This was the stop to which I’ve most looked forward because it meant staying in a tent camp and going on a safari. Yes, a safari in India to look for Bengal tigers which at one time were so plentiful but thanks to game hunters now number just over 2000. Sixty-four of those are said to be in the Ranthambore Forest.
The tent camp Sher Bagh was magical.
Accommodations were as nice as in any hotel you can imagine though it was a bit of a challenge to navigate the mosquito netting at night.
In the evening the grounds glittered in the light of kerosene lamps lighting paths and hanging from trees making it seem like fairy land.
The evening meal was served around a bonfire which only added to the romance of place. I was in absolute heaven and celebrated with a martini! I did miss the hubby at that moment.
There were two safari rides, one in the late afternoon, the other early morning. As we began the afternoon excursion we saw first a mongoose which our guide said was a good luck sign.
And good luck we had. Only minutes into the drive we spotted a Bengal, but he moved so fast it was hard to get more than a glimpse. Minutes later came the real thrill, a large male resting by a stream.
After a few minutes, it got up and stretched
giving new meaning to the yoga pose cat stretch!
Then he walked away moving ever so gracefully.
He didn’t go far before he found a new place to lay down. I couldn’t have been more excited than in those few minutes, and I was so lucky to have a zoom lens which allowed me to capture the entire sequence of movement. As the drive continued, we saw 2 more tigers but only from a distance which made the close encounter even more special. The guide was equally pleased and very grateful to the mongoose!
The morning drive was not as rewarding when it came to tigers, but there were other interesting animals and birds that made the excursion worthwhile. Sambar
and spotted deer were plentiful.
Spotting a brown fish owl was unusual said the guide so again we felt very lucky.
Some birds were very colorful, but it was hard to capture them because they were always on the move. A rose ring parakeet was good enough to pose
and a rufous treepie wasn’t about to be excluded from a photo op!
We were thoroughly entertained by the monkeys’ antics. Little ones frolicked like energetic children.
When a mother sensed danger from an oncoming vehicle she quickly snatched up her young and held it close until all threat had passed. I couldn’t help but think how similar her behavior was to a human’s.
Though the forest holds many more species than we saw, I felt no disappointment.
Returning to the camp in beautiful morning light,
I took in all its special features and thought that no matter what the rest of the trip holds I would be happy having had this experience.
I am so grateful for the privilege of travel which adds new dimension to life.