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Gir National Park Travel Guide
23.5° C / 74.3° F
December to March
2 to 3 Days
Keshod (90 kms)
Sasan Gir (1 kms)
The only home of Asiatic Lions, Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary located in the state of Gujarat, India. It totals a huge area of around 1412 square kilometers and is a major site of preservation due to its immense diversity of flora and fauna. In the mid-1900s, trophy hunting led to a decline in the population of the Asiatic lions to around 15. In 1965, the combined efforts of NGO’s and wildlife activists ensured that Gir was protected and established as the Gir National Forest Park. The April 2010 census recorded the lion count in Gir at 411. A trip to Gir is going to be filled with a lot of fun, and a visit to the king of all animals is pretty adventurous. Find a Gir National Park Travel Guide below to start jotting down your holiday plan.
Gir National Park Location
Gir National Park is located in the Junagarh and Amreli district in the South West part of Gujarat. It is approximately 380 kms from Ahmedabad, 165 kms from Rajkot and 60 kms from Junagadh.
Gir National Park Wildlife
An awe inspiring 2375 number of different fauna species have lured photographers, wildlife researchers and newbie tourists to Gir. The main attraction of Gir is the Asiatic Lion ( Panthera Leo Persica) which have now populated to around 411 in number. With approximately 295 species of birds, 39 species of mammals and 37 species of reptiles, Gir boasts a fantastic array of fauna. Amongst the carnivores, other than the famed Asiatic Lion, Gir is home to the Indian leopards, golden jackals, sloth bears, desert cats and striped hyenas. The herbivores at Gir include Neelgai, four horned antelope and the less frequently seen blackbucks. As a tourist you can be almost guaranteed lion sightings if you happen to visit the Gir Interpretation Zone also known as Devalia. Devalia is home to a cross section of Gir wildlife in a 4 square kilometer fenced area and can be visited via a 30-45 minute bus ride.
With an undulating terrain with moderately high hills and plateaus, Gir Forest provides an excellent landscape for a variety of flora and fauna. As far as flora is concerned, Samptapau and Raizada’s survey of the Gir records around 400 plant species. Featuring dry savannah type forests, teak along with dry deciduous species mostly cover the area of Gir. By virtue of being the largest dry deciduous forest of Western India, it provides tremendous opportunities for not just biological research but is also a site for educational and recreational values. Researchers from mostly Western European nations flock to the Gir for scientific research of the scrub forests during the winter months.
Several tourists also take delight in visiting the tribal areas of the Maldharis and the African origin tribes called Siddis.
Gir Safari Timings
Timings for entry into the park are from 6.00 am to 11.00 am in the morning and from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm in the afternoon.
Safaris in Gir National Park are conducted thrice a day and last about 3 hours from:
6:30am to 9:30am
9:30am to 12:30pm
3:30pm to 6:30pm
The Gir Interpretation Zone is open from 8am to 11am and 3pm to 5pm from Thursday to Tuesday and remains closed on Wednesday.
Gir Safari Bookings
The booking office for safaris is located at the park reception center. It opens an hour before the above safari timings. Only a limited number of permits to enter the park are allowed so it is recommended to queue up early especially during peak seasons. A maximum of 30 vehicles are permitted on each of the 7 routes inside Gir Forest National Park. It is advisable to book your accommodations and safaris in advance.
Gir Safari Cost
On weekdays, the safari costs about Rs.400 per person for Indian residents and $40 per person for foreigners. The cost increases by 25% on weekends and 50% on certain holidays. Hiring an open jeep (gypsy) costs around Rs.1000 to Rs.1500 per safari. The Guide costs Rs.100 per safari and each camera above 7.1 megapixel costs Rs. 100. On a weekday, each safari will cost around Rs.3500 to Rs.4000 for Indian residents and around $225-$300 for foreigners for a group of 5.
Gir Weather And Best Time To Visit
Gir National Park remains open from mid-October to mid-June. Gir experiences tropical monsoon type of climate. Summer months are extremely hot and maximum temperatures can touch 46 degree centigrade. It is most advisable to visit the reserve during winters from December to March where the minimum temperatures fall to approximately 10 degrees.
How To Get To Gir National Park
You can reach Gir by road, train or air. The nearest airport is Keshod which is 90 km from Sasan Gir or Rajkot which is 160 kms. You can also reach Sasan Gir by train as it has its own railway station and from here the reserve is only about a kilometer away. Sasan Gir is also very well connected by road to most parts of Gujarat and a number of buses connect various parts of the state to Gir. So reaching there should be the least of your concerns.
Gir National Park Travel Tips
It is highly advisable that you wear clothes with non reflective textures so as to not draw any unwanted attention from wild animals. Browns, greens and other pastel shades are most preferred. Also make sure you carry binoculars, a good quality camera, caps/hats, water bottles and sun screen. Camping, hiking, picnicking and smoking are not allowed within the premises of the park. Several resorts and boot camps are available in the vicinity with varying levels of facilities for accommodation and it is highly advised that you book rooms prior to arrival.