I decided to take a small diversion off the Golden Triangle, via Ranthambhore National Park, in the hope of spotting a tiger. The journey there was a constant amusement to the group as we magically dodge buses heading straight for us, families on motorcycles, local folk wandering all over the road, camels pulling huge loads, and the many animals dawdling in front of us.
There was a constant “Oh Jesus” as the car wheels left the dirt track. It was a long trip and it was a relief to reach Khem Villas, our little oasis for the next few days.
The first day of safari we were unsuccessful in spotting a tiger, but it was pretty exciting with all the anticipation; we heard the alarm calls of the Sambar deer and reached a tiger just as all the other tourists were leaving and he had slinked off to the shade. Doh!!!
Even though Ranthambhore National Park has a bad rap due to people being too noisy and it was another three hours of hurling our bums off the seat – me and the oldies enjoyed the safari. The park is in a beautiful setting, with a huge fort towering about us. We spotted many spotted deer, Sambar, a crocodile, peacocks and plenty of other birds.
There were lots and lots of monkeys. Some were playing in the trees right above the safari truck when suddenly the Heavens opened. One of the dirty rascals decided to do a great big wee over a poor Indian boy who got absolutely drenched, I was lucky with only getting a few splash backs. Eugh!!!!
The second safari wasn’t as good, it was a dull route on a straight road through forest and the guide didn’t really say a lot. I guess it is the luck if the draw.
However, the climax was when a tiger was spotted at the exit gates.
It was complete pandemonium.
There were safari trucks everywhere, all nuzzling to try and get a view. Everyone shouting and screaming with the excitement. Our driver kept zooming off to try to get closer to action, with most of the passengers standing it was a miracle no one got knocked out by the flying branches. To add to the chaos, the locals were allowed in the park due to a festival and so there were hundreds of villagers on foot visiting the temples.
Don’t these folk know there is a tiger on the loose!!!!
Caught up in the craziness, when the guide shoed us out of the van to get closer to the tiger we followed like sheep. However, our luck was not in. Safari Indian style is certainly a comedy of errors.
Khem Villas is a lovely resort 2km from Ranthambhore National Park. From 11,000 rupees a double room per night, all food and accommodation is included. The food is veggie, but it all tasted very yummy. At no additional cost, they arranged a nature walk and a trip to a woman’s handcraft cooperation. I would highly recommend this little oasis even if it is more flashpacking than backpacking.
The safaris book out fast due to the park’s proximity to Delhi, so book ahead at Rajasthan Wildlife. I booked 2 months in advance, but even then all the jeeps were taken.