Today involved an 8:00 AM departure and a four-hour journey, mostly on terrible roads that were under construction. Our iPods helped save our sanity.
We reached the Sawai Madhopur Lodge (in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan) a little after noon. Lunch followed and we departed at 2:30 on a safari into the Ranthambhore National Park to see the wildlife, and hopefully a tiger. It was another uncomfortable ride in a big Jeep-type thing called a "cantor", which seated all of us with room to spare, kept high up and also able to stand if we wanted to, since there was no roof. A naturalist came along to help spot and identify animals - we saw antelope, spotted deer, boar, and birds. Eventually we did see some fresh tiger tracks in the road - big! - but no tiger. We finally arrived back at the lodge at 6:00, exhausted.
The a naturalist showed slides and talked about tigers, after which was dinner and bed.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Another very early wake-up call came so that we could start at 6:45AM on our early morning safari. It was lovely at that time of day, and chilly. Although we saw lot of tiger prints, we never did see any tigers, although there was much other wildlife.
The roads in the park were dusty and Tom's camera was covered in the fine sandy powder by the end of the morning safari. He had to wash it off and was thankful for the excellent weather sealing of the new 50D by Canon. He also had taken advantage of the exceptionally high "film" speed (ISO 12,800) to get the very early morning images that were taken practically in the dark.
Breakfast followed back at the hotel, at 10:45, then a nap and lunch at 1:30. We were off again on our third and final safari at 2:30, and unfortunately we saw no tigers, although we did spot a leopard high on a ridge top, far away just as we were exiting the park. There were many birds and deer and boar and Sambur (bigger deer (pronounced like the "Samba" dance)). Tigers prefer these large deer to the smaller Spotted Deer. We enjoyed being out in the wild again. Tom struck up a photography friendship with the naturalist (Satish) by letting him use his long (300mm) lens to capture a particularly beautiful deer-sunset image.