Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, located in Rajasthan, India, is renowned for its Bengal tigers. Situated in the northwestern part of the country, the reserve spans approximately 1,300 square kilometers and encompasses the Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, and Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary. Together with the recently established Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, Ranthambhore forms one of the largest continuous protected habitats in Rajasthan.

Explore Trips to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, with its breathtaking landscape, rich biodiversity, and historical significance, is an unparalleled destination for nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers, and history aficionados. The Ranthambore National Park, as the centerpiece of the reserve, is integral to the conservation efforts for the Bengal tiger and represents the harmonious coexistence of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

 

These itineraries serve as  guidelines and examples. They are crafted to spark your imagination and offer meticulously selected suggestions. You’re welcome to follow them or tailor them to your preferences. Every journey is fully customizable.

Luxury Safari to Ranthambhore
6+ Days.

Lux Tiger Safari to Ranthambhore

Enjoy a truly luxurious stay at a high-end tented safari camp; one of India's finest properties. All while discovering the best of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Photo Safari to Ranthambhore National Park
7+ Days.

Photo Safari to Ranthambhore

Leverage the incredible talents of one of India's premier safari teams with decades of wildlife film-making and photography experience.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Rajasthan Culture & Wildlife Trip
8+ Days.

Wildlife & Culture of Rajasthan

Experience the rich culture and history of Rajasthan alongside it's amazing wildlife on a trip that combines Jaipur, Udaipur, and Ranthambhore.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan
9+ Days.

Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan

Explore both Jawai and Ranthambhore on a trip to two different corners of the beautiful state of Rajasthan in search of leopards and tigers.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
India's wildlife by private jet
9+ Days.

India's Wildlife by Private Jet

Visit Ranthambhore, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh by private jet. Flying privately offers a hassle-free experience, bypassing long transfers.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Ultimate Tiger Trip
14+ Days.

The Ultimate Tiger Trip

The crown jewel of tiger trips: visit a combination of Ranthambhore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, and Satpura Tiger Reserves.

All trips are customized.

View Trip

Properties by Ranthambhore National Park

There are dozens and dozens of properties of all types and budgets by Ranthambhore National Park.

Being a highly selective operator we only work with a chosen few.
Here are our top recommendations for your trip to Ranthambhore with the Tiger Safari Co.

Luxury Safari to Ranthambhore
6+ Days.

SUJÁN Sher Bagh

Enjoy a truly luxurious stay at a high-end tented safari camp; one of India's finest properties. All while discovering the best of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Tigers & Leopards of Rajasthan
9+ Days.

Oberoi Vanyavilas

Explore both Jawai and Ranthambhore on a trip to two different corners of the beautiful state of Rajasthan in search of leopards and tigers.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Photo Safari to Ranthambhore National Park
7+ Days.

Aman-I-Khas

Leverage the incredible talents of one of India's premier safari teams with decades of wildlife film-making and photography experience.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
Rajasthan Culture & Wildlife Trip
8+ Days.

Ranthambhore Bagh

Experience the rich culture and history of Rajasthan alongside it's amazing wildlife on a trip that combines Jaipur, Udaipur, and Ranthambhore.

All trips are customized.

View Trip
India's wildlife by private jet
9+ Days.

Khem Villas

Visit Ranthambhore, Kanha, and Bandhavgarh by private jet. Flying privately offers a hassle-free experience, bypassing long transfers.

All trips are customized.

View Trip

Brief: Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

The reserve is distinguished by its predominantly dry deciduous forest, which provides excellent visibility. Ranthambhore’s forests are situated at the confluence of two hill ranges, the Aravallies and the Vindhyas, marking the extreme western edge of the tiger’s territory in India. At the heart of Ranthambore National Park, there is a medieval fort, a rest house known as Jogi Mahal, and three lakes – Padam Talao, Rajbagh, and the seasonal Malik Talao. These features serve as focal points for a significant portion of the tiger activity within the park.

 

Ranthambhore is renowned as one of the best locations in India to observe Bengal tigers in their natural habitat. Tigers in the reserve have become accustomed to human presence, and can be spotted even during the daytime. This is a consequence of the prohibition of hunting in India in 1972, which provided tigers with a level of protection they had not experienced for centuries.

