Rolling hill after rolling hill, tea bushes as far as the eye can see, and refreshingly cool air; aka an adventure lovers’ paradise and one of my favourite places we’ve been in India. Welcome to Munnar, Kerala which sits at a refreshing 1,500m above sea level. But actually it’s not Munnar town itself (although it’s good for stocking up on supplies and getting a good meal) but a small camp hidden deep in the mountainous tea plantations about 40km outside of town. A visit to Black Eagles Camp is hands down one of the best things to to in Munnar.
Hiking, chai, snacks, a sunset, a sunrise, a bumpy AF jeep ride, good food, good views and the opportunity to get totally and utterly lost among 115 year old tea bushes (true fact); it was 24 hours that stimulated the senses along with the quads and took us to a hidden gem inside Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, which features the world’s highest organic tea plantation. If you’re looking for places to visit in Munnar, Black Eagles Camp should be on your list.
In this post, I’ll highlight everything you need to know about Black Eagles Camp, how to get there and how much it costs. Here’s everything you need to know!
About Black Eagles Camp
Black Eagles Camp sits at 2000m above sea level and was set up by Keralan Niyaz who is just as passionate about creating a place for people to enjoy Kerala’s natural beauty as contributing to the income for the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, along with forming long-lasting relationships with the people who make a living in the plantations.
Into the wilderness
After a 7km Jeep ride on terrain that is tough to walk on let alone drive on, we reached the gem which is Black Eagles Camp. High up, surrounded by clouds and mountain peaks, overlooking the lizard-like skin of the land which makes up the plantations of Kolukkumalai Tea Estate – the sounds of Hindu temple calls echoing through the valley below – we were in our own adventure paradise. We spent the final hours of daylight soaking up the views and just simply exploring our own back garden (aka the plantations that surround Black Eagles Camp).
Then it was all about sunset, snacks and chai in the hammock overlooking Kolukkumalai Tea Estate with the best company imaginable, followed by a campfire, all the chats, and dinner (more like a banquet!).
That wake-up call though
We had a wake-up call at 5:15am, to get our hiking shoes on and head out on a 1.5km hike (3km round trip) up away from the tea bushes and into high-land vegetation. Once we started hiking, with the full moon to light our way and the dawn light casting pastel shades into the sky, it was a race of us against the sunrise for the 45 minute journey.
And there we sat, at 2300m, on a mountain ridge in Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, the world’s highest organic tea plantation, with views over peaks and rolling hills. The full moon behind us as the sunrise in the mist ahead. It was magical.
But the fun didn’t stop there! After a chill out, an impromptu slack-lining lesson and breakfast (and way more chai!) we headed out on a 4km walk through the tea plantations and Nagamalai village (literally translated that means snake village). We saw a waterfall, a boldly colourful temple, cows, goats, met locals, we were invited in for chai (more chaiiiii!) and even had a go at pickin’ tea with the locals.
So, it’s not hard to see why it was legit an exhilarating, exciting, exhausting and enlightening 24 hours as we spent time with our heads in the clouds and our hearts at one with nature in Black Eagles Camp, situated in the beautiful Kolukkumalai Tea Estate. So guys, you just gotta go!
Check out everything you need to know below if you want to head there yourself.
Everything you need to know
2,500 rupees (if you book directly with Black Eagles Camp) you can message them on FB or Instagram but expect to pay more through an agent.
Expect to pay 800 rupees for a rickshaw from Munnar town to where the trip starts (inside Surianale tea estate) or 100 rupees upwards for a jeep rideshare. The jeeps will wait until they are full to leave so bear this in mind if you decide to take the jeep with timings.
What to pack
You really don’t need much – sleeping bags, tents, even toilet paper – is all provided. What you will need is hiking pants, a waterproof jacket, toothbrush, merino thermals if you feel the cold, a head torch, good walking shoes and sturdy sandals for while chilling at camp. Probably a good idea to take your fave book too.
Getting to Munnar
If you want to take public transport you’ll need to get a bus.
From Kochi – you can book an AC bus that’ll take you as far as Adamali and then you’ll need to change to get on a local bus (no option here guys the big AC buses are just too wide for the small windy road that take you right up to Munnar town).
From Varkala- take a taxi to Kollam which is about 1 hour out of Varkala and take the 5 hour bus to Munnar.
From anywhere else – go ask a travel agent, it’s pretty much that easy in most places which are frequented by tourists and travellers in India these days. You can’t get there by train. Taxis or buses only.
Arriving in Munnar
Make sure you’ve got your layers at the ready for arrival in Munnar because it’s really, frickin’ cold. Especially if you arrive at night or early morning and you’ve come from somewhere tropical.
Did you like that? See more of my hiking guides like this one on Plitvice Lakes in Croatia.