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Best India tiger safari - Corbett national park No 2

Posted in: India


Best India tiger safari - Corbett National Park

Where can you go in India to see some of the best and most enthralling wildlife in the country? Each park will have its own argument for superiority! However if we stick with the facts then Corbett tiger sanctuary has a strong claim to this title. Not only does the Dhikala zone in Corbett hold one of the highest densities of tigers in the country, it is also one of the few parks to have a significant population of Wild Indian elephants; which are relatively easy to see. Add to this the amazing fish eating Gharial which loves Corbett's crystal clear rivers, the chance to actually stay inside the park and take 'real' elephant safaris and some of the best birding in Asia and you have an intoxicating mix of adventure, wildlife and unique landscapes.

Best India tiger safari

In the early days of visiting tiger sanctuaries such as Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha, I was struck while on my India wildlife tour, by the sight of a number of old forest bungalows in various states of disrepair inside the parks. When asking my wildife guide if it was possible to stay inside the park and listen to the sounds of the jungle, I was told gently that these had been used by the 'Britishers' in the old days and were not available to tourists. So you can imagine my delight back in 1999 when I visited Dhikala zone in Corbett for the first time - how wonderful it was to walk around the camp, with no barrier between you and the tigers which could sometimes be seen crossing the Ramnaga river just 100M away!.

My first elephant safari out of Dhikala was nothing short of spectacular! With the beautiful grasslands just outside the lodge a favourite hunting ground of the tigers for spotted deer, we came across a young and aggressive 3 year old male tiger within 20 minutes of starting the ride. Don't get me wrong, every wild tiger sighting is a blessing and a privilage. However for this encounter, the classic and often quoted 'tiger, tiger burning bright' was a perfect description. His eyes almost burnt holes through the grass as he warned the elephant and us not to come any closer - 5 minutes later, photographs taken, we left him in peace.

Best time to visit India for tigers

I will also talk about elephants as well as tigers when considering the best time to visit Corbett, as until around March most of the elephants stay in the surrounding forested hills, where they are mcuh harder to spot while on tiger safari; despite their large size. However the heat of March and April brings them down to the grasslands and cool Ramnaga river. One of my best tiger safaris ever, was crossing this beautiful river during the heat of May, with two elephant herds either side of us; magical!

Best India wildlife lodges

As already stated earlier, Corbett tiger sanctuary is famous for the opportunity it provides to visitors to stay inside the park. Although the accommodation at Dhikala is the most famous of these 'forest bungalows'; some of which were built nearly a hundred years ago. We have also stayed as a family at the Sarpduli Bungalow, which has an ideal positon to visit both Dhikala and other great areas for Indian wildlife. No luxury here; just wildlife!

Best India wildlife tours

For many people visiting India for the first time and hoping for the best tiger safari possible, they may only consider more well known tiger sanctuaries such as Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha. However we would place Corbett right at the top of the tree and with relatively easy access from Delhi by train or car and opportunities to head up into the close by Himalayan hills for incredible birding, hiking or just to escape from the heat of the plains. This is a park that appeals to the all rounder and the adventurous traveller, who does not mind more basic accommodation; if it means enjoying spectacular wildlife. Check out this wonderful 1 week tiger safari in Corbett; a great trip for a family, which we can personally vouch for, having travelled with our 6 and 9 year old  daughters in 2011. Please do contact us for more information or help..

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