Let’s get one thing straight, the whole motivation for this safari experience, wasn’t really to see wildlife in general, nope. It was to see tigers in Ranthambore – that’s what everyone was excited about and looking out for – the tigers.
We’d leave the hotel at 6.30am 😴 (since tigers hunt early and sleep most of the rest of the day) and seeing a tiger is the main attraction….we’d be back at the hotel for breakfast by around 10.30am at the latest.
That said, the National park (split into several zones) is home to over 250 types of bird, 12 reptiles and 30 different mammals, so there’s a lot more to see than just tigers.
Jeeps are only permitted within approx 20 percent of the park, while the rest is uninterrupted by humans.
Speeding off at what felt like at least 100mph, gripping tightly to whatever we could get hold of, two of the morning game-drives got off to a very cold and dark start.
There were lots of jeeps taking small groups of 4-6 people (sometimes with people from other hotels), and each jeep passenger was provided with a much needed thick heavy blanket.
Hats and gloves were absolutely necessary too. 🧤 🧣
Wild boar and domestic pigs making a very early start on breakfast, munching through rubbish on the sides of the road, sometimes joined by the odd cow, as we whizzed by.
Two game-drives in, I’d seen some interesting wildlife and beautiful scenery, but no tigers.
The very first animal I saw was a hare/rabbit, trying to out-run the jeep along the well driven road track. 🐰
Giselle, antelope (which are huge, not like a small deer – more like a small horse), hyena, water buffalo, monkeys and partridges (the ‘ partridge in a pear tree’ type) were amongst the wonderful wildlife we encountered.
We literally chased the hyena away, poor thing – it seemed a bit nervous that we were watching and following, then it literally jumped a wall, crossed a road and went back into the park on the the other side.
Apparently, tigers also cross this road at times, and the guide said he’d seen them when driving along, many times.
So why did the tiger cross the road….? (Answers on a postcard please 😄).
We saw the nooks and crannies in cliffs where vultures like to nest and leopards prefer to go for a walk.
We saw bear prints, but no bears, tiger paw prints, but no tigers.
Oh, and lots and lots of peacocks.
Need the Loo?
Having never been on a safari before, this was a whole new thing for me – like the toilet breaks (which our guide referred to as ‘a natural toilet break’) in the bushes – keeping an eye out for tigers, leopards and bears while you’re at it – I’m serious. 🚽
There was a point where we passed a fire wall (wall built in the wilderness to help slow the spread of any potential fires); the driver suggested ‘us’ ladies might want to go behind it for a toilet break!!! The offer was declined.
Tip 😉 don’t drink too much before your (very bouncy) jeep ride – and I don’t mean alcohol, but I’d advise against that too!!
I think there were one or two portable loos – depending on where you were, but this national park is so vast, there’s no guarantee you’ll be near one.
We drove through dry rivers, that would normally be gushing with water during the rainy monsoon season.
We stopped numerous times while the driver tried to excite us by saying ‘Shhhhhhh’, ever so dramatically, signalling for us to listen out for a distress call from the dear, or the monkeys, to help us locate a tiger.
By the third and final game-drive, I’d almost given up and wondered whether it would be worth being up and ready to leave at 6.30am for the hotel pick up.
This guide was a no-nonsense guide. He’s what we’d been waiting for our whole life (in terms of tiger spotting).
He had bags of authority, and was telling other jeeps off for breaking little rules and kept telling us that “today we will NOT be stopping for anymore dear, no more antelope, no more – we’re going to find a tiger” and he was super confident about it too – I think he’d already had the heads up about where to find one.
We were in zone 4 this time.
He made a few calls and next the next thing you know, in a matter of fact tone, he pointed and declared “there’s a tiger there”.
In a blink we’re spinning 180 degrees at break neck speed, dust in the air and zooming off to ‘wherever’ the tiger was.
Oh happy day!!! 🎊 🎉
Speeding like there was no tomorrow!!! The stuff of action movies.
Then it happened…..
Wow x 100!!!! There must have been at least half a dozen jeeps in the area, but our guide made sure we weaved into the best spot.
This was probably the highlight of my entire India trip.
We saw two female tigers and some cubs hidden in long grass.
One of the females came and stood a few meters away from our jeep – she was in hunting mode, and looked as if she was listening/looking/waiting keenly into the distance….we tried not to disturb her!
Thankfully she decided not to jump up on the jeep and have one of us for breakfast!
It all sounds a bit ‘yeah whatever’ until you experience this sort of thing yourself.
I don’t think you really know how you’re going to feel – honestly, my heart was racing, I was so excited, scared and quite humbled all at the same time – pretty emotional.
A fellow traveller sat next to me in the jeep literally grabbed and shook me with a silent excited scream as soon as we saw the tiger walking towards us – it was a crazy moment, one I’ll never forget. 🤩
I mean, how are you ‘supposed’ to act when you see a magnificent tiger walking towards you, calmly, gracefully, with only the sound of bird calls in the air.
I kept wondering if another tiger might creep up and pounce from behind – I mean how many were there in the area, not to mention leopards – which some others from my group were lucky enough to see.
