Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore

Tripoto
14th Jan 2018
Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore by Akash Singhal

Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest wildlife national park (~500 sq kms area) of India known specially for tiger conservation. It's one of the main tourism destination in Rajasthan attracting lacs of wildlife enthusiasts every year.

Best Time to visit Ranthambore

The best time to visit Ranthambore is in the months of November to March when the weather is cold and pleasant. April to June are the hotter months and I suggest to avoid them.

The national park is closed in the monsoons - 1st July to 30th September.

Reaching Ranthambore

By flight: The closest airport is Sanganer International Airport in Jaipur which is ~180 Kms from Ranthambore. One can get to the airport and get easily a cab or bus.

By Train: There is no railway line in Ranthambore. The nearest railway station is Sawai Madhopur from where one can get a cab or board a public transport bus to Ranthambore.

By Road: Ranthambore is very well linked with all the major cities (Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, and Jodhpur) and towns through state cab service and it can be reached by cab or private vehicle easily.

Distance by road: Delhi - 480 km (via Dausa), Jaipur - 180 km (via Tonk)

Wildlife/Tiger Safari Booking

Every day, there are two slots for Safari. Every slot spans for 3.5 hours. The morning/first slot is from ~7 to 10:30 while the afternoon slot is from 2-5:30. I suggest to go for morning slot as the safari experience is more enjoyable in the morning breeze and mild sunlight as opposed to the hard sun and sand in the afternoon slot.

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 1/7 by Akash Singhal
Ranthambore Safari Timings

There are two mediums of booking:

1. Online

This was very very confusing for me as I could not find exactly where to pre-book my seats for Jungle Safari. Like most other people, when you google for online booking for Jungle Safari, the first link you probably get is : https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/query.html

I also booked through this but received no mail or confirmation. And had to face trouble when we reached at the booking counter.

The actual link for the booking is:

http://fmdss.forest.rajasthan.gov.in/BookOnlineTicket/BookOnlineTicket

This requires SSO login (Rajasthan Single Sign-On) which is done by registering on https://sso.rajasthan.gov.in

Notes

- The online application should be done minimum 1 day prior to the safari date

- You have to reach booking counter atleast 45 minutes prior to the safari timing

2. Offline

This is old & simple way for the booking by getting in queue at the booking counter.

Zones & Sighting Points

The park is divided in total 10 zones from Zone 1 to Zone 10. Zone 1 to Zone 5 are considered good zones with the higher probability of sighting the tiger while Zone 5-10 are located in the outer part as buffer zones.

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 2/7 by Akash Singhal

There are lots of small lakes and water bodies where one can see lots of crocodiles chilling out around the water.

Vehicles - Gypsy vs Canter

There are two kind of safari vehicles utilized in the National Parks of India. One is Gypsy SUV which can accommodate maximum 6 people while second type is canter(an open bus) which can accommodate ~20 individuals at a time.

Gypsy has a few more advantages over the canter:

- Gypsy being smaller, is easier to manoeuvre than canter during safari and can also access narrow trails and difficult terrains which otherwise are not possible with bulky canter.

- In canter, since you are traveling with 20 other people, you don't have much control over canter while in case of Gypsy, you are the one to decide where to stop and when to move.

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 3/7 by Akash Singhal
Wildlife safari in Canter

Demography

While most of the other national parks of India and outside are covered with evergreen forests, the Ranthambore National Park is formed of dry deciduous forest. 85% of the forest is consists 'Dhok Tree' with small leaves which are shed off in the winters, thus providing better visibility of tigers and other wildlife.

Two river flows through the forest: Chambal & Banas

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 4/7 by Akash Singhal
Antelopes grazing the roots of water-grass and crocodiles enjoying the winter sun

Wildlife

Here 6 species from cat family are found:

Big cats:- 1. Tiger 2. Leopard 3. Karakal

Small Cats:- 4. White Small 5. Rusty spotted 6. Fishing cat

Scavengers are very nocturnal here. Two species are majorly found: 1. Indian Golden Jackal 2. Hyena

Deers are very common and have good population. Two types of deers can be found here:

Antlers: These type change their horn every year

Spotted dear & Sambhar deer are ones from the antler category

Antelopes: They do have their horns permanently

Blue bull & Indian Gazelle are from antelopes category

In Ranthambore National Park, no animal/tiger is traced with GPS device or any technology. They are spotted with experience like footprint following etc.

