Our experience at SUJÃN Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

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Going on safari is one of my favourite experiences. I just can’t wait to get out there in search of whatever my expert naturalist can find for me. One summer, I had the great pleasure of staying in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan at one of our favourite lodges, SUJÁN Sher Bagh, in search of the marvellous Bengal Tiger.

Going on safari is one of my favourite experiences. I just can’t wait to get out there in search of whatever my expert naturalist can find for me. One summer, I had the great pleasure of staying in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan at one of our favourite lodges, SUJÁN Sher Bagh, in search of the marvellous Bengal Tiger.

Owner, Jaisal and his family have been working with tigers through filming, monitoring, researching and creating awareness about these majestic cats in Ranthambhore for generations. Today, Jaisal and Anjali have since continued the family’s legacy of tiger conservation through the creation of SUJÁN Sher Bagh.  For every guest who visits, a conservation contribution is directly fed into a fund with which they then provide financial support and resources to their conservation partners.

We arrived at SUJÁN Sher Bagh in the late afternoon, greeted by a cooling welcome drink after a long drive. Immediately we felt relaxed as the charming team came and introduced themselves, eager to show us around. The tents are spacious and very comfortable but the feel is a lot more laid back with a natural vibe in comparison to the impossibly glamorous neighbouring Aman-i-Khas. Personally, I much prefer to be in slightly more characterful accommodation when on safari because it makes the overall feeling more authentic and, I think, more exciting.

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore
Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

We had time for a very quick evening dip before our dinner. The pool, although it is on the small side, is so refreshing and has wonderful views out into the park. Dinner was also served by the pool and was romantically lit and decorated with oil lamps. By the time we reached Ranthambore, I thought (quite honestly) that I had had enough of the traditional Thali dish so was not overly enthusiastic to be told that this was being prepared for us. When it arrived, I immediately took all of my thoughts back. It was incredibly divine!

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore
Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

5.30am wakeup call! I think I was already awake in anticipation of what the day would bring. I sipped at my tea before jumping into our private jeep complete with binoculars, bird books and icy cold water. Ash was our naturalist for the day and we felt beyond privileged to be in his company having read about him being one of the best and most revered guides in the national park and for good reason. Ash seemed to know the movements of each individual tiger. How he knew one was going to appear in 6 minutes from behind the bushes and take a bath, I will never know. We hit the jackpot and sure enough, the big male tiger (known locally as Pacman) appeared in his full glory.

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

Ranthambore is notorious for seeing a great deal of other vehicles in the park but when Ash is around, respect is at its utmost. He made us feel like we were the only ones out there and we certainly had the best seats in the show. Whilst other jeeps were behind Pacman, we were in his path and he was coming for us…

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

Having worked in Zambia before joining the team at cazenove+loyd, I have had my fair share of thrilling wildlife sightings, but I can quite honestly say that seeing Pacman pacing towards us as we carefully (but hastily) reversed to clear his path gave me the biggest adrenaline rush of all. I haven’t seen reversing skills like and my heart was racing, fast. Pacman seemed to be speeding up, closer and closer he came until Ash stopped and let him walk right past the front of the car. Here is where I hold my personal record for holding my breath for the longest.

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore

Of course, there is more to see than tigers. I didn’t think I was much of a bird enthusiast, but Ash gave me enthusiasm which I didn’t know I had. Amongst a vast array of birdlife, we spotted Indian Gray Hornbills, Bee Eaters, Sandpipers and even a few flamingos in the far distance.

Back for our last evening, we enjoyed delicious cocktails by the bar around the fire with Sher Bagh’s other guests. The other great thing about being on safari is the communal atmosphere where you can share stories with other guests and perhaps making some lifetime friends. Sitting with us were two ladies who met at Sher Bagh a number of years back and every year, they take time out of their busy schedules to meet again to explore their favourite national park together. Of course, for more privacy, the team do a perfect job of setting up private dining and if booked in time, we can get you into the Royal Burra Sahib Suite where you have the luxury of your own swimming pool, again with staggering views over the park.

Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore
Our experience at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore
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