She (Ms tiger) didn’t seem remotely interested in all the jeeps and people gawping at her, camera buttons clicking away – she was quite the celebrity, very comfortable with her audience, unaffected by the limelight!! Fabulous.
I couldn’t believe how close we got, to admire this beautiful, majestic animal, in her territory, especially when she finally gave us a quick glance and casually strode past the side of our vehicle…..at which point we were revving the engine again, to follow in hot pursuit, on our guide’s, command.
We also saw her sister too, with some teenage cubs not far away.
Tiger cubs grow up seeing the jeeps come and go, they’re used to seeing us….
Apparently, none of the tigers are microchipped – they used to chip them, but found that it started to interfere with their reproductive behaviour, and the females stopped getting pregnant, so the chips were removed.
Alarm Bells 🚨
I was slightly concerned about just how exposed we were in our small, low level jeeps – especially when one of our guides confirmed that tigers will often come right up to the jeep. Right up to the door. Hmmmm…..
Despite their apparent lack of protection from wild tigers, the jeeps did deserve a medal.
No really, they did – how they crunched over some of those awkward rocks and dealt with some pretty tricky bumps I’ll never know.
Others (in another jeep) had a puncture, and they all had to get out of their jeep while the tyre was changed…..again, just keeping a close watch for tigers, leopards and bears – nothing to worry about!
Not all Golden Triangle Tours include a Ranthambore safari, but I’d highly recommend it, I didn’t realise it would turn out to be the best part of my tour until after I’d done it!! 🙌
67 thoughts on “On Safari in India: Stalking Tigers in Ranthambore”
Wow. THAT is something. Beautiful animals. Sadly they are diminishing.
Yes the diminishing numbers have been a sad reality – though they claim the tiger population is increasing in India, thanks to the nature reserves – I hope that continues 😊
Nice post. We had a wonderful time in 2 tiger reserves in India!
Ahhh lovely – you know just how exciting it is, a very worthwhile experience 😊
Awesome photos! This looks like an amazing adventure!
Thanks Micheal – for me, it really was 😊
Wow, what a fantastic experience! Great post!
It was definitely my highlight, I’d recommend it – thanks for taking a look 🐯💫
Very nice article, I enjoyed it.
Wow, sounds like a fabulous trip and your pictures are gorgeous!
Thank you so much for taking a look, it was a very exciting experience for me, and I’m really glad I can share some of it 🤗 Best wishes 💫
It was so cool to see the video of the tiger!
Thank you 😊I’ll never forget it!!
You were very lucky to have the rare experience of spotting a tiger. Our February experience at Periyar Tiger Reserve in South India was exciting but there were no tigers.
You can read about this on my latest blog if you wish.
Thanks for the link – I’ll definitely take a look, I’m hearing similar things from others who have gone on similar trips – tigers seem very elusive!! I really appreciate those moments, we saw no tigers on the first two attempts – on the third, we were very lucky indeed 🙏 Hopefully they’ll make an appearance for you on a future trip 🤞🤞
Majestic tigers! I have seen this type of tiger up close in Zurich. Awesome trip you have.
Fantastic – they’re so so majestic…..did you see them on a safari trip?
No while on holiday in Zurich with the relatives we went to a circus. They’re are fenced in but we can come so close to them they seemed so tame haha!
Oh, wow!! Those looks were probably very deceiving lol 🐯
Yes agree! haha! soon will post some pending travel post from Switzerland please wait on it and thanks a bunch for reading some of my post too!
Feel free to drop me your links too, and happy future travels 🔆
Thanks Cherryl but if you click FOLLOW button you will be notified. I will post some travel backlogs in Switzerland last December-January 2019.
So very happy for you. 🙂 (Saw many lions and cheetahs in Africa, but since I haven’t beeb to India -yet- no tiger of course.) Those open jeeps would have made me very uncomfortable in Africa. I wouldn’t have done it then. So maybe tiger and lion behaviour is different.
Thanks for sharing.
I’d love to see what you’ve seen, African safaris sound like the ultimate (such.a range of animals)….but I’d probably be less blasé about the jeeps/protection….all it takes is for one very curious or hungry animal for things to go wrong – best to play it safe 🤗
Better safe than sorry. 🙂 I have started a series of posts on my “African childhood”. I can send you the links if you like… 😉
(I never post a link to my blog on someone else’s unless invited to…)
Stay safe, Cherryl. Indoors as much as you can despite what politicos say. France is in lockdown, Mexico where we live, is starting to shut schools and universities down.
“Play it safe”. 😉
Please do – send me the links, I don’t mind at all – I’d love to read them – I ‘m forever curious now 🤗……playing it safe in the UK – it’s all a bit wishy washy over here….plenty of recommendations but no unified national call to action like other nations, but thank you 😊I will veer toward playing it safe – stay safe over in Mexico too 🙏
Links sent. At least some. I have done close to a dozen african childhood posts… They’re easy. Plenty of material available.
One of the learnings of this virus, is the return to total international selfishness. International cooperation seems to be in agony… I do hope it will pick up afterwards. Despite what many politicos anywhere claim, all our nations are just too small.
