Into the wild with Tigers in India…

A stunning sight in Ranthambore

A stunning sight in Ranthambore

This astounding close encounter was a few weeks ago on a beautiful sunny Sunday in northern India. As the sun was setting we raced around a beautiful lake lined with exotic palm trees and dappled in an orange glow from the setting sun in the heart of Ranthambore and came face-to-face with this incredible sight. My recent trip to Rajasthan was one of the most incredible adventures of my life, and coming this close to some of the most spectacular creatures on the planet was a definite highlight. Ranthambore National Park, located in the heart of Rajasthan, is a lengthy drive from Udaipur or Jaipur but well worth the detour to see some of the last remaining tigers in the wild, you can also see crocodiles, sloth bears, leopard, monkeys, deer and a stunning array of bird life. TravelBella drove from Udaipur after a few relaxing days enjoying the lakes and mountains of the ‘Venice of India’ and en route to Ranthambore we stopped at the impressive Chittorgarh Fort to break up the six-hour car journey. We arrived at our ‘camp’ late-afternoon and stayed at the luxurious Sher Bagh where we were welcomed with champagne and treated to tiger stories from fellow guests around the camp fire that evening. We could not wait to see these phenomenal animals ourselves and during our afternoon drive the following day we were treated to sightings of huge crocodiles sunning themselves on the shores of the lakes, playful monkeys perched up on the old ruins, and wild peacocks shimmering in the sunshine. Later we spotted a leopard lazily sunning himself in the arched window of the old palace ruins overlooking Padam Talao Lake, it was a magical sight and just as we started heading back to camp content with all that we had seen and taking in the incredible sunset our driver heard a deer cry and before we knew what was happening we raced around the edge of the lake and there he was – a young male tiger striding along the lake shore, a bewitching sight glowing in the setting sun. He was a few meters away from our Jeep and we were all awe-struck. The next morning we were fortunate enough to see another large male who was devouring a recent kill and engaging in his morning rituals, eventually settling in the early-morning sunshine. If you have one trip left to make in your life go to Ranthambore and see tigers in the wild, the image will burn brightly in your memory for the rest of your life.

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