Kerala Highlights Private Tour
Often referred to as "God's Own Country", our Kerala Highlights Tour welcomes you to the backwater's paradise of India! Tucked away in the southwestern corner of India, the state of Kerala has become one of the most popular destinations in the country. Offering nearly 600 kilometres of glorious Arabian Sea coastline and white sandy beaches, an endless network of palm-fringed glistening backwaters, rolling hills dotted with tea, coffee- and spice plantations, lush green forests to wildlife sanctuaries filled with elephants. Come and rediscover the true wonder built by nature in India on this Kerala Highlights Tour.
9 Day Highlights of Kerala Tour (Incl. Flights from JNB)
Met on arrival at Cochin International Airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight
Morning proceed for sightseeing tour of Kochi visiting Matancherry Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Chinese Fishing Nets and Fort Kochi. [Note: Matancherry Palace is closed on Fridays & Jewish Synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays]
Most sights of interest are found in Fort Kochin, these include Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1557 and given to the Raja of Cochin in exchange for trading rights. In 1663 the Dutch renovated it, and today it houses a collection of artifacts that belonged to the Rajas of Kochi; it is however best known for the beautiful murals painted on the wooden walls, some of the most detailed and well preserved in the whole of India.
For several centuries there were two Jewish communities living in Kochi, the ‘black Jews’ who settled here in 587 BC and the ‘white Jews’ who settled much later. Speaking Malayalam, the local dialect, they played a pivotal role as trading agents between the locals and any foreigners wishing to establish trade. As a result the Jewish population became very wealthy; ‘Jew Town’, close to the Mattancherry Palace is a fascinating area of the old town with its mixture of old shops, warehouses, spice auction rooms and the Jewish Synagogue.
Built in 1568, the Synagogue houses Torah and Old Testament scrolls as well as copper plates on which the Kochi rulers granted various privileges to the Jewish community. Today the Jewish population of Kochi numbers around only a dozen families. Visit St. Francis Church originally dedicated to Santo Antonio, patron saint of Portugal. Vasco de Gama died on this site in 1524 and was buried in the cemetery, his body being taken to Portugal 14 years later. Renamed St. Francis in 1663 under the Dutch, it became a Protestant church and then, in 1804 it became Anglican. In 1949 the congregation joined the Church of South India. Be sure to see the famous 14th-15th century cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. Overnight in Cochin.
Breakfast at hotel and drive to Munnar. On arrival in Munnar, check-in at hotel. Afternoon free. Overnight
Morning visit Tea Museum [Note: Museum is closed on Mondays]
Munnar has a legacy of its own when it comes to the origins and evolution of tea plantations. Taking account of this legacy and to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala's high ranges, a museum exclusively for tea was opened some years ago by Tata Tea in Munnar. This Tea Museum houses curios, photographs and machineries; all of which have a story to tell on the origins and growth of tea plantations in Munnar. The museum is located at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar and is worth a visit.
One of the main attractions near Munnar is the Eravikulam National Park. Located about 15 km from Munnar, this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant - the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, animals and birds. A great place for trekking, the park offers a magnificent view of the tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. The park becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2006.
Overnight stay at hotel in Munnar.
After breakfast drive to Periyar National Park. Periyar has one of the world's most fascinating Natural wildlife Sanctuary noted forits Tiger Reserve, geography, diverse wildlife and scenic beauty.
Evening Boat ride on the Lake Periyar where one can have a unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Morning breakfast at hotel. Later checkout & depart for Alleppey by surface on arrival in Alleppey board a houseboat. Cruise towards Alleppey, the backwaters cruise takes off through a network of canals with a backdrop of villages and coconut trees on the shores.
Alleppey, once called the Venice of the east by Marco Polo, was officially re-named Alappuzha in 1990, although it is still known by its former name. Situated at the southern end of Lake Vembanadu, the largest lake in India, Alleppey is the centre of Kerala’s coir and cashew nut industries. With an extensive network of canals passing through the town Alleppey is known for backwater cruises and the region’s famous snake boat races. Surrounded by verdant paddy fields, life in the outlying villages remains largely unchanged, and on a typical backwater cruise you can expect to see stunning lush landscapes, abundant flora and fauna, ornate churches and temples, traditional fishing and methods of agriculture and plenty of smiling friendly people.
Overnight on board the houseboat.
Morning after breakfast disembark the houseboat & depart for Cochin by surface and on arrival check-in at hotel.
Day at leisure to explore your own activities (No transport services will be provided on this day).
Overnight stay at hotel in Kumarakom.
Breakfast at hotel and in time transfer to airport to connect flight back home
- Return international airfares from Johannesburg to Kochi
- Airport taxes
- Traditional Indian Welcome & Assistance by our representative on arrival at airport.
- Accommodation using twin sharing room
- Breakfast daily
- All meals at Houseboat
- All Transfers / Transportation / Sightseeing by Air-conditioned vehicle
- Local English speaking Guide during tours
- Monument entrances
- Common Boat Ride at Periyar Lake
- Sightseeing as per itinerary
Cochin - Abad Plaza (2 Nights)
Munnar - Abad Copper Castle Resort (2 Nights)
Periyar - Periyar Meadows (1 Night)
Alleppey - 01 Bedroom Deluxe HB on full board basis (1 Night)
Kumarakom - Oceana Hills Residency (2 Nights)
- Camera Fees at monuments
- Personal expenses
- Elephant / Jeep Ride at Amer Fort Jaipur
- Meals not specified
- Travel Insurance (compulsory)
- Items of Personal Nature