Best for: Tigers, wild elephants (as opposed to the ones you can ride), crocodiles, 600 species of birds
Logistics: India’s first official national park is in the state of Uttarakhand, some 200 miles north of New Delhi in the foothills of the Himalayas. Two main entrances (Ramnagar and Bijrani) welcome guests on the west side of the park. The former is the best route to the park’s central reception center, but you’ll find vehicles for hire and guides at all three gates, including Dhangari—the best route to the park’s central reception center.
Most good hotels are located north of Ramnagar, and the majority will work with you to reserve a Jeep or elephant for touring. Drivers and guides stick to a network of roads, while safaris on elephants penetrate the jungle in search of tigers. Mammal sightings are best from March to June, while birds are best seen from mid-December to March; most of the park is closed June 15–mid-November.
Accommodations: Camp Forktail Creek is a low-key eco jungle camp on the periphery of Corbett Tiger Reserve, seven hours by car from Delhi, that provides tents with finished wood floors, private baths, and verandas; the camp supplies its own drivers and guides, and will also arrange elephant treks, a variety of guided excursions throughout the region of up to eight days, and local river fishing (doubles from $100; www.campforktailcreek.com).
Tip: The golden mahaseer—a large game fish called “tiger of the water”—is a favorite of anglers in the nearby Ramganga and Kosi Rivers; lodges (including Camp Forktail Creek) can arrange temporary fishing permits and guides.