India is a remarkable country and home to arguably the most iconic Big Cat in the world. Amidst almost daily reports of declining Tiger populations and reductions of national parks, it was with much interest that I visited the country to witness for myself just what a Tiger Safari in India is actually like. Previous Londolozi guests, Jaisal and Anjali Singh were our hosts at their spectacular ‘Sher Bagh Tented Camp‘ next to the Ranthambore National Park.
Despite the wealth of cultural, historical and gastronomical experiences that this Relais and Chateaux camp offers, our goal was to see Tigers and lots of them! To do that we drove a short distance to Ranthambore National Park.
Jaisal was optimistic. A veteran of Ranthambore, he first visited the park shortly after birth and saw his first wild tiger at the age of eight weeks. To say he has had a lifelong love affair with these mesmerising creatures is spot on. As a child he would spend months on end with his father who was making documentary films about the tigers. Years later, Jaisal pioneered the Tiger Safari experience at Ranthambore, by opening one of the first camps, Sher Bagh, in the now vibrant town just outside the park. Take a look at this legendary clip of a Tiger confronting a Crocodile filmed by Jaisal’s father…
Within our first hour we discovered the first of many tigers in our experience. This young male tiger glanced over his shoulder as our vehicle softly rolled in and as his gaze caught ours, a sudden leap in excitement thumped through all of our chests. Tigers are enormous, powerful and incredible enthralling to be in the presence of. Soft fur is concealed between the mesmerising stripes and vibrant orange of their coats.
The Tiger viewing is not the only thing which makes Ranthambore a spectacular place to safari. Personally I thought the scenery was incredible beautiful and not dissimilar to various parts of the Southern African wilderness that I have experienced. When the first pair of tigers left us, we drove further down the road to witness incredible vistas such as this one…
Yet the view didn’t last long as Jaisal led us further into the wilderness, keenly searching for evidence of tiger activity that we could begin to track down. From the rocky hillsides into the riverine systems in the valley, we did not have to wait long as a single track indicated a large male tiger crossing the road to our west. Within minutes we had taken a road heading in this direction to discover an enormous male tiger resting on the side of the road.
The following day our excitement was just as palpable and we made a concerted effort to visit a remote region of the reserve where a tigress had been heard calling. After a lengthy drive through more stunning terrain, we discovered this beautiful female.
Sher Bagh offers a truly extraordinary experience for those wishing to experience the thrill of seeing tigers in the wild and without a doubt some of the best tiger viewing that India has to offer.
In upcoming blog posts, we will feature some photographs of Sher Bagh Tented Camp as well as a local community co-operative in which they are actively involved. Sher Bagh is a member of the Sujan Luxury Group and they run an interesting blog about all things Tiger, Ranthambore and Indian luxury, so be sure to Read their Blog Here, LIKE their Facebook Page Here, and Follow their Twitter Feed Here.
Our sincere thanks to Jaisal and Anjali for giving us the most incredible introduction to Tiger Safaris in India. We shall return soon!
Written & Photographed by: Rich Laburn