Watching Tigers in Tadoba & Kanha National Parks by Linden Porter

Linden Porter travelled on our 'India - Tiger Direct!' tour and submitted this entry to our writing competition.

Bengal Tiger by Geoff Harwood

Magical Moments with Tiger Direct!

Superstition has it - so we were told - that if the first animal you see on entering a game reserve in India is a Wild Boar then you will definitely see a Tiger! Good news on day two of our visit to Tadoba then!

News reached us that one of the family of four adolescent cubs and their mother had been seen at Telia Lake so we headed that way, more in hope than expectation!

There were already a few jeeps dotted along the shoreline, but no sign of any Tiger.  Suddenly someone noticed a Sloth Bear emerge from the trees in the far distance, causing several jeeps to dash off in its direction. We remained where we were, the silence only disturbed by some hushed chitter-chatter.

Then slowly and leisurely one of the cubs appeared out of the forest and padded down to the lake’s edge. She sank slowly into the cooling water and turned her head back from whence she had come. We turned and looked but could only see trees and scrub.  Cameras clicked and whirred but otherwise all was still. Minutes passed. Her ears pricked up again as a second Tigress and cub ambled down to join her. They nuzzled and lapped the water. Clearly restless, one set off around the lake followed by the other.

Catching up with her sister, the first cub appeared to want to play. She nuzzled and cuffed her sibling only to be rebuffed. She persisted. We all held our breath; silently hoping for some action!

Our playful cub then splashed a paw-full of water at her sister which finally provoked her into action. They rose together on their hind legs cuffing each other and splashing water in each other’s faces! What a sight! Cameras went into overdrive. It can’t have lasted more than a few seconds but those seconds were pure magic.

Indrajit – our guide - exclaimed: ‘It doesn’t get any better than that!’

Agreed! Although ...

On our last morning in Kanha it was our group’s turn for the elephant ride.

We set off on the two elephants, majestically swaying through the bush atop these magnificent animals. We knew there had been a Tiger sighting in the area earlier so we headed in that direction, but disappointingly there was no sign.

We continued through the trees, ducking the overhanging branches, and down into a gully. Turning a corner along a narrow path we found him, gently padding along the track.

We followed.

He stopped.

We stopped.

The atmosphere was electric. We were so close to this amazing animal, unfazed by us or the elephants. We approached a little closer! This clearly irritated him! His space invaded he snarled, got up and continued his journey. We followed for a while before leaving him to go about his business. Another magical moment had been ours!

Oh yes! And what was the first animal we’d seen that morning? A whole family of Wild Boar of course!

Read more about our 'India - Tiger Direct!' holiday.