Dinner in the forest at Lebua Corbett
A great safari experience is a sum of two parts: spectacular wildlife and great places to stay. And Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park has both. It’s also one of the best places to spot the Royal Bengal tiger, and has several luxury camps in its fold. We’ve rounded up some of the top safari lodges and resorts in the area to kick off your adventure in the wild.
8 safari lodges and resorts around Jim Corbett National Park
Taj Corbett Resort & Spa
Located on the banks of the Kosi River, 61 rooms, cottages and suites make up the plush accommodation at this expansive resort. Its proximity to the park is a plus, (located just 12km away), where you can hop on to one of the daily jeep safaris to spot herds of Asiatic elephants, leopards, deer, red fox, sloth bears and of course, tigers. If you fancy, you can even camp overnight under starry skies. Take a leisurely forest hike and then come back to sample hearty Kumaoni fare like ras bhaat and gahat ke paranthe. Enjoy a colonial-style high tea on the Ghural Deck, under a gentle shower of rhododendron flowers, and unwind with a dip in the pool framed by Deodar and Sal trees. Need we say more? Doubles from Rs15,000. Website
Jim’s Jungle Retreat
Jim’s Jungle Retreat allows a blissful escape with just 18 cottages spread over 15 acres of replanted forest. The accommodation harks back to the Raj-era with jungle cottages and bungalow-style lodges, each boasting of spacious verandas and cozy nooks. You wake up to the call of birds at the crack of dawn, and step out into lush green grasslands, with water bodies dotted by lotus and lillies. Pace yourself for sightings of sambar deer, chital, Indian pangolins, and other native species. Avian enthusiasts will be delighted with the bird watching here.
Evenings are slow: opt for bush dinners under the open sky, where you can treat yourself to Kumaoni fare and family recipes from the Nawabi kitchens of Rampur. Doubles from Rs13,000. Website
Lemontree Premier, Corbett
This five-acre landscaped retreat offers picturesque views of the Kosi River, fringed by Sal trees and lush foliage. It’s located just minutes away from the Durga Devi and Dhikala gates of the Jim Corbett National Park. Sixty-eight rooms and contemporary cottages with dome-style thatched roofs, offer stunning forest views with the Himalayas framing the backdrop. Soak in the serenity with nature trails through the forest, or a wildlife safari to spot the elusive striped beast. Wake up at dawn to watch elephants by the riverside, then work up an appetite for a traditional Kumaoni thali. After a long day of wildlife spotting, unwind by the lounge bar overlooking the river. Doubles from Rs15,000. Website
This boutique jungle resort borders the national park situated in the lush valley of Bhakrakot, offering 44 aesthetically-designed villas, suites and residences. You arrive at the resort on a jungle track and wake up to sightings of sambar, spotted and barking deer. And if you’re lucky, an elephant or two, on their languid walks through the forest. Birding, nature walks and bespoke jungle safaris are some of the specialised experiences on offer.
Unwind at the Saraca bar with drinks infused with forest botanicals, or, sequester yourself in the woods with a private dining experience. The all-day restaurant, Azrak, is the ideal place to watch the day go by, nibbling on cuisine from the Kumaon and Garhwal regions, along with some Awadhi fare, with ingredients sourced from the organic kitchen gardens. Doubles from Rs7,999. Website
Paatlidun Safari Lodge
Set amidst unspoilt nature with heritage-style décor, this safari lodge is an ideal base from which to explore the rich diversity of Jim Corbett. Located on the fringes of the park, you have wild boars and tuskers as surprise visitors at night. The 18 cottages here offer cozy sit-outs (some with private pools) and vintage interiors done up in earthy tones. Feast on authentic Kumaoni fare, or pizzas whipped up at a live counter. Or, opt for a sunrise breakfast or high-tea by the Kosi River—you certainly won’t be short of things to do here. A dip in the jacuzzi or your private pool is the perfect way to end the day. Doubles from Rs14,300. Website
Aahana–The Corbett Wilderness
Located on the southern edge of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, this eco-resort spread over 11 acres and surrounded by dense foliage, is an easy place from which to go exploring the national park and spotting the elusive tiger. Dotting the property are rustic-style rooms, suites and villas. When you’re not out wildlife spotting, head to the spa or naturotherapy centre on site for some downtime. Doubles from Rs14,000. Website
Overlooking the Sitabani Mountains with the River Kosi and lush gardens for company, this upscale boutique resort offers all the mod-cons in the middle of the forest. The rooms and suites here are tastefully done up in soothing hues. Head out for nature walks or opt for a jungle safari. There are plenty of indoor games to keep you occupied once dusk sets in. Doubles from Rs9,905. Website
Vanghat–The Wildlife Lodge, Corbett
Claiming to be one of the remotest wildlife lodges in the region, this sustainable and eco-friendly property located inside the Kalagarh Tiger Reserve offers no-frills accommodation, but the diverse wildlife more than makes up for it. There are nine cottages (four mud and thatched, and five stone cottages), each themed around a different group of wildlife.
Take a walk through tiger country with one of the local guides, where you may just spot the big cat, or you can also choose to go birding, angling and other wildlife excursions where you can spot herds of wild Asian elephants among other indigenous species. Meals are a homely affair with a smattering of Indian and Tibetan specialties. You can even choose to spot wildlife from the watchtower overlooking the saltlick and water holes. Doubles from Rs10,500. Website