Asia India

Chasing tigers in the beautiful Corbett National Park

Ade was very excited about heading to India – not so much for the Ganges or the Taj Mahal but for the opportunity to see tigers.

So we had to set aside time to visit Corbett National Park, just near Ramnagar.

We arrived late in the afternoon after an overnight train from Delhi – it was quite an experience listening to the chai-wallah wander up and down the carriage calling ‘chai, chai, chai’, and selling bags of nuts and seeds. I must admit I was a little concerned when the train separated and one half went in one direction and the back end went in a different direction. Fortunately we were in the correct carriage, heading in the right direction.

As soon as we arrived in Ramnagar we arranged to do a night tour, which was quite fortunate, as it turns out that was the only time we saw a tiger. And even then, we can’t be sure it was actually a tiger.

The nighttime drive was just a bonus and while it was an exciting experience, it was very difficult to see any animals in the dark. It was also somewhat eerie being in the Indian jungle in an open air jeep at night looking for tigers.

The following day we were up early ready for a full day looking for tigers. We saw plenty of birds, elephants, monkeys and deer but no tigers. Despite the lack of tigers it was an enjoyable day in the park. While there we took a ride on an elephant – I can’t believe how high we were up there.

And while I had a lot of fun on it – though admittedly I was a bit nervous about what would happen if we did encounter any tigers – according to Adrian it’s not such a great way to travel if you want to take photos.

Back down on land, on four tyres, and we listened as the monkeys screeched warnings to each other that a tiger was nearby. Our excitement grew and we joined a cavalcade of vans queuing up to try and get a glimpse of the tiger. We had no luck.

When we returned to our hotel after the game drive we bumped into two Australian boys who were also out on safari that day and had been chased by a tiger.

Apparently they stopped to photograph a tiger in a watering hole and watched in wander as he started to walk along the road. The driver followed the tiger, which soon turned and chased the jeep the boys were travelling in. The driver tried to get away, crashing into a tree in the process.

The tiger soon lost interest in the van and ran into the long grass. Meanwhile the boys got away with some great photos and a fantastic story.

Unfortunately, the only evidence of tigers in the park that we saw were paw prints on the roadside.

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