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Planning a Road Trip to Jim Corbett from Delhi & Jungle Safari

One of the most adventurous things to do near Delhi within 250-300 kms is arguable a road trip to Jim Corbett National Park. Both adventure lovers and wildlife & nature enthusiasts could head to Corbett Tiger Reserve as a weekend getaway from Delhi or for a tranquil vacation far from the hustle and bustle of megalopolis. And Delhi-ites have yet another reason to visit Jim Corbett National Park as its’ verdant forest and calm surrounding gives a soothing respite from the pollution and cacophony of Delhi NCR.

Located in Nainital district in Uttarakhand, Jim Corbett was established as the first national park in India. Named after the famous conservationist Jim   Corbett, this tiger reserve is home to the most number of tigers and a national park in India. The major attraction of Jim Corbett tiger reserve is the population of over 260 Royal Bengal Tigers.

Jim Corbett National Park is located just 245 kms from Delhi and it takes just close to 5 hour drive to plan a road trip to Jim Corbett from Delhi via Gaziabad – Hapur – Gajraula – Moradabad - Kashipur - Ramnagar. The drive is mostly on very well maintained roads that include NH7 and MDR 65W.

A road trip from Delhi to Jim Corbett is an ideal way to have fun and adventure along the route. Having undertaken the road trip to Jim Corbett from Delhi myself (once with a couple of friends in a car and once as a get together of graduation classmates with their family and kids in a tempo traveller, I can personally attest that a trip to Jim Corbett is an immensely satisfying and refreshing break from the city life and hectic work schedule.

Yet another reason to undertake road trip to Corbett Tiger Reserve is that it also happens to be economical and saves a lot of time and also gives you option to move from one zone to another comfortably thereby allowing you to do jeep safari in different zones of the tiger reserve. Jeep Safari in different zones considerably increases your chances of spotting the big cat in their natural habitat.

Coming back to the road trip, the ideal duration for a road trip to Jim Corbett from Delhi should be at least 2 nights – and 3 days. However that does not takes away the fact that Corbett Tiger Reserve also happens to be one of the most popular destinations for weekend getaways near Delhi NCR.

Weekends are mostly sold out and more costly so if you are also planning your trip to Jim Corbett over a weekend, I’d recommend that you should book your stay and jeep safari permits well in advance or you’ll have to be disappointed and content with safari in the buffer zone only. It happened to me once and all I could spot was peacock in the forest and crabs in Kosi River in the buffer zone :-)

Delhi to Jim Corbett Road Trip Route

New Delhi→ Corbett

Distance covered: 245 kms

New Delhi→ Hapur: 60 kms

Hapur → Moradabad: 105 kms

Moradabad→ Kashipur: 52 kms

Kashipur→ Ramnagar: 28 kms

Things to do and Places to visit in and around Jim Corbett National Park

To start with, jeep safari in Jim Corbett is understandably the best or say top thing to do in Jim Corbett National Park. It’s not just the tigers but the entire topography and the diversity that is found here makes it one of the most unique and arguably the best National Park in India.

Even if you somehow don’t manage to spot a tiger in its natural habitat, the feeling that you get when you do the jeep safari in this park is unmatchable in any other national park or tiger reserves in India.

Just the game drive through the Sal forested dirt trail in the morning with golden light of the morning sun seeping through offers a sight to ethereal that you can’t help that go on a frenzy to get that postcard perfect shot.

Just imagine, there are over 600 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, bamboos, grasses, climbers and ferns in park. If you love nature and ecology, you are going to love a trip to Jim Corbett National Park.

As for sighting the tigers, you may or may not spot them depending on the number of safari you do and the different zones that you plan them in. However, there is more to Jim Corbett than just tigers. With over 560 species of recorded bird sightings, 50 species of mammals including leopards, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Elephants, Sambhar, Chital, sloth bear and langur etc., you could sight a plenty of wildlife during your jeep safari in Jim Corbett National Park.

Besides jungle safari, things to do in Jim Corbett includes:

1. A visit to the 66 feet waterfall (best visited when you are planning a trip to Jim Corbett in Oct-Nov).

Know more: https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredibleindia/en/destinations/jim-corbett-national-park/corbett-waterfalls.html

2. A trip to Garjiya Devi Temple located in the outskirts of the park. Sitting atop a large rock, Garjiya Mandir is a sacred Hindu shrine dedicated to Shakt with Garjiya Devi as the presiding deity.

