It’s no secret that India is home to some amazing wildlife, especially in its many excellent national parks. Some of these reserves particularly stand out, though – especially Corbett National Park. So, today I’m going to be telling you all about this spectacular place, including giving you a sneak peek at what you can expect to come across while you are here.
An introduction to Corbett National Park
Named after Jim Corbett (who helped to establish the reserve), Corbett National Park lies in the districts of Nainital and Pauri in Uttarakhand. The main gateway to it is the town of Ramnagar, and it’s open between November 15th and June 15th every year.
Now, that might not seem like a very long space of time, but monsoons mean that outside of this period many of the roads get washed away. Once these finish, the roads are then rebuilt – but the amount of time this takes means it usually isn’t completed until November. You can find out more about visiting the park and places to stay on this website.
Practicalities aside, Corbett National Park is most famous for being the oldest national park in India, having been established back in the 1930s. Together with two neighbouring parks, it forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve – and is one of the best places in India to see Bengal tigers. And speaking of tigers, it’s time I told you a little about the animals you can hope to see here.
Tigers are one of the top creatures tourists try to see when visiting India – but it’s important to remember that, while there are Bengal tigers in Corbett National Park, there’s no guarantee of seeing them. Elusive, stealthy creatures, they can be tricky to spot – but are absolutely thrilling to see when you do catch them.
I think this is especially the case when you consider just how endangered this tiger is – more than three-quarters of the world’s population of Bengal tigers lives in India, and it’s thought that only 5,000 to 7,000 tigers survive in the wild today.
Although seeing this striped predator might be your main aim, there are lots of other creatures worth keeping your eyes peeled for too. For instance, the park is home to around 700 Asian elephants.
What’s particularly interesting about this species of elephant is that it has been domesticated for thousands of years – something that stands it apart from African species. Go to Saddle Dam, Dhikala chaur or Phulau chaur for your best chances of spotting them here.
Other species to look out for include mugger crocodiles, deer (especially the rare hog deer) and leopards.
Tips on successful wildlife spotting
As when visiting any national park, it’s important to remember that you’re entering a nature reserve rather than a zoo. So, you’re not guaranteed to see anything. However, there’s plenty you can do to up your chances to seeing as much as possible – and these are fairly simple steps.
For instance, you should avoid wearing bright colours – otherwise you can easily scare animals off. It’s a similar story with making lots of noise – blast music out of your car stereo and the creatures are likely to have scarpered by the time you get within spotting distance.
Another handy tip is to drive nice and slowly, and there are two reasons for this. The first is that this helps prevent sending the animals running, and the second is that you’re more likely to see things if you’re travelling at a low speed.