Best safari in uttarakhand. Few national parks lend themselves to the wildlife lover’s imagination in quite the same way that Corbett does. The Jim Corbett National Park (to use it’s full name) is one of the most stunning corners of the Indian subcontinent. Corbett also has one of the highest tiger populations in the entire world! In fact, conservationists have estimated that even if tiger numbers dwindle, Corbett will remain one of the last strongholds for these magnificent big cats. Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett.
With the Himalayas as it’s backdrop, the swift waters of the Ramganga river flowing beneath, and dense thickets of forest interspersed by grass, it’s quite simply one of our favourite national parks in India. The park’s biodiversity – both flora and fauna – is impressive. It encompasses a vast terrain of hills, marsh, grassland, riverbeds and a lake and forms a part of the Himalayan sub-tropical eco-zone. Best safari in uttarakhand.
Several large and spreading trees ranging from Peepul to Mango, Sal, Sisoo, Haldu and Rohini can be found throughout the park, interspersed with dense thickets of Bamboo. Over 600 species of flora – ranging from ferns to shrubs, creepers to bush, can be found here. From marsh to grass, riverbeds and lakes, the sheer range of terrain makes it home to several creatures – large and small. From carnivores to herbivores, avians to amphibians and reptiles, (and of course an incredible range of insects and spiders!) the sheer range of life is utterly mind-boggling. It’s a haven for photographers as there’s no shortage of activity in this forest. Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett.
Are you a bird-lover? Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett. If so – this is your happy place. Corbett is home to a whopping five hundred and fifty species of birds! From the Lesser Fish Eating Eagle to the Great Hornbill, Ultramarine Flycatchers to the Red Jungle Fowl, the sheer array of birds is a sight for sore eyes – and ears!
Corbett was the pioneer park for India’s most successful conservation endeavour – Project Tiger. It’s somewhat ironic that Corbett is actually named after Jim Corbett – the legendary big game hunter turned conservationist, who was one of the first people to highlight the importance of saving the species during the British Raj. But tigers are far from the only predators in these forests. The other fierce (and perhaps even more feared than the tiger) predator is the Asiatic Black Bear. It’s worth reading Jim Corbett’s account of a fight that took place between a black bear and a tiger in his book, Maneaters of Kumaon. Leopards are plentiful in Corbett and the other major predators include both the Gharial (Indian Alligator) and the Mugger (Indian Crocodile) which coexist with one another in the park’s plentiful waters. Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett.
But Corbett’s other iconic species is the Asiatic Elephant. There are few sights as rewarding as a sight of an elephant herd with calves or a lone Bull Elephant. While these pachyderms are beautiful and endearing, they’re also a force to reckon with if they’re disturbed. A single charge will have your life flashing before your eyes before you can blink! Corbett is one of only thirteen national parks that form the Terai biosphere – an ideal habitat for elephants. One frequently spots wild elephants grazing or enjoying a splash in the rivers and streams that run through this jungle. Best safari in uttarakhand.
Corbett is also an amazing habitat for marine life – particularly the epic Wild Mahseer. It’s cold Himalayan waters are ideal for several species of fish, which in turn are an excellent prey base for both the fish-eating birds and carnivores. There’s a whole host of frogs and toads and one can hear their chirping throughout the park. Reptiles abound in the park and it’s a herpetologists delight. Pythons, cobras, several species of lizard coexist with one another. Some of these snakes are even large enough to eat a whole deer! Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett.
The park is full of herbivores – particularly deer. From the innocent eyed spotted deer to the barking deer, and even the rarest of them all – the Para (Hog Deer), make their home in this forest. Primates abound. Entire barrels of black faced langur and red faced Rhesus Macaque swing through the tree-tops, chattering and shrieking throughout the day. Wild Boar, Otters and the rare Himalayan Pangolin can be found here as well.
One of the things we love about Corbett is not only the sheer diversity of it’s wildlife, but also the range of activities that one can enjoy within the park. Beyond the jeep game drives, one can also do an elephant back safari that takes you deep into the jungle, boating and fishing on the rivers, bicycle safaris and walking safaris in the buffer zones – and the best of all, an overnight stay in a British Raj era hunting lodge right in the core of the park. Dhikala is the epicentre of Corbett and teems with wildlife. After a couple of nights at your safari lodge on the edges of the park, head into the park \ to spend a night or two deep within the forest. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Uttarakhand Birding tour in jim corbett.
What we also love about Corbett is the sheer quality of the experience. There’s a range of excellent and very eco-friendly safari lodges as well as a terrific home-grown population of naturalists who are from the region. They have terrific knowledge of the park’s flora and fauna and really complete the safari experience. There’s nothing more magical than a bird watching walk at sunrise, as the hornbills wake up in massive fig trees, or watching a tiger step out of the grass as it crosses the river bed after it’s night hunt. Best safari in uttarakhand.