The Bengal Tiger is what everybody comes to see at the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. But, how many gets to see it is the million dollar question!! I haven’t met anybody in a long time whose Corbett visit had a successful Tiger sighting. Why?
What ails Tiger Sightings @Jim Corbett National Park? The Tiger Reserve @Corbett National Park spans 1288 sq kms but has only about 14% of it open to public. The tiger ratio today is about 1 tiger every 25 sq km. So you can well imagine why the probability of sighting this elusive and wonderful beast is remote in the Corbett National Park.
When we went for the Tiger Safari @Jim Corbett National Park: Despite the above statistics, we wouldn’t go back from Corbett without giving it a good try, would we? Our safari started post lunch in 3 jeeps and guides hired from the Forest Department. They control the number of jeeps going in, so plan in advance. Right next to the entry gate is the Museum. Avoid it! Displays stuffed tigers inside and photos — Complete waste of time!
After the necessary formalities at the Park’s entry gate, we headed past the tourist bungalow inside to the main jungle entry point. You will find shelters here meant for Elephants which Forest Rangers use. For tourists, the first sighting of a wild animal! They even have a ‘dancing elephant’ – he just wouldn’t stop swaying to some imaginary music while eating. Treat for kids!
At this point, the main safari started with jeeps heading off in different directions. They have a few routes marked and the jeeps enter the forest from different points and then move around inside zig zagging for a better probability of catching sight of a tiger. A few minutes into this tour, you will soon see the Spotted Deer and sooner, an entire herd. And then, Barking Deers, Jackals, Monkeys especially the Indian Langurs, Wild Boars, but no Tiger 🙁 We did see a few pug marks here and there, but that was the only consolation. No Tigers whatsoever.
Soon the drive was through a hilly terrain and we enjoyed every bit of it. The expert drivers obviously knew their way around and although we kept looking out for the elusive sighting, luck evaded us. In some time we gave up and headed back to our hotel at Solluna Resort.
The weather had been lovely, and we had enjoyed the experience. Only felt sad that India could not do better in conserving it’s natural treasure.
Best Time to Go To Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand: April and May, when it’s dry and tigers can be spotted around water holes.
Best Place to Stay @Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand: Inside the premises of the Tiger reserve at Dhikala where there is a guest house. Your driver stays with you and you can do multiple trips inside – at a short/immediate notice if a tiger is spotted anywhere