This is Romeo. He’s a massive male tiger who lives in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India. Ranthambore is known for its tiger population and visitors can go on jeep safaris through the wilderness looking for tigers, leopards, crocodiles, Sambar deer, Nilgai, and more. You have the choice between a large 20 person canter (big open aired jeep bus) or a 6 person jeep. We went with the jeep and, with our daughter on our lap, piled in with 4 others. Each jeep gets assigned a zone of the park to explore and off we went. We bounced along on the dirt paths, looking for animals. We saw a bunch of Sambar deer and Nilgai (a type of antelope), plus a few crocodiles and lots of birds.
Suddenly we saw excitement ahead–the other jeeps were circling and cameras were out! TIGER! We raced over and all the jeeps jockeyed for position. Finally, I saw him. Massive Romeo. He ambled along, passing between our jeep and another before moving over a ridge. Quickly the drivers and guides made decisions as to which path was best to track him. We zipped around and barreled (and I do mean barreled–we had to hold on tight!) down a path to where the guide anticipated Romeo would reappear.
We ended up seeing him again along a river bed where he drank, waded and eventually crossed over before disappearing into the woods.
This is not a zoo. It is a national park and tiger sightings are not guaranteed. We felt really lucky to have seen Romeo (and we also saw the head of another tiger taking a nap behind some rocks).