Gujarat is one of the vivacious and the wealthiest wildlife destinations in India. It is the only state sheltering large population of the Asiatic lions, which is a rare species these days. Possessing diverse flora and fauna, the state offers a majestic range of animals that one can witness. Call it a paradise for the nature lovers, heaven for wildlife and Mecca for the ornithologists, Gujarat is an ideal place for a wildlife getaway in our country. Here is a list of national parks that are a must see.
Gir National Park
A well- known royal abode of the Asiatic lions in India, Gir National Park lies 60 km from Junagadh and 43 km from Somnath. Spread in an area of 1412 sq. km, Gir is one of the most famous national parks in the country and has also perked up Gujarat tourism. There are around seven rivers crossing this region and the forest has four dams constructed on the four rivers. One of the most beautiful national parks in India, Gir national park is known for its characteristic landscape containing valleys, isolated hills, craggy ridges, and plateaus. Half of the woody area of the park is covered with trees like amla, teak, khair timru and much more. The park has around 300 leopards and 400 lions thus making it as one of the major ‘big cat’ concentrations in India. One can also find blue bull, wild boar chital, civets, sambar etc in large number. Apart from this, the park is also a home to 250 species of birds including crested hawk-eagle, rock bush-quail, pygmy woodpecker, rock bush-quail, Indian pitta etc.
Featured Photo by Jason Wharam
Vansda National Park
Vansda National Park deserves to be a part of your itinerary on your visit to the state of Gujarat. One of the most popular wildlife reserves in the state the park covers an area of 24 sq km. Though it’s not huge but the forests are pretty dense. The vegetation cover is so thick that not even a single ray of the sun can pass through them. Mango groves, bamboo, huge creepers and tall teak trees are a part of the flora of Vansda National Park. Known for sheltering huge wildlife population; leopards, hyena, spotted deer are the main residents of this area. Some of the other animals at Vansda are wild boar, jungle cat, flying squirrel, porcupine, barking deer, langur, leopard, civet, four-horned antelope and many more. Also, around 155 species of birds including shama, jungle babbler, black woodpecker, pompodour pigeon, common grey hornbill, Malabar trogon, forest spotted owlet can be spotted here. November to March is the best time to visit Vansda National Park.
Velavadar National Park
Located in Bhavnagar, the Blackbuck national Park or Velavadar National Park is amongst the few places in India where one can find a substantial population of Blackbucks. Covering an area of 34 km, the park is a paradise for the nature lovers. The majority of the park is a semi-arid region with a flat grassy area. One can easily find herds of blackbucks loitering around. In addition to blackbucks, this national park is also a safe habitat for some of the rare species like jackal, wild pigs, rodents, Indian fox, wolf, and antelope. Around 95 species of flowering plants, 140 bird and reptile species and 14 types of mammals can be found here. The southern portion of the park is the perfect place for birdwatchers. From the conservation point of view, the unique feature of this park is that it’s the only tropical grassland in India to be given the status of a national park. Thus, as you travel in your jeep, it’s a magical journey through the forest. The best time to visit Velavadar Blackbuck National Park is from July to March.
Featured Photo by varmarohit
Marine National Park
Covering an area of around 162 sq. km in Jamnagar, the Marine National Park is found on the shore of the Gulf of Kutch. This is one of the rare places in the world where one can see beautiful corals without diving into the water. The fascinating underwater world of the park offers striking sight for the adventurers. The Marine National Park has major species of marine life including octopus, jellyfish, sponges, pearl oysters, lobster, dolphin etc. Consisting of seagrass beds, mangroves, coral reefs, and mudflats the park support rich bird and marine life. One can also spot sea turtles, ray fishes, starfish, crabs, octopus and variety of marine flowering plants. October to February is the most favorable time to visit Marine National Park.
So, plan your wildlife holiday in Gujarat and include these national parks on your list of places to visit.