Just typing those words there at the end of my two week title brings a sad smile to my face, yes is home time nearly and 24 jeep safaris and countless Tigers and other wildlife sightings sadly have come to an end. In five years of running this trip it has been the best so far for overall Tiger sightings with both my jeeps and different sets of clients all seeing Tigers at least once a day and capturing some beautiful images of this beautiful cat.
Three days have passed since my last blog and it will be so hard for me to display all the amazing moments both of my jeeps have caught during that time. So the following images will appear in day order as our routine has always stayed the same so I don’t want to repeat this as I have in previous blogs. I will start with a wonderful Leopard sighitng my jeep had, the other jeep was in another area so we had a few moments with this amazing big cat.
They aren’t the dominate big cat in Ranthambhore , the Tiger is. So they are very jumpy as the Tiger will hunt them down and kill them if they get wind of them. This make the Leopard very nervous and the following image really does capture that. We were very lucky to even see him let alone get a few images of that chance meeting.
Soon after we carried on searching for the Tigers there but my jeep wasn’t lucky that day, but my other jeep with clients in came back that evening with more Tigers sightings. Not a single day in two weeks had yet passed where one or both of my jeeps didn’t see a Tiger which I was totally over the moon for all my clients on both weeks. The jeep I was in late that day had some wonderful moments with a Black-tailed Mongoose.
I love these animals, they take on anything and aren’t scared of nothing.Here seen relaxing and cooling off on the cool stone, his pose really was a picture with his legs, arms and paws flat out. He then moved on and went hunting where I was luckier enough to capture him almost catching a large fly in the late evening light.
An incredibly time we had with this normally very shy animal, all the images where shot from my jeep with the engine turned off. We headed back that evening and once again all clients had seen some wonderful Tigers and other animals and birds that day.
The following day started as it always had, an early morning start, my morning exercises, shower and coffee then we all head to the Ranthambhore National park and both jeeps were in the same zone on this morning. We followed each other into the zone, and not long after we heard alarm calls from Samba Deer, a Tiger was around. As we turned a sharp bend there he was, the Sultan of Ranthambhore, a male Tiger named after a famous ruler in Ranthambhore.
Smelling the trees and the scent marks of other Tigers. We followed him on that small dirt track, keeping a safe distance from him. I could see his massive feet and pads under each paw and took the following image which I love. Capturing a bit of dirt being thrown u, adding movement, the most beautiful feet in the world.
We then followed him over the next twenty minutes while he hunted and just smelt, listened and watched for anything. Both jeeps got some amazing images as he walked, hunted, watched and passed by our jeep. The following images capture that amazing encounter with this the future ruler of Ramthabhore.
Another truly breathtaking encounter with a Tiger called Sultan, young male that will rule this place one day. Both of my jeeps couldn’t get their thoughts that morning at how close we’d all came and what we’d seen. The rest of the day yielded not much,one jeep seeing and the other not but our luck just carried on and on and it was like- ” is this really happening..?”
The following day was our last day in the national park, two weeks had passed, almost twenty-four, four hour duration safaris had come to an end. Same routine as it never changes and both of my jeeps headed to the national park as the sun was just starting to rise. The jeep I was in was given one zone and my other jeep had another. We got our permits and off we went. Once again we bumped into the Sultan that morning really early. The morning light just illuminating the rocks and his head as he sunned himself in that light.
Soon after he moved out of view and we couldn’t see him. We waited in hope that he would show but he wasn’t to be seen again that day. The time in between searching for the Tigers though is always put to good use photography wise as I always impress to clients there is always an image to be captured around you and the wildlife in Ranthambhore is far more than just the Tiger.
The final hour on our final day blew me and my client away. I always change jeeps during each day, I go with one jeep in the morning and then the other in the afternoon. Im on hand to help and to get the angles alongside my guides. That last afternoon though I chose through luck the right jeep to be in as that final hour was the best I’ve ever known during my whole time in Raanthambhore.
The first hour is always tough the temperature was touching 42 degrees and its hot, dusty and very challenging with your heavy camera gear. We then headed to a nearby watering hole and heard a Samba Deer alarm, and from nowhere a female Tigress came from cover and headed to the watering hole. Right time, right place it really was.
She sat there, bathing in the late evening light, it was amazing to see. You are only allowed a certain time limit during each visit to Ranthambhore Natianl park and that evening we were reaching our cut off time and we had to leave this beautiful Tigress where she was soaking. It was around a forty-five minute drive back to our check point driving fast on very tough and small dirt tracks. We set off, looking over my shoulder to say goodbye to my last Tiger for this year I thought.
Thirty minutes or so had passed as we were covered in dust as the temperature that last drive had dried every bit of moisture in the air and the dust was thrown up from the front wheels as we almost flew to our check point in time. As we turned a tight corner, a small pool of water was to our left..”Tiger” Salim my guide said. We looked over and there was Noor, a female Tigress just sitting in the water very calmly.
Salim my guide said we have to leave to make the time, otherwise you get into real trouble by the guards there. She got up and walked past us as we slowly drove of, another unbelievably moment. We held our heavy cameras tight and headed to the main gate, driving like a rally car would. Stones flying everywhere from the wheels, pinging noises rang out as I just dipped my head to avoid the dry dust kicked up.
We carried on along a small dirt track, “Tiger..Tiger” Salim said at first I thought it was a joke as we often joke around with each other, I slowly looked up and there was indeed another Tiger to our front walking quietly on a small, lonely dirt track. I could’nt believe it, in the space of less than an hour we had seen and photographed three adult Tigers out of Ranthambhore on our very last safari for 2014. The following images capture that amazing moment when we bumped into T28 a massive dominate male Tiger, we just managed to make it to the gate.
He vanished over the top of this small raised hill, we had no time to even think about what we had just witnessed as we heading home. Once back in my room, I finally let go of my heavy lens, as I looked at the palm of my hand, the lens handle embedded into my skin I just couldn’t believe what had just happened during that last hour. I collapsed into the chair, covered in dust with a big smile on my face.
I still, as I write truly haven’t had chance to put all that into context and digest it. We head home very soon and our adventure has come to an end for another year. Each year gets better and offers so much more and you just dont no what you will encounter. The place, the sights, the smells just never fail to knock you off your feet. I’d like to thank every client from the first and second week for your company, I hope you all enjoyed it and I no you all have some wonderful images to take home with you. Ranthambhore never fails to deliver, a truly wild place taken over by nature that offers the best place in India to see wild Royal Bengal Tigers.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog post,I have tired to take you here to this magical place with my words and images. Most days I have worked between eighteen and twenty hours and I’m completely exhausted, with editing images, writing my blogs and making sure my trip, jeeps and guides are all as good as they can be. My aim was too show everyone that reads my blog this place I love so dearly and those Tigers. I hope I have achieved this at the same time showing the true beauty of Ranthambhore, its Tigers and other wildlife that choose to live in this magical place.
My 2015 has a few places already sold, so if you’d like to join me on my trip there next year then please click here to be taken to the Tigers Of India photo tour 2015. Many thanks for reading my blogs and I wish you all the best from India.