Mangroves are abundant in estuaries, where a river meets the sea. Such places are picturesque and offer pleasing views to visitors. Moreover, mangrove forests are home to a wide variety of birds as well.
One such spot in Kerala where mangroves and winged creatures can be observed at close quarters is Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu Community Reserve. The ideal time to visit the place is between November and April, when the migratory birds arrive in large numbers.
Every traveller to Kozhikode can take a detour into the nearby Kadalundi Reserve, which is one among the first such facilities in India. Participation of local people is ensured to protect nature at these reserves, where they can also earn a livelihood. The reserve at Kadalundi, opened in 2007, functions under the supervision of the Forest Department.
Visitors to the Kadalundi reserve can meet P Sivadasan, chairman of its management committee, who would be eager to guide them. The scenery at the reserve can be enjoyed best in a boat. Local oarsmen like Siddique would take travellers around in their small boats, which are covered with tarpaulin sheets.
As soon as you start the trip, the sea mouth can be observed in the distance. The railway bridge also comes into view along which trains pass regularly. However, the river flows calmly and the boat ride is smooth. True to the eco-friendly nature of the reserve, no motorised boat ply here. The boatmen can not only provide pleasing views of the mangroves but also brief you about different species of the greenery. The Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu Community Reserve is located in two districts, Kozhikode and Malappuram. While Kadalundi is in Kozhikode, Vallikkunnu is in Malappuram. The management committee has a Forest Department official and the local people as its members.
Interestingly, there are some tiny islets in the mangroves with human habitats in the reserve, which is spread over an area of 1.5 square km. Mangroves grow densely at the reserve, but there are narrow creeks between them which can be accessed by boat only when there is high tide.
According to Sivadasan, there are eight types of mangroves at Kadalundi. Birds, the other attraction, offer themselves in a much wider variety. According to birdwatchers, the reserve is home to around 110 species of birds, of which 53 are migratory. Some small birds like Sand Plover consider Kadalundi as their favourite location and are seen in huge numbers.
The area offers good opportunities, which are utilized fully by local nature photographers like Vijesh Vallikkunnu. Some rocks seen near the wharf form a piictursque scenery and the sight of the setting sun from the spot is stunning. Family groups as well as couples can head to Kadalundi to spend a pleasant time. The office at the site also arrange day-long study tours for students as well.
Things to note:
» The fare for one-hour boat ride is Rs 800.
» The nearest city is Kozhikode
» For accommodation, check homestays on the banks of the Kadalundi river where air-conditioned rooms also are available
» Private hotels function at Kadalundi and Feroke
» Food is available at Balettan’s eatery right at the wharf. The fried fish is a special item here
» The route to the reserve from Kozhikode city is via Cheruvannur and Kadalundi
» For more details, contact P Sivadasan at 9446185250.