I didn’t sleep much on my first night in Ranthambhore even after the marathon journey to get here. So an hour before my alarm I was up, press-ups, sit ups,shower and dressed ready to go. I went downstairs and met the night watchman and grabbed a coffee. I headed out onto the road. A routine I have now done for five years, I like the noise, the sounds, smells of the place at that time of the day and the peace and quiet. The odd vehicle passing me as I drink my morning coffee fix.
I love the mornings there just beautiful. Its wasn’t long before my two jeeps I hire and guides turned up for my clients. I rotate myself each day through both jeeps to help, support and be there for all my clients throughout their trip with me. Salim, Raj came and we all took off for national park, heart racing. After signing in and been allocated our zones we were off. The is a zone system in place at Ranthambhore, where you are given a different zone every drive and you have to stick to strict guidelines and the path this is to ensure your safety and the well being of the Tigers first and foremost.
Both of my jeeps were given their zones and we headed off, past the many old gates left over from when the fort at Ranthambhore was a fortress. Its such an impressive place, now taken over by nature and the Tigers. Within ten minutes of driving we heard the word “Tiger,Tiger”, we looked to our right and there he was. T34, a dominate male Tiger passing through his kingdom. Heart racing, seconds to compose yourself then capture what you see before he’s gone. My client in the jeep hadn’t seen a Tiger ever and here she was photographing one on her first ever drive which was wonderful and I was over the moon as over the years I have had many clients turn up who’s greatest wish is always to see this amazing animal so when they see one for the first time it makes me happy.
He was walking fast, on the hunt for Samba Deer, passing our path and then disappearing without a trace in a matter of minutes, what a welcome back seeing this shy male Tiger. After a pause to see if we could hear any alarm calls which lets you know his movements and often direction of travel we started out jeep and carried on further into our zone, still not believing what we’d just seen a few moments before.
We soon picked up the track of another male T24 on one of the tracks the jeeps use. The Tigers often use these paths to travel through their our territories. Listening for alarm calls,parking up with the jeeps engine off we tired to just listen which is often the best way as other animals let you no whats happening around you.
After driving around we saw a few other jeeps and a friend of our guide signalled to us a Tiger was there. Quickly we got into place and saw another male Tiger- T24 a massive dominate male sleeping on the forest floor in flecked light. Both my jeeps were there saw all clients where taking so amazing images. The following are what I captured alongside my clients.
An amazing encounter yet again and two male Tigers on our first morning has been the best start to any of my trips in the five years I have ran them. We moved on as time was getting on and soon before we left the park that morning and returned to the Ranthambhore Bagh for our breakfast. Omelette porridge, mango juice and Yorkshire tea with toast is my breakfast of choice there and it never disappoints.
Then some rest before our afternoon safari which starts at 3pm sharp. The heat is harsh in the afternoon, and suncream, hats are a most but more often than not I sunscreen up and enjoy the rays on my head. Again we were given our zones and off we went in search of the Tigers once more. Having worked with these same guides now for five years we know each other and what my clients want so more often and not I leave them to it and their expertise.
It wasn’t long in that intense heat that we saw T24 again, we found him asleep inside a cave. Not moving or even bothering with us and the jeeps as he slept. The odd time his eyes would open to just let us no he was watching us.
Such an amazing moment when you see and spend time watching these truly beautiful animals in their own envoriment. My clients got some great images of him again before we set off further into our zone. There is so much wildlife other than Tigers though at Ranthambhore, so many birds, Deer and ground mammals it truly is the jungle book in many ways.
After a few hours and with the light fading we heard some alarm calls, Tiger..? I asked..? maybe Salim said. Then from the hidden grass a female appeared from nowhere. It was T22 who I’d last seen last year. She was passing through and walking with great purpose past a Spotted Deer kill that I saw on the ground. She walked straight past this and onto a wooded area where she scent marked a few trees before heading off into the dense forests all around us.
Such an amazing moment when you see and spend time watching these truly beautiful animals in their own envoriment. My clients got some great images of the Tigers. There is so much wildlife other than Tigers though at Ranthambhore, so many birds, Deer and ground mammals it truly is the jungle book in many ways. Some many different images also from wildlife to plants to just about anything. Here I took this image of some tree roots I really loved and the reflection in the water as the sun was setting providing there are images everywhere here.
What an amazing first day for my clients, as I write this before I head to bed it still is unbelievably how lucky we all were today. Four sightings, three different Tigers lets hope our luck continues in the coming days and weeks. An amazing day and lets hope that luck carries on for my clients seeing this beautiful animal, so goodbye from India, I hope my images and words have taken you to this magical place so far and more updates as the week progresses all the best.