We hear from Ana Ow, professional travel writer and travelling Mum about her experiences with us in Ranthambore!
I was someone who wasn’t particularly enamoured with wildlife. Or the wild, actually – and this would include jungles, forests, all animals with them and the idea of me coexisting in the same space.
Yes, it’s a terribly, politically incorrect thing to say. Yes I think I speak on behalf of many spoilt, sheltered urbanites who are ignorant of Nature and the experiences she offers.
So when I embarked on not one, but two Tiger Safari experiences, I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect. But I went with absolute trust in Ravishing India Holidays and an open mind, accompanied by my two young children and husband in an open-top vehicle called a “Gypsy” (which, on hindsight, pretty much exposed us to all elements…)
And I was wowed.
At the end of both safaris, I vowed to return (next January in the Winter to be exact, but that’s a different article). Here are the reasons why…
We had a great guide and driver
RK, an experienced naturalist who had worked with luxury lifestyle brands like Aman Resorts, gave us a VIP experience, along with his partner-in-crime Mr Mohan, who drove the Gypsy like a race car. “What kind of jungle is this…” I had asked him, upon entering Ranthambore National Park and he replied immediately, “Semi-dry deciduous forest…” without even frowning to think. We were lucky enough to experience not just one but three Tiger sightings on our first safari with them! And really, it was thanks to how well they knew the forest and their experience with the big cat – how they used their knowledge of animal calls and tiger tracks to give us a bucket list experience!
Tiger sightings are rare!
When I showed off my selfie with Arrowhead the tiger and numerous other photos and videos we captured, many friends shared that they didn’t see a single tiger (and for some any wildlife!) during their own visit. I felt lucky to have witnessed a creature so rare – only 70 tigers in the entire 600-hectare Ranthambore National Park – and at close quarters to boot!
It’s all about the chase…
Again, I had had no clue why people were so hooked on safaris (like, what exactly is the point of seeing a pride of lions lying around in Africa) but bouncing around on the back of an open-top jeep in pursuit of a wild animal at close quarters was a different thrill altogether! And you can only experience this with the best in the business, who knows the forest like the back of their hands and can predict exactly where to park the jeep, that the tiger would walk serenely, majestically in front of it.
It’s a lifestyle
If ever you’ve wanted a chance to don British India inspired linens, drape-y scarves and sunhats or on the other extreme, Timberland-type ruggedness and UPF shirts by Columbia, this is your chance! Safaris in India are also about getting up before sunrise (so that it’s not too hot), grabbing a chai and some biscuits before setting off and then returning afterwards to a big breakfast of Dosa and lentil curry (or if you prefer pancakes, good hotels will have them too.)
The places to stay are gorgeous
Speaking of good hotels, some of the best in the area include options such as a hunting palace or a glamping site! We opted for palace and it was a jaw-dropping property called Nahargarh, a beautiful respite from the dust of safari. There were two pools to soak in, perfect for summer excursions. Or try glamping in the old Mughal style. Aman I Khas is a campsite styled for royalty and comes complete with air-conditioned tents, stepwell pool, kitchen and flower gardens, Yoga sanctuary, butler service, a firepit for Winter months and many more mod-cons you can think off (yes, spa as well!)
Pro tip: Stay at least three nights in Ranthambore to get a more relaxed experience. The car journey from Jaipur is slightly less than 4 hours, depending on traffic situations. And book at least one safari a day at different times to maximise your chance of the great seeing great wildlife.
Ready to see tigers? Book your safari experience with Ravishing India Holidays now!