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Found 8 results

  1. The long story of missing tigers from Ranthambore...
  2. 25 pictures from the 40 odd safaris that I went to in Ranthambhore in April 2016. Got another 20 to go in May, starting from tomorrow afternoon.
  3. 9th April 2011. In the morning safari some jeeps saw a pair of tigers walking from Ranthambhore national park towards the Kalapani anicut in the Kundaal valley at the edge of the national park. In the evening we found the mating tigers (T24 male and T39 female – both young adults) in a rocky plateau across the Kalapani anicut. The plateau had a short grass cover and some low trees. The sun was behind the tigers and the back light was very strong. Most of the time the tigers were in the shade and were no good for photography. After about half an hour the tigress suddenly got up and started stalking towards the edge of the plateau. A mother bear with two small cubs riding on her back was walking towards the mating pair of tigers and the tigress had gone to confront them. By the time the bear realized that there were tigers close by, the tigress had got very close to them. That’s when the mother became aware of the tiger’s presence. The bear appeared to be in serious trouble and we expected the bear to bolt away but the bear had other plans. The bear cubs flattened themselves on the mother’s back while the mother charged at the approaching tigress. I don’t think that the tigress expected the bear to charge and tried to get out of what was by now a messy situation for both of them. The bear blocked the tiger’s path and stood up on her hind legs to confront the tigress. By this time the tigress desperately wanted to get out of the confrontation and kept backing off. T 39 in a young tigress who probably did not have the experience to take on a desperate mother. The bear started screaming loudly and got increasingly aggressive. Soon there was a loud slanging match between the two, which the bear won. The tigress beat a hasty retreat while the bear stood her ground. By this time the male tiger who was observing the drama from a little distance decided to get involved. T 24 is about 4 years old and had just come into dominance. We were worried for the bear. We had seriously underestimated the power of an angry mother. T 24, the young male star of southern Ranthambhore, could not even budge the bear. These two had another loud slanging match that went in the bear’s favour. T 24 soon realized the fury of an angry mother and started backing away from a now “one sided” fight and did not stop till he reached a safe distance. All this happened in exactly two minutes and 10 seconds. When the clock started it seemed that the mother bear had got herself into a very dangerous spot. In ten seconds she had taken control and two minutes later she had forced two tigers to back off. The victor walked off leaving behind two sheepish cats. Pardon the large watermarks but these pictures have been downloaded and used by far too many people / agencies without any credit.
  4. Quick cut from my long trip report on 24-day India Trip we just completed. It seemed to me, that if we were going all that way, it was at least worth an attempt to see a tiger in the wild. We had 2 nights on the edge of Ranthambore, at Khem Villas, and everything was arranged so that we could train it after seeing the Taj Mahal in Agra, in time to make a late afternoon gypsy drive, giving us a total of three drives. Feb 16, 2014 Trian to Sawai Madhopour Mr Singh reserved our 2nd class tickets months ago. We hear people buying tickets on standby today won't get seats together. This "mail train" runs all the way from Punjab to Mumbai. As a result when we board, all the seats are pulled down like beds. Took me about 10 minutes to realize they can be flipped up to form sort of a sofa. The seating still isn't exactly comfy, but nowmy feet touch the floor and the scenery is delightful without the roadside clutter. The rape fields are in bloom and the sun is out. We have 5 stops to Madhpour. Our handler at Badaphur told us someone will tell us when it is time to get off. He was a 20-year old who works for Legends & Palaces as a subcontractor, and is studying to be a naturalist specializing in birds. As the train was about an hour and a half late, we also met his friend, who got him into the birding gig, whose father is "an internationally known" expert. I had read a trip report on Fodor's by someone who had done some birding in Badaphur, so I know there is a national preserve. We enjoyed talking with these young men until the train finally pulled in. Our driver will bring our luggage so that we don't need to worry about it on the train. We've been told that the road between Agra and Ranthambore is so bad, we wouldn't make it there in time for that late drive. It was easy to identify our stop, and there was someone with a sign for us from Khem Villas. They stop by the safari place so they can copy our passports and collect the voucher for our drives, and then we proceed to Khem Villas where we have time to freshen up, pick kup some bottled water and a box lunch, and jump into the gypsy vehicle that pulls into the drive. (2n). Ranthambore Tiger Reserve Khem Villas Lux. Tent OMG. Khem Villas is awesome, I was concerned that the tent would be too is gorgeous and cosy. There's a heater. They give you hot water bottles. The mattress is great, the pillows are perfect. It is quiet but for some dogs barking in the distance..but this is much less than the honking horns and wedding processions in Agra. Drinks around the fire were wonderful, and the other guests are interesting and friendly. High point is that although we were squished 6 into a what I would consider to be a 4 person-vehicle this afternoon, WE saw a tiger. A giant male, who posed appropriately. Actually there were two, but one was more obscured by brush. They are said to be brothers, about 2 years old. When they got up and walked away, it truly took our breath away because they are SO huge. Hope we get to see more tomorrow, but at the very least we have actually seen a beautiful wild tiger. I think the requirement that someone in each vehicle that sees a tiger sign a form at the entrance/exit post is pretty neat. The food at our superb. There is a nice gathering around a fire pit before dinner, and the meal ended the meal with a cocoanut concoction to die for and masala tea. Both of us are ready to crash. I was a bit concerned we'd be too cold in a tent, but it was an amazing construction and also had a portable heater which was perfectly sufficient. There was enough hot water for two hot showers, and yes, even a hair dryer, although the bathroom section did not get much benefit from the heater. Second day, early AM drive. Guess we will still be traveling 6 to a vehicle. Not comfy, but John and Jane from the UK are with us again, and they are good company. They are staying at the fancy Oberois Villas, which we passed on the way from the station. They are more in town. We are in the country, surrounded by acres of organic farm that provides the fruit and veggies we eat. Totally veg and organic, but for 2 nights, we can live with it. It is delicious. Back to the safari drive....not much luck. We did route 2 (yesterday was 5) and saw prints for both tiger and leopard, but no animals. I didn't expect these drives to be anything like we had experienced in Botswana or Zimbabwe, and they were clearly not. I did get some good terrain shots. The park is gorgeous. Back for breakfast. Put in some laundry, and we should be set. Sitting outside in the sun in front of our tent, overlooking beautiful fields. I was able to change into capris and sandals for a change. Light breeze. I had a lovely ayurvedic massage at the spa between drives. Sorry, no tigers on last drive, despite a very sincere and try-anything guide! His English was best of the three we had, but while I am usually pretty good with accents, sometimes it still was a mystery. At one point, toward the end of the drive he told us something, and the lady next to me asked me what did he say? I had to giggle and tell her, I'm afraid what I heard was" and over here we have a lamb we call iceberg." She said "that's what I heard too" and we just laughed. I will attach some photos here...some deer (spotted and sambar)...some birds (peacocks, treepies?, Kingfishers and owls)...and a monkey a couple of crocs and terrain shots. It seemed just as I was trying to video the tiger the driver decided to reposition so I could get a better shot (to no avail, really). India is very different. We loved every minute. I wouldn't go just to see wild life, although one couple at Khem Villas had built their trip on visiting every national park. But our trip turned out to be a really successful one, and we did see those glorious tigers. These aren't in any order, but the last two are from Khem Villas.
  5. One safari to Tanzania had done it – my interest in „normal“ holidays had decreased to zero level, it was not even in question that the next annual holiday would have to be something similar. So the “Safari” quality of the next destination was not even discussed, the question was rather where to? And so we pondered which animal we would love most to see in the wild. For me there could only be one answer: Tiger! Tiger! I had never understood, why the lion is called “King of animals” (at least in German). To me, the tiger is so clearly the more elegant, the more powerful and the more beautiful creature, and not even the villainous depiction of Shir Khan in Kipling´s Jungle Book and the Disney movie (both of which I loved as a kid) could ever shatter my conviction that the tiger is one of the most magnicficent animals, if not THE most magnificent animal in the world. India was, of course, the place to go then, and so in February we booked the trip for November 2012. Going to India and not visiting at least some of its world famous sights would just have felt wrong, so we chose an itinerary with a mixture of national parks and more ordinary sightseeing: Day 1: Arrival in Delhi at 0200 a.m., Sightseeing (Humayun´s Tomb, Old Town, Jama Masjid …) Day 2: Sightseeing in Delhi, drive to Jaipur Day 3: Jaipur (Fort Amber, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, …) Day 4: Drive to Ranthambore NP, afternoon safari Day 5: Safari in Ranthambore NP Day 6: moring safari, drive to Agra with Fatehpur Sikri on the way Day 7: Agra (Taj Mahal, Red Fort, …), night train to Katni Day 8: Drive To Bandhavgarh NP, afternoon safari Day 9. Safari in Bandhavgarh NP Day 10: Safari in Bandhavgarh NP Day 11: Morning safari, drive to Kanha NP Day 12: Safari in Kanha NP Day 13: day off with some walks and relax time (NP closed, which was not known at the time of booking) Day 14: Morning safari in Kanha, drive to Raipur, flight back to Delhi, overnight there Day 15: Drive to Corbett NP, overnight at Wild Crest Day 16: Drive to Dhikala area, afternoon safari Day 17: Safari in Dhikala area Day 18: Morning safari, drive back to Delhi, flight back home. So, all looked great, and we were really looking forward to this trip. Then, in July, we were informed of the tiger ban! All parks closed, no one could know when and if they would reopen for tourism again! At first we were quite confident that the Supreme Court wouldn´t really ban tourism for the coming season but then September came. And October. And the court would just postpone and postpone its decision. A real nailbiter for us, we were very unsure what to do (yes, we had a Plan B but who wants to go for B?). Imagine the relief when the ban was lifted on Oct 16th – only two weeks before our departure! The court had limited park access, of course, only 20% of core zones were now accessible, no “tiger shows” anymore, but we didn´t really care, the main point was our trip would work out, and we had almost lost faith by this time. So lucky us! All arrangements for the trip were done by Great company, highly recommendable and great value for money. Everything worked perfectly, we had accommodations exceeding our expectations, very knowledgeful guides in the cities, made all our connections smoothly and had the most wonderful driver in Rajasthan and to Corbett. Though I have to say all the “Yes, Sir” and “Of course, Sir” felt a bit uncomfortable, but I guess the Our man Vejay was an artist, I´m not scared of traffic but I never, ever would dare driving around in Indian cities especially by myself. No one seems to care about traffic rules at all, most trafficlights are completely ignored and of course cows and other animals are always wandering around, even on highways. As we were told by Vejah you need three things to survive Indian traffic: Good brake, good horn, and – most of all – good luck! As this is meant to be a safari trip report I won´t go into details about the city sightseeing, suffice to say that the monuments are most impressive and the incredible number of people everywhere creates a challenges for all senses. I loved it, the country is absolutely fascinating, most people very friendly but you have to be prepared for extreme contrasts. You can marvel at the splendour of the Taj or Fort Amber or relax in luxurious environments in your hotel, but a few minutes later you will have to bear with the sight of cripples living on the streets or even whole families housing on traffic islands. And then there was the “winter fog”, as everyone would insistently call the intense smog in the cities. Bit of a pity since you really couldn´t see that far, but it didn´t really detract from our enjoyment of sightseeing there. Just a few impressions here: Humayun´s tomb, probably my favourite sight in Delhi, kind of a predecessor to the Taj. And here is smelly, loud, chaotic, dirty, but most of all utterly fascinating Old Delhi: And we even saw quite some animals in the city: Palm Squirrels. These cute little guys were practically everywhere, and they always made me smile. The first of many, many Rose-Ringed Parakeet, as prevalent there as common pigeons are in European cities. No trip to India can be complete without some spectacled cobra: I was astounded to see several steppe eagles in the middle of the city (on the parks around Humayun´s tomb), our guide told us that they are being attracted by the refuses of a nearby butchery. And here we first saw one of my favourite birds, a hoopoe. They do exist in Austria, too, but I have never seen them here.

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