When Australian Enchanting Travels guest Rebecca Atkinson traveled to India in November 2012, she hoped she’d be lucky to witness a wild tiger on safari. In fact she was luckier than she ever imagined.
We were very lucky and managed to see at least one tiger on three of the safaris.
Our first two safaris were tiger-free but the scenery and other wildlife kept us occupied, from lakes with former hunting palaces reflected in them to herds of spotted deer and a glimpse or two of the male blue antelope (who is actually a blue/grey color).
The park is also home to over 250 types of birds which flock to the manmade lakes that dot the park. It is common to see different kingfishers, owls, ducks, wading birds and storks.
Our guides were knowledgeable on all the wildlife and spent time pointing out the different birds, the history of the area and answering questions on the animals we saw.
Call of the Jungle
On our third safari we heard the sambar deer straight away making its warning call and we went in search of the deer’s location.
We found the deer quickly but after 10-15 minutes the guide decided as it was still early afternoon the tiger was not yet keen to move and so we went in search of other wildlife.
About an hour later and just as the heat of the day was starting to go we headed back to the location of the sambar deer and the possible tiger location.
As we approached the area we spotted in the undergrowth the tiger! It was T25 (Dollar) a male tiger.
We were in awe of his beauty and grace as he moved silently through the undergrowth and at times he was very hard to spot.
We watched and followed him for about 15 minutes and would have gone home extremely happy with this one sighting, but our sightings just got better and better…
The next morning was a similar story. The deer told us that there was a tiger nearby but we could not see any, so we went off again for an hour or so until the heat of the sun started to warm up the air.
We then headed back to the potential tiger area.
This time we waited for 30 minutes and drove around the riverbed area. Just as we were about to leave the guide spotted a tiger (T17) followed quickly by her three cubs.
The excitement grew as mum walked directly towards us and then within a meter or so of the road, she lay down. The cubs were a bit shy and for most of the time stayed behind mum but we could clearly see two of them.
The third cub came out, saw us and then quickly hid behind some bushes.
We thought that this was the best sighting you could get, but we were wrong…
The final safari held the best and most amazing sighting of tigers and was the highlight of our trip. On this safari the tigers had made it easy for us as they had walked on a sandy road leaving many tracks.
All we had to do was to follow their paw prints a couple of kilometers to a large clearing, where we spotted three cubs.
The cubs were T19’s and at approximately 22 months old were growing fast.
Our guide thought that T19 herself was most probably out hunting for their breakfast as there was no sign of her.
We watched the cubs for over 30 minutes and during this time they got up and started to walk towards us in our gypsy (jeep), and so our guide just kept moving us slowly away from the tigers and they continued to walk up the road towards us.
This was slightly scary when you think that three nearly adult tigers (who were apparently waiting for mum to return with food) came within meters of us and if they wanted to, we felt, could have easily had us for breakfast.
The photograph is of these three cubs.
We know that we were extremely lucky to have spotted eight tigers during our stay at Ranthambore.
We met other guests who did not see a single one but most people we met saw at least one tiger or group of tigers during their stay.
Would you like to experience a tiger safari during your India tour?