09th September, 2017
Hello friends !
After an eventful first day in the jungle, we were pumped up this morning. The routine was the same as the previous day. We woke up at 5:00 a.m. and by 5:30 a.m. all pumped up for our “Third safari ride” we were ready for our morning coffee. Today the weather seemed perfect. It was a beautiful clear sky with no signs of the rains. Seemed like all the animals would have come near the watering holes as the sun was out today…
Today morning with us at the hotel, there were few more guests who had checked in the previous night. They were visiting from different parts of India, some from Delhi, some from Jaipur and so on. We find it really comforting and refreshing talking to fellow guests on holidays. Every person has a different story to share and each story has its own charm.
MIRINDA suggests: The sun can be very harsh in Ranthambore, even during the earlier morning safaris. We strongly suggest you carry your sun glasses, sun screen and safari hats along with you during the safari rides. Also, please tell your hotel staff to pack a basket with some cold water bottles, it really helps during the safari rides.
MORNING SAFARI RIDE
At 5:45 am, our car had arrived. Today with our guide Ajay, we had a new driver who would take us to Zone 6. Ajay informed us that Zone 6 was home to 4 tigers; one male, one female and their two cubs. Also, Zone 6 was known for its bear sightings.With fingers crossed, we embarked on our morning safari.
Zone 6 – Shares its boundaries with Zone 1 and there are high chances of spotting T-39 with her cubs here too. Landscape of this zone is quite different from Zone 1-5 and has more open grasslands with huge mountains in the backdrop. You can spot the Indian gazelle and have opportunity to spot birds too. (Including the endangered Red headed Vultures). Since this zone is close to village, cattle do go astray and reports of Tigers killing and feeding on the cattle have been reported here.
Zone 6-10 were added later to the sanctuary and access to these zones is at exact opposite end as that of from 1-5. To enter these zones the gypsies and canters go through the old city.
As soon as we entered the jungle, our eyes started scanning the area like hawks looking for its prey. The zone was bustling with large number of Sambars, Chitals and monkeys. We also saw several birds chirping in the morning. Our driver immediately took the car to the known watering holes in the hope that a tiger could be spotted right there as it was very hot morning.
We looked around desperately trying to spot anything that with stripes, anything with that tiger orange shade; but we couldn’t spot it. We then gradually scanned the entire zone, looked eagerly for pug marks, listened intently to any potential alarm calls; but there was no luck today. Seemed like the tigers had gone into hiding. We spoke to the other cars in the zone and even they didn’t spot the tigers. Of course, the jungle was still beautiful filled with other animals and birds; but the thrill of spotting a tiger, bear or leopard is incomparable. We roamed around for almost an hour and half looking at different clues and signs but it all seemed in vain.
Just when we had lost all hopes, suddenly at one junction we heard a monkey alarm call. It was on the boundary of the zone, where the area was covered with long dense trees and a small mountain on one side. It was very difficult to see at a long distance with the trees being an obstruction, so we took out our binoculars and sat patiently in the car. Slowly and gradually the calls started getting stronger. It seemed as if a monkey was giving alarm calls from top of a tree.
Ajay mentioned that as it is a monkey call, it could be a tiger, a leopard or even a bear. As the call were consistent and kept on getting stronger, it meant that the predator was on the move. This was getting super exciting and scary. We didn’t know what it was, but something was approaching towards our vehicle. We were eagerly waiting to try and get a glimpse of it through our binoculars, but it so dense that it was difficult to get a clear vision. Then suddenly, out of nowhere the monkey calls stopped. There was no noise. We couldn’t believe our luck. We had waited almost an hour waiting for something to happen and in the end saw nothing. I learned how frustrating safari drives can be.
By this time, we were almost done with our stipulated morning time and we had to head back to the hotel. The sun was heating down and we were quite exhausted. We reached hotel and straight away headed to the breakfast tables.
Today for our fusion breakfast, we were served a spread of continental breakfast along with some Indian fusion flavours. Surely it was a relief having some delicious food after a long and tiring morning safari, which did feel even longer by the time we got back as we were unable to spot the Tiger today !
We chatted a bit with the fellow guests, who couldn’t stop bragging about what tigers they saw the same morning in a different Zone ! Post a heavy breakfast, we made way to our rooms for a quick nap.
