Ranthambore National Park is one of the best place to see tigers & other wildlife in their natural habitat. The Park area is about 1400 sq kms & covers three districts Karuali, Sawai madhopur and Kota. The two hill ranges found in the park are Arravallis & Vindhyachal. Beside the park Ranthambore fort is second major attraction in this area. By this park becomes rich blend of history and nature. In India, in only few places you can find monuments & tigers together.
Ranthambore National Park, right now has 65+ Tigers with great diversity of fauna & flora. Other important animals are Leopards, Sloth bears. However these two are sighted rarely. Due to tiger as main predator, leopards are confined to high cliffs during day time. They become active during evening and go to near by villages for goats and dogs ( easy prey). There are about 300 species of birds (local and migratory).
It is located in south east part of Rajasthan. From Delhi it is 375 kms ( by train 06hrs & by car 08 hrs). From Jaipur it 160 kms( 03 hrs by car & by train it is 138kms /04 hrs) & from Agra it is 300 kms / 06 hrs by car. From Mumbai it is 1028 Kms ( overnight journey by train).
How To Get There:
The nearest airport is Jaipur i.e 160 kms/ 03:30hrs by Car. It is very well connected from Delhi, Jaipur, Agra & Mumbai by trains.
Ranthambore Tour Itineraries:
When to visit Ranthambore:
From Sightings point of view , the best time is summer i.e March to June when the mobility of all animals increases in search of water. The best time for Tigers photography. Although winters are not so bad with 25% sighting possibility.
There are two shifts for safaris for 03:30 hrs. The morning shift is from 06:00 am to 09:30 am and afternoon shift from 02:00 pm to 05;30 pm. In winters there is shift of timing as per sunrise to sunset.
From 01 st October to 30 June all 10 zones for safaris opens but in monsoon ( rainy) form 01 st July to 30 September only 06 to 10 zones are open.
Safari Zones in Ranthambore National Park:
There are 10 zones for safari . Zones 01 to 05 are oldest part of the park so high in demand. But zones 06 to 10 are not less important. If you are patient then these zones will not disappoint you. Last season records suggest that zone 06 has left zone 03, 05 & 01 in matters of sighting. However, important of zones keeps on changing as tigers don’t read maps.
Ranthambore Safari Cost:
There are two vehicles for safari in Ranthambore i.e Canter & Gypsy ( jeep). The both vehicles are open. The jeeps are considered better then canter becoz of less carrying capacity & fast move. The jeep is 06 seater petrol & Canter is 20 seater . However , for groups canter is better. The Rajasthan forest department offers safari booking by their site with below rates.
Indian: 582/INR per person per safari.
Foreigner: 1319 per person per safari.
The difference is due to the different entrance fee structure for both.
These charges are inclusive of Entrances, Guide fee & vehicle fare.
From 01 st October, 2018 there are chances of jeep & canter fare revision. For last three no increase in their fare has not been increased.
How to book a Safaris in Ranthambore:
You can book directly by going to official website of Rajasthan Forest department. The advance booking opens 90 days prior to the visit date. There are only 15 jeeps & 15 canters for 01 to 05 zones in one shift. At the time of advance booking you can select zone for your choice. However, seats in jeeps filled quickly. It better to get help of local agent or hotel.
If some one is not able to book in advance then in current quota seats are allotted to guests 01 hrs prior to the safari. In this system zones are allotted by the department. You have to go the office near Vinayak RTDC hotel. There is huge crowd in peak seasons.
Even if you have made jeep/ canters booking yourself, then on day of safari you need someone who can get your tickets released. You need to get vehicle no & guide for your safari by giving your id proof before safari. Some people charge same amount for the releasing process as that of making on line booking.
The vehicles allotted by the department picks & drop you back to hotel if they are near by and on Ranthambore road. Now a days hotels have open in very far range from gate. In that case you have to come to the entry gate by your own or pay more to pick you up.
Tatkal Quota/Instant Quota Safaris to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve:
For those people who have planned late or unable to make booking 90 days prior, they can get jeeps by paying these charges. This is 10,000/INR extra other than Usual expenses of Entrance, Guide fee and jeep fare. This can be booked 01 day prior to the safari. There are 20 jeeps in this quota. These are normal safaris for 03:30 hrs and for one zone.
Full Day & Half Day Safari (Premium Safaris):
For real wild life lovers & photographers these safaris are good but very expensive. These are also good for those people who don’t have much time to stay. These safaris are zone free safaris where as the above mentioned i.e normal safaris are zone bound safaris.
Even the Tatkal /Instant quota safari are normal safari which is confined to one zone allotted by the department for 03:30 hrs.
In half day you spent 05:30 hrs inside the park with zone free permit & in Full day you spend 11:30 hrs inside the park.
These premium safaris are booked manually. There are few jeeps in advance quota which are booked by taking permit fee & surcharges at the time of booking.
Full day Foreigners: 50,000/- Permit + surcharges.
Half day Foreigners: 26,000/-permit + surcharges.
Full day Indians: 40,000/- Permit + surcharges.
Indians Half day: 21,000/-Permit + Surcharges.
Besides above Permit structure Entrances fee , Guide fee & Jeep fare are extra. These are technical safaris are should be done under expert guides & drivers.
You can choose good drivers & guides for safaris by paying the prescribed fee for them.
Plan early to save money in advance quota for normal safaris & premium safaris by jeeps. The park is overcrowded in peak seasons. The Diwali vacations, Christmas vacation are tough period because of the easy accessibility lot of people come. The other factor is the easy sightings here then other parks make it busier. November & February are also busy months.
Also don’t miss fort visit if you have time. The 04 kms stretch from Mishra Dhara gate to fort gate is very important as some times sightings are observed here. That why it is called zone no 11 of Ranthambore.