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CAMP CORBETT - A PARADISE FOR BIRDWATCHERS
(Visit our Website) (Birdlist (now 349 species) for Camp Corbett)
Located near Kaladhungi in the forested Himalayan foothills of Kumaon, north India, Camp Corbett is a paradise for the naturalist, birdwatcher, trekker, or for anyone of adventurous spirit wishing to experience the magnificent scenery and diverse wildlife of this fascinating region.
Established in 1987, Camp Corbett is owned and run by the Anand family, who are experienced naturalists as well as very hospitable hosts. The Camp overlooks the River Boar and faces the jungle-clad Siwalik Hills. Great care has been taken to create a small-scale jungle camp in harmony with its superb natural setting.
The Camp has 15 tastefully furnished cottages and several smaller jungle huts plus tented accomodation, suitable for groups, couples or individual travellers. All meals and light refreshments are included in the tariff. The Camp has a reputation for good quality food, both Indian and western. Evening meals are often served in the picturesque thatched roundhouse, which is the focal point of the Camp. Sitting here listening to the screaming alarm calls of spotted deer as the tiger prowls through the jungle night, is an unforgettable experience.
The Kaladhungi forests were made famous by the stories of Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter of man-eating tigers and leopards, who in later life was a pioneer conservationist and author. Jim had his winter home here in Kaladhungi, which is now preserved as a museum to his memory. Many of the places he wrote about can still be visited in the local forests.
The mixed deciduous forests and grassy glades surrounding the Camp form part of the extensive terai and bhabar tracts characteristic of the Siwalik foothills, and still contain an amazing diversity of fauna and flora. Although the Kaladhungi forests are Government owned, they do not form part of any wildlife reserve, so guests may explore the forest on foot accompanied by an experienced guide. This makes for far more interesting birding than the jeep drives usually undertaken inside Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Within a 30 minute walk from Camp Corbett, you can experience deep jungle-clad ravines, fast-flowing rivers, sal forest, mixed hill forest, bamboo groves, swamps, and open jungle glades surrounded by forest giants and cane creepers. Of course, each environment has its own particular avifauna, which helps explain the diverse bird life. The River Boar, flowing from north to south next to the Camp, is one of the most important “avian highways” in the foothills during the spring and autumn migrations. All this is framed by the 8000 ft Naini Tal Ridge in the background.
Fortunately, these forests are still home to resident tigers and leopards, although they are wary and tend to keep to dense cover. An early morning walk will frequently reveal fresh tiger or leopard tracks in the sandy riverbank or on the jungle paths. Small parties of elephants and lone tuskers pass through, sometimes visiting the Camp itself! Other resident animals include chithal or spotted deer, sambhar, barking deer, nilghai, sloth bear, wild boar, pine-marten, porcupine, mongoose, jungle cat, leopard cat, python, king cobra and monitor lizard.
To date, 317 species of birds have been recorded from the local area, although the true total is probably considerably higher. Many of these can be seen within the Camp grounds, which comprise about 10 acres of semi-natural scrub, grass and orchards. Jim Corbett himself commented in his autobiographical book “Jungle Lore”, which describes his childhood living in this area, that the Kaladhungi forests contained the greatest variety and numbers of birds that he had ever seen anywhere in the Himalayan foothills.
Corbett Tiger Reserve is 25 kilometres to the west, and can easily be visited by a day excursion, or for an overnight stay in a Forest Rest House. The reserve was the first Project Tiger sanctuary in India, and the first National Park. The scenery here is truly wild and breathtaking: majestic sal forest; wide expanses of elephant grass, and the gorges of the Ramganga river, with a backdrop of mountain ridges and peaks. Around 550 bird species have been recorded from the Reserve.
The best months for birds are mid-October to mid-April. February and March are best of all due to the large number of migratory species passing through.
Alternatively, just relax in Camp - and soak up the unique atmosphere of the Indian jungle!
UK/Europe Agent, and Naturalist for Camp Corbett and
Mountain Quail Camps:
Christopher Salt, Lower Sharptor, Henwood, Cornwall, PL14 5AT, United Kingdom
Camp Corbett, Corbett Nagar, Kaladhungi 263140, Naini Tal District, Uttaranchal, India
Mountain Quail Camp, Pangot 263001, Naini Tal District, Uttaranchal, IndiaFax: (91)-5942-35493
Phone: (91)-9811-010-616 (mobile)