Know more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garjiya_Devi_Temple

3. Exploring Jim Corbett Museum located in Kaladhungi. This museum is a heritage bungalow of the conservationist and hunter Edward James Corbett after whom this park has been named.

Know more: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Attraction_Review-g7061160-d6200411-Reviews-Corbett_Museum-Kaladhungi_Nainital_District_Uttarakhand.html

4. A trip to Nainital. Yes, it is often a good choice to club your trip to Jim Corbett with Nainital. Nainital is located just 75 kms from Jim Corbett. Depending upon how many days you have, you can include Ninital in your Jim Corbett tour itinerary. Ideal trip would be a 4 days affair but you can even manage it in 3 days if you do only two safaris in Jim Corbett.

Tentative Itinerary (Long Weekend Getaway from Delhi 3 Days Itinerary)

Day 1: New Delhi→ Hapur→ Moradabad→ Kashipur→ Ramnagar (Total distance: 245 kms)

Day 2: Jim Corbett

Depending on where you choose to book your stay (or where your tour operator does if you are booking Jim Corbett tour package online), you should be able to do both the morning and the evening safari in Corbett Tiger Reserve in a day. Personally, I’ll recommend that you do both morning and evening safari in same zone and then the morning safari the next day in another zone. That will give you more chances of sighting Bengal tigers in the open.

Know before you go: Planning Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett

Before you go, let me clear one thing about your trip to Jim Corbett. One of the confusions while planning a trip to Jim Corbett National Park from Delhi (or for that matter from anywhere in India or abroad) is from where and how to plan it e.g. book your permits and jeep safari in advance. (Will talk about it later in detail below)

FYI, there are three components to planning a jeep safari in Corbett Tiger Reserve. They are:

1. Entry fee/safari permit (INR 1,000 for Dhikala and INR 100 for other safari zones if booked online)

2. Cost of renting a Jeep(INR 250 per seat for all zones except Dhikala if you are staying in a forest rest house inside the park or else booking an entire jeep for safari from the entry gate will cost you anything from INR 4000 to INR 6000 per jeep. A jeep can accommodate a maximum of 6 passengers. Do note that children below 12 years are not allowed.)

3. Guide charges(INR 100 to INR 500)

In Case you are planning a road trip to Jim Corbett from Delhi own your own, it is recommended that you book your stay and safari permit in advance. There are only limited number of safaris allowed in each zone of the park hence you should always book in advance as the online booking on the Uttarakhand government portal opens 45 days in advance.

Official site for obtaining permits & booking safari: https://www.corbettonline.uk.gov.in/

Note:

  • Night charges for your vehicle if you are inside the park in one of the forest rest house is INR 500. If you are taking a driver then INR 200 will be charged for him as well.
  • Online booking fee of INR 50 is applicable over and above the charges.
  • GST of 12% up to INR 7500 and 18% above that is also applicable
  • 50% extra charge will be collected on weekends and Gazetted holidays for night stays inside the park

Day 3: Morning Safari – Lunch – Ramnagar→ Kashipur→ Moradabad→ Hapur→ New Delhi

Jim Corbett from Delhi by Road (Self Drive): Trip Plan II - 4 Days Itinerary

Yet another popular tour circuit that you can chose if you want to have an extended holiday with nearby destinations is:

Jim Corbett with Nainital (and/or) Mukteshwar

I am recommending this itinerary because of the simple reason that these destinations are close enough to cover without tiring you or your family plus it adds a variety of elements to your vacation besides the wildlife. With 4 or 5 days up your sleeve, this is what I’d recommend especially if you are planning a road trip from Delhi with family or kids or even as couples or with friends.

With Nainital added to your itinerary, you suddenly have a lot of fun and adventure elements.

Let’s explain that to you with a day wise itinerary. I’ll make it a 4 day trip to Nainital with Jim Corbett

Day 1: New Delhi→ Hapur→ Moradabad→ Kashipur→ Rampur→ Bilaspur→ Rudrapur→ Haldwani→ Kathgodam→ Nainital (Total distance: 315 kms)

Day 2: Nainital

Enjoy boat ride and cable ride. These two activities are something that kids love to do making Nainital one of the best places in Uttarakhand to travel with family and kids. You get good photo ops during your cable car ride. The view of rolling hill and placid Naini Lake from up top is amazing. Nature walk in mountain trail is another thing that is so refreshing. The unpolluted air and lush surrounding are such an otherworldly experience considering how near you are from din and pollution of Delhi NCR.