By the 1980s, the absence of human disturbances such as hunting and deforestation within Ranthambhore allowed tiger cubs to grow without fear of humans.

 

As a result, these cubs and subsequent generations exhibited indifference towards human observers, providing an extraordinary opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and scientists.

 

In the protected environment of Ranthambhore, tigers gradually lost their fear of daylight and began to reveal their activities, which previously remained concealed under the veil of darkness. This behavior contrasts with tigers in denser habitats or regions with dispersed populations, where spotting them is more challenging and often requires scientists to track their movements using radio collars.

 

In addition to Bengal tigers, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is home to a rich diversity of other wildlife species, making it a vital sanctuary for the conservation and study of India’s diverse ecosystems.

Accessing Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

Private jeep on tiger safaris in India

Gateway to the Reserve

Sawai Madhopur, a bustling town situated nearby, acts as the primary access point for visitors intending to explore the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Sawai Madhopur is a significant railway junction, facilitating easy access for visitors coming from various parts of the country.

Besides its role as an access point, Sawai Madhopur offers a range of amenities and accommodations for tourists. Most accommodations are located near the town and along the main road to Ranthambore, with some exclusive properties situated near Khilchipur, close to the park’s boundaries.

 

Exploring Ranthambhore National Park

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve offers guided tours through jeep and canter safaris, allowing visitors to explore designated areas. The Ranthambore National Park within the reserve is divided into ten zones for tourism purposes. Zones 1-5 constitute the core area, while Zones 6-10 belong to the buffer zone. Each zone is unique in terms of landscape and wildlife sightings.

It is also notable that each zone, while offering different experiences, does not rank as better or worse than any other. The diversity in zones allows for a broad spectrum of experiences for visitors.

Flora and Fauna

Flora of the Reserve

The reserve’s semi-arid habitat is interspersed with dry deciduous forests dominated by the Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) tree. Other noteworthy trees include the Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Mango (Mangifera indica), and the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma). The reserve’s green cover provides vital sustenance for the resident herbivore population and forms an essential component of the ecosystem.

 

Fauna of the Reserve

Mammals

The flagship species of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is the Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). The reserve boasts a population of over 70 tigers. The imposing Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), which is the largest deer species in South Asia, and the Spotted Deer (Axis axis), are prevalent in the reserve. Other mammals include Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), and various species of monkeys and antelopes.

Avifauna

Ranthambore National Park within the Tiger Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 350 species recorded. Iconic bird species include the Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda), Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata), and Dusky Eagle Owl (Bubo coromandus). In winter, the park is visited by migratory species such as ducks, raptors, flycatchers, and warblers.

Reptiles

The reserve is home to over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. Notable reptile species include the Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja), Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator), and Indian Rock Python (Python molurus).

Topography and Geology

The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve’s terrain is a varied mix of rolling hills, plateaus, rivers, and lakes. The underlying geology is dominated by Vindhyan sandstone and limestone, which has shaped the rugged landscape.

 

Zone Specific Topography

Zones 1-5 in the core area of Ranthambore National Park feature rugged terrain with steep hills, rocky outcrops, and dense forests. The Padam Talao lake, one of the largest in the park, is located in Zone 3.

Zones 6-10, which are buffer zones, exhibit more gentle and open landscapes with flat plains, grasslands, and clusters of trees and shrubs. These zones also include several small lakes and water bodies.

Water Bodies

Ranthambore is bordered by the Banas River in the north and the Chambal River in the south. In addition to rivers, the reserve contains several lakes, including Padam Talao and Malik Talao. These water bodies are critical for the reserve’s ecosystem, particularly for the wildlife that resides within.

Accessing Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

Tiger in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve

Ranthambore Fort

Situated within the Ranthambore National Park is the Ranthambore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The fort, constructed by the Chahamanas, has seen numerous historical developments and changes in control over the years, including a brief period of capture by the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century.

 

Various rulers, including those of Mewar, Hada Rajputs of Bundi, and the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, held the fort over the centuries. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fort in 1568. In the 17th century, the fort came under the control of the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur and remained with them until Indian Independence. It then became part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.

 

The fort, which provides an extensive view of the surrounding national park, is now a popular tourist attraction. Inside, there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesha, Shiva, and Ramlalaji, built in the 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone, along with a Jain temple dedicated to Lord Sumatinath and Lord Sambhavanath. Ranthambore Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 as part of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan group.

 

Jogi Mahal

Zone 3 of the Ranthambore National Park houses Jogi Mahal, a red structure situated by the banks of Padam Talao. It was constructed as a hunting lodge and was frequented by royalty and heads of state. Currently, it is not open to the public due to the movements of large carnivores in its vicinity.

Local Conservation Non-Profit in Ranthambhore

Tiger Watch is a dedicated organization centered in the heart of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, striving to redefine the concept of wildlife conservation. This team of passionate individuals is continually engaged on the frontlines, battling to safeguard not just the tigers, but the entire habitat they inhabit. By operating at the core of these critical conservation challenges, Tiger Watch ensures the wellbeing of the Reserve’s ecology.

 

Tiger Watch is integrally connected to the local communities that envelop the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Its efforts largely rely on the active involvement of these indigenous people, with the Mogya traditional hunting tribe being its oldest collaborator. In the wake of the third tiger poaching crisis during the mid-2000s, Tiger Watch’s critical intelligence led to the arrest of several poaching factions, and they undertook initiatives to integrate the Mogya tribe into mainstream society via education, thus curbing poaching. Their successful efforts led to the tiger population skyrocketing from 18 in 2005 to over 60 presently.

 

However, with half of these tigers dwelling outside the reserve, new challenges emerged. To address this, Tiger Watch, in conjunction with the Rajasthan Forest Department, initiated the Village Wildlife Volunteer Program. This program equips volunteers, drawn from peripheral villages and belonging to pastoral communities, with essential skills such as wildlife tracking and camera trapping. These volunteers serve as the primary source of information for wildlife monitoring and anti-poaching initiatives, providing crucial updates to Tiger Watch and the Forest Department via smartphones.

Tiger Watch is a reputable local non-profit, you can donate here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ranthambhore National Park Known For?

Ranthambhore National Park, often referred to as Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, is internationally renowned for its substantial population of Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris). Located in Rajasthan, India, it’s one of the few places in the country where tigers are regularly seen. The park also harbors historical significance, as the Ranthambhore Fortress stands prominently within its boundaries. Additionally, the region’s commitment to tiger conservation and the successful growth of the tiger population have brought acclaim. Visitors also appreciate the breathtaking landscapes and the unique opportunity to observe various wildlife species in their natural habitat.

Ranthambhore National Park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, India. This significant tiger reserve sits conveniently near major travel routes and cities, making it accessible by various means of transportation. Its strategic location has made it one of the most popular wildlife destinations in the country, attracting both domestic and international tourists. The park’s picturesque surroundings, comprised of lakes, grasslands, and forests, further enhance its allure. The area’s rich history, which includes the famous Ranthambhore Fortress, adds to the unique experience provided by a visit to the park.

The optimal time to visit Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve varies depending on what you’re looking to experience. The cooler months from October to April are often considered ideal, balancing comfortable temperatures, visibility, and wildlife activity. Summer might offer more frequent sightings, albeit with less active tigers, while winter could present fewer sightings but more engaging scenes. Keep in mind that while extended full-day safaris are common in some parks, they are not available in Ranthambhore. Longer trips during cooler months can still provide the extra time and flexibility needed to enhance the experience. Tiger behavior changes with seasons due to variations in temperature, prey availability, and water sources, making each visit unique.

  • October: The beginning of the visiting season, temperatures start to cool down, and the park’s vegetation is still lush from the monsoons. It’s an excellent time for bird watching as migratory species arrive.

  • November to January: Winter months offer pleasant temperatures, misty landscapes, and atmospheric lighting. Tigers may be more active, making for more dynamic sightings, though they might be less frequent. If you’re planning a longer trip, these cooler months are ideal for enjoying great light and more active tigers during the day.

  • February to March: As winter turns to spring, temperatures remain comfortable, and visibility is good with sparser vegetation. Wildlife is abundant, and spotting tigers near waterholes becomes more common.

  • April: With rising temperatures, tigers are often found near water or in shaded areas. Though not as active, sightings may increase as they seek relief from the heat.

  • May to June: The summer months can be scorching, but it’s also a favorable time for tiger sightings. Wildlife, including tigers, gravitate towards watering holes, making them more visible. Photographers may find summer limiting in the diversity of shots due to tigers’ preference for water or shade.

  • July to September: The park is closed during the monsoon season. The rain can create difficult conditions for photography, and core areas of tiger reserves are closed.

 

Ranthambhore is home to a diverse array of large mammals. This includes the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca), Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), Chital (Axis axis), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Wild boar (Sus scrofa cristatus), Common langur (Semnopithecus entellus), and Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). These species play various ecological roles, and their presence is vital to the health and diversity of the ecosystem within Ranthambhore.

In addition to its large mammals, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve hosts a variety of smaller mammals. Some notable species include the Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus), Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis), Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica), Indian gerbil (Tatera indica), Jungle cat (Felis chaus), Indian palm squirrel (Funambulus palmarum), Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Indian grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), and Small Indian civet (Viverricula indica). Observing these small mammals in their natural habitat provides a unique and diverse wildlife experience.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve also boasts a rich diversity of reptiles. Some of the prominent species found in the park include the Indian rock python (Python molurus), Bengal monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis), Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), Indian chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus), Indian cobra (Naja naja), Russel’s viper (Daboia russelii), Saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus), and the Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). These reptiles add to the ecological complexity and offer another dimension to the wildlife viewing experience.

Ranthambhore is a bird-watcher’s paradise with over 300 species recorded. Some notable birds include the Painted spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata), Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus), Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela), White-eyed buzzard (Butastur teesa), Indian vulture (Gyps indicus), Dusky eagle-owl (Bubo coromandus), Plum-headed parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala), Yellow-footed green pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera), and Indian pitta (Pitta brachyura). Migratory birds also visit the park, adding to the diversity.

Ranthambhore National Park’s vegetation is primarily characterized by tropical dry deciduous forests, and it’s home to over 300 species of plants. Among the more common trees are the Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Mango (Mangifera indica), and Neem (Azadirachta indica).

Notably, the Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) tree is quite dominant in the park, comprising a significant portion of the forest cover. Its ability to survive in arid conditions makes it a vital part of the ecosystem, providing shelter and food to various species of wildlife.

In addition to these, the park’s flora also includes unique and colorful species like the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma) and Indian Ebony (Diospyros melanoxylon). The diverse and rich plant life in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve not only adds to the scenic beauty of the region but also plays an essential role in supporting a robust and varied wildlife population, including tigers, leopards, and a myriad of bird species. This lush and vibrant vegetation is a crucial component of the ecological balance within the park and contributes to making Ranthambhore a compelling destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers alike.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve’s terrain is characterized by rugged landscapes, including rocky plateaus, gentle slopes, and steep cliffs. The park is interspersed with lakes, streams, and ravines, providing diverse habitats for its flora and fauna. The deciduous forests are dominated by Dhok trees, and the area is embellished with ancient ruins and the Ranthambhore Fortress, giving it a distinctive appearance. The varied topography and the convergence of the Aravalli and Vindhya mountain ranges make the park’s landscape unique and provide ample opportunities for photography and exploration.

The nearest airport to Ranthambhore National Park is Jaipur International Airport, located approximately 160 kilometers away. Regular domestic and international flights operate from Jaipur, connecting it with major cities across India. Upon arrival in Jaipur, visitors must drive about three hours to reach Sawai Madhopur, the gateway to Ranthambhore. The availability of various transportation options ensures convenience for travelers.

The nearest train station to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is Sawai Madhopur Railway Station. It is well connected to major Indian cities, including Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Agra. Regular train services make travel to Ranthambhore accessible and comfortable. From the railway station, taxis and other local transportation are available to reach the park.

 From Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, the distance to Delhi is approximately 380 kilometers, to Jaipur is around 160 kilometers, to Udaipur is roughly 388 kilometers, and to Agra is about 239 kilometers. The park’s location provides reasonable access to these significant cities, making it a convenient destination for travelers seeking to explore more of India’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

 Yes, private charter flights to Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve are available. These can be arranged to an airstrip in Sawai Madhopur, cutting down on a lot of travel time.

Trip Finder Tool​

Not sure what's the best tiger safari for you?
Answer some questions and let our Trip Finder suggest some options.