Destination: Gir National Park, Velavadar Grasslands and The Little Rann of Kutch
Duration: 06 Nights & 07 Days
Best season: Mid-October to Mid-April
Tour Code: 203

Description

India is the only country in the world that can claim both Lion and Tiger among its native fauna. While many tours take you to see Tigers, this Wildlife Tour of Gujarat is unique in its focus on Asiatic Lions in the Gir Forest. The beautiful Blackbuck in the Velavadar Reserve and endangered Asiatic Wild Ass at Dasada Sanctuary are the other two main highlights of this trip.
This trip starts as we fly to Ahmedabad and drive 2½ hours from the airport directly to Dasada. With the drive made as comfortable as possible by the well-trained driver, you will reach Dasada fresh enough to take the evening safari in the bleak salt marshy areas of Little Rann of Kutch. Though a bleak landscape, it is rich in biodiversity and is an ecologically important area for wildlife and many local and migratory waterbirds.

Dasada is a Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, known for the last abode of the Asiatic Wild Ass in the Indian peninsula. During the exciting safari, you must watch out for other endangered wildlife like the Wolf, Indian and Desert Fox, Indian Gazelle, McQueen's Bustard, etc. which can be spotted there too.
Another treat in the store is the sunset at Bajana Lake, where Flamingos, Pelicans, Demoiselle and Common Cranes, and other water birds gather in numbers beyond comprehension. The sight of these birds in the sunset light will be an unforgettable memory for sure.

Back from the thrilling safari, you will enjoy your meal and overnight stay at Rann Riders or Royal Desert Safari Camp. We have specially chosen these imaginatively designed safari resorts with structures built from local materials to resemble a local village featuring long wicker beds, work tables, dressing areas, and a tiled bath with hot-and-cold water. This will surely give you a feel of traditional Indian hospitality and comfort.

Our next stop will be Gir, which is a 7-hour drive from Dasada.
The beautiful rural landscape and traditional villages en route give a good glimpse of rural Gujarat. Your trained driver cum guide will be only too happy to stop for photo opportunities at interesting locations. Feel free to ask him any questions you may have about Gujarat as you stop for refreshments, at a roadside dhabha, another uniquely traditional highway must do. Tune in to a local radio channel in the car to get a better feel of the journey or enjoy the silence of the air-conditioned car. With windows down, when the weather is conducive, you can enjoy great sights, sounds, fragrances, and fresh breeze.
At Gir, we stay at Gir Birding Lodge, a quaint lodge set amongst a mango orchard. With individual cottages sharing its boundary with the Gir National Park, you can enjoy the calls of the wild all through the night as you look forward to the safari the next morning. Be prepared to be greeted with different species of birds right outside your door in the morning as you sit out in the veranda enjoying your cup of tea.

The next two days are spent with morning and afternoon drives in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. The Asiatic Lions are usually inactive during the heat of the day, but if we are lucky, we can hope to see them out hunting their prey during our visit. With a rugged terrain of low hills and tracts of deciduous forest interspersed with areas of grassland, the national park supports a great diversity of mammals like Chital or Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Blue Bull Antelope, Chinkara Gazelle, Chousingha (the World's only Four-horned Antelope), Wild Boar, etc. With such an abundance of prey, Gir also has a thriving Leopard population and Striped Hyenas who try to scavenge any leftovers from Lion's meals. A number of attractive birds can usually be seen on the trail too.
For those more culturally inclined, a local village visit or a visit to a house of a tribal family to get a glimpse of rural tribal life can also be arranged. Right with Buffaloes tied outside their modest homes, small living areas with joint families staying together, seeing how they live can be quite a wonderful experience. For the more adventurous we can even suggest a place to try out fresh homemade traditional cuisine at a lovely roadside dhabha (simple eatery) run by Maldhari tribal women.
Next, we travel from Gir to Velavadar and check-in at the Black Buck Lodge, a lovely wildlife-themed hotel that sits in splendid seclusion adjacent to Velavadar Wildlife Reserve. You can spend the day birding in the surrounding countryside. Those interested in combining culture with natural history can visit the magnificent Jain temple complex atop Shatrunjaya Hill. As with all touristy areas, you will find a few souvenir shops selling exquisite handicrafts too.

On the safari at Velavadar along with graceful Blackbucks, you may be lucky to spot a Wolf or Hyena though they are rarely seen in the daylight. Jackal, Jungle Cat, and White-Naped Hare are more easily seen and Indian Fox is usually spotted on the periphery.
Thrilled with the sightings of the day you can relax and unwind in the comfort of the lodge overnight. Ponder over the week spent in Gujarat as you enjoy the last homemade meal of the trip. Share anecdotes and stories with the new friends made on the trip.
Next morning is spent driving 4½ hours to Ahmedabad airport for your return journey where once again you can enjoy the lovely varied sights and sounds of rural and modern Gujarat

Itinerary Overview

Day 01: Delhi to Ahmedabad to Dasada
Day 02: Dasada to Gir National Park
Day 03: Gir National Park
Day 04: Gir National Park
Day 05: Gir National Park to Velavadar
Day 06: Velavadar National Park
Day 07: Velavadar to Ahmedabad to Delhi

Highlights

  • Wildlife-Asiatic Lion, Asiatic Wild Ass, Blackbuck, Indian Wolf, Hyena, Chital or Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Blue Bull Antelope, Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Chousingha (the world's only four-horned antelope), Wild Boar, etc.
  • Wide variety of birdlife like Flamingos, Pelicans, Demoiselle and Common Cranes, Sykes' Lark, Painted Sandgrouse, massive roost of Montagu, Pallid, and Marsh harriers.
  • Interesting and varied Gujarat flora and landscapes like the bleak salt marshes, deciduous forests of Gir, etc.
  • A glimpse of village life in rural India
  • Visit the magnificent Jain temple complex atop Shatrunjaya Hill
  • Unique exquisite handicrafts
  • Experience traditional Indian hospitality, culture, and local cuisine
  • Stay at quaint lodges

Services Included

  • Accommodation on twin/triple share
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Jungle visits in all the three wildlife reserves with park guides
  • All surface transfers by a private air-conditioned vehicle

Services Not Included

  • Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses. 
  • Tips, laundry, phone calls, alcohol, camera fee, etc. 
  • International and domestic airfare, visa, insurance.