Day 3: Nainital – Jim Corbett

Hope you have booked your stay and safari in advance. If not, well I recommend you should. As to how to do it. I have talked about it in detail (hopefully) below.

Do some sightseeing and then explore the places to visit in and around Jim Corbett that I have mentioned above. Post lunch, do the afternoon safari.

Day 4: Corbett – New Delhi

Do the morning safari. Post lunch and a little rest, head back to Delhi.

Packing & Preparation Tips for Road Trip to Jim Corbett and/or Nainital

What to pack for Jim Corbett or any wildlife excursion in a tiger reserve or national park is a question I haven’t come across much. But mind you, it would be great if you do mind what you wear when you are out on a jeep safari. A few things that I’d recommend for your packing and preparation trip are:

1. Clothes that blend well with nature as in wooden or green. Khaki and tan are the preferred colours for jungle safaris BTW

2. Comfortable sneakers/sandals/walking shoes

3. Flip-flops or similar for pool or in-room use, or even in safari vehicle

4. Baseball cap or hat to keep dust/sun from head

5. Windbreaker/fleece jacket for layering during game drives and evening

6. Don’t forget to pack all of your electronics, camera, [memory] cards, batteries, chargers, and a small flashlight. I’d recommend a camera with a telephoto lens as its likely that if you spot a tiger it will be from a distance. Also carry lightweight binoculars for closer look of the wildlife

7. Besides your usual electronics, a power strip from home is essential so you can plug that into the camp or hotel power outlet and then charge all of your items at one time. You don’t get many in hotels considering you normally carry so many electronic equipments to charge

8. Toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush/comb

9. Chocolates, nuts/biscuit and water bottles for hikes and nature trail in Nainital

10. Basic medical kit (aspirin, band-aids, Imodium, antiseptic /anti-histamine cream)

11. Moisturizer and suntan lotion—SPF 20 or higher

12. Insect repellent and tissues both wet and dry

Accommodation in Jim Corbett

There are a lot of hotels and resorts at various entry gates of Jim Corbett National Park that offer comfy accommodations. You can find both budget stay as well as luxury resorts where you could splurge. More the price, better the facilities offered. Most of the hotels are located in Ramnagar by the way which is the major town close to the park.

Besides hotels and resort outside park, you could also choose to stay inside the very boundary of the Jim Corbett National Park itself. Yes. Well this is something I didn’t know when I visited Corbett for the first time myself. Yes, there are forest resthouse built inside the park by government which offer comfortable stay inside the park. The great thing about staying inside is that you get to be as close to wild as it is possible. In fact, you might even get lucky and sight wild animals from where you are staying and there’s no worries as these forest rest houses are well fenced to keep the wild animals out for security purpose.

The best forest rest house is located in Dhikala Safari Zone. Dhikala Forest Rest House is the most sought after accommodation option among the wildlife enthusiasts visiting Jim Corbett. One of the reason why Dhikala forest rest house is so much in demand that only those staying in this rest house are allowed wildlife safari in Dhikala Zone. And mind you, Dhikala is considered the best safari zone in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve for spotting animals in the wild including the prized Royal Bengal Tigers.

Besides Dhikala, forest rest house are also located in Sarapduli, Gairal, Bijrani, Jhirna and Lohachur. Spacious rooms with basic amenities as well as log huts and dorms are available depending upon your budget.

We'd definitely recommend a stay inside the park as you get to stay so close to the wild itself. Besides, when you stay inside the park, your entry permit are taken care of in permit itself. All you need to do is pay for jeep/canter per person and enjoy the game drive without any hassle.

Planning Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett (zones, timings, costs etc.)

Planning for Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett is something which you need to do well in advance to avoid any last minute disappointment. The thing is that online booking for entry permit and safari in zones starts 45 days in advance at the government web portal of Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Yet another important thing to consider while booking jeep safari in Jim Corbett is the safari zone where you’d go. I don’t think many plan for that or are even aware of that unless they research for it before they go or when they are actually making advance booking online. In fact, even I wasn’t aware that Corbett tiger reserve is divided into several mutually exclusive safari zones.

