Gujarat lions, wolf, hyena, wild ass, antelope and birds
17 days from £3610*
A well-paced safari exploring some of the unique 'off the beaten track' and must-see locations in Gujurat, with a full 8 days exploring the Little Rann, Great Rann and Gulf of Kutch, before 6 jeep safaris in Sasan Gir, finally finishing with time in Velavadar National park (also known as Blackbuck NP), accompanied throughout by a local specialist wildlife guide.
The Little Rann of Kutch is located halfway between the Gulf of Kutch and Gujarat’s capital, Ahmedabad. Despite its arid appearance the Little Rann is home to a variety of spectacular wildlife, including the last surviving herd of Asiatic Wild Ass in India. Just 3000 animals remain in this tiny enclave which they share with Nilgai (India’s largest antelope), Blackbuck, Chinkara, Hyenas, Wolves, Jackals, and Foxes. As rare as Asiatic Wild Ass are, they are surprisingly easy to see on safari here. Rann means “salt marsh” in Hindi and this unique ecosystem is effectively a vast seasonal salt marsh, though for much of the year it is a saline desert typified by dry salt flats, and scrubby arid grasslands. It is however an important resting site for migratory Siberian birds and is home to the largest flocks of Great & Lesser Flamingos in India. Other bird highlights include Macqueen’s Bustard, Short-Eared Owl and numerous species of raptors.
There are three nights to explore in and around the Great Rann, the focus remains primarily on the wildlife highlights but there is time for at least a taste of the colourful tribal villages in the area. Then we have two nights in Jamnagar, where we concentrate more on the local wildlife highlights than the temples (according to group preference).
Like Kaziranga (for rhino) and Kanha (for Barasingha), Gir is a huge conservation success story, with a tiny population of around 20 Lions left in the early 1900’s now numbering more than 350 due to extensive conservation efforts, started initially by the Nawab of Junagadh. These efforts have ensured the continued presence of this majestic animal, an official national symbol of India that in the time of Alexander the Great ranged across much of the Mediterranean, Persia, and Southwest Asia, but their genetic stock is so similar that a disease within the Gir forest could wipe out the entire population. There has been a natural split of the Gir population with some prides heading south towards the coast and the current population is about as large as the park can support.
Velavadar National Park is one of the smallest of India’s National Parks but offers a great deal for the discerning wildlife enthusiast. The park was specifically designated for the conservation of the once endangered Blackbuck Antelope, and is without doubt the best place to see this noble animal, along with its larger cousin the Nilgai. With no other large predators the park also has a thriving Striped Hyena and Indian Wolf population and offers unparalleled opportunities to observe these rarely sighted canids. Velavadar also offers significant birding highlights, most notably the thousands of Pallid, Marsh, and Montagu’s Harriers that winter here each year, and a sizeable lake frequented by flamingos, pelicans, herons, and other waders and waterfowl.
Photo credits: James Manson, David Kennedy and Mahendra Singh
This is a Small Group Tour
meet and greet at Ahmedabad airport and transfer to the ‘Lemontree Premier’
cultural tour in Ahmedabad, and visit to Modhera Sun Temple en route to the ‘Rann Riders’ near the Little Rann of Kutch
Day 3 & 4
wildlife visits to the Little rann of Kutch, also exploring stunning nearby tribal villages
drive onward via Bhuj to Nakhatrana, arrive at the ‘Infinity Rann of Kutch’ before a visit to the Banni grasslands
Day 6 & 7
wildlife visits to the Greater Rann of Kutch, also exploring nearby birding hotspots and tribal villages
drive onward to Jamnagar, check in ‘Hotel Aram’ your base for the exploring the Gulf of Kutch
visits to Khijadia Bird Sanctuary and Narara Marine National Park
drive onward to Sasan Gir, passing near Junagadh. Check in at ‘Gir Birding Lodge’ before and afternoon jeep safari in Gir National Park
Day 11 & 12
two days of morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Sasan Gir National Park
final morning jeep safari before the drive onward to the ‘Blackbuck Lodge’ at Velavadar
Day 14 & 15
morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Velavadar National Park
a more leisurely start before your drive back to Ahmedabad, stopping for a birding visit to Nal Sarovar Lake en route, before overnighting at the ‘Lemontree Premier’
free for your own activity/ relaxation until your transfer for your flight home from Ahmedabad
Indian wildlife lodges: a small group trip (max 8 travellers & max 4 guests per jeep), AC road travel accompanied by an experienced naturalist. All meals included at the Wildlife Lodges, breakfast only in Ahmedabad.
Cost: from £3610 per person based on two sharing a twin or double room/ single supplement: £780pp (excludes international flights)
Dates: in April 2020 (TBC)
Note: there is scope to extend this trip to include your own bespoke section
For a full tour description email Wildlife Trails and include the trip title, or for a different combination we are happy to help design your ideal India wildlife tour.
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* Based on 2 persons and not including flights