From the word go, this trip was something I was quite excited about. I hadn’t been to any of the National parks in the North, actually I hadn’t done any Safaris yet.. We reached Delhi at different times on 2nd and met at A’s place around evening, chit chatted a bit [ I was meeting the 3 of them for the 1st time, so there was some catching up] and then left for the station around 7pm. We were taking the train from Delhi to Ramnagar, which is few kms from the Jim Corbett park.
After a good night sleep, I was up and ready by 5am as the train pulled into Ramnagar, Uttarakand. Woke the others up, grabbed our bags and headed out to look for some transport to take us to the property we were staying at- Corbett Machan Resort. Found an Innova taxi and within minutes we were at the resort. Checked into our room, freshened up and were ready by 5.55am for the morning safari.. Our jeep was there [ S had organised the Safari, booked them ahead of time through the contact she had and he was the one who was gonna be taking us for the Safaris.. The Cost was 20k for 4 of us for 4 safaris]
We were all bundled up, just that I hadn’t carried anything to cover my head, and that was a big lesson learnt. The jeeps are the open kind, and it took me a minute to figure out how to haul myself into the seat, and thereon it was smooth sailing… The morning was cold, brrr cold, and there was mist dew everywhere… Add the open jeep setting and you get the picture right… hehe .. All we carried along was our wallet, ID cards and camera apart from winter wear…
After completing formalities at the gate, show your ID, Safari confirmation etc, we were off for our 1st Safari.. The girls were as excited as I was, and I was secretly hoping to sight a tiger…
Jim Corbett National Park is India’s first national park and known to be the most popular apart from bing the most attractive Park as well. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the midst of lush greenery and uneven mountains with varying heights, ranging from about 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet.
As we rode along inside, some parts were open with short dry grass, while others had trees and tall grass, and then there were some sections that had water flowing across… It was breath taking… The guide took different paths, zig zagging going left, going right, coming around and some more. It was fascinating.. And then came the part of spotting paw prints on the sand road, I learnt how to differentiate between male & female print, which direction they were headed at and if it was a new one or old one…
The morning safari we did was at Bijrani Safari Zone was from 6am to 9.30am, and the evening one is 1.30pm to 5.30pm. The first morning, we sighted plenty of spotted dear, Nilgai, monkeys, few tuskers and plenty of exotic birds, but no tiger. Oh well, thats how it works… Got back to the resort, had a lazy breakfast, and chilled in our rooms a while. And by 1.30pm, we were once again ready and set for the evening Safari. After about an hour or so, we reached a point at high altitude that had a watch tower, paused there a while. And then, we got off to explore another area when a jeep we met told us a Tiger had been sighted near the watch tower. So vroom vroom went our jeep, and we spotted quite a few others there as well. Joining the long line, a guide from another jeep told us a Tigress was lying nearly hidden in the grass.. And we all pried through the binoculars to spot her. I could make out her head and ears.. We waited, waited and soon she got up and started walking away….
Thinking she would go back near the watch tower, our guide zipped across and parked near a clearing. Within minutes, we saw the Tigress make her way, she literally walked straight towards our jeep.. Phew.. We were all standing, holding our breath, slowly pulling out cameras to click when we heard more jeeps pull in. She soon changed her path, and crossed our jeep and walked into the jungles. She was Sharmili, a 12 year old gramma…I was shaking with excitement, and couldn’t believe my eyes for a long while after she had gone… The others were quite zapped that I got to see a Tigress, a head on during my 1st Safari….
After about half hour we were headed out when we heard there was a male tiger lounging at a distance. We could make out the body, but he was quite a distance away, at a height. Oh well, I was happy to have seen not one but two beautiful creatures within few hours. The next day we did 2 safaris, of which one was at Jhirna Safari Zone , but did not see any more tigers, just plenty of other animals and few exotic birds… We did hear tiger growling, and a jeep that followed us few minutes after we got out told us they saw one cross their jeep .. Sigh!! It’s all about timing and luck! I did hear that Dhikala is the most popular, but we hadn’t planned for Safaris in it… Always a next time…
Tigress- Sharmili… [above 4 photographs]
The Male tiger.
Lessons learnt from the Safari–
1. Carry extra warm clothes
2. Make sure to carry a cap/hat and another to cover your ears
3. Sunscreen lotion & lip balm
4. Water & snacks
5. Camera and something to cover the lens [ cos the dust levels are crazy]
6. Sober coloured clothing- nothing bright/ loud/ shiny..
7. Socks and gloves [ if you are the kind who cant stand any cold at all]
8. Plenty of patience!! 😀
Zones at Jim Corbett National Park- Safari Zone, Bijrani Safari Zone, Dhela Safari Zone, Dhikala Zone and Durga Devi Zone…