I went to Ranthambore Safari for Wildlife Photography, carrying a 70-200 mm lens.
Indeed, in the initial phases of the wildlife photography journey, I went on Safari in Mudhumalai Tiger Reserve and Bandhavgarh National Park as part of my Wildlife submission for the academy. Those were incredible experiences because of multiple animal sightings done on numerous days.
However, Ranthambore Safari turned out to be the opposite experience. I have expressed my thoughts deeply in the article further.
Table of Contents
How to Reach Ranthambore?
The most convenient way to reach Ranthambore is by taking a train. Daily trains run from Delhi to Ranthambore, taking approximately 5 hours to get to Ranthambore from Delhi.
Besides, it would be best to reserve way before because only selected trains may match your timing preference.
I reserved a seat in NDLS SGAC SF EX 20452 train, in 3 tier, which cost me Rs. 745. The train began from Delhi at 7:10 a.m. and reached Sawai Madhopur at 11:45 a.m.
How to Book Ranthambore Safari Ticket Online?
I found Ranthambore Safari Booking more convenient online than arriving at the location and booking later.
Precisely, after researching online, I booked my 4 Safari slots.
The ticket price per Safari varies on:
- Jeep/Canter and Indian/Foreigner criteria. For instance, if you’re an Indian and book a Canter safari, you must pay Rs—1,450 per Safari plus taxes.
Hence, my total for 4 Ranthambore Safari was Rs. 5,974.
What else to see when Booking Ranthambore Safari?
You must thoroughly fill in and check all the required details, such as Name, Mobile Number, ID proof & ID number.
Besides, one important thing is selecting Zones to go for Safari.
While booking online, there’s an option to Choose from the 2, either Zone 1-7 or Zone 8-10.
I chose Safaris from Zones 1-7, and randomly, from the chosen, the Safari agent allotted me the Zones per Safari.
For instance, a morning Safari in Jeep in Zone 5—Likewise, it goes.
There’s no perfect Zone where you’ll see all the animals. However, the people who conduct Safari have a different voice because they run Safari regularly and want people to have the best wildlife experience.
Hence, the Safari guides prefer to say-
For example, Zone 3 and 5 are most pleasing for Tiger Sighting as they encountered 1 Tigress with cubes a day before. Accordingly, you can consult them when you visit for the most promising encounter.
Canter Safari as a serious Wildlife Photographer
My ultimate motive in visiting the Ranthambore Safari was to capture the wildlife; I also had to manage the expenses. Therefore, I considered taking Canter, which cost me Rs. 1450 per Safari. Indeed, the Jeep cost me Rs. 1850 per Safari.
I proceeded as planned.
While on the train, I received a message to provide a Safari voucher, received during booking, and the Hotel’s name for pickup.
I reached my Hotel on time, as the Safari pickup was merely 1 hour away.
You can see below the Safari timings in different seasons.
I reserved Canter, which came for a pickup at the Hotel. Indeed, Jeep also does come for pickup.
The guide told me to be ready by 1:30 p.m. for the pickup for the afternoon safari. Indeed, the Vehicles would enter at 2 p.m. in the allocated Zone.
Furthermore, the Canter also took other individuals and reached the allocated Zone.
After undergoing the Canter Safari, including all 4 Ranthambore Safaris, I realized:
Why would I not prefer Canter Safari moving forward?
If your purpose is Wildlife Photography, then taking a canter is not suitable because:
1. Canter Takes Time
- The Canter takes time to turn if there’s any animal movement—till the time the Canter reaches the animal, it would have gone.
2. Can’t Stand in a Small Space
- The Safari Canter can’t stand in a small space; eventually, wildlife spotting is measured in inches & moments.
I took this shot standing on top of the Canter, which was risky
At one instance, a tiger was lying ahead on the way during my Ranthambore Safari. However, a few jeeps are forward, and there’s a little space for a more promising view; however, Canter couldn’t go in that space. So, I tried watching from far away but could only glimpse a little.
3. More People, More Chit – Chats
- Canters are suitable for prominent families; by chance, if you encounter families in the Canter, undoubtedly, chit-chatting throughout shouldn’t be done; everyone should realize others are also there with a purpose.
During my 2nd Safari at Zone 5, I encountered the 7 member families, including children, women, and men. Moreover, it felt like they were on a picnic and talked throughout, even when everybody had to remain silent. The guide also told them not to speak and to concentrate on Tiger spotting, but they didn’t listen. Then, one person from the Canter said, “Please, don’t talk; remain silent. We’re hearing alarm calls.”
4. The Safari Driver could exit early
- In one instance, the Canter driver exited the Zone before the allotted time; upon asking why, he replied,
the animals were gone in the shed because of heat.
The same day, in the afternoon, I learned from the hotel owner that the Tiger was spotted in that same Zone in the morning. But I couldn’t get a chance to see, as our Canter left early!
Situations like these indeed disturb your peace and dedication.
I also eyed the individuals sitting in Jeep Safari; all seemed focused on finding Tiger with minimal talk. The Jeep could fill the capacity of 5-6 people, whereas Canter can accommodate 20-25 people.
What Safari Zone did I go to?
I went to Zone’s 1,2,5 & 6. All these allocated Zones were given randomly to me. Earlier, I didn’t learn we could also choose the Zones accordingly.
Regardless, I was satisfied with the Zones and spotted 2 Tigers in Zone 1 & 5.
However, I was unsatisfied with the Photographs of the animals as expected.
Which Hotel I stayed?
I stayed in Hotel Saif Ranthambore for 2 nights, which cost Rs. 4270, including breakfast, Lunch, and dinner. After researching, I found a hotel that fit my budget.
The overall experience of staying in the Hotel was satisfying. At one instance, my Safari time was approaching, and I requested to get the Lunch done early, and within a few minutes, it was ready—so that was quick!
Is there any Toilet facility inside Safari Zones?
Yes, the toilet facility exists in the Safari Zones.
When the Safari starts, almost after an hour or two, the Safari drivers stop near the check post, which has a washroom. Indeed, not every Zone has a bathroom.
What to carry during your Safari?
You can carry the necessary items with you.
- Carry a water bottle
- Energy bars to eat
The Safari would take 3 hours and 30 minutes, plus the return time to your Hotel.
Which time is better to spot more animals, mainly Tigers?
There’s no perfect time, but you should take at least 2-3 Safaris to experience wildlife and increase your chances of seeing the Tiger.
Also, whichever you take, both morning and afternoon are ideal for Safari, especially in winter.
In addition, a simple suggestion:
Please don’t wear vibrant clothing like Red, Yellow, etc.
Going on a Wildlife Safari as a photographer is like entering your dreams; however, taking Canter to get WOAH-worthy shots?—I doubt it!
However, I tried my best but remained dissatisfied with the shots.
Genuinely, I am simply putting you in a situation regarding Photography—and not forcing you to sound discomfort in Canter safari.
Please share your experiences of Canter Safari with me.