India offers the wildlife enthusiast any number of options to explore its wildlife in their natural habitat.
CORBETT NATIONAL PARK lies in the Siwalik Hills, at the foot of the Himalayas, in Uttaranchal. A ‘home away from home’ for the great hunter turned naturalist, Jim Corbett. With thick jungle forest creeping down the valley sides, carpeting the hills, the Ramganga and its tributaries make their way through the countryside. We suggest Infinity Resorts situated in the Himalayan foothills on the banks of the Kosi river. Surrounded by the Kumaon hills of western Uttar Pradesh, it reflects a high standard of jungle accommodation. Claridges Corbett Hideaway is another with comfortable cottages with sitting rooms, verandahs and cosy log fires, scattered around the premises. A swimming pool sits in the middle of the gardens and a central lodge houses the dining room with a lovely verandah overlooking the river below. Corbett is accessed by road from Delhi or by a shorter journey from Nainital or Rishikesh. The park is open from early November to 15 June.
KANHA NATIONAL PARK is set in the heart of Madhya Pradesh. The hugely varied terrain provides a natural habitat for an equally varied selection of game, especially tigers. One of the park’s success stories is the recent nurturing of the Barasingha (swamp deer) population which has vastly increased over recent years. There is a range of comfortable accommodation; the most famous is Kipling Camp, the first camp to be established. Simple cottages are dotted around amongst the Sal trees. The Wild Chalet Resort is a simple but charming place, perched on the banks of the Banjar River. The cottages are scattered around and are fairly rustic .The guides and naturalists here are exceptionally well informed and friendly. Kanha is accessed by road from Raipur, Nagpur, Kawardha, Pench and Bandhavgarh (long but pretty). The park is open from 1 November to 30 June.
BANDHAVGARH NATIONAL PARK is located in the north of Madya Pradesh. Originally the private hunting preserve of the Maharaja, it is now the best place on earth to spot tigers both from a vehicle and elephant back. The vegetation comprises bamboo breaks, open grassland and mixed forest, over undulating terrain. Taj Hotels have teamed up with CC Africa to open a beautiful new lodge in this reserve. Mahua Kothi is a collection of twelve charming jungle village cottages, with private courtyards, wooden shutters, hand-made pottery tiles and ensuite fully equipped bathrooms. Access to Bandhavgarh is by road from Khajuraho or Kanha (a long drive). The park is open from 1 November to early July each year.
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK is located on the south-eastern most ridges of the Aravalli hills these dry, deciduous forests once the preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur, enclose not only tiger and leopard but herds of sambar and prolific bird life. Forest hills rise up around you and the 1000 year old fort broods silently over the park and is visible from miles around. Lodging recommendations include Sherbagh which is the perfect example of a jungle camp and has taken its inspiration from the African safari camps. The naturalists are passionate and well informed. The Oberoi Vanyavilas is possibly one of the most luxurious 'safari camps' in India. The Sawai Madhopur Lodge is run by the Taj Group and is a good place to stay for those not inclined towards staying in tents. Ranthambore is accessed by road from Jaipur, Agra, Gwalior and Kota or by train from Bharatpur, Delhi and Jaipur. The park is open from 1 October to 30 June.
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK is situated in the remote north-east, in the lush, green state of Assam. Declared a national park in 1974, it is stunningly beautiful and occupies an area on the fertile plains of the Brahmaputra River, against a backdrop of the towering Himalayas. It has a wonderfully unexploited atmosphere and is home to the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros which, until fairly recently, was on the brink of extinction. Wild buffalo, swamp deer and hog also abound, along with many fish species in the broad rivers. Our recommendation here is the charming Wild Grass Lodge which is a small, rural lodge surrounded by dense vegetation, the grounds themselves are fun to explore. Kaziranga is accessed by road from Guwahati and Jorhat. The park is open from November to 30 June.
NOTE: Game drives take place in the early mornings, setting off just before sunrise, and in the late afternoons. It can be very cold in the mornings until the sun comes up and warm clothing is essential. Usually, when staying at lodges and camps in or near the parks, all meals and game drives are included. It is important to pre-book game drives before visiting a wildlife park.
Manor Holidays would be please to suggest various options for wildlife viewing for your consideration based on your interest and time constraints.