If you are planning to visit the “Golden Triangle” (Delhi, Agra & Jaipur) it is definitely worth incorporating a trip to Ranthambore, considered to be the real life jungle book. A tiger safari to see one of the world’s most endangered species in their natural habitat, should be on every animal lovers bucket list.
But why was this safari so special in comparison to others? Let me share with you our story and you can judge for yourself.
Ranthamborne National Park is split into five different zones, each one beautiful in its own way, and all a tiger’s paradise.
Within 15 minutes of setting off in our canter, a tiger was spotted in the distance sitting on a rock. Wow, to catch a glimpse of one so quickly made us all feel relieved and happy. If nothing else happened over the next hour or so, at least we had seen a tiger!
We expected him to walk away, after all, tigers are known to be solitary animals. More often than not, they see you but you don’t see them. Un be-known to us, our luck was about to get better! A second tiger appeared from nowhere and sat on the rock nearby, now we had seen not one, but TWO tigers.
To our surprise, we then heard a kerfuffle from the bushes and the loud roar of a tiger! Well that was unexpected!!
We were told by the ranger, that the two tigers we had spotted were siblings. They were around two years old and of the age when they are still slightly playful with one another. At this age, however, they are starting to become independent, will shortly leave their mother to find their own territory, and become the solitude animals we know and love.
Now the real excitement begins...
Our canter was positioned in front of a Hindu monument dedicated to the God Shiva. All of a sudden, our focus shifted towards a tiger that came into view, and chose to sat down on the monument, right in front of us!
At first, the tiger sat with his back to us but after a short while he stood up, turned around and sat around 10 feet away. He looked directly at us; a drop of blood was visible next to his eye, a parting reminder of the play-fight early.
He sat majestically for some time twitching his ears like a huge powerful domestic cat. We felt truly blessed to be a part of this moment.
As my camera snapped away I said out loud “yawn for me, go on, open your mouth... you are feeling tired and very sleepy”. Would you believe it, he actually did – right on cue!
A walkie-talkie radio had been left by a ranger on the edge of Shiva’s monument, after all, they hadn't expected a Tiger to sit on it. Someone on the other end was talking into it, trying to reach the ranger. Just like a playful kitten, our tiger’s ears pricked up, eyes opened wider and he walked over to investigate the new “toy”.
He sat down for a short while in a sphinx-like pose – now this really showed off his beautiful markings and how graceful he looked.
Our guide was so taken aback by these events, he also wanted us to send photos, just like Veejay. He told us that in the 18 years he had been here, what we witnessed today was a once in a lifetime experience, one this park had never seen before.
We really felt like the privileged few and couldn’t believe what we had witnessed here, these visions would stay with us for the rest of our lives.
An hour spent with these stunning, regal animals has shown us that conservation efforts are working and the more money spent towards helping the true kings of the jungle will hopefully see their numbers increase*. This would then allow many happy memories for others to cherish.
* Since writing, I have discovered that for the first time ever, tiger numbers increased in 2016 – proof that places like Ranthamborne really do contribute hugely to the conservation of these magnificent creatures!
Are tigers one of your favourite animals? Would you like to go on a tiger safari, or have you already done one? Tell us in the comments section below.
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