Let me start by saying that Tigers and Leopards are extremely elusive. Chances of seeing them are slim and none. The only consolation is that there are many many other fasinating amimals to see in the parks. Chittle deer and Samba Deer, Sloth Bears, White monkeys with black faces, Eagles, Kingfishers, Storks, cranes, and a large variety of predatory birds.
At this time of the year, game drives are very, very cold in the morning. One needs glove, stocking caps, windbreakers, and fleece jackets. You can peel off layers, but it is realy cold. The lodges supply hot water bottles and blankets, and you need all of it. You must have good binoculars and a long lense camera. Often the tigers and leopards are in brush and far away. Afternoons get warm so you can take off layers. The drive can be very dusty, hot, and very very bumpy. There can be long periods of seeing nothing but beautiful jungle. Some jungles are teak, some are of a wood called Saab, and some are semitropical.
The parks we visited were Pench, Kahna, Bangadavgarh, and Panna. We saw tigers and one leopard in the first three, and the last Panna was beautiful. There is an amazing temple complex called Khajurao that one should absolutely not miss when in Middle India. The Lodges were all different and each had it’s own personality: Baghvan, Banjar Toli- tented camp-Mahua Kohti, and Pasha Garh.
We are now in Ranthanbor Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!
To be continued….