Gir National Park, Gujarat: A Safari Tourism Guide & The Best Time to Visit

Gir National Park Gujarat- Gir Wildlife Tourism

Sasan Gir National Park is the only place outside Africa where one can see a lion in its native environment. Also simply known as Gir National Park, this sanctuary is called home by more than 300 species of Asiatic lions, which are one of the world’s most endangered species almost nearing the extinction. Gir National Park is also the only place where you can see the Asiatic lion in a natural habitat. As the lions live in dry savanna type of forest lands, state of Gujarat provides the ideal condition of this species to thrive. The staggering species alone is a significant reason that over 60,000 tourists visit the Gir every year. However, the National Park has much more to see than these majestic and exotic big Cats. The park is adorned with other big cats and animals including striped hyena, golden jackal, Bengal fox, chital, nilgai, chinkara, etc.

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History of Gir National Park Forest

Gir National Park Gujarat

Since the year 1884, Gir has been the lone natural habitat for Asiatic lions and the long history of exploitation, realization, and conservation has caused the species to decline and then again increase. During the British Raj over India, many British officers used to hunt lions and other animals in these forests with the help of local people and Maharajas. As the great famine occurred in 1899 in the region, the population of lions steeply declined. British officials and Maharajas applied several actions in the early 20th century to protect the remaining population of lions in the wild. The prior action, which helped to prevent the population from being wiped out, was supported by the post-independence government. In the year 1960, Government indulged in restricting all human activities to deplete wildlife and started photo safaris in the park. In the year 1965, the forest was declared a national park and until 2005, there were 52 lions in the wild. Now there are over 600 lions living inside the boundaries of the Gir National Park Forest.

Gir National Park is a forested belt spread in a vast area and has a diverse topography. The forest has evergreen to semi evergreen flora which supports varied animals. Furthermore, there are scrub jungle, Acacia grasslands, rocky hills, valleys, and plateaus in the 1400 sq km of area.

Also Read: Best Places to Visit in Gujarat

Flora & Fauna in Sasan Gir National Park Forest

Gir Lion Gujarat

Gir National Park is rich in biodiversity, supporting an extremely stable ecosystem with a remarkable self-sustaining capacity. The park has a vast array of bird species, reptiles, mammals, insects, and plants. The forest is an important breeding ground for migratory birds, supports a large population of marshland crocodiles and reptiles, and has the densest leopard concentration.

The Gir region is an integral part of Gujarat, facilitating and supporting various ecological activities. It serves as a fertile catchment zone for vital life-giving rivers, aiding in water table recharge, moisture, and soil conservation. The forest also supports agriculturists and farmers in the peripheral belts of the Gir environ by supporting sustained agricultural and horticultural activities.

Big Cats lovers are drawn to Gir National Park for its wildlife viewing opportunities. The Gir Jungle Trail Safari offers an opportunity to witness wildlife in its natural habitat. An interpretation zone at Devaliya aims to reduce human interference and provide a glimpse of lions and other wildlife species in their natural habitat.

Sasan Gir National Park is best visited in winter, from December to March, due to its cool, pleasant weather. The nearest airport is Diu, and visitors can travel by rail to Junagadh.

Also Read: Wildlife Tourism in India

Safari Timings in Sasan Gir National Park Forest

Gir National Park Safari Gujarat

Morning Safari Timings

  • 6:45 AM to 9:45 AM
  • 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
  • 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Afternoon Safari Timings

  • 3 PM to 6 PM
  • 4 PM to 7 PM

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