Why I am talking about safari zones is the fact that some safari zones offer much higher probability of sighting tigers and other wildlife animals than other and some are good for animal spotting while some are good for bird watching.

In all, there are 7 wildlife safari zones in Jim Corbett.

1. Dhikala Zone

Dhikala is one of the most popular sought after tourist accommodation in Corbett Tiger Reserve. Herd of elephants and spotted deers pack the vast expanse of famous Dhikala Chaur. This is probably the best place in the Tiger Reserve to spot very rare Hog Deer. Staying at Dhikala is an experience every wildlife enthusiast looks forward to. Dhangari gate is entrance for Dhikala zone. Dhangari gate is located 18 kms away from Ramnagar while Dhikala Tourist Complex is located 31 Kms inside the Dhangari Gate.

  • Entry Gate: Dhangadi Gate, 32 Km from Ramnagar
  • Entry Fee: INR 1000 (None if you are staying in any of the FRH inside the zone)
  • Open Period for Safari Tour -15th November to 15th June
  • Safari Offered - Day Canter Safari Only (No Jeep Safari)
  • Maximum Number of Canter Safari Seats - 32 Seats in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House - 32 Dhikala FRH, Gairal FRH, Sarpduli FRH, Sultan FRH

 

2. Bijrani Zone

Birjani forest zone is considered a close second to Dhikala zone when it comes to wildlife experience in Jim Corbett. Within Bijrani Zone, Forest rest houses are located in Bijrani and Malani. The rest house at Bijrani has six rooms (Four with double beds and two with single bed) and dormitory consisting of four beds. The compound has its own restaurant and canteen. Elephant rides into the jungle are available from here. The entry to this zone is through Aamdanda Gate.

  • Entry Gate: Amdanda Gate, Distance From Ramnagar: 2 Km
  • Open Period for Safari Tour -15th October to 30th June
  • Safari Offered -Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number of Safari -30 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House -Bijrani FRH, Mailani FRH

 

3. Jhirna Zone

Day visit to Jhirna Zone is through Dhela Gate which is 20 Kms from Ramnagar. Its main topography mainly constitutes deciduous and secondary forest interspersed with plush open grasslands that offer amazingly good visibility of wild animals. The animal population also comprises sloth bear and wild elephants which provide great sights for the wild life enthusiasts. Jhirna zone is open throughout the year. The

  • Entry Gate: Dhela Gate
  • Entry Fee: INR 100 (None if you are staying in a FRH inside the zone)
  • Distance from Ramnagar: 15Km
  • Open and Closed Period: Open throughout the year (subject to road and weather condition)
  • Safari Offered: Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number of Safari Jeep: 30 Jeeps per Shift (2 Shift in a day)
  • Forest Rest House: Jhirna FRH
  • Exploration Time: 03 hours 30 min

 

4. Dhela Zone

Dhela Ecotourism zone remains open for tourists throughout the year. This zone is extremely rich in flora and fauna. The zone spreads over 1,173 hectares, which has mixed forests of Sal, Rohini, Haldu, Bahera, Kusum vegetation, and tigers, leopards, Asiatic elephants, sloth bears and king cobras. The area is particularly rich in bird diveristy. The safari is done using the registered vehicles and a mandatory guide. Private vehicles are not allowed in this zone just like the other zones of CTR.

  • Entry Gate: Dhela Gate
  • Entry Fee: INR 100 (None if you are staying in FRH inside the zone)
  • Distance from Ramnagar: 15Km
  • Open and Closed Period: Open throughout the year (subject to road and weather condition)
  • Safari Offered: Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number of Safari Jeep: 30 Jeeps per Shift (2 Shift in a day)
  • Forest Rest House: Jhirna FRH
  • Exploration Time: 03 hours 30 min

 

5. Durga Devi Zone

Durga Devi Zone is the hill safari zone filled with wildlife beauty and adventure within the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Located at the North-Eastern side of the reserve, this area is crisscrossed by Ramganga and Mandal rivers at several places. This zone is particularly famous for sighting wild elephants and Otters at Domunda Bridge. Famous Mahsheer fish can also be seen in the river water of Durga Devi zone. Lush green forest in this range provides ample opportunity for bird watching as well. Tourist can stay for night in Lohachaur Forest Rest House of this zone.

