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Best India wildlife tours – Tiger and Leopards in Rajasthan

Posted in: India, Posted in: Best time to visit India for tigers


Best India wildlife tours – Tiger and Leopards in Rajasthan
There is a healthy debate amongst big cat lovers of which of these charismatic felines is the most beautiful; so just imagine the joy of being able to see the Bengal Tiger and Asian Leopard on the same India wildlife holiday. Not only is this special India safari for big cat enthusiasts, but also travellers keen to see a different side of India; other than the busy tourist cities which dominate so many India holiday itineraries. This trip is ALL ABOUT THE WILDLIFE and we will not delay the start of your tiger safari in Ranthambhore, with unnecessary stops in Agra and Jaipur – let’s get down there and start our big cat safari in India.

Ranthambhore – one of the best places to see tigers in India; but so much more here to see!

We have enjoyed viewing tigers in Ranthambhore national park since 1997 and for us the magic never wanes. Of course, like other tiger sanctuaries in India, it has had its ups and downs, but when you are blessed with a quality tiger sighting in Ranthambhore, it really blows your socks off. Think majestic tiger hunting Sambar deer at the edge of a shimmering lake, with a beautiful ancient lake side palace in the background – is it possible to get a more iconic tiger photo in India than that? Also, you should know, that by the end of 2017 all of Ranthambore 10 zones had tigresses with cubs – an astonishing wildlife success story that has reverberated around the world. Finally, note that people who are negative about Ranthambhore, especially those who did not see tigers during their visit, only stayed for 2 or 3 safaris; as they were on rushed, large group ‘Tiger and Golden Triangle tours’; so, they genuinely did not see the REAL magic of Ranthambhore – so let’s explain what that is.

The Magic of Ranthambhore national park

A tiger safari in Ranthambhore for us and our clients is not just the chance to see the most powerful cat in Asia; it represents an opportunity to explore and absorb – through all your senses – what it means to spend time in rural India. The landscape is ancient and gorgeous; with small rural villages dotted around the tiger sanctuary and holy temples gleaming in the sunshine. Beautiful monsoon fed rivers provide water for their agriculture; but also provide perfect breeding grounds for a huge variety of resident and migratory birds – this is a rural paradise that must be enjoyed, just as much as the tigers of Ranthambhore. So, you will see from our 1 week Ranthambhore tiger safari, we are not just including continuous tiger safaris inside the main zones of Ranthambhore. There is the opportunity to visit a tribal village at Devpura; where the spectacular Black Buck Antelope can be found. We also have some great locations for birding and a night time safari can sometimes result in Jungle Cat or Leopard sightings. We can easily extend this trip to include beautiful Ramathra Fort and a chance to visit the River Banas and Kali Devi Sanctuary; which is becoming famous for the chance to see rarer species, such as Wolf and Hyena.

Best place to see Leopards in India?

Way back in 2004, when we had already visited India many times, but never see a Leopard in the wild; we heard about a location in southern Rajasthan, which was becoming a hotspot for Leopard sightings. The BBC with David Attenborough had filmed a documentary about a Leopard prowling around a local village. Indeed, the Leopards success in this dry and beautiful region – like a mini Yala national park; with its scrub forests and wind shaped boulders – is down to the plentiful supply of domestic livestock (mainly goats) and dogs which it takes from the Rabari tribal villages. To say there is an incredible tolerance towards these big cats is a huge understatement. Absolutely, the Leopards are revered by the Rabari and the livestock losses are borne by the villages with little complaint and certainly no malice. This attitude towards big cats is certainly not universal in India and must explain the very low levels of leopard/man conflict in this extraordinary part of rural Rajasthan. The Rabari themselves are nearly as photogenic as the Leopards and to see one of the proud male elders with his huge red turban stride behind a group of a 100 or more goats; is to witness a timeless scene 

Best time of year to visit India for tigers and leopards

The basic rule for increasing your chances of seeing tigers and leopards in India, is to visit during the summer months, when there are less remaining water sources inside the park. In particular tigers with cubs need to stay fairly close to the water body to keep themselves and their young family healthy. There are even examples of tigers using the water to keep a recent kill cool and of course they just love to bathe – watching their comical ‘backwards’ approach to ‘water entry’ is normally part of a summer tiger safari in Ranthambhore.

Leopards to, may position their den not too far away from a reliable water source and this information can be used to set up a hide/observation point at a respectful distance, so we can maximise the photographic opportunities. Check out one of our clients favourites; the 9 day Ranthambhore and Ramathra tiger holiday

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