According to the journalist from Calcutta who joined me on my safari „The lady (safari) guide is more fierce and more rare than the tiger.” As the tigers kept themselves quite hidden all through the day, this assessment did not ring true for me. However it was nice to have the only female park ranger leading our tour. Her lack of English language skills were quite made up for with charm, poise and uncanny eyesight.
Now back on the subject of tigers. The odds of catching a glimpse of one were not in our favor. The stupid maharajahs saw to that when they killed most of them for sport over hundreds of years. Apparently there are about eleven tigers in the tourist section of the park, which is immense, and they are clever at hiding. To make matters worse it had just rained, which deters tigers from walking on the roads (perhaps they don’t like to get their paws muddy) and, by the way, it’s not the right time of year. Thirty percent chance, they said.
But the whole thing wasn’t for naught. Perhaps as exciting as visiting tigers is visiting good air quality. Getting out of the city and rambling around hills and trees and lakes reminded our lungs that air can be free from exhaust particles and breathing deeply need not result in a coughing fit. We did see some wildlife: birds for instance, which reminds me that I really ought to start a life list because I think we saw some good ones. There were monkeys and baby crocodiles and deer of some generic sort.
All in all, a very pleasant outing, but a tiger really would have been nice.