How to Plan Your Safari in Corbett National Park

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If you’re a nature enthusiast and wildlife lover, Corbett National Park is the perfect destination for you. Spanning over 520 square kilometers, Corbett National Park, located in the northern hill state of Uttarakhand, is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists. It is India’s oldest national park and is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna.

 The park, named after the famous tiger hunter turned naturalist Jim Corbett, offers a unique opportunity to witness the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about planning a tiger safari in Corbett National Park, including the best time to visit, safari zones, how to book a safari, and where to stay.

Safari in Corbett National Park
The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger sighting is a dream for all wildlife enthusiasts, PC:
Soumyajit Nandy
, Wikimedia Commons

 What Makes Corbett National Park Special

Corbett National Park stands out among other wildlife reserves in India due to its diverse terrain and rich biodiversity. The park is not dominated by flat, dry lands but offers a variety of landscapes, including steep ascents and descents, grasslands, and serpentine rivulets from the Ramganga River. The Kalagarh reservoir adds to the charm of the park. Corbett National Park also has a significant historical contribution to wildlife conservation, as it was the birthplace of India’s flagship conservation program, Project Tiger, launched in 1973.

 What to Spot in Corbett National Park

The Royal Bengal tiger is the star attraction of Corbett National Park, drawing visitors from all over the world. Apart from tigers, the park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including leopards, elephants, sambar deer, bears, and over 600 species of birds. Rare sightings of lesser-known animals like the yellow-throated marten and the Indian pangolin are also possible. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted with the opportunity to spot a variety of bird species, including cormorants, herons, eagles, owls, and many more.

Safari in Corbett National Park
Peacock sightings are a common in Corbett National Park

 Best Time to Visit Corbett National Park

The best time to visit Corbett National Park depends on your preferences and the kind of experience you seek. The park remains open for tourism from mid-October till June end. The winter months (November to February) offer pleasant weather and excellent opportunities for wildlife sightings. 

The summer months (March to June) bring hot temperatures but provide a higher chance of tiger sightings as the animals come out in search of water. Monsoon season (July to September) is not recommended for visiting the park due to heavy rainfall and limited visibility. However some zones including the popular Jhirna and Dhela remain open for safari even in the monsoon months subject to weather conditions.

Safari in Corbett National Park
Jeep safari is a popular option to explore the different zones

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Safari Options in Corbett National Park

To explore the wilderness of Corbett National Park, there are two safari options available: Jeep Safari and Canter Safari.

Jeep Safari

Jeep Safari in Corbett National Park is a popular choice among visitors. It offers a more personalized experience, allowing a maximum of six people and two children (between the ages of 5 to 12) in one jeep. The safari takes you on an adventurous journey through the designated zones of the park, providing ample opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. All zones except Dhikala offer Jeep Safari.

Canter Safari

Canter Safari is another option for exploring Corbett National Park. Canter safaris are larger vehicles that can accommodate up to 16 tourists at once. This safari is ideal for larger groups or those who prefer a shared experience. The Canter Safari takes you to the peaceful Dhikala zone, where you can witness the beauty of the park and its wildlife.

Safari in Corbett National Park
The picturesque Dhikala Zone, PC: Ashok.delhi17, Wikimedia Commons

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 Safari Zones in Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park is divided into five ecotourism zones, each offering a unique wildlife experience. These zones are Dhikala, Bijrani, Jhirna, Dhela, and Durga Devi.

Dhikala Zone

The Dhikala Zone is the largest and most popular zone in Corbett National Park. It is known for its diverse landscapes, including grasslands, sal tree forests, and the Ramganga River. The Dhikala Forest Rest House, located in this zone, provides an opportunity to stay amidst the pristine tiger habitat. If you are a wildlife enthusiast,  choose to spend the night here to increase your chances of tiger sightings. Other wildlife species commonly spotted in this zone include wild elephants, spotted deer, wild boars, and various bird species.

  • 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 – Dhikala FRH, Gairal FRH, Sarpduli FRH, Sultan FRH
  • Entry Gate: Dhangari Gate
Safari in Corbett National Park
Bijrani is the second most visited after Dhikala

 Bijrani Zone

The Bijrani Zone offers breathtaking natural scenery and is known for its peaceful and serene environment. It is the second most visited zone after Dhikala. The Bijrani Zone is famous for tiger sightings and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. The geography of this zone includes expansive grasslands, dense sal woodlands, and water streams. It provides an excellent opportunity to spot not only tigers but also leopards, elephants, deer, and a lot of bird species.

