I didn’t see one Bengal tiger on safari…!

Bandipur Tiger ReserveI am writing this post from inside a tiger reserve—part of the the Bandipur National Park—which spans three states. It has been a peaceful couple of days spent here, punctuated by delicious food, tranquil surrounds and safaris. Away from hustle and bustle of crazy, chaotic India, this place is a Mecca for the soul.

There is literally nothing to do here except chill. There are no TVs in any of the rooms and wifi is patchy (but worked ok for me, but I couldn’t be bothered with the hike to the reception area, so I only every used it while I happened to be there), so I read until my eyeballs fell out, napped and went on two safaris. And it was a really, really, really nice change of pace.

Our two safaris were early in the morning (6am-ish) and later in the afternoon (3.30pm-ish). Each safari was around 3 hours in length, and we were on dirt tracks right in the jungle. I was trying out my new telephoto (55-250) zoom lens, which I brought specifically for this purpose. I must say that I am in LOVE with this lens. I took some brilliant pics of elephants, monkeys, wild boar, deer and birds, and even a couple of interesting landscape shots. It was fast and sharp and I loved what it did with depth of field.

We were just about to head back to the hotel this evening, when we had a call from another driver that a big cat had been spotted. I thought it might be a leopard, because one had been spotted yesterday. So we hightailed it over to the cat location, our disks herniated on the way by non-existent suspension driving over barely there roads, the dust swirling in our wake.

We arrived at the water hole as the sun was setting and to out amazement, there was not one but two Bengal tigers—one male, one female—lapping up water. They then lazily sauntered up a small hill and off in to the bush. It was an amazing, wonderful, beautiful sight—these two magnificent animals in their natural environment. Unfortunately, the light had faded considerably and my lens didn’t do this scene justice despite my bumping up the ISO. Still, I’ll work my magic on them when I get home and they’ll be fine.

So, I didn’t see one Bengal tiger on safari. I saw two.

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