Let me take you on a epic photo journey of how a typical safari is with a cherry on the top; spotting the tiger unveils at probably any sanctuary in India. This is on my recent trip to Ranthambore, one of the best tiger national parks in India just 3 hrs drive from Jaipur. I had booked 3 safaris which i think should be the least one should do to be lucky to spot the big cats here. After 2 futile drives and a sore back from the bumpy ride, something inside me said that the third drive will yield something. So we start driving towards the zone 3 & 4, the ones having regular spotting. As usual the naturalist will wait many times pointing at fresh pug marks (we saw many without seeing the feet that made them in first 2 drives) saying to the driver ‘Geele hain abhi pani peeke gayi hogi’ and you think in your mind ya right!
So we reach the lake 2, and we see all the vehicles of zone 4 gathered looking intently at one spot..they found the tiger! Oh, that is one such jealous moment, and you end up saying wish I was there.
As we stood there for over 45 minutes hoping the tiger would walk out towards the water, but alas no luck. You can imagine the disappointment, being just 100 meters from the zone but not being permitted to enter. So after a wait in the scorching heat, he reversed our vehicle thinking how lucky for the zone 4 privileged people!
Suddenly we see a lot of fast vehicle movement on the left bank of the lake; it was another tiger! We were again 100 meters away..you will know what I mean, try spotting the tiger in the picture...yeah any luck?
And let me show you what I mean by a sighting..sorry the images have been cropped a lot..remember I told you I was 100 meters away!!
So now why on earth are only we not getting the tiger!! I think our driver also felt offended, and he reversed the canter a full 360 and started speeding..we holding tight not wanting to fall off.
So finally, our naturalist take a call to stop the vehicle as per his judgement, saying the Tiger will walk this direction. And it is that moment when it happens, and you spot the beauty. This is young tigress marking her territory, walking elegantly in front of us. We got a very good sighting, with she walking alongside us…it's a moment your heart skips a beat.
As we headed back to our cottages, feeling a rush of stories ready for all the others who did not see anything. On the final safari, I had an even rare spotting than the tiger, the sloth bear or ‘Bhallu’. Usually a shy animal, difficult to spot because of dark color, he graced us with a long walk in front of us for a water break. Head to Ranthambore when you can, you might spot the big cat or not…but being there anticipating, identifying marks & speeding desperately will be an experience in itself.
This trip was originally published on DIFFERENT APERTURE