Ranthambore

Tiger Yawning
Shakti the Tigress

Once the hunting grounds of the royal family of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park is one of the foremost national parks in India for anyone keen to see the Bengal Tiger. Over time the Park's tiger population has increased due to some serious conservation efforts as well as locals' acknowledging that 'tiger tourism' can be a major source of income for them and their families. Visit and follow our Instagram page to see photos from Ranthambore and other national parks we cover.


Ranthambore National Park is a 3.5 hour drive from Jaipur or a 4 to 6 hour train journey from Delhi. Several visitors add this to their itinerary especially if they visit the golden triangle - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The Park's tigers such as Machli, Sundari, Ustad, Sultan (to name a few) have been in the media off late thanks to renowned wildlife photographers, film-makers and conservationists. 

Ancient Gates and Banyan trees of Ranthambore
Ancient Gates and Banyan trees of Ranthambore

The Park is divided in to 10 zones and there is news that additional zones will be added in the near future. Zones 1 to 6 and 10 are considered premium zones for which you must book at least 90 days in advance or pay a much higher amount if you book within 90 days of your safari. Zones 7,8 and 9 are not so popular with tourists as chances of spotting tigers there is less than the other zones. 


Tiger sightings vary every year as new adults take on their parents or other rivals and drive them out of their territory. From a tiger's perspective a territory is considered prime if it supports a large number of prey base (deer, wild boar etc.) as that ensures a constant supply of food for itself and it's future generations. Older tigers once driven out by new blood from their territory venture close to the fringes of the national park due to access to easy prey i.e. cattle or to protected forests and reserves such as Kaila Devi Wildlife Sanctuary and other areas.

Watering hole in summer
Is it fear that brings them together?

I have made several trips to Ranthambore in the past few years and have seen a tiger at least in all my visits. I believe it's luck that's in my favor. Ranthambore is home to several other species too including a very rich birdlife which worth checking out. Other mammals include leopards, sloth bears, smaller cats, chinkaras, etc.

Yellow footed Green Pigeons
Yellow footed Green Pigeons 

There is no guarantee that you will see a tiger during the safari. Some part of this depends on your safari driver and guide as they should be able to read and hear signs that indicate the presence of a big cat and then the rest is all about timing. After all, it is a wild animal that you're out to observe that too in it's natural home and not in a zoo. Safari drivers and naturalists are normally allocated by a roster determined by the forest department, however, you can pay extra to get a naturalist and driver of your choice - hopefully he/she is more experienced and worth the extra bucks!

Suggested Itinerary (can be customized):

Day 1
  • Arrive by train or drive to Ranthambore National Park (8 hours from Delhi and 3.5 from Jaipur). If arriving by train, get off at Sawai Madhopur Train Station. The closest airport is Jaipur.
  • You can do the afternoon safari after if you arrive in Sawai Madhopur by 1PM. If not then you can visit the Ranthambore Fort which is inside the National Park. A guided tour of the massive Fort is highly recommended
  • Dinner at the hotel (independent restaurants are not very common in Ranthambore, hence all your meals should be eaten in the hotel you are staying in).
Day 2-3:
  • Morning safari - your safari vehicle will pick you up from from the hotel between 5:30 AM to 6:00 AM (depends on time of the year). You need to be ready in the lobby with your IDs, bottled water and wear appropriate clothing depending on time of the year. 
  • Breakfast post safari and lunch prior to afternoon safari.
  • Afternoon safari
Day 4:
  • If you checked in late on Day 1 and missed the afternoon safari then you can do a morning safari.
  • Alternatively, you can also visit the Chambal river and do a river safari for an hour (October - May). The Chambal river is an hour drive from Sawai Madhopur. It is famous for reptiles including the critically endangered Gharial. See this link for more on the river safari on the Chambal that I personally lead near Agra. 
  • Check out after breakfast.
Indian Paradish Flycatchers (rufous and white morphs)
Indian Paradise Flycatchers (rufous and white morphs)

Over time Ranthambore has become a very popular national park. As such, safari permits need to be booked way in advance. I recommend a four day visit so you can do at least 4-5 safaris thus increasing your chances of spotting tigers. Safari bookings done last minute are very expensive. Safaris once booked are non-refundable and no changes are permitted in the names or dates. 

Price:

  • Please contact info@travelwith.in or call +919717148483 with number of people traveling, their age, number of nights you would like to stay in Ranthambore. 
Indian Pitta
Indian Pitta or Navranga - feathers are of nine (nav) colors (rang) in Hindi 

Note:
  • It is recommended to wear dull color clothes (brown, grey, olive green) during safaris so as to blend in with the environment.
  • There is no guarantee that you will see the above wildlife. 
  • What to carry during the safari: photo identification, camera, binoculars, warm jacket (in the winter), backpack to carry sun glasses, cap, vizer, sun block, some cash and drinking water.
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol is strictly not permitted in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Please do not throw trash on the forest floor even if you don't see a trash can. Please ask your guide who will help you to dispose it off properly.
  • To prevent any disturbance to wildlife, I recommend to not usecall playback to bring birds out in the open, feeding or baiting of wildlife. Despite this, if you do and are caught by the authorities or called out by locals or fellow wildlife enthusiasts, then be prepared to face the consequences too.
  • Due to the remoteness of the location, you may not have access to the kind of amenities, facilities and services that you typically are used to / get in big cities. Please ask me if you have any questions about what or what not to bring with you on this trip. Cell phone / data network may be erratic too.

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