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Best of Gujarat Wildlife
Gir National Park

Best of Gujarat Wildlife

Due to its unique geographical location and diverse climatic conditions, Gujarat has a wide ranging ecosystem. The habitat includes dry deciduous forests, majestic grasslands, unique saline deserts, wetlands, marine ecosystems and moist deciduous forests. These are home to some extremely rare wildlife and birds. Some of the valued species protected in Gujarat are the Asiatic Lion, found only in Gir, and the Wild Ass in the Little Rann of Kutch.

Duration: 11 Days
Places to Visit: New Delhi – Ahmedabad – Little Rann of Kutch Wild Ass Sanctuary (Dasada) – Marine Park (Jamnagar) – Gir National Park – Velavadar Black Buck Sanctuary – Ahmedabad – New Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: New Delhi – Ahemdabad – Dasada
On arrival at New Delhi airport our representative will meet you and take you a hotel within the airport terminal for a freshen up. Later the representative will assist you to take a domestic flight to Ahmedabad. Arrive Ahmedabad and drive to Dasada. Late-afternoon safari in the Little Rann of Kutch, a sanctuary for the endangered Asiatic Wild Ass. The mammals of the Rann include nilgai, chinkara gazelle, white-footed desert and Indian foxes, wolf, jungle cat (occasionally also desert cat), pale and long-eared hedgehogs and hare.

Crested and Sykes larks, Oriental skylark, bimaculated lark, greater short-toed lark, singing and Indian bushlarks, ashy-crowned and black-crowned sparrow-larks are likely sightings and greater hoopoe lark is possible. Desert and variable wheatears, southern grey, long-tailed, rufous-tailed and bay-back shrike and common woodshrike are also likely sightings and the desert warbler is among the many winter visiting warblers. We will also look for chestnut-bellied and spotted sandgrouse, Indian courser (cream-coloured visits occasionally), quails, yellow-legged and barred buttonquails, grey francolin, wryneck, brown-rock chat, pied bushchat, rufous-tailed scrub robin, blue-headed rock thrush, black redstart and buntings in the scrubby areas. At sunset, it is possible to watch marsh, Montagu and pallid harriers, aquila eagles, falcons and buzzards heading for their roosting sites.

Day 2. Little Rann of Kutch
Morning drive to the bets, elevated patches in the Rann covered with scrub and grass. In winter, this is a likely area for Macqueen’s bustard. Long-legged, common and white-eyed buzzard, booted eagle, Bonneli’s eagle and short-toed snake eagle are often seen during the drive.

Evening visit to Nawa Talao, a lake where demoiselle and common cranes gather in large flocks during the winter months. Greater and lesser flamingo are seen in large numbers as are great white pelican with spotbilled and dalmatian recorded. Painted, openbill, wooly-necked, white, black and black-necked stork could be seen and also black, glossy and black-headed ibis. Northern pintail, common teal, spot-billed duck, mallard, gadwall, wigeon, garganey, shoveler, cotton pygmy goose, pochards, tufted duck, lesser whistling duck, brahminy and comb duck are among the many visitors to the lake. Waders include pratincoles, lapwings, sandpipers, ruff and other birds in good numbers.

Day 3. Dasada – Jamnagar
From the rugged and expansive saline deserts of the Little Rann, we travel to Saurashtra – literally meaning “one hundred kingdoms” and aptly described as the land of warriors! The region is steeped in antiquity and the numerous palaces provide a vivid insight into the glorious history and legends.

With its grasslands, scrub forests, large dry deciduous tracts and a vibrant marine coastline, Saurashtra is known for its abundant diversity in wildlife. The only Marine National Park in the country provides a scintillating insight to the diverse marine life and the drive along the coast, rich in avifauna adds to the region’s uniqueness before we enter the home range of the Asiatic Lion.

Depart Dasada after an early breakfast drive to Jamnagar. En route stop for lunch at Rajkot. Late afternoon arrive at the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, near to Jamnagar. This is a likely site for the Indian Skimmer and the Black-necked Stork. A variety of waterfowl and waterside birds can be watched at this wetland sanctuary. Overnight at Jamnagar.

