My first safari was not until 2014 when I went to Kabini, Karnataka with a lot of expectations, to see some big cats. I had heard stories of how some people had to wait close to a decade to see their first tiger. I really was not sure if I was going to see a tiger, but hoped against hope it would happen. We were on a safari one morning and the jeep that passed us told us that a tiger was sitting on the road ahead. When we arrived the tiger had left and I was so disappointed. The same evening someone else had spotted a tiger and we were again late.I did see a beautiful leopard on this trip though, but no tigers.
2 years later I again went back to Kabini, this time too hoping to see a tiger. Things started well on this trip we saw lot of wildlife. On our first safari we saw Elephants, Gaurs, Chittal, Leopard, Sambhars etc.. The following morning we were on a safari and suddenly the driver got a call, that a tiger was spotted by the river. We rushed there and again the tiger had just left. The driver said if we get to the other side quickly we may still see the tiger. We again rushed along the bumpy roads to another spot. We arrived there and as usual I though it was a false alarm. Within 2 minutes of reaching there something came out of the bushes, I couldn't believe my eyes it was so surreal, there it was a beautiful tigress. My camera settings were off and I had no time to recover. I did click some pictures of my first tiger. The sheer beauty and grace of this animal is mesmerizing. I was very happy the entire trip but I wanted to see more.
1 year later I choose to go to the West of India,Rajastan - Ranthambore National Park. This was one memorable trip over 5 days. I have never seen so many tigers quite like this to-date. We spotted Kumba a large male on our first safari. Noor and her 3 cubs every day. Arrowhead by the water hole. An angry ferocious male that roared at us one morning that sent shivers down my spine. Ladli a female tigress walking down the hill to cool off in the water. On this trip I saw tigers like never before.
1 year later I went to Sundarbans, West Bengal. I knew chances were remote of spotting a tiger however the flora and fauna of this mangrove delta is breathtaking. We did see signs of tigers, but didn't actually see a tiger.
On that same trip I went to Bandavgarh, Madhya Pradesh. Now this place is called the tiger capital however due to it being winter and many females having cubs, very few sightings of tigers were reported. I didn't see a tiger for 3 days and by the 7th safari it was really looking bleak. Half way through this safari as our jeep turned a corner, there was this tigress walking straight towards us. I guess we both startled each other. The tigress sat on the ground and we spent a good 15 minutes with this beautiful tigress. We did see 2 other tigers on this trip.
Now with all this if one were to think my eagerness to see more tigers would reduce, they are mistaken. No matter how many times you see this beautiful animal you want to see more. May the wild landscapes in the land of the tiger and its tigers flourish, so generations continue to see this magnificent animal.