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Wildlife of Gujarat
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Pack your binoculars and don’t forget your camera as you head off in search of rare birds and mammals in Gujarat’s little-explored national parks. Enter wild forests to find Asiatic lions, roam remote grasslands for Indian wolves and cross endless salt pans in search of the Indian wild ass.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Ahmedabad
Arrive to a warm welcome in Ahmedabad and explore the city’s historic sights. Hathee Singh Jain Temple is the first stop, where you can admire the intricate carvings and impressive architecture. Take a look around Gandhi Ashram, former headquarters to Mahatma Ghandi and now housing a small museum with a peaceful garden – a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside. Marvel at the unique design of the Adalaj Step Well, built in 1499 with five exquisitely carved storeys. Top off your Ahmedabad adventure with a delicious Gujarati Thali lunch, made using local spices.
Discover Dasada, gateway to the mesmerising Little Rann of Kutch, a bright white salt marsh that stretches endlessly into the distance, as mind-bending heat mirages hover on the horizon. The harsh desert landscape alone would be enough to bring you to this other-worldly region, but as an added bonus it’s also home to the last remaining herds of Indian wild ass, or khur, plus gazelles, foxes, wolves and jungle cats. Sporadic grass patches among the salt crystals attract a huge number of endemic birds, including flamingos, buzzards and eagles.
4.5* Rann Riders Safari Resort
Watch the fertile fields and lakes pass by as you drive to the bird-watching paradise of Jamnagar. Twitchers will be in their element in the delightful Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, a creek and mangrove-filled haven for Gujarat’s feathered residents. The sanctuary is a breeding area for over 270 species of bird, including the great-crested grebe, the black-necked stork and the Caspian tern. A number of mammals, such as jackals, wolves, mongooses and hares, also reside here.
4* Fortune Palace
Hug the glorious coastline of the Gulf of Kutch to leafy Gondal. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for numerous birds that can be seen here, not to mention the pretty seascapes. Arrive in the compact town itself and visit the breath-taking Navlakha Palace complex, a 17th-century monument well-known for its beautiful balconies and unique spiral staircase. Wander the lawns of the Riverside Palace and admire the vintage cars displayed in the Royal Garages.
4* Orchard Palace
Enter the rugged hills and teak forests of majestic Gir National Park from Sasangir. Gir is the last refuge of the rare Asiatic lion, and is home to around 300 individuals, making it the perfect place to head out on a jeep safari. But it’s not just lion that roam the grasslands here – look out for panther, chital, antelope and wild boar. An assortment of birds, including peacocks, partridges, parrots and eagles, nest close to the various lakes and reservoirs dotted around the park, and these are a good place to start when looking for wildlife, such as the occasional lurking crocodile.
3.5* Lion Safari Camp
Visit the buzzing metropolis of Bhavnagar, where you’ll spend the afternoon watching the birds in pretty Victoria Park, which is also home to hyena. Don’t forget to take a look around the grand Takhteshwar Mahadev Temple, which is raised up on a small hill, so offers an elevated perspective of the city. Perhaps take an evening stroll around Gaurishankar Lake and watch the pelicans, or head down to the Barton Museum, which houses a diverting collection of carvings, weapons and sculptures, as well as items relating to Mahatma Ghandi.
4* Nilambagh Palace
Leave Bhavnagar behind and detour to Palitana, where the 900 temples at the summit of Shatrunjaya Hill is a magnificent spectacle of beauty and splendour. Palaces, fortresses and spires made of marble cover the peak, each ornately decorated and beautifully designed. Being raised up, the complex can be seen from all over town, and is a famous local landmark. The next stop is Velavadar National Park, also known as Blackbuck National Park, due to its healthy blackbuck population. Seek out for wolves, jackals and jungle cats among the dense grasses and mudflats.
4* Blackbuck Lodge
Depart Ahmedabad and return to the UK
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