Have you heard about the the famous Ranthambore Safari to see tigers in one of the best national parks in India! I hope you have if you want to spot regal tigers in the wilds of India, have a personal up close up encounter and explore an extremely gorgeous landscape! If so then going on a Ranthambore Safari in Rajasthan, India is perfect for you…And, even better, it is located only a few hours off the major tourist trail e.g. the ‘Golden Triangle’ and there are Ranthambore hotels a plenty! This is incredible place is often touted as being one of the best places to view tigers in the world, and while it is fair to say when I made my Ranthambore safari booking was sceptical (to say the least) I am now a total convert! I’m sure you will be too… I mean look at this, who could have imagined you could be this close to a tiger outside of a zoo!
Tigers here are used to be stared at and they seem to just take it in their stride [I mean if you have got it, flaunt it right?], and makes such a great contrast to Chitwan National Park in Nepal where everything is skittish and difficult to see! Here in Ranthambore National Park we were able to get right up close (from the inside of our Jeep, tours on feet are strictly forbidden for good reason!) with a mother tiger and her three cubs, along with two other male tigers! Such an incredible experience and it felt almost too easy to spot these gorgeous creatures as the dry, rocky outcrops covered in low grass meant you could see everything for quite a distance. Going on a Ranthambore National Park safari is like the cheat code for the National Parks of India – but you won’t be left feeling guilty as you will be too busy staring on one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth… and a few other animals as well!
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Ranthambore is part of India’s “Project Tiger” and has been a National Park in 1981.
Its not all about the tigers here though and we saw on our short trip plenty of deer, wild pigs, mongoose, monkeys, crocodiles and gorgeous, gorgeous peacocks (which gave the tigers are run for their money in the “Sexiest Animals of Ranthambore” category…
The park has been used in bygone areas by many humans and a huge, derelict Ranthambore fort [UNESCO certified even!] towers over the park reminding you who really is the top of the food chain. Similar smaller features dot the park providing a tantalizing mix of nature, history and wildlife.
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Tigers here are therefore relatively used to human interaction and don’t seem to be bothered by the jeeps, crossing the road in front of us multiple times. In fact these tigers are even famous for hunting in full view of humans and being seen during the daytime – This lack of fear worked to our advantage as we were able to see a mother leaving her cubs to cool off elsewhere, the cubs play-fighting along in a refreshing water pool and another tiger strutting and marking her range. We even managed to get in a few minute of face pulling time..
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I really couldn’t have imagined how great an experience seeing Tigers in Rajasthan would be.
The tigers were only a few meters away at time and we had an open-top jeep and nothing to protect us if these striped hunters decided we looked tasty! A little daunting, but I liked that it also put me closer to them – I was able to make out their gorgeous marking and watch them yawn, admiring their pure perfection without the need for binoculars or imagination. Not something I will ever forget I am quite sure!
The Ranthambore tiger reserve is truly excellent for tourists who want a high pay-off with little risk [of coming all this way to see nothing] and is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer’s dream. It still seems relatively unknown to forest tourists and about 85% of the people we saw were domestic tourists, thought it was local school holidays! According to the latest census I could find there are currently 62 tigers in Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan, up from 25 in 2005! For many years this park has suffered from poaching and human encroachment but it seems locals have finally realized how special this place is, or at least how lucrative it can be, and forged together to protect it. Let hope they continue to and if you can, support them by visiting on your next trip to India! Trust me, you will not be disappointed by the Ranthambore National Park tigers..