Sadly, this ‘thing’ is tapping into the base nature of a lot of us – and the selfish side is very visible….let’s just hope there are enough of us that will look out for each other.
Very much so. As in war, I think we will be able to soon sort the people of bravery and value from the creeps… Of course we probably already had an inkling but it will become patent. I hope your parents, if they’re still around are staying put. Our MD daugther has practically locked us up. 🙂
Lol, you’re daughter is absolutely right, now isn’t the time for bravado 😐, too risky…and yes (thank you) mine are both in a pretty good place at the moment, thankfully. What a start to the year…., hopefully it will progress into and end on an equally intense high note 😉🙏
Good for them. Time to stay home a bit. On a positive note, I think this may lead to significant changes in society and politics… Hopefully.
Yes – I think so too, in lots of ways….it’s certainly highlighting a lot of the inequality around employment rights/protection between different employers, which has been long overdue for address……hopefully a lot of people will be better off after this tails off.
Maybe stpes will be taken to address this inequality. Hopefully. Most certainly health budgets will be restored. I understand NHS in the UK is in bad shape. The French system too. Not to mention here in Mexico. Fingers crossed.
Here are a few links:
There are more posts on the subject. If you have time and are interested, related posts should be mentioned at the bottom of each of those links.
Great – I’ll take a good look soon…. one good thing about being home more is that I can indulge in a bit more blog binging – that might be the plan this weekend!!
Have a lovely week-end then. 😉
All the best for the week ahead 🧐
The next two weeks will be critical. Everywhere. Be good.
You too – take care!
Stunning, Cherryl. So glad you got to see them, Such a unique experience and such a privilege. God bless these wonderful creatures….all of them…beautiful birds, wild dogs, all!
Yes, it was an incredible privilege to experience nature and these gorgeous animals in the wild 🦜seeing them live freely – God bless them indeed, all of them!! 🙏 Thanks for reading Yeti 😊
Really interesting! Take care and thank you for following.
Thanks for reading – Best wishes 🤗
We didn’t see any tigers at all on our visit … but we had been warned these are wild animals, and didn’t appear to order. There was plenty of other wildlife, though … there has to be, for the tigers to eat!. So, we weren’t too disappointed, and always have the excuse for a future visit.
Yes, you’re right – it’s a brilliant experience regardless of the tiger sighting, but fingers crossed for a (possible) next time 🤞😉
Beautiful! Just saying 😉
Lol thanks – beautiful place!! 🤗
That was such a wonderful post to read; Thank You!
Tigers and cheetahs would have to be two of my most favourite cats. They are both so regal.
I can understand how you must have felt being so close to the tigers. When visiting one of our ‘outback’ zoos in Australia I stood some 20 metres from two cheetah brothers. There was a high wire fence separating us from them and yet I still felt their power and majesty as they walked and pounced upon high rocks and trees. Enormously breathtaking. I know I would love the tour you had.
As for the hyenas. I didn’t know, until recently, how very big they are. I watched a documentary where a man had raised some from birth and allowed them (in the main) to act more like dogs. His body paled in size and strength next to them. He stated that he was always aware of their propensity to return to their natural wild state… hmmmmmm..
By the way: I also enjoyed your videos… What a great experience!
Thank you for having a read and a ‘watch’ Carolyn, I really appreciate it 🔆 Cheetah’s are beautiful – I’d love to see them up close too…I’ve always had this naive notion of them being very slim and small, and perhaps not quite as ‘wild/threatening’ as lions and tigers – which is probably silly really 😊
Hahah… Yes, they are more slender (sleek) and smaller than the tiger. However, Cheryl, they are very impressive. I’m very pleased to have seen them up close, but, with a fence in between. I know I wouldn’t stand a chance of surviving an attack. Such incredibly powerful animals. I adore them!
Hopefully, we’ll both get to see the other (tiger or cheetah) in some future experience. 🙂
Yes, lets hope so Carolyn 🐯👀
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Your photos are breathtaking, Cherryl. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!
You’re very welcome Terese, thank you, glad you enjoyed it!!!
It really was – thanks for reading
SueT唐 梦 琇
What a magnificent experience – I am in awe just reading about your adventure. Bit similar to me seeing the Big 5 in Kruger National Park. Truly amazing and for them to be out in the wild is even more special.
Thanks Sue…glad you enjoyed it….feel free to leave a link to yours, I love hearing and seeing everyone elses too….you’re so right though there is something quite indescribable about seeing such powerful animals on their own territory 👌💫 thanks for reading 🤗
SueT唐 梦 琇
I see you have seen a few of my posts Cherryl. My latest visit to Kruger will be the subject of my next post.
How exciting! On my trip there last year – we were not so lucky. It was our one regret of the trip and we wished we could stay another day and keep trying.
Awww, that’s such a shame, I thought it was going to end that way for me…I hope you enjoyed it all the same, and the rest of your India trip 🤗🕌
What an adventure!
Very much so 💫 🌟 ✨
Ranthambore will stick in my mind forever. An amazing experience. Only saw a tiger once..An astounding experience.
I agree, I underestimated just how much I’d enjoy it 🤗🌟 such a special experience.