  • Open Period for Safari Tour – 15th October to 30th June
  • Safari Offered –Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number Of Jeep Safari – 30 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House – BIJRANI FRH, MALANI FRH
  • Entry Gate: Amdanda Gate
Safari in Corbett National Park
Jhirna Zone is another popular zone for tiger sighting, PC: Dushyant Kaushik, Wikimedia Commons

 Jhirna Zone

The Jhirna Zone is open to day visitors throughout the year, making it one of the most accessible zones in Corbett National Park. This zone is known for its rich wildlife, including tigers, leopards, elephants, and various other mammals. The Jhirna Zone offers a unique hilly terrain and beautiful landscapes, with the Ramganga River and Mandal River streams enhancing the beauty of the area. It is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and provides ample opportunities for wildlife sightings.

  • Open Period for Safari Tour – Throughout the year (subject to weather condition)
  • Safari Offered –Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number Of Jeep Safari – 30 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House – Jhirna FRH, Dhela FRH
  • Entry Gate: Dhela gate
Safari in Corbett National Park
The landscape of Dhela Zone, PC: Himanshu.engin, Wikimedia Commons,

 Dhela Zone

The Dhela Zone is the newest tourism zone in Corbett National Park, opened in 2014. It is open throughout the year, but safari tours are subject to weather conditions. The Dhela Zone offers a combination of meadows, water bodies, and dense forests dominated by Sal trees. It is located in the southern buffer part of the park and is known for its high tiger sighting status. Visitors to the Dhela Zone often have the opportunity to spot other wildlife such as elephants, deer, and various bird species.

  • Open Period for Safari Tour – Throughout the year (subject to weather condition)
  • Safari Offered –Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number Of Jeep Safari – 15 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House – No FRH in this zone
  • Entry Gate- Dhela Gate
Safari in Corbett National Park
The entry gate for Durga Devi Zone,

 Durga Devi Zone

The Durga Devi Zone, located on the northeastern edge of Corbett National Park, is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. It offers hilly terrain and beautiful landscapes, with the Ramganga River and Mandal River streams adding to the charm of the area. The Durga Devi Zone is known for its diverse wildlife, including tigers, leopards, elephants, and otters. It is also famous for the presence of the Mahsheer fish in its river streams. This zone provides a unique and enchanting wildlife experience.

  • Open Period for Safari Tour – 15th November to 15th June
  • Safari Offered –Day Jeep Safari
  • Maximum Number Of Jeep Safari – 11 Jeeps in One Shift
  • Forest Rest House – Lohachaur FRH
  • Entry Gate: Durga Devi Gate

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Other zones

Apart from the above-mentioned zones which are popular with the tourists and wildlife enthusiasts, there are few other zones which you can explore if you are interested to spend some more time amidst the wild.

Amdanda Gate which is the entry gate for the popular Bijrani zone also used as gate to enter Garjiya Zone. Garjiya is a tiger-rich zone with sal forests and grasslands as its terrain. The grassland (chaurs) near Garjia Zone, namely Machaan Chaur, Badhai Chaur, and Ringora Chaur, add to the beauty of the forest reserve.

Pakhro was added to Corbett Tiger Reserve in 1991 as part of the Project Tiger and Project Elephant programmes. The Pakhro zone is notable for dense sal and rich bamboo forests, amazing wildlife (Asian elephants, tigers, leopards, sambar, cheetal, and reptiles), and unique bird species. The zone is accessible by Kalagarh Gate..

Sonanadi Zone, accessible via Durgadevi, Kalagarh, and Vatanvasa gates, is located north of the Sonanadi River and is endowed with wonderful landscape and fauna.

Safari in Corbett National Park
Sitabani Buffer Zone is best for Jungle Safari, PC:

The Sitabani Forest Zone is a buffer zone located outside of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The zone is well-known for its lush forest, rivers and streams, and ancient temples. As a buffer zone, tigers and leopards are less likely to be spotted here.

 Off Course you can spot Elephants, sambar deer, and Nilgai. Sitabani is a bird watcher’s paradise, with over 600 species of birds.The best thing about this zone is that, in addition to jeep and elephant safaris, you may explore it on foot or by your own car.

Phato is the latest addition to the safari zones of Jim Corbett which  enables you to see yet another beautiful part of the gorgeous jungle out there.  The landscape of the Phato  that became operational as recently as in 2022  is picturesque. It is quite different from the other regions of Corbett. Also, it is home to a good number of tigers, elephants, deers, etc.

 How to Book a Safari in Corbett National Park

Now that you are familiar with the different safari zones in Corbett National Park, let’s dive into the details of planning your safari.

Booking a safari in Corbett National Park can be done through the official website of the forest department or through authorized tour operators. It is advisable to book your safari well in advance, especially during peak seasons, as the number of permits is limited. 

