Ranthambore National Park is a vast expanse of deciduous forests and wild jungle scrub, glassy lakes and open meadows, hemmed by rocky ridges and rugged mountains. At its centre is the 10th century ruin of Ranthambore Fort, which is surrounded by a scattering of ancient temples and mosques, hunting pavilions and vine-covered chhatris (or burial tombs). This iconic park is a unique combination of natural beauty and historical richness. It was once used as a private hunting reserve by the Maharaja of Jaipur until 1972, when it was converted into a national park under the tiger conservation programme, Project Tiger, which aims to protect the majestic creature from extinction.
The 1,334-square kilometre park was one of the earliest tiger reserves in India. It is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan, and it was recorded in 2016 that there were around 52 to 55 in the park. Although not guaranteed, sightings are reliable, and we always suggest leaving enough time for at least two or three safaris which will improve your chances. May is the best time of year to spot tigers. As well as tigers, there’s plenty of other magnificent wildlife to see, including leopards and other jungle cats (although you will need a great deal of time and patience to see them), sloth bears, honey badgers, striped hyenas, sambar deer, chital, nilgai, jackals, marsh crocodiles and the Indian wild boar. The dry deciduous forest and tropical wetlands also means that the park is an excellent spot for bird watching. There are more than 300 species of bird species, including the sarus crane, the imperial eagle, the oriental white-backed vulture and the long-billed vulture. The park has ten zones; zones 1 to 5 are the preferred areas with reliable sightings, and 6 to 10 have rougher terrain but are gaining popularity. Zones 1-5 close in July, August and September.
Sawai Madhopur (also known as the gateway town for Ranthambore) is the nearest town which is located 10 kilometres from the first gate of the park, and another 3 kilometres to the main gate and Ranthambore Fort. Jaipur is the nearest airport from Ranthambore and is about 160 kilometres away, and Sawai Madhopur Railway Station (with trains links to major cities including Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) is the nearest station located 11 km away from the park.
There are several accommodation types within the park, ranging from the most charming and rustic camps, to splendid and opulent lodges, however our favourites are the exclusive Aman-i-Khas and the ultra-luxurious tented camp SUJÁN Sher Bagh, both of which feature on our Top 10 Safari Lodges.
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka