….India Diaries – ‘Ranthambore National Park’
With the colours of Udaipur still circling like an internal kaleidoscope in our heads, we were roused by an annoying alarm at a very unsociable hour, willing us to meet up with our driver, Ravi, for a mad-dash to Ranthambore National Park. Why would you put yourself under such pressure on vacation you may ask…? Well, we had the foresight to book an afternoon Tiger Safari that same day, but didn’t stop to consider that “everyday India” might well get in the way. We’re normally pretty chilled when travelling, in terms of abandoning a plan, whatever….but on this occasion, we had shelled out hard-earned cash in advance and needed to be in Ranthambore by 2:30 sharp! Poor Ravi didn’t realize the mission that was to be undertaken, and as the day progressed, and we became more and more focused on the route and timing (we got lost a few times)….this gentle and considerate soul started to pick up on our stress and wanted nothing more than to deliver us intact and on-time, what a guy!
I’ll spare you the details – but we made it! We quickly checked into our base for the next 3 nights…The Shergarh Resort http://www.theshergarh.com. Should you every find yourself in the vicinity, be prepared for cool accommodation (choose the tent option), top class service and a great location for your Tiger Safari.
Sher Garh Resort….we loved it!
The daily commute inevitably involves camel overtaking.
The mad dash for our afternoon safari was rewarded with lots of opportunity to see the local population of birds, monkeys and deer – but no Tigers! Not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that we were in a large ‘canter’ vehicle, as opposed to a more intimate ‘jeep’ experience – but we wanted to try both.
A line of Bambi’s at the waterhole was a pretty cool sight.
This ‘Rufous Treepie’ was very comfortable hanging out on our vehicle.
We had a great guide for our 6-person jeep safari the next morning, and it wasn’t long before he spotted a large paw print (resembling Tigger) at the side of the road.
Hurrah!….there is only one Tiger family in this zone of the park and we found dad taking a drink around 7:00 am – an early morning safari is a must!
We were in an agile jeep this time, and felt bad for all the folk doing their ‘canter’ safari as they were unable to get ‘off road’.
In contrast, we were able to get in pretty close…like 5 metres away….and my D90 18-200mm was on full zoom. Not the best choice lens for a safari – but hey ho – it’s all I had with me.
….his thirst is quenched and he’s off
What happened next was very unexpected and pretty amazing. We were on a high after seeing papa Tiger, and all the vehicles were still hanging out in that area in the hope of another glimpse. However, our savvy guide decided to head in another direction, and within minutes we ran into two sons making their way across the park, towards dad, in the direction we came from. We had about 3 minutes before the rest of the morning entourage arrived and here’s what I was able to capture.
The morning light was changing so quickly, whichever way I pointed my camera, the scene had it’s own amazing colour.
The shot below is my personal fave….we felt very privileged to see these cats in the wild.
Driving back to the lodge on cloud nine (not everyone gets to see a Tiger!)….we had a goat escort – this is so typical of Indian roads and I have to admit, I miss sharing thoroughfares with wildlife, downtown Vancouver.