It was a humid afternoon, and there was not much wildlife to be spotted during the safari. I was keeping my guests engaged saying that as it gets cooler, the sightings would be better. I was near the president point, where the guests were watching an interaction between an egret and a cormorant. The guests were busy taking the photographs of the landscape of Kabini and her banks. It was then we heard the single alarm of the chital, and it stopped without revealing any further clues. It was almost 5pm, and the day was getting better with cooler winds.
I took the vehicle towards the direction the alarm came from. As it was absolutely calm, I asked the driver to move on. As we drove, one of my lady guests from Europe was breathlessly calling out, “Tiiiiger, Tiiiiiiiiiger!” I stopped the vehicle just to look in the direction the eyes and fingers pointed to. 40 meters from our vehicle, and to our right, was the big cat, a male Tiger, with a full belly, close to the bushes along the passage to the river.
He stopped for a while, and continued to gauge our movement and check whether we were going to rush towards him. But I made sure that my vehicle was quiet enough for the cat to approach us. And he did, walking straight to our vehicle, softly and gently, like a true king, without any pomp, glancing at us once in a while, and disappearing into the bushes.