If you find you’ve been feeling a bit of wanderlust and you’re craving to connect with nature in its wildest form, we have a 19-day expedition that will satisfy your need for adventure as you traverse two of western India’s wildest landscapes: Gir and Velavadar National Parks.
The natural wonders are so abundant in western India that the region comprises two national parks, each with their own distinct personalities. As each park boasts different fauna, flora, and landscapes, we ensure you’ll have ample time to explore each during this expedition. Here’s a look at seven of our favorite experiences awaiting you in India’s wild west.
While exploring Gir National Park, you will:
- Traverse a variety of topography found throughout the approximate 545 square miles of park and wildlife sanctuary. Not only does Gir boast the largest area of dry deciduous forests in western India, but it also features sweeping grasslands, towering ridges, plateaus, valleys, rivers, and streams.
- Witness the result of the steadfast efforts to pull the Asiatic lion from the depths of extinction. Back in the early 1900s, the Nawab (deputy governor during the Mogul empire) banned the hunting of these lions, and the Forest Department later took over the charge. Today, Gir is the only place on the planet where you can see this impressive big cat in the wild.
- Spy an astounding array of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles—including a large population of muggers, or marsh crocodiles. Some notable residents are the leopard, hyena, chital (spotted deer), chousingha (the world’s only four-horned antelope), wild boar, black-naped Indian hare, and the chinkara (Indian gazelle).
- Realize you’ve arrived at a bird-watcher’s heaven. Sounds a bit dramatic, we know, but it’s a fair statement considering Gir is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered lesser florican, Saras crane, Malabar whistling thrush, paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta, and Bonelli’s eagle.
While traveling through Velavadar National Park, you will:
- Explore the approximate 13 square miles of open grassland. The park, located in the Bhal region of western India, is primarily a sanctuary for blackbucks and niglais, Asia’s largest antelope, and was officially named Blackbuck National Park in 1976.
- Marvel as herds of majestic blackbucks and nilgais leap gracefully high into the air. Other animals to be found throughout the park are the jackal, wolf, fox, and jungle cat.
- Observe a variety of the 140 bird species dwelling in the park, including specialty birds such as the Stolizka’s bushchat, Rufous-tailed lark, painted and grey Francolin, and the Steppe Eagle.
For more information, visit our Wild Western India trip page.