Ultimate Tiger Safari
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, India
After a number of visits to India to see tigers, I have often come away rather disappointed with the results. Tigers can be extremely difficult and frustrating subjects to photograph. In preparation for this trip, on a previous visit I took a lot of advice from everyone I could find to talk to - the local experts out there in the reserves regularly. When is best the very best time to visit? Which reserves are performing the best right now? How do you get the very best access in these reserves? The result of this research was this safari - the Ultimate Tiger Safari!
The hottest time of the year is the best - mid-April to mid-June - but tough, temperatures peak each day around 42C (108F). But it was worth it! We had 10 days in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, with all-day all-zone access permits. We had a further 6 days in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Well - did it work? How did these plans work out?
Ranthambore was absolutely superb, in a different league to all the other tiger reserves I have visited. An amazing experience. We had 28 tiger encounters involving 49 tigers, with some encounters lasting for hours, in one case 9 hours in total! Ranthambore is on my must-visit list for tigers.
Tadoba Andhari was good, but not superb. Sightings were less frequent, often marred by dozens of other vehicles at the sighting. Arcane and seemingly bewildering rules sometimes impinged on our game drives - but we did have some great sightings here as well. And after so many tiger encounters in Ranthambore, we switched half the games drives in Tadoba away from tigers, concentrating on finding Wild Dogs and Sloth Bear. 5 Tiger encounters involving 9 tigers, and also 6 wild dogs and 8 sloth bears.