Today, our Gir Jungle trail starts. I have written about a couple of tiger reserves in India. The king of the jungles looked up at me questioningly as if to ask “why not about me?”
“Hey lion, I could interpret your roars and your looks; I am bringing people to you”.
For spotting the lions in their own den, Gir Forest is the best place to go and hear the lions’ roar. Have you heard the lions’ roar in a forest? Man, I will tell you, it can be really scary.
The Gir Lion Reserve in Gujarat in India is the oldest lion reserve in the world. India’s effort in preserving and protecting the Asian Lions is appreciated worldwide.
A mind-boggling 1400+ sq.km area is marked as the Gir Lion Forest.
Don’t imagine a dense forest similar to the Amazon Rainforest. The forest in Gir is of dry deciduous type. The lions and leopards that live in this forest have developed a special liking to this place and they feel highly protected here.
What can you see in Gir Forest?
Lions apart, you can see:
- Wild Boar
- Blue Bull
- Black Buck
It is a rare animal and looks beautiful.
In addition, you can spot a wide range of Indian and migratory birds counting to over 300 species! Such a large number of bird species thrive in Gir forest region because the forest is a habitat to a whopping 2000 species of insects which are a fine meal to the birds.
Some of the rare avifauna that you can identify in Gir forest are:
- Western Osprey
- Red-headed vulture
(What a shot!) No wonder there are a few types of forest scavengers in Gir where the animal cadavers are not uncommon.
- Lesser Florican
I haven’t seen it before. I wonder whether it is an endemic bird to Gir Forest.
- Indian Pitta
What a beauty! It seems it thrives in rainforest only. If the Indian Pitta is spotted in a deciduous forest such as Gir forest, then, it must have migrated there during a particular season.
The rivers of Saurashtra, Gujarat.
This is a major region of Gir forest in Gujarat. You should give accolades to the Gujarat Government to have earmarked this very particular vast area as Lion Reserve because as many as 7 rivers flow through this region.
The wildlife of Fir forest never go thirsty-eh?
How to go to the Gir Forest?
Being one of the highly visited tourist destinations in the world, Gir forest is excellently connected with road and rail network.
In order to reach the Gir forest comfortably, you must first reach Junagadh, a city in Gujarat.
As there is no airport in Junagadh, you can fly up to either Rajkot or Porbandar city from Mumbai.
How to Reach Junagadh by Train
Junagadh rail station is a big railway station in Gujarat. It is a junction from where trains ply in different directions. Junagadh is well connected by trains from Mumbai, Rajkot, Ahmadabad, Pune, and even as far as Kerala.
Junagadh is in proximity to several places of tourist importance in Gujarat such as Dwaraka, Somnath, and Bhavanar. Therefore, there are good roads that connect to Junagadh from all these places as well as from Rajkot where the nearest airport is located.
Gir forest is located only 55 km from Junagadh. If you are flying up to Rajkot, you have to drive 150 km to reach Junagadh. If you love driving long distance, you can do so by flying up to Ahmadabad, and then take a car and drive nearly 350 km to Gir Forest reception called Sasan Gir from where the actual Gir Lion Reserve begins.
Where to stay in Gir Forest?
Oh, the options of staying in a resort, a forest lodge or just a hotel in Gir forest is wide and caters to many budgets. However, don’t expect it to be cheap as any forest lodge doesn’t come cheap.
Almost all the forest lodges and jungle resorts in Sasan Gir have the following basic and luxury amenities:
- 24*7 front desk
- Round the clock room service
- Hot water
- Car park
The rate per night in rooms, cottages, and tents (air-conditioned tents also) starts from a minimum of Rs.4500 and goes up to Rs.8000.
The rates generally include three meals a day.
Note: Most of the restaurants in Gir Forest region serve only vegetarian food.
Gir Lion’s Paw Resort
What an apt name for a lion forest resort! Gir Lion’s Paw seems to be beautifully located, surrounded by coconut and mango trees. Gujarat can be hot during summer which is also an ideal season for spotting lions, leopards, and the blue bull. You need air-conditioning in your room. Since there are only 18 a/c rooms in Lion’s Paw resort, you need to book well in advance by visiting their website located at http://girlionspaw.com/
The rooms are quite big and spacious that can accommodate two couples and a kid.
Saavaj Resort, Gir
The Saavaj Resort is built in a real forest-like atmosphere but still with a lot of open space for the vehicles to move around. The rooms in the resort are also spacious.
To book your room in Saavaj Resort in Sasan Gir, visit www.saavajresort.in
The types of accommodation in Saavaj Resort, Gir are:
- A/C rooms
- Deluxe cottages
- Super deluxe cottages
- Super deluxe rooms
- Luxury Tents
The Saavaj resort is quite big with 36 rooms. The resort management also arranges jeep safari in Gir forest. Apart from an animal safari in a jeep in Gir forest, the Saavaj resort also arranges guided tours to
- Kamleshwar Dam
- Bird Watching in the Gir forest
- Kanika temple
- Somnath temple
- Junagadh fort
Amidhara Resort, Gir
Absolutely gorgeous location! The surrounding hillocks, thick vegetation, roomy lodges make this resort as one of the coveted staying options in Gir forest. It is also very close to the Lions’ den.
To know and choose your preferred accommodation, please visit www.amidhararesort.com
Here are more jungle lodges and forest resorts in Gir. You can quickly look up for them in Google.
- Gir Jungle Lodge Resort
- Vanvaso Resort
- Anil Farm Holiday Resort
- Amidhara Resort
- Maneland Jungle Lodge
- Hotel Umang
- Gir Birding Lodge
- Woods Sasan Resort
- Sukhsagar Gir Resort
- Fern Gir Forest Resort
These are all excellent jungle lodges, Gir forest resorts, air-conditioned tents, and hotel rooms in the Gir Forest region.
The food will be world famous Gujarati vegetarian cuisine.
Try to stay for a full weekend to have the most memorable encounter with the Gir Lions and other wildlife in India.