Ranthambhore National Park
Ranthambhore National Park is closed for visitors during the monsoon season between July and September of every year.
The 275 km² park is one of the best places in India to see tigers in the wild. It is one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world and is also home to animals such as jackal, mongoose, sloth bear, leopard, sambar, chital, nilgai, gazelle, boars, mongoose, Indian Hare, monitor lizards, and plenty of birds. It includes 300 species of trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles including the Marsh Crocodile & amphibians and 30 mammals. It also contains abandoned fortresses and lakes. Ranthambore was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and became part of Project Tiger in 1973. The number of tigers living in the park has increased in recent years from 25 to 61. Unfortunately, the number of tigers living in the park remains low, primarily due to poaching.
Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.
There are no direct air, bus, or train connections to the park; however, there are train and bus stops in the nearby town of Sawai Madhopur, where connections can be made to most of the major cities in Rajasthan and beyond.
The best way to get around the park is to arrange a vehicle-based safari or a jungle walk with a local guide. Prices are negotiable.
The best time to take a wildlife safari is between October and April.
To enter the park, you must have an approved guide and vehicle. Safaris are available either in the morning (6:00AM to 10:30AM) or in the afternoon (2:00PM to 7:00PM).
The park is divided into 10 zones. There is a quota for how many vehicles/visitors are allowed in each zone at any given time. The majority of the tigers live in zones 1 through 5. Zone 6 has a few tigers, but limited other wildlife, and Zone 8 (Balas) does not contain much wildlife, but it does include some beautiful temples. It is advisable to book ahead to make sure you get a ticket for zones 1-5. Safaris can be booked either online via the websites of various tour operators, at area hotels, or at the ticket window at the park entrance, which opens every day at 5:00AM (although prepare for long queues). You will have to show your passport when booking a safari, unless you are an Indian national, in which case your identification card will suffice. Spotting a tiger in real is very difficult although the travel agents claims the chances are near 100 %. So, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
There are two types of vehicles used for safaris, both of which are open-top, all wheel drive vehicles:
Expect to pay ₹500-600 per person for the safari. There is an extra charge for using videography equipment, but no extra charge for camera use.
The official online booking for safaris can be found at http://www.rajasthanwildlife.rajasthan.gov.in/ (Press the online booking tab at the top). The website is somewhat confusing though and will not work well on mobiles. On the booking form you can select the reserve and zone for your safari. The local travel agencies could be able to book your entry. Even you need not to stand in the queue for that occasion. But they will charge a higher amount of fees and will not provide you any receipt for the same.
There are many places to buy locally-produced handicrafts in the nearby town of Sawai Madhopur. Such handicraft stores include Dhonk, Anokhi and Dastkar.
There are no eating options within the park. However, there are plenty places to eat in the nearby town of Sawai Madhopur.
There are no bars or cafes within the park. However, there are plenty places to drink in the nearby town of Sawai Madhopur.
There are no accommodation options within the park itself. Visitors to the park stay in the nearby town of Sawai Madhopur.
It is NECESSARY to take warm things (including gloves, caps, fur-coats and blanckets) for the safaris in winter since it is very cold before sunrise and after sunset and you will drive in an open vehicle.