I arrived at the dreaded reception center of Jim Corbett National Park
shortly before 7 a.m. this morning. Our driver from the previous 3 days’ safaris had promised to send a tout to assist me in obtaining a permit to stay at one of the lodges within the park, but to my dismay he failed to do so. While trying to sort things out, however, good luck intervened as I began speaking with the guy next to me. As it turned out, this stranger - Shyam - was a lawyer from Delhi and deals from time to time with my employer. Small world indeed! Anyway, seeing the unfortunate position I was in with respect to obtaining a bungalow inside the park, Shyam invited us to simply tag along with him and his family on their permit. We therefore obtained our permits for the lodge at Gairal for tonight through Shyam’s efforts.
Our hired jeep picked us up at Tiger Camp
at 1 p.m. and took us to the lodge at Gairal inside the park. As we neared the lodge, a male “tusker” (i.e., a male elephant with tusks) elephant occupied the road leading to the lodge, and he did not want to budge. When our jeep got too close, the elephant did a mock charge and held his ground. The elephant won that round, and we turned around the jeep and took an alternative route to get here to Gairal, thereby adding about half an hour to our trip.
Our safari started at around 4 p.m., and lasted three hours. We encountered completely different landscapes from those of the previous 3 days. For the first part of our safari, we drove along the Ramganga River through the Ramganga Valley and continued until we reached the grasslands near Dhikala, another tourist lodge inside the park. Thereafter we began making our way back here along the same route. During our game drive today, we enjoyed excellent game viewing. Wildlife we saw ncluded jackals, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, otters, wild boars, eagles, peafowl, gharials, marsh crocodiles and others. We did not see any tigers, but we are still 2 days out of 4, so i'm not complaining.
Tomorrow morning we are going on our last game drive here in Jim Corbett National Park
. It'd be nice to see one last tiger to finish things out nicely, though...