Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only remaining home for the Asiatic Lions that are almost a definition to this park although the park has a lot more to offer. The preservation of these lions was initiated by the Nawab of Junagadh when these were just about to enter the phase of extinction due to hunting. Other important wildlife forms found here are a leopard, chausingha, spotted deer, hyena, sambar deer and chinkara.
Best Time: July to March
Less than 100 km away from Bhuj, this sanctuary is spread over an area of about 7505.22 sq. km. in the Kutch District. This wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat is considered as one of the largest seasonal saline wetland areas. It has a water depth that ranges between 0.5 to 1.5 m and preserves various species of flamingo birds. Also sight other species such as the greater flamingo, Indian porcupine, spiny-tailed lizard, black-necked storks, wild ass and Indian cormorant. The best time to visit this sanctuary is during the months of winters.
Tucked in between the Sahyadri ranges, lies this conserved national park in Gujarat spanning over an area of about 24 sq kilometres. It got its name as Vansda because it was once privately owned by the Maharaja of Vansda. Not a single tree has been cut since then. Owing to this, in some places, the canopies are so thick that sunlight does not pass through. It is an open park, and you can easily get a permit if you want to explore it in your own vehicle.
This uniquely named wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat is located in Little Rann of Kutch and India's biggest wildlife sanctuary spreading over a massive 4954 square kilometre. It is home to a wide variety of carnivores, mammals, birds. The sanctuary is best known for the endangered species of the Indian wild ass like Khur as well as the Asiatic wild ass species, Oranger. Other kinds of mammals, reptiles, amphibians are also found in this area.
Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar is located in the Bhavnagar district. This national park in Gujarat is known to provide a magical experience to its visitors. The wilderness of this national park is unrivalled. From grasslands to mud flats Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Know that this sanctuary has been primarily declared for the conservation of Blackbucks. You can, however, find a horde of other mammals and birds.
Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is the first marine conservatory built in India. Crediting to its diverse range of flora and fauna, it accounts for a magnanimous natural site for India's natural resource and beauty. This national park in Gujarat is distributed in 42 scattered islands in an archipelago. The park also houses many endangered aquatic animals granting them protection from poachers.
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A 125 km drive away from Bhuj, this wildlife sanctuary covers an area of about 444 sq. km. and is one of the distinct eco-system in the Kutch district of Gujarat state. Also known as Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary, it is home to a number of mammals such as chinkara, the endangered Indian wolf, wildcats, desert foxes, honey badger and wild boar. Tourists can also see around 184 distinct species of birds in this sanctuary including waterfowl, black partridge, Houbara bustard, lesser florican and great Indian Bustard.
Located at about 15 km from Porbandar, this wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat is distributed in two districts i.e. Porbandar and Jamnagar. The Sanctuary area is a green surrounded by agriculture fields, wastelands and forest and the terrain of Barda is almost hilly.
Also known locally as the Lala Prajan Sanctuary, its primary aim is to conserve the Great Indian Bustard. Among many other different varieties of wildlife that can be found within the reserve, there are three different kinds of Bustards themselves in the sanctuary. This wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat covers an area of just over 2 sq. km, but still houses some of the excellent species including harriers, common cranes, black partridges, sand grouses, Black and Grey Francolin, Spotted and Indian Sandgrouse, quails, larks, shrikes, coursers, plover, Imperial Eagle, flamingos, herons, egrets, sandpipers, etc.
This 1 kilometer square area is visited annually by migratory birds. Flamingos, Grebes, Pelicans, Ducks and geese, Avocets, Coots, Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, Bittern, Storks, Ibis, Spoonbill, Cranes, Whistling Teals, Gulls, Terns, Jacanas, Ruff, Red shanks, Indian roller and many other varieties of winged, fluffy creatures pay a visit during the winters.
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is a lush green sanctuary and that gives you a glimpse of the idyllic lifestyle of rural Gujaratis. It is an ideal place for bird watchers who enjoy quiet and peaceful settings.
Just like the rest of the state, the national parks in Gujarat are very well preserved and a treat for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. So which of these stunning national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Gujarat would you visit next?