Thattekad, Kerala

Birding in Wonderland

Flitting between high branches a Malabar pied hornbill issues a strident call. Excitedly you look up only to be distracted by a brilliant colour-riot in the garb of a Malabar trogon. Further afield the calls of a mountain hawk eagle stop you in your tracks. As you scan for it, a red spurfowl crosses your path leaving you reeling in waves of visual delight.

If you love birds and photographing them, it’s not long before you realize why Thattekad is a goldmine. And this Tour will bring you the best of this avian wonderland and make it endemic to your heart.


22 to 25 March 2018


Phillip Ross

Why go on a Toehold Tour?

Planned to maximise

photo opportunities

Led by ace


Over 100 years'

collective experience

Hands-on assistance

on and off the field

Image reviews

and presentations

Photography gear

on rent

Tour Highlights

  • Three nights and four days in one of the best birding destinations in the world
  • A wealth of birding and natural history knowledge
  • Plenty of practical photography learning

How is it?

A sanctuary for bird and mind.

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What you will see and photograph?

Never sans excitement and ever seeped in novelty, you’ll be uttering the word 'lifer' oftener than any other.

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About your Skipper

Phillip Ross

Phillip Ross is without doubt the 'little master' of wildlife photography. Still young and already boasting an astounding portfolio, Phillip exudes the same precocity and talent as the big cats he is famously known to share a special relationship with.

I had never been on a photography trip before and so was apprehensive that I would feel out of place among photographers but I was proven totally wrong. The 'Skippers' made me totally comfortable and helped me with the most basic of my camera settings with a lot of patience, and the sightings made the experience even better and totally worth it! - Sonali Sinha, Delhi
I went on a tour with Toehold to a destination I was so familiar with but ended up learning a lot more things than I already knew. Great bunch of young pros. - Gopal Basu, Kolkatta
My young boys learnt so much about photography and wildlife that the dining table is full of stories and technical jargons of photography. - Suchitra K, Kolkatta
Toehold injects a lot of interest in youngsters about photography and natural history. Wish them all the best! - Pradeep Kenchappa, Bengaluru
DAY 1   22 March 2018, Thursday: Arrival and transfer to Thattekad

We leave Cochin at around 11:30 a.m. and reach Thattekad after a road journey lasting around two hours. After checking in, we venture out on a birding trail near the camp and afterwards enjoy a homely dinner before retiring for the night.

DAY 2   23 March, Friday: Full Day Birding in Thattekad

We enjoy a full day's guided trekking in the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary looking for the prime attractions of the Tour. This effort offers a high chance of producing the sight of a frogmouth, hopefully the first of many on the Tour. We will also spend sizeable time near the camp and surrounding areas, where birds and opportunities are aplenty. Later in the evening we go in search of owls and nightjars. All the while, your Toehold Skipper will assist you in every way possible to ensure a productive time.

DAY 3    24 March, Saturday: Visit to Eravikulam National Park, Munnar

We depart early in the morning for another productive session of birding, targeting some new species that we didn't see the previous day. Returning to the lodge for lunch, we set out again in the afternoon to explore some more areas hoping to see and photograph more species. After a late evening's session to find crepuscular and nocturnal birds, we treat ourselves to a delicious dinner and retire.

DAY 4    25 March, Sunday: Morning Birding in Thattekad and Checkout

After a last morning's birding in Thattekad, we gather for a conclusive huddle and are transferred back to Cochin from where we depart for our abodes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria? Anybody with an interest in wildlife, photography or birding will thoroughly enjoy this Tour. And although this Tour is optimized for photographers, non-photographers are most welcome too. There are no eligibility criteria except that you must be over 18 unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
  • 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, in order to make the most of the Tour photographically, we suggest you be familiar with at least the basics of photography. If you are not, please consider signing up for a Art and Science of Photography Workshop first.
  • 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 even 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 of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.
  • What equipment do you suggest on this Tour? Although it is often said about bird photography that the ideal focal length is 100mm more than the one you brought, a lens with a focal length of around 400mm is essential. An additional 100mm often proves very effective. 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 always hire what you need.
  • I do not have the requisite equipment. What should I do? 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 always hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer. What's better, you enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired for our Photo Tours!
INR 33,000 *
Couples ††
INR 64,000 *
Toehold Patrons
INR 31,500 *

* 5% GST Extra

Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation

†† Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation

  • Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable rooms unless single occupancy purchased at extra cost
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hot beverages (coffee and tea) for Tour duration
  • Road transfers between Cochin and Thattekad
  • All excursions and entry fees
  • All airfare and travel expenses between your home and Cochin
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours, extra meals and beverages ordered
  • Insurance, laundry and phone calls
  • Bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Camera fees if any (participants will be advised of the estimated fees in advance)
  • Anything that is not included in the Inclusions list
  • All applicable taxes
  • At least INR 10,000 for provisional reservation (non-refundable)
  • Remainder (100%) of the Tour fee by 1 March 2018
  • 35% on or before 10 February 2018
  • 100% on or after 28 February 2018

Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the 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.
Bookings Closed: Please note that bookings for this Tour have been closed. Please get in touch with us if you have questions.