Who would resist the opportunity of seeing a tiger in the wilderness? Along with a considerable number of other visitors, Indian and international tourists alike, we took this pilgrimage to see one of the very last 32 tigers that roam Ranthambhore National Park.
Our expectations were low. Given the size of the park, 1.330km2, honestly, what would be our chances for a tiger to hang out near one of the tracks exactly when we were passing by? Even worse, we were not able to book a Gypsy, those small jeeps seating six, and ended up in one of those horrible huge canter trucks with sixteen to twenty other people.
On our first game drive through sector 2, we spotted nothing that was worth writing home about. Lots of peacocks, deer, antelopes and monkeys wander around the extremely dry shrub, but tigers were nowhere to be seen. That the drive started an hour late and the guide did not even bother talking to us, did not help to heighten our mood. We almost skipped the afternoon drive… To be in for another bumpy ride, together with 15 other people in this heat did not seem reasonable.
But what a surprise, sector 3 was much more scenic, we had an enthusiastic guide and there he was, a large male tiger dozing off inside a deserted temple. However, he was so far that we only could make him out through the large lens of our camera, but at least we didn’t leave with nothing…
Paul and Jan really lucked out in Sector 5. A female tiger strolled around the track and posed for photos, completely unimpressed by the clicking camera and the “oh” and “ahs” of their owners.