You can book either a jeep safari or a canter safari, depending on the zone you choose to visit. You need to provide an ID proof during the booking which you have to carry on the safari day for verification at the entry gate. For the foreign nationals, the only ID proof is their passport. Click here to book your safari. 

Safari in Corbett National Park
Bijrani Forest Rest House, PC:

Where to Stay in Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park offers a range of accommodation options, including forest rest houses, government-run lodges, and private resorts. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the wilderness, consider staying at one of the forest rest houses inside the park. These rest houses provide a unique experience and are located in strategic locations for wildlife sightings. 

  • Dhikala Forest Lodge
  • Bijrani Forest Guest House
  • Jhirna Forest Lodge
  • Gairal Forest Guest House
  • Garjia Safari Resort
  • Tiger Camp Resort
  • Corbett Riverside Resort
  • Infinity Resorts Corbett

It is advisable to make advance reservations, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your stay in Corbett National Park. The suggested time frames for advance booking are 45 days for Indian and SAARC nationals and 90 days for foreign nationals. To book your stay at the Forest Lodges and Guest Houses click here.

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 Tips for a Successful Tiger Safari

To make the most of your tiger safari in Corbett National Park, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right safari zone: Research and understand the characteristics of each zone to choose the one that aligns with your wildlife interests and expectations.
  • Go for multiple safaris: Increasing the number of safaris increases your chances of tiger sightings and enhances your overall wildlife experience.
  • Respect wildlife and the environment: Follow the rules and regulations of the park, maintain a safe distance from animals, and avoid littering.
  • Be patient and observant: Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed, but patience and keen observation can greatly increase your chances of spotting animals.
  • Listen to your guide: The safari guides are experienced and knowledgeable; listen to their instructions and guidance for a safe and informative safari.
Safari in Corbett National Park
Jackal spotted during safari, PC: Shubhamjaincan, Wikimedia Commons

 Other Wildlife Activities in Corbett National Park

Apart from tiger safaris, Corbett National Park offers various other wildlife activities to indulge in. These include birdwatching, nature walks, elephant safaris, and fishing in the Ramganga River. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be thrilled with the opportunity to spot over 600 species of birds in the park. Nature walks allow you to explore the park on foot and immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Elephant safaris provide a unique perspective and a chance to get closer to the wildlife. Fishing in the Ramganga River is a popular activity for angling enthusiasts.

Safety Precautions

While Corbett National Park offers an incredible wildlife experience, it is important to prioritize safety during your safari. Always listen to your safari guide and follow their instructions. Do not attempt to get out of the vehicle or approach the animals on foot. Maintain a safe distance and respect the wildlife’s natural behavior. It is also advisable to carry a first aid kit and inform your safari guide about any medical conditions or allergies.

Responsible Tourism

As a responsible traveler, it is essential to practice sustainable and responsible tourism in Corbett National Park. Avoid littering and dispose of waste properly. Respect the park’s rules and regulations to protect the fragile ecosystem. By being mindful of your actions and minimizing your impact on the environment, you can contribute to the conservation efforts of Corbett National Park.

Safari in Corbett National Park
Corbett Tiger Reserve Map, PC: Sreeram Narayan, Flickr 

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Safari Timings

Safari timings in Corbett National Park vary depending on the season. During the winter season (mid-November to mid-June), the morning safari starts around 6:00 am and the evening safari around 2:00 pm. In the summer season (mid-June to mid-November), the morning safari starts around 5:30 am and the evening safari around 3:00 pm. It is important to arrive at the entry gate well in advance to complete the necessary formalities and ensure a smooth safari experience.

 How to Reach Corbett National Park

Corbett National Park is easily accessible from major cities in India. Here are the different ways to reach the park:

By Road

The small town of Ramnagar, near Corbett National Park, has a well-connected road network. Uttarakhand state government buses operate regular services from Delhi, Moradabad, and Haldwani to Ramnagar. The park is approximately 15 kilometers from Ramnagar, and the drive from Delhi takes around five and a half hours.

By Rail

The nearest railway station to Corbett National Park is Ramnagar. There are direct trains from Delhi to Ramnagar, making it a convenient option for travelers. Alternatively, you can reach Haldwani, Kashipur, or Kathgodam by train and then take a road trip to Corbett National Park.

By Air

The nearest airport to Corbett National Park is Pantnagar Airport, located approximately 80 kilometers away. It is well-connected to major cities in India. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Corbett National Park.


A tiger safari in Corbett National Park is an unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity, and the chance to spot the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers, Corbett offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature. By following the guidelines, booking a safari in advance, and choosing the right zones, you can maximize your chances of tiger sightings and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and embark on a thrilling adventure in the wilds of Corbett National Park.

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