an Asian adventure in search of the magnificent Bengal Tiger – Incredible India, Day 4: West End Inn
Friday 04 November 2005
Awake early again this morning. When we arrived at the lobby there was a phone call from our Indian Moments agent – apparently a jeep was not possible and we were booked on a truck instead! We were very disappointed since we were promised yesterday that a jeep was booked for us. We were almost considering not going since the truck was so uncomfortable and it was difficult to take photos. Then two guys rushed in – apparently the truck had forgotten to pick us up so they had come to take us to it. The day was turning into a disaster!
We reached the truck, and in fact it turned out to be the best safari of them all. I didn’t snooze for starters. Snoozing is very easy to do when you’re tired anyway, then are driving round in a truck for three hours inhaling dust and exhaust fumes and hardly stopping for the wildlife because the driver has to complete his prearranged route in record time, and with the guide hardly ever speaking to the guests!
On this safari we stopped quite often and the guide told us about the forest, spoor footprints and alarm calls etc. We first stopped to see the spoor of a leopard. Later, on the same track, we saw tiger spoor and sloth bear spoor. We followed the tiger spoor until it stopped then waited and listened. We heard a warning call of the tiger and the guide thought it may be because it had come across the deer we had seen a little earlier so we turned around and went back towards where we had seen the deer and listened and watched for the tiger – tho we saw nothing.
We saw plenty of spotted deer, sambar, blue bull and monkeys hanuman langur. We saw a huge crested serpent eagle very close to the track, lots of parakeets – got great photos of the largest type of parakeet, can’t remember its true name. We saw several crocodiles too and mongoose. We also saw an Indian gazelle, it was very small and supposedly the fastest of the antelope.
On the way out there were vehicles crowding round the place where we saw the tigers yesterday (we found they had made a kill there a few days ago). We drove to several gaps in the bushes but it was very difficult to see. We hoped a tiger would walk through a gap for us to see but had no luck and eventually left the park and headed back to the hotel.
We were both much happier leaving this last safari since the guide had talked with us a lot and clearly knew the forest life well – and he was even taking his own photos on some occasions so was very good at directing the driver to a good position for the rest of us. This safari was also nowhere near as dusty as all the others which also helped to make it much more pleasant.
Back at the hotel we showered, packed and ate breakfast. Later we sat on the terrace for some drinks and lunch before leaving for the train station. It was the same driver that collected us from Delhi airport.
The train left at 15:00 and took 2.5 hours to reach Jaipur. We were then driven to New Delhi, stopping off on the way to stretch our legs and we bought some crisps Lays Spanish Tomato – if you see them buy them, they’re great!. We arrived at our hotel West End Inn about 22:20. The room has a very strange odour and we’re glad to be staying here for only one night. Another driver will be collecting us in the morning at 09:30 so compared to the previous days – we’ll have a lie in!
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See my ‘Impressions’ blog post over at Natalie Carstens | The Birth Photographer for the latest selection of photos!
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