It’s always a pleasure to visit “The Tiger Paradise”. Hopes to see the big cats are always on the high at Ranthambore National Park. Without big surprises we were given a Royal welcome. In the first few minutes of the opening safari “The King” was there to welcome us. T24 male was resting in the shade of a rock near the Phuta Khor region in Zone II. We approached closer to him and were just few yards away. This happened to be my first sighting of a male tiger at Ranthambore. He opened his eyes and gave a quick stare then silently went back to sleep.
The new couples in the park were T24 and T39. Hence we knew she should be somewhere in the vicinity. Soon we got news that she was sighted at Magarde not very far from Phuta khor. We rushed to that spot and found her taking a well deserved rest under the shades of the tree. There was news that T19 was sighted near Nalghati but we preferred to stay at Magarde to get a closer and personal look at the beautiful lady T39.
We waited for an hour, finally our patience paid off. She got up and walked towards the water hole, drank water, soaked herself in the water and crossed our vehicle with feisty. She was so close to us that a stretching arm from our jeep could easily reach her. We rushed closer to the other side of the road to catch a second glimpse of her royal walk. She appeared through the woods and looked extremely gorgeous. The shutterbugs were in full force to catch this beautiful female. She quietly walked from the woods towards us and crossed our vehicle yet again. This time she was even nearer to us. Courtesy her we got some wonderful pictures in the wild. What better one could hope for in the first safari itself?
After a satisfactory day one it was full of highs and lows in the remaining days. On second day morning safari we saw one of Machli’s dominant litters T17 (Sundari) at Rajbagh. Tough she was quite a distance away yet we were able to get a good glimpse of her through the binoculars. For us it did turn out to be a comparatively dry day, but for those lucky lots who made it to Zone III in the evening it turned out to be a bonanza.. Crocodile and Tiger (T17) were fighting for their food and sambar deer fighting for its life at The Rajbagh Lake. Crocodile was trying to drag the sambar into the water and T17 tried to pull it away. T17 being the daughter of Machli wasn’t as competitive as her mother. Crocodile won the battle at last. But for the lucky ones around it was an unforgettable experience.
The final day turned out to be a mixed basket. For the first couple of hours nothing really happened. We went near Machli’s territory but wasn’t lucky enough to see her. Towards the end of the safari saw a jackal. While turning to the entry point near Tamba Khan there were vehicles lining up. And yes it was dollar male T25. He was soaking himself in the water. Within next few minutes he disappeared into the jungle. But even better news was waiting as we entered the resort. T-8 with two cubs was sighted in Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary adjoining Ranthambhore National Park. This was (and is) great news for the Park and the wildlife enthusiasts.Kudos to Ranthambore!! Hoping to see you again later this month!!!