2 Nov 2013
Early breakfast of banana pancakes at 6.30am before we board our minibus for a 4.5hr journey to Ranthambhore. We conclude that Rajasthan must be a much richer state because even the worst roads we travel are better than those we traversed in Uttar Pradesh and Madhyr Pradesh. The villages and towns seem more prosperous too and there is less rubbish.
We arrive at the Raj Palace Resort in time for lunch. It is a mansion that looks like it belonged to a British official from the time before India’s independence. Our rooms are separate houses in the garden. Many are being careful about what they are eating and others are hanging out for something simple like a grilled cheese sandwich – all tastes are catered for!
We were to have a bit of a rest before the safari but then get a phone call from Naveen “we are leaving early, can you come”. We have a safari bus jeep this time, fitting all of us and picking up more passengers along the way. Ranthambhore was an original Project Tiger park and is a spectacular park even apart from the tigers. It is named after the Ranthambhore Fort perched high on the hilltop. There are beautiful lakes and old buildings scattered throughout the park also. As usual only 20% of the park area is opened up to visitors and we head for Zone 4 where there are 7 adult tigers. The forest is different again here – 70% Trog trees. We see antelope as well as deer; monkeys, peacocks, mongoose and lots of beautiful birds but alas no tigers. We were in the vicinity of tigers again, hearing alarm calls from monkeys and deer and wait in silence for the elusive beast; but again we had to leave the park before we got a sighting – very disappointing. But we did have a wonderful experience when a Tiger bird came down and landed on the jeep beside us and even fed out of someone’s hand.
I have ordered a massage when I get back as I had fallen on the marble stairs at Agra and bruised my tailbone, and needed to prevent my muscles seizing up. The lady gave me an amazing Ayurverdic massage which left me nicely relaxed for evening activities. The locks on the doors here are a bit strange in that they have bolts that can be slid across on the outside – as the massage lady did instinctively on the way out – locking me in the room. I rung reception and a very amused man came to rescue me wondering who had locked me in.
We have drinks in the garden – the buildings everywhere are festooned with coloured fairy lights for Diwali. A local cultural group perform for us (and of course there is audience participation). This time the main dancer is a male and he is so lithe and supple – a pleasure to watch. He also shows us fire-breathing which was spectacular but left us wondering about what it does to his mouth and lungs.
Most of us have dinner in the restaurant and then a fairly early night. I was fast asleep when the phone rang in my room – very annoyingly a wrong number!
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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