We departed Delhi on an early morning train to Sawai Madaphur - close to Ranthambore. It was an interesting trip as it gave us an idea of what was ahead of us when we have our two overnight train trips.
We had lunch on arrival at our hotel in Ranthambore and afterwards we had a walk up to the Ranthambore Fort which has existed since around 944AD. This was a very large fort and must have accommodated a sizable population based on the remains. We returned and had a lovely dinner, following which was an opportunity to catch a relatively early night after a hectic time in Delhi.
The following morning, we went for our first game drive shortly after 6am, right on sunrise. We had been allocated an area to look within (Sector 4) and saw a mongoose (which was being attached by a large black crow), lemur monkeys, peacocks, deer and bush pigs. Shortly after 8am, a large male tiger (known as T28) was spotted in a gully below us and we tracked him for several minutes before he disappeared into the forest. This was a wonderful sighting on our first of three game drives and we were the only safari vehicle who saw a tiger during that game drive period so that was a real bonus.
A little after 3pm, we returned to Ranthambore for our afternoon game drive. Our expectations of spotting another tiger were low as it was a hot day (mid 30's) and likely they would be seeking shelter. However, you never know your luck as within 20 minutes we saw a beautiful female tiger (known as T19) emerge from the forest and onto the track. Unlike our first drive, this time we had company - around five other vehicles so they were all competing for the best view for their clients. We tracked her for a time until again she disappeared into the forest cover. Our group were extremely pleased with our day's viewing - very privileged to see such magnificent and endangered animals in their natural habitat.
Day three dawned and we did our third and final game drive. This was ANZAC Day and we paused before boarding the vehicle with a moment's silence - lest we forget. We didn't see tiger on our last drive (but then we'd had a day to relish the day before). There were plenty of monkeys, antelope, deer peacocks and other birdlife and the scenery at Ranthambore is spectacular.
Once the drive was complete, we returned to the Ranthambore Safari Lodge for breakfast, packed our bags and drove to Agra - home to the Taj Mahal.