Interesting Facts about Tigers and Lions

Lions stay in group and the group is led by the female while male are lazy ones and fed by lioness only.

Whereas, tigers (male as well as female) remain alone in its own territory and are totally independent. There are only two exceptional cases, one is mating in which tiger and tigress can be seen together and other after a tigress gives birth to cubs.

Tigress take care of her cubs for around a year and then after she kicks them off to make them choose their own territory. Sometimes, when tiger cub is stronger than mother, he/she throws off his/her mother out of the territory too.

Tigers mark their territory by spraying off their urine or marking with their jaws. They frequently walk in their region from end-to-end for the confirmation of the security of their territory.

My Experience

We were a group 5 people. We reached Ranthambore at 6 in the morning. We navigated to the tiger reserve directly so we reached the national park entry gate which was closed so we decided to wait for it to open but after a while, after we asked a couple of people over there, we got to know, first we have to go to the booking counter which was 5 Kms in the other direction. So we rushed to the booking counter.

On reaching there, we tried to get a booking in zone 1-5 but it was not available in the morning slot. So we decided to go for the 2nd shift (the afternoon slot).

Till then, we went to Ranthambore fort, Ganesh Temple and Rajiv Gandhi Museum. In the second slot, we got zone 4 which has a few water bodies and lots of deers.

While, it's literally very rare to spot a tiger and sometimes people are unsuccessful to spot a tiger even after taking 4-5 safaris, but to our luck, we got to spot the tiger T-84 (Arrowhead) and move with it for almost 20 minutes

Rufous treepie

Treepie are the birds which clean tiger teeth. These birds are in general very playful and brave(That's ovbious no! :P). Following are couple of picture of my mom and dad playing with the treepies.

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 5/7 by Akash Singhal
My mother playing with treepies :P

This time, I did not carry my camera so the pictures are only taken from my phone which are not as good but soon I will visit again to get some good pictures for you.

Other Places to visit in Ranthambore

Ranthambore Fort

Apart from wildlife safari, one can plan to go to the majestic Ranthambore Fort. It is ~1100 years old historical fort with massive walls and a has a pretty good view from the top. This is located 5 Kms from the wildlife reserve entry gate.

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 6/7 by Akash Singhal
32-pillar canopy (locally known as ' battis kambha chhattri') in Ranthambore Fort

Trinetra Ganesh Temple

Trinetra or Three-eyed Ganesha temple is one of the oldest temples in Rajasthan. It was built by King Hammer of Ranthammbore

Photo of Wildlife Safari in Ranthambore 7/7 by Akash Singhal
Ranthambore Ganesh Temple

TL;DR

This is an amazing place for wildlife enthusiast and photographers. You should definitely visit if you are atleast one of the two.

Visit in months of November - February if possible.

Try to book the safari online in advance.

Get a gypsy rather than canter if you are in group of ~6.

Don't forget about zone! Get a booking in one of the main zones 1-5. It's highly unlikely to spot a tiger in buffer zones (6-10).

Carry a good DSLR if possible. That's fun! ;)

Finally, Not everything can be experienced reading this blog. You pack your bags and get the on-ground experience. I am pretty sure, you will learn a lot!

Happy tiger sighting :)

2 Comment(s)
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Wow, it was so fun reading your post, it made me add this place to my travel bucket list.. Loved the treepies! :) Good detailed info in a very well structured manner (reminds me of your coding style!), you even have the Tiger's name in the post, keep it up buddy! :)
Fri 01 19 18, 00:22 · Reply (1) · Report
Hey Ashish! I am really glad that you liked it. Thanks for the patience to go through it all and noticing all the details :)
Fri 01 19 18, 18:42 · Report
You have included everything in the article; from all the required information to your personal experience(in most cases it is difficult to find both things together). Thank you for informing me about an unknown territory!
Thu 01 18 18, 18:14 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing thoroughly. :D Stay tuned for more :P
Fri 01 19 18, 14:52 · Report