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India - Tiger Safari

Author: migyero
Date of Trip: November 2006

Third morning day: 5 tigers, langurs, chitals, sambars, marabou, storks and some birds. The driver had understood us, we stop when we grow too rare animals. My wife decided not to come more the morning, too cold (-2 °C at the beginning this morning) and not enough of visible animals. We arrive at the concentration of vehicles awaiting their turn for the Elephant Circus. There I had make 2 turns for the price of one this morning; I am likely to talk with a Kénian of Indian origin who is biologist and naturalist; he explains to me why best is to go up on the last elephant making the circus and by giving a tip to the mahout (100 rupees: 2 euros) one can remain longer. We climb both on an elephant, he prevents two Indian tourists to join us. The 1st turn we will be 7 mn near a female tiger and it's 4 cubs 18 months eating, 2 Sambar dears; and 15 mn the 2nd time! Unfortunately he leaves the park the very same day. Thank you very much my friend, and he invites us to Kenya where he works for the national parks and the conservation of the vultures in Africa.

Third afternoon day: Langurs, chitals, sambars, marabou storks, king vulture and some birds. Just a king vulture with red head, not many things to see.

Fourth morning day: Langurs, chitals, sambars, marabou storks and some birds. This morning I said to the driver that I did not want elephant circus so we turned in to the park to see few animals.

Fourth afternoon day: Langurs, chitals, sambars, marabou storks, king vulture, some birds and also parasitic lianas on trees. We decided this afternoon to make pictures of the forest and especially of a parasitic species of liana which makes nodes around other species of trees. The driver and the guide do not understand our passion for this trick, but it is splendid and we appreciate the spectacle.

Fifth morning day: three tigers, langurs, chitals, sambars, marabou storks, king vulture and some birds. This morning the chance is with me! We enter first in the park and after 20 mn along one of the roads, we see a female tiger and it's two cubs 2 years old (already two beautiful males larger than it!) to go in front of us and to stop at the edge of the road. I had 8 mn of pure happiness alone with them before the other cars with their noisy tourists arrived. Three of them overtake me and put themselves between the tigers and me and shout, "Tigers, tigers". Result: the 3 tigers run into the forest. Indian tourists who do not respect anything! One wants to throw them in the mouth of the tiger to make them conceal.

Fifth afternoon day: Langurs, chitals, sambars, peacocks and some birds. Like everyday, puff out dust behind the other jeeps and anything to see because of too much noise.

Sixth morning day: Two peacocks! The roads which we take into the park are given every morning at the entry by one of the persons in charge of the park. This morning for my 6th day, they give me the road B where there are no animals. I make a scandal and before the end of the safari I say to the driver and to the guide to bring me back to the hotel. We decide not to make the afternoon safari, it is too much.

Assessment of Bandhavgardh:

Two full days are largely sufficient to visit this small park. To see the tiger, it is necessary to have an "elephant circus". The famous French photographer, François Savigny, at the time of his last stay in this park was fired off by the director. He asked to be able to take pictures of tigers. Not possible now even for profesional photographers, therefore they do not come any more in this park.

So it is better to remain longer in Ranthambhore than in Bandhavgardh. When it is known that the foreign tourists 10 times more expensive than the Indians one expects another thing than this elephant circus . Kipling and Corbett must be turned over in their tomb!

Assessment of these 5 Indian parks:

Kaziranga - Assam: 9 out of 10; Park very well preserved, lot of animals, really profesional gards and guides.

Corbett - Uttaranchal: 6 out of 10; Too many authorized vehicles.

Keoladeo - Rajasthan: 9 out of 10; for the bird-watchers a paradise.

Ranthambore - Rajasthan: 9.5 out of 10; My favourite park, very professional guides, lot of animals to be seen.

Bandhavgardh - Madhya Pradesh: 2.5 out of 10; My Disappointment of the trip, guards and guides obscured by the tiger and not professional.

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