We initially booked our trip to India to see the Taj Mahal and check off one more site from the 7 New Wonders of the World. Right before we decided to book the trip, I saw another itinerary that included safaris to look for the wild tigers of Ranthambore. This itinerary was a no brainer since I love tigers and have 2 tiger tattoos, and seeing them in the wild would be a dream come true. The added plus to this trip was to experience the different flavors of Indian food, considering this cuisine is one of our favorites.
On the long drive, we saw a very large group of men on the side of the road in a big circle. The bus driver pulled over so we could get a better look, and we weren’t sure what we were watching, but it turned out to be wrestling.
After check-in, we took a little time to rest before our dinner with the group. It was an early evening for us since our morning game drive started before sunset. It was a beautiful but chilly morning, and we probably should have worn something a little warmer, but the beautiful full moon made it worth the chill.
We waited about 15 minutes for the safari vehicles to show up; big green jeeps specifically customized to handle the rough terrain. Later we will see why these jeeps are custom made, but they need some cushions on the bars, lots of bruises from being bounced around. But the bruises come with the territory…lol If you have any stability issues sitting, I would not recommend the safari, it would be way too bumpy.
They provided blankets if we wanted them to help with the chill, and then we headed out for what we hope would be a tiger sighting. When we came across this beautiful walled gate, we knew we were entering the Ranthambore National Park.
The next three hours were spent looking for tigers, but the morning drive came up empty. We knew planning the trip that the chances were pretty low that we would see a tiger, but one could only hope. The reduced numbers of tigers, approximately 71 in Ranthambore National Park, and the total square miles (515) definitely have an impact on whether you will see one. We did learn that the park is divided into 10 zones. Zones one to five are considered premium and six thru ten are in the adjoining Sawai Madhopur and Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary. We remember being in zone 5 but can’t remember the other one.
We did see plenty of other animals and birds during the morning ride, so it wasn’t a bust, but I have to say I was a little sad we didn’t see a tiger, but I knew we still had one more drive in the afternoon.
The national bird of India is the peacock, and we saw plenty of them throughout the reserve.
I think we found Angry Bird too….otherwise known as a babbler.
And these birds were all over, and at one point when we stopped for a break, they would land all over us. So if you are ever in this park and start seeing these birds, get your camera ready.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Tiger Quest…..