  • Entry Gate: Durga Devi Gate
  • Entry Fee: INR 100 (None if you are staying inside the zone in the FRH)
  • Distance from Ramnagar: 28 Km
  • Open Period for Safari Tour -15th November to 15th June
  • Safari Offered -Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number of Safari - 11 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House - Lohachaur FRH

 

6. Sonanadi Zone

Lohachaur, Rithuadhab and Halduparao are some Forest Rest Houses in Sonanadi range available for night stay. Safari options like Jeep and elephant are available to enjoy wildlife at Sonanadi Range. Tourists are advised to pre-book entry ticket for a Safari in Sonanadi Zone. One can pre-book entry tickets from Ramnagar office. Sonanadi Zone is open for visitors from 15 October to 15 June and closed for monsoon. There are several safaris operated during a day in Sonanadi zone.

  • Entry Gate: Near Teda Village (Private Vehicle Allowed)
  • Entry Fee: INR 100
  • Distance from Ramnagar: 4 Km
  • Exit Gate -Paulgarh Gate
  • Open Period for Safari Tour - All Round the Year
  • Safari Offered - Day Jeep Safari, Day Elephant Safari
  • Maximum Number of Safari - Unlimited
  • Forest Rest House - Few Hotels and Resorts run privately

 

7. Pakhro Zone- Near Kotdwar ((New forest zone)

Pakhro zone falls on Pakhro Wildlife Sanctuary which is a part of Corbett Tiger Reserve. This is the only zone in Jim Corbett where tourists can walk on foot but richly housed by non-venomous snakes of different kinds. Popular mammals in the region are tiger, leopards and elephants. Lohachaur, Rithuadhab and Halduparao are some Forest Rest Houses in Pakhro range available for night stay. Safari options like Jeep and elephant are available to enjoy wildlife at Pakhro Range.

How to Book Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett Online

Visit the official portal of Uttarakhand Government’s Corbett Tiger Reserve to book your safari and permit online. This is the only portal where you get guaranteed permit for jeep safari in your preferred safari zone. You’ll find many a websites when you search for where to book jeep safari in Jim Corbett online but all of them are just sites of travel agencies and tour operators and most of the safari booked from them will not guarantee you safari zone till the last moment plus they will be costlier than what you pay when you book online.

Cost of Booking Jeep Safari in Jim Corbett through agents/tour operators

When you book a jeep safari from a tour operator or a travel agent, the cost of jeep safari in Jim Corbett per jeep including safari permit, guide and gypsy with driver will cost you anything between INR 5000 to INR 8000 depending upon your hotel/resort location. It’s important that you do book your jeep safari in Jim Corbett well in advance and mention the zone or zones in which you want to do the safari (if you have a preference of course) or else they might book a safari in the zone where it is available. Can’t blame them later if you find out that you have allotted permit for the Sitabani or Pakhro Buffer zones where chances of sighting wild animals are very rare.

FAQs for Jim Corbett National Park

Q: Is open jeep safari safe in Jim Corbett National Park?

Ans: Yes, the open jeep safari in Jim Corbett National Park is completely safe. In fact, Jim Corbett’s safari zone is termed as one of the safest and most comfortable among others in the national park.

Q: How far is Jim Corbett from Delhi?

Ans: Jim Corbett from Delhi is approximately 244 km in distance. Many private and state-run buses ply from Delhi to Jim Corbett National Park that covers the distance in around 5.5 hours.

Q: What is Corbett national park famous for?

Ans: Corbett National Park is famous for Bengal Tigers and elephants. There are safari tours in Jim Corbett National Park that offer you to spot them in their natural habitat.

Q: How much time will it take to explore Corbett National Park?

Ans: 3-4 hours are enough for visiting Corbett National Park. Depending on the level of interest and the wish to explore the park thoroughly, the duration can be more or less.

Q: In which state is Jim Corbett National Park located?

Ans: Jim Corbett National Park, which is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve lies in the Nainital district of North Indian state, Uttarakhand.

Q: What is the best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park?

Ans: The best time to visit Jim Corbett National Park are the winter months from October to February. During this time, the weather remains pleasant, which makes exploring the abode of the majestic Bengal Tiger, other wild animals, and migratory birds easy.