There was no peaceful lie-in this morning as the crews were up with the lark and all on the veranda by 6.15am ready for the first game drive of the day.
Ranthambore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Becoming a national park in 1980, by 1984, the adjacent forests were declared the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary. In 1991, the tiger reserve was enlarged to include these areas too.
The wildlife sanctuary is famous for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. Tigers can be spotted even during the day time. The nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.
So everyone was on the look out for Bengal tigers, Indian leopard, wild boar, striped hyena, sloth bear, southern plains gray langur, mugger crocodile and chital. But not everyone was as lucky at Norman and Liza Yung who got so close to a tiger, they could have stroked it.
As we returned to the lodge for a late breakfast, pictures were being shared by WhatsApp across the table. Sadly, Martin Tacon, who was in a jeep with Lesley Ann Murray and Joy Tacon, didn’t spot a tiger despite seeing plenty of paw prints. Two other jeeps missed out as well.
With a second drive in the afternoon, there was another chance along with a visit to the gift shop. Martin still didn’t see a tiger but he did get himself a rather nice hat supporting the Tiger Reserve.
After a much needed siesta, the group came together for a barbecue with a film show of the tigers thrown in – so everyone saw them in the end.
Tomorrow is officially the final day of driving as we head for the finish line in Agra.