We woke at the stroke of lunch. The weather was still clear. However, it was getting hotter as the day progressed. The temperature had almost touched 40 degrees Celsius. Chilled beers were a wonderful relief.
EVENING SAFARI RIDE
After a disappointing morning sighting, we were raring making it up in the evening safari. By this time, we had already learned a great deal about the jungle. We could easily identify birds such as, my favorite Yellow Oriel. We were even getting familiar with the behavior patterns of the tiger, its territory marking, its hunting technique, the pug marks etc.
MIRINDA suggests: Having a good guide is very important. We suggest you consult with your hotel and fellow guests and hire a good guide for your safari. We feel it’s not just about spotting animals but it’s the entire education about the animals, their characteristics, behaviors etc.which makes the safari a memorable experience.
At around 3:45 pm, we left from our hotel. It was time for Zone 5 now.
Zone 5 – Known for its thickly forested regions, natural stream admits mountains and a varied terrain, Bakaula is a part of Zone 5. Bakaula consists of dense forest, with many small pools and water holes in clearings in the vegetation. Because of the excellent forest cover and availability of water, the Bakaula region in National Park Ranthambore has an abundance of wildlife. Tigresses with young cubs are often seen near the water holes in Bakaula, since the dense forest provides cool hides for a tigress and her young.
The thick vegetation also retains moisture in the air and lowers the temperature of this area. Bakaula is one of the coolest regions of National Park Ranthambore, where many birds can be seen in the trees and small animals like squirrels and monkeys scamper through the forest.
We used the same strategy we used in the morning safari i.e. quickly scanning the watering holes. And this time we were super lucky !! We spotted a young male cub relaxing in the shade just next to a watering hole. It was a wonderful sighting. He wasn’t as huge as the fully grown male tiger we saw during our first safari ride, but still it looked ferocious.
Ajay mentioned that his mother and his brother should also be nearby as mothers tend to accompany their cubs till they are 2 to 2.5 years. We rolled back our car slightly in the hopes that the mother and the other cub would find their way easily. However, suddenly a canter came in with a loudest engine sound it could possibly make. This scared the young cub away.
It started strolling on to the road and was making its way into the bushes. We followed him for about 10-15 minutes and got some wonderful glimpses of his walk. However, soon he disappeared into the bush. We waited for sometime for him to make an appearance but I guess he was too scared to come out alone.
We then moved over to the most famous area of Ranthambore National Park – Bakaula
Being my parents favourite spot of Ranthambore, we got to hear multiple nostalgic stories of theirs on our way there. It was a hot sighing spot in Ranthambore due to this landscape, Ajay told us that it was usually crowed with cars. As soon as we made our way there, we saw approx. 7-8 cars looking at a spot inside the Water stream passing through the forest covered by mountains on both the sides.
They were all trying to get a glimpse of the male tiger sitting behind a rock near the stream. It seemed as if he was hiding behind some rock kind of thing and only a few people with ultra large zooms could get a very brief glimpse of him. We tried maneuvering our car, tried different positions , but we never managed to get a clear glimpse of the tiger. He was just relaxing in the shade. Everyone was waiting for him to make an appearance. Even with a slightest movement of the rock or branches, everyone would be alerted and will try to pin point of they saw anything. It was amusing how an animal was playing with the emotions of 30-40 people. But that’s the beauty of the Indian Bengal Tiger !!! We waited for a while but couldn’t get a proper sight of it.
While we were making our way back to the hotel, just as we were about to exit the zone, we saw a dead python lying on the ground. Given its kin and flesh was still intact, it seemed that it might have been run over by a car. Outside the zone 5 is a famous Ganesha temple. Such huge is the influence of this temple on the local population that in spite of it being right in the middle of a tiger sanctuary, it remains open to public. Tigers have been known to frequent the pathways leading to the temple. However, this has not dithered the faith of locals in the temple.
At around 7:30 pm we were back to our hotel. Today for dinner, the chef had prepared authentic Rajasthani cuisine with freshly made hot breads (rotis), papads, daal, aalu sabzi, chicken masala and salad.
As we had a wonderful evening safari, we couldn’t brag more in front of the other guests who unfortunately didn’t see much in their evening safari at Zone 2.
Around 10 p.m., fully exhausted, we called it a day.
Coming up next.. Day 03 : Last Day at Ranthambore……. !
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