I did not encounter the beast. Here – I said it. Apparently, it had rained the night before and now the animals wouldn’t come out in search of water. That’s the reason our guide gave us for an unsuccessful ride. All I saw was a bunch of deer, a few monkeys, pigs here and there, and loads of elephant shit. But, was it really as unsuccessful as mentioned. I don’t think so. It’s a completely different world in there. The jungle has its own mechanisms, chains of inter-dependency among flora and fauna, ways to protect itself in crisis and give back to the environment when it has plenty. There’s a lot we can learn from them, especially in terms of living a zero-waste life. I would like to stay there for a while to get a closer glimpse of how things work out.
Meanwhile, if you are planning a trip to Jim Corbett, only for the tiger, DON’T do it! There is so much more to it right from roaming around in open jeeps to knowing about the architectural instincts of ants. You can use some of the suggestions mentioned below for a better journey into the wild:
- Plan ahead: Though it can be reached easily from Delhi on an overnight bus or a 4-5 hour train journey, don’t rush into it. It’s easy getting there, but not so much getting around.I would suggest booking (online) your safaris and resorts/cottages 30-45 days before your date of travel. You can worry about the train tickets later.
- Stay inside: There are many hotels that claim to be just 1 kilometer away from the jungle. Believe me, when I say stay inside the jungle, not nearby. There are a few government approved resorts that offer stay and safari packages. For instance, Dhikala
- Travel in a group: When in Corbett, it is not just a good way to share expenses but also share stories and have fun. For an instance, on a jeep safari, if you are on your own, you can only look out for animals in just one direction at a time, but if it’s four of you, maybe you can show each other what you found.
- The hotter the better: From what I heard from locals, you can spot more animals on a hot day as compared to a rainy/cold one, the reason being they are thirsty, and come out of their dens in search of water more than ever.
- It’s not just the tiger: As I mentioned above, there is so much more to do. The feel of living in and going around the jungle. Other than that, you can opt for elephant safaris which are as fun as jeep safaris, can even turn out to be more adventurous. Stroll around Kosi River, sign up for walking tours, plan a day trip to Nainital/Bhimtal or Haridwar if you have extra time.
Have anything to add or want to share your Corbett experience? Please comment here! I would love to hear.
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