Sawai Madhopur, India
Today is one of the days I’ve been waiting for – Safari Day. Crossing our fingers that we see more than just birds and squirrels.
So we get up at 5:00 am to leave at 6:00 am for our visit to the Ranthambhore National Park and Tiger Reserve. The chances of actually seeing a tiger is low, but that doesn’t keep us from being hopeful.
After passing through the gates and driving for about five minutes into the reserve – Tiger!
Resting not far from the road side is a large tiger. Though we, our sister vehicle and a couple others stop for photos, it stays relatively still for about fifteen minutes – Cool!
We continue driving through the preserve and see many animals along the way – deer, an eagle, owls, lemurs, chitalls, monkeys, peacocks, peahens and nilgai. There is also a huge old Banyan Tree or Walking Tree as some call them.
The scenery within the reserve is beautiful. Lush grass and trees, a stream and surrounding hills.
As we are continuing, we hear a loud animal call that our ranger says is a warning from one of the animals to the others. Then, our great white huntress – Sue – spots a leopard in the brush.
Our ranger / guide slows down and we watch as it gets nearer, stalking a future meal. Surprisingly, it comes in our direction and crosses within twenty feet of where we were quietly sitting. Talk about luck.
Everyone was excited, including the ranger, who said he has never seen a leopard come so close ever. We were able to take some great pictures and Sue was the hero for having spotted it. Had she not, we would have driven the opposite direction and missed it completely.
We finished our journey around 9:00 and as we were passing by the ranger stations, everyone was excited to hear about our leopard spotting. If only they had seen how close the spotting actually was.
When we returned to the train, our vehicle had bragging rights all during breakfast. They told us that no group has ever seen both a leopard and a tiger, and never has a leopard come so close.