggest you sign up for a Art and Science of Photography Workshop first.
  • What physical challenges can be expected on this Tour?

    Apart from encountering rain and consequent wet and slightly slippery terrain, the presence of leeches can be bothersome. Although leech bites are entirely harmless, they can be a pestilence, since nobody likes to be bitten! As a remedy, Toehold will provide you with special socks that offer effective protection from leech bites.
  • Is it safe to venture into the forest at night? How will we manage to take photographs?

    Tour Skipper Sachin Rai carries a wealth of experience doing photography in these conditions and will lead Tour participants in a safe and organized manner. Photographs of fauna will be taken without using camera flash and with the help of a spotlight in a manner least stressful to the animal being photographed.
  • What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?

    Apart from the obvious macro lens offering a focal length of around 100mm, you may bring along a macro lens of a longer focal length if available. The habitat, especially in the monsoon and at night, poses lighting challenges, so it is a boon to have a camera body that performs well at high ISOs and a lens that has a large aperture (f/2.8 or f/4) and/or image stabilization. For birds, a focal length of at least 400mm is ideal. A wide-angle or normal zoom to capture landscapes or creative perspectives of wildlife is recommended. However, if you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer.
  • How sure are you about photographing wildlife on this Tour?

    Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our sightings and photography were unsatisfactory. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, and wildlife encounters are subject to prevailing weather and other vagaries, we do not claim that sightings are guaranteed.
  • How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?

    Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.
© - All Text, Photographs, Videos and Narrations are properties of Toehold Travel & Photography Private Limited.


Coorg, Karnataka


  • Date:
    3 to 6 August 2017

  • Tour Cost
    Indian Individuals:
    INR 19,600 + 5% GST
    Per person

    Toehold Patrons:
    INR 18,650 + 5% GST
    Per person

  • Skipper: Sachin Rai


We accept all major credit and debit cards.



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