Best Wildlife

Gold Winner: Kaadumane Homestay, Near Dandeli

A three-acre wilderness “hideaway” with three varieties of forest -semi-deciduous, deciduous and evergreen, improved with substantial planting of medicinal plants, fruit trees and bamboo. The conserved wilderness now attracts deer, gliding frogs, flying squirrels and 65 species of birds and a bee park with three varieties of bees, a popular attraction for visitors, which employs five village women. All the staff are local, achieving the necessary service standards was a struggle, but the tourism work provided by the Kaadumane Homestay provides significant additional income for local people. This small homestay has demonstrated how a small tourism business can create significant conservation and local economic development benefits.

Gold Winner: Kaadumane Homestay, Near Dandeli

Mangalajodi is a community owned and managed wildlife conservation venture. The Mangalajodi Marshes have been restored as a bird sanctuary, able through tourism to provide sustainable livelihoods. The bird sanctuary now hosts 227 bird species of which 117 are migratory. The judges we particularly impressed by the way in which the erstwhile poachers of Magalajodi now actively patrol and protect the birds in the marshes, tourism has been successfully harnessed for the conservation of birds and other species. Birdwatching is available from hand sailed country boats, staff for the bird watching and resort are employed from the local community.

Silver Winner: None

One to Watch: Kundan Homestay

Developed by a vegetable seller in his century-old home, the guests eat with the family on a traditional homestay fashion. There is no local association of homestays nor organised visits with other families or associations in the village.