Journeys on the Elephant
Journeys on the elephant is an exclusive safari on elephant back through the famous Corbett Tiger Reserve, India’s first and one of its finest Tiger Reserve. Nesting in the foothills of the Mighty Himalayas, the Corbett Tiger Reserve lies mainly in the hilly districts of Nainital, Almora and Pauri Garhwal in the state of Uttaranchal.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeCamping, Family
Activity Level Easy
Group Size Medium Group
Journeys on the elephant is an exclusive safari on elephant back through the famous Corbett Tiger Reserve, India’s first and one of its finest Tiger Reserve. Nesting in the foothills of the Mighty Himalayas, the Corbett Tiger Reserve lies mainly in the hilly districts of Nainital, Almora and Pauri Garhwal in the state of Uttaranchal. The Safari is a great combination of various ways to observe wildlife, the main attraction being riding the Pachyderm for a whole week. The Safari starts from the Northeastern side part of the reserve from the Durgadevi gate and continuous along the northern boundary ending at Halduparao on the northwestern boundary. Besides being on the elephant the tour plan includes various activities including Game drives into the national park and Birdwatching hikes, Village visits, Visits to various tribes in the area, learning to ride the elephant, elephant baths to name a few.
The Journey begins as we enter the Ramganga valley and onwards crossing over to the Mandal valley, covering some varied tracts of forest and ending in the Beautiful Forest Resthouse of Halduparao in the Palain Valley. The wildlife observed on the trip also varies as we pass through different terrains and some common species sighted are the the Elephant, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Sambar, Ghoral (Mountain goat), Rhesus & Langur monkey, Wild boar, Jackal, Civets, Porcupine, etc. The Rare ones include the Bengal Tiger, Leopard and a variety of lesser cats, Hog deer, Sloth & Himalayan bear. The Mugger or the fresh water Crocodile, Gharial, Otters, turtles and a variety of fishes (Masheer, Goonch, Trout, etc.) are seen in and around the Ramganga River. Reptile species include Monitor Lizard king Cobra, Python, etc. Corbett is also a bird watcher’s paradise and some of the Avian attractions include Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Hornbills Parakeets, Shrikes, Barbets, Drongos, Minivets, Barheaded Goose, Black necked Storks, Variety of Owls, Peacocks, Kaleej Pheasants, Black Partridge, etc. Raptors like Pallas Fishing Eagle, Serpent Eagle, harriers and Kites are also commonly seen.
Arrive at Camp Forktail Creek
Depart from Delhi / Home Destination early morning. Arrive at the Camp Forktail Creek by lunch.
Evening walk into the surrounding forest to observe the flora and fauna of the area. Back to camp by sundown for campfire and barbecue. Dinner and overnight at camp.
Camp Forktail Creek to Lohachaur
Early morning depart for the durgadevi gate and enter the tiger reserve on the elephants. The journey takes you through a stretch of about 16 kms through the Ramganga valley to Lohachaur – an old forest rest house built in the early 1900’s. Enroute you shall pass through some excellent patches of fern laden moist sub tropical jungles and would hope to encounter a variety of wildlife. Lunch is served at Domunda – the confluence point of the Ramganga and mandal rivers. Post lunch we trudge up the mandal valley where we visit the ‘chunars’ – a hill tribe who carve pots out of wood. Arrive at Lohachaur by evening. Overnight in the forest rest house / tents.
Lohachaur to Kanda
Depart early morning upstream along the mandal river towards Maidavan Chowki.
The mandal river forms a part of the northern boundary of the tiger reserve. Breakfast enroute. Post breakfast travel on through small hamlets and patches of thick sal forest to arrive at Maidavan Chowki. Lunch is served at Maidavan and post lunch we drive in jeeps to kanda the highest forest rest house in the tiger reserve. Kanda located atop a ridge on the shivalik ranges is at an altitude of about 1100m and commands a breathtaking view of the dhikala chaur and the ramganga reservoir. Overnight in the forest rest house/tents.
Kanda to Dhikala and back
Early morning game drives into the national park with a packed breakfast. Lunch at dhikala and evening game drive back to kanda. Overnight in the forest rest house/ tents.
Kanda to Mundiapani
Early morning depart by jeeps to Rathuadhab forest rest house where we meet the Elephants and the mahouts. Breakfast at Rathuadhab and onward we travel on the elephant to mundiapani forest rest house. Overnight in the forest rest house/tents.
Mundiapani to Gujjar Dera (Palain Valley)
Darly morning ride on the elephants towards the palain valley. Breakfast at Vatanvasa Gate. After breakfast we carry on upstream along the palain river. Arrive at the Gujjar Dera by lunch. The rest of the afternoon is spent with the gujjars – a semi nomadic tribe that is also the most prominent tribe in the area. Overnight at the Gujjar Dera in tents.
Gujjar Dera to Haldupardao
Early morning ride the elephants downstream on the Palain river towards Haldupardao forest rest house. This is pure elephant country and one can expect to see Elephant herds besides other wildlife enroute. Arrive at the Haldupardao forest rest house by noon. Post lunch a game drive into the sonanadi wildlife sanctuary – a buffer sanctuary to the Corbett National Park. Overnight in the forest rest house and tents.
Depart for Delhi
Bid goodbye to the elephants, mahouts, naturalist and the rest of the team and depart for delhi after breakfast. Packed lunch enroute. Arrive at delhi via kotdwar by evening.
We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.
In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.
Please take a few minutes to read the following:
The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.
Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.
Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.
Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.
Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.
Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.
- Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
- Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
- Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
- Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.
The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at [email protected] to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).
Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.
- Hotel 2-3 star Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara on twin sharing basis
- All transportation
- Aquaterra Adventures Trip leader being assisted by a Nepalese Trek leader
- Experienced Trekking “Chef”
- 1 porter between three trekkers
- Good clothing for porters and crew
- Food for porters & crew members
- Insurance for crew and porters
- All permits
- Twin sharing room on trek
- All meals on trek
- Domestic airfare.
Booking conditions: All bookings are subject to availability of space at Camp. We book space on a 100% advance. All payments by wire transfer, cash or cheque/draft in favor of “Aquaterra Adventures (I) Pvt. Ltd.”
Tips & Gratuities: Our recommendation is a minimum 5-10% of your trip cost for tips to be distributed amongst the team that makes your adventure safe and successful. This includes drivers, guides, cook, kitchen team, porters and horsemen. Of course, this remains a personal choice.
If it becomes necessary to cancel your tour, you must notify Aquaterra Adventures India Pvt. Ltd. immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:
- if cancellation takes place more than 45 days prior to departure, your full deposit
- will be returned except a processing charge of Rs. 5000 or US$ 77 ; (60 days for Brahmaputra trip)
- if cancellation takes place between 45 and 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the
- tour price will be forfeited (between 60 and 30 days for Brahmaputra trip); and
- if cancellation takes place less than 30 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour price will be forfeited.
Some trips attract a minimum processing charge – please check.
The tour price is quoted as a package. No partial refunds or credit will be given for services not used. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance upon booking.