Day 4. Jamnagar Marine Park
Drive 2 hours from Jamnagar to Narara Island, one of India’s best sites for Crabplover. Kentish plover, oystercatcher, ruddy turnstone, broad-billed sandpiper, sanderling, dunlin, curlew sandpiper, black-headed gull, Pallas’ gull, Temmincks stint, lesser-crested tern, gull-billed tern, common tern, little tern, black-bellied tern, whiskered tern, darters, western reef egret and other birds can be watched at the mudflats. Wading in the tidal zone during the low tide hours can also be productive to watch tropical coral reef fauna like octopus, brittle star, sea cucumber, sponges, etc. Overnight at Jamnagar.

Day 5. Jamnagar – Sasan Gir
Drive to Gir National Park. Gir is the only place in the world outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. Due to the high density of lions, spotting is very good. Gir is also home to one of the largest leopard populations in any park in India, making it an excellent place to see big cats of a different kind. Also to be found here are jungle cat, rusty spotted cat, sambar, nilgai, chinkara, sambar, black buck, four-horned antelope, wild boar, Indian flying fox, Indian pangolin and Indian porcupine. For the birders there are over 250 varieties of birds like the painted sand grouse, peacocks, paradise flycatcher, black-headed cuckoo shrike, pied woodpecker and Bonelli’s eagle. Gir is characterized by an arid, rugged terrain with low hills and mixed vegetation with beautiful stands of teak, acacia and dhak trees interspersed with grassy plains. The Kamleshwar dam reservoir inside the Gir National Park has one of the largest marsh crocodile populations.

Early and late in the day are always best for wildlife viewing. Apart from spotting an array of wildlife, Gir is also a great place to interact with local tribes. The main tribe is a nomadic pastoral community called Maldhari, who live in scattered settlements called ‘nesses’ and it is not unusual to see many head of livestock in the Park. It is also home to a Negroid community known as Siddis, who are African in origin but speak Gujarati.

Arrive at Gir late afternoon. Check into Resort. Enjoy surrounding birdlife by the riverside and forest.  In the evening enjoy cultural entertainment, the SiddiDhamaal Dance, which is performed by the Negroid Siddi community which migrated to India from Africa in the 15th or 16th century.

Day 7. Sasan Gir
Morning and evening game safaris into the Park. All meals and overnight at Resort.

Day 8. Sasan Gir
Morning and evening game safaris into the Park. All meals and overnight at Resort.

Day 9. Sasan Gir – Velavadar
After breakfast drive to the sprawling grasslands of the Velavadar National Park that offers ideal habitat for the highest concentrations of that most beautiful of antelopes, the Indian blackbuck. Set between two rivers and only a few miles from the Gulf of Cambay this Park is home to the largest concentration of black bucks in the world. In the days of the Maharajas of Bhavnagar these handsome antelope were protected for the occasional royal hunting trips. Other animals of note include the endangered India wolf, fox, jackal, jungle cat, hyena and wild boar. For the birders there are many endangered birds such as houbara bustard, lesser florican, common crane, sarus crane, white stork and white pelican. The harrier roost at Velavadar National Park is one of the largest in the world. Another rare sight is that of the lesser florican which migrate here and settle to breed in the grasslands. After arrival, the male bird marks the territory and displays to attract the female. The courtship display of the male is a spectacular vertical leap up to a height of two metres and he may display over 500 times in a day!

Evening game drive to the National Park. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 10. Velavadar – Ahmedabad – New Delhi
Morning game drive to the National Park. Later drive to Ahmedabad to visit the Sabarmani Ashram. Transfer to the airport to board a flight to New Delhi. Meeting and assistance on arrival at New Delhi and transfer to hotel. Overnight in New Delhi.

Day 11. New Delhi – Fly Back Home
Transfer to the international airport to board a flight back home.

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