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ASIATIC LIONS, BLACKBUCKS & WILD ASSES – 11 NIGHTS / 12 DAYS

Location – Mumbai – Ahmedabad – Bhavnagar-Sasan Gir-Zainabad- Ahmedabad – Mumbai

 

Trip Type – Wildlife Tour

Trip Duration- 12 Day(s) – 11 Night(s)

Overview

We start this tour with a visit to Velavadar National Park, a 36 km patch of Savannah type grasslands and thorn scrub, set between two rivers a few miles from the Gulf of Cambay sea coast. The principal attraction of the park is the massive population of blackbuck, the handsome Indian antelope, seen here in numbers running into thousands. The blackbuck is endemic to India and is rated among the most elegant antelopes and the fastest animals over a long distance.

The tour moves on to Gir National Park, home to the Asiatic Lion, Panthera Leo persica, the sub-species that once ranged from Greece to central India. Before they were completely wiped out, the lions came under the protection of the Nawab of Junagadh, a local monarch, who banned all lion hunting in the area.

Finally, the tour moves on to Little Rann of Kutch a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. As the land separated from the sea by geological forces, it became a vast, featureless plain encrusted with salt that is inundated with water during the rains. This region is home to Asiatic wild ass that is not found elsewhere. Usually seen in small herds, the wild ass is a handsome chestnut brown member of the horse family capable of reaching high speeds when galloping across the Rann.

Meet and assist on arrival in Mumbai and transfer to pre-booked hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to overcome jetlag. Overnight in Mumbai.

 

After breakfast transfer to the airport to board flight for Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat. On arrival we will move onwards for our first wildlife destination – Bhavnagar. The Journey is approx. 200 km. & will take about 4 hrs. On arrival in Bhavnagar, we are transferred to our pre-booked hotel. Rest of the evening is free to explore the town on our own. Overnight in Bhavnagar.

We will have morning & evening game drives at Velavadar National Park. Blackbuck National Park Velavadar in the Bhal region of Saurashtra is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the blackbuck, the wolf and the lesser florican. Once found in open plains throughout the country and the state of Gujarat. Its largest population at present occurs in Velavadar N.P. This exclusively Indian animal is perhaps the most graceful and beautiful of its kind. It has ringed horns that have a spiral twist of three to four turns and are up to 70 cm long. The body’s upper parts are black and the under parts and a ring around the eyes are white. The wolf and the jackals are the main predators in the park. More than 1500 Blackbucks are found within the park. Overnight in Bhavnagar

Early morning after breakfast we will move to Gir National Park by road, which is about 200 K.M from Bhavnagar & will take about 5 Hrs to reach .We will stop for Lunch at Gondal. After lunch we proceed to Gir National Park & check in at a Forest Lodge. We will try to take an evening game safari. Overnight in Gir.

Morning and evening game safaris. The Indian lion is another name for the Asiatic lion, Panthera Leo persica, the sub-species that once ranged from Greece to central India. Before they were completely wiped out, the lions came under the protection of the Nawab of Junagadh, a local monarch, who banned all lion hunting in the area. Soon, the lion population began to rise in number. By the declaration of Indian independence in 1947, the government had come to realize the importance and fragile nature of this last bastion of the Asiatic lion, and the Nawab’s conservation policy was upheld. Naturalists were assigned to study and take a census of the Girs lion population. At that time there were around 200 lions. The Indian government then created the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary – collectively known as the Gir Protected Area (PA), covering over 1000 km². The area is made up of dry scrubland with hills, rivers, and teak forest. In addition to the lion population, the Gir PA contains leopards, antelope, deer, jackals, hyenas, and marsh crocodiles. The largest Asiatic lion on record measured 2.9 m from nose to tail-tip & the current population is in excess of 300.

Overnight in Gir.

Morning & evening game safaris into Gir National Park. Safaris in Gir are organized in jeeps. Local guides and naturalists are at hand to enhance the experience. Overnight in Gir.

After the morning game drive, we drive to Zainabad the Little Rann of Kutch (280 km) A safari through the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch in northwest of Gujrat is a unique experience. A safari through this region gives one a chance to come face to face with a wide variety of birds and other wildlife for besides the Wild Ass, the sanctuary is home to a host of other animals and nearly 350 different species of birds, including the common crane, pelican and the lesser flamingo. Apart from this, one can also get a rare insight into the lifestyles of the numerous ethnic groups and local tribes, which live in and around the Rann. Interestingly, the Little Rann gets a fair number of winged visitors in the winter months. Among these, the blue-tailed bee-eater that comes all the way from Europe, the common crane and the demoiselle crane from Siberia, the ceraneous vulture from Egypt and the houbara bustard from Iran and Iraq are the ones most commonly sighted.

Overnight in Zainabad.

Morning and evening game drives to Little Rann of Kutch. Safaris in Little Rann of Kutch are organized in jeeps. Local guides and naturalists are at hand to enhance the experience. Overnight in Zainabad.

Morning and evening game drives to Little Rann of Kutch. Safaris in Little Rann of Kutch are organized in jeeps. Local guides and naturalists are at hand to enhance the experience. Overnight in Zinabad.

After an early breakfast we leave for Ahmedabad Airport (Zainabad – Ahmedabad is 100 km – a 2 hr drive) to catch our onward flight to Mumbai.  On arrival in Mumbai we are transferred to our hotel. Rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight in Mumbai.

We start of the day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai’s most famous landmark. It was designed by George Wikket and was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Through this magnificent monument, numerous viceroys and governors were welcomed to India as they disembarked from their steamers, hence the name.

This is followed up by a visit to the Prince of Wales Museum not too far from the Gateway of India. The Museum has a priceless collection of art, sculpture, china and other antics. Carefully presereved, this mid-Victorian Gothic style building built in 1904 has beautiful gardens surrounding it.

After lunch we take a ferry ride to the Elephanta Caves about 10 kms from the Gateway of India. The island of Elephanta, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva and an epitome of Hindu cave culture, consists of seven caves on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Mumbai which, with their decorated temples and the images from Hindu mythology, bear a unique testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge high reliefs in the main cave.

Rest of the evening free for some last minute shopping in one of the renowned shopping centre of Mumbai. Overnight in Mumbai.

We depart Mumbai in the morning for the daytime flight back home. The arrangements for those not flying with the group ends after check out.

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