The Land of the Last Asiatic Lions and Indian Wild Asses
Delhi - Ahmedabad - Gir - Little Rann of Kutch - Ahmedabad - Delhi
9 nights, 10 days
The regal big cat which ones ruled the forests of Arabia, Mesopotamia, Baluchistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq, now limited to 1500 square kilometres of dry and deciduous forest in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Now limited to just 600 individuals in the forest of Gir, these are one of the most majestic animals to see in the wild. These forest-dwelling lions are just as regal as their African cousins, and are a must see for every wildlife enthusiast, specially for those particularly fond of the big cats, like we are! This trip will take you through one of the relatively unexplored reserve forests of India, and few of the most culturally rich cities of India. Our journey will start from Delhi, the national capital, a city of immense significance. Delhi has an immensely rich heritage, and has seen rise and fall of countless dynasties. Walking through the lanes of this city is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. After spending a couple of days in the capital, we will move to the city of Ahmedabad, which has the title of being India's first UNESCO World Heritage City! Explore the biggest city of the state of Gujarat is quite an experience in itself, and after spending some time in this beautiful city, we will move on to our ultimate destination, the Gir National Park. Safaris into this park is a thrilling ride! After a few safaris, we will move on to the hidden gem of the Little Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh famous as the world's last refuge of the Indian wild ass. After spending a few days in the LRK, we will move back to Ahmedabad, from where we will fly back to Delhi.
This is how your trip will go about
Arrival in Delhi
Upon your arrival in Delhi airport/ railway station, you will be met by one of our tour IWS guides. He will take you to your hotel, and en route, he will explain to you in detail the plan. He will stay with you for the entire duration of the trip and he’ll make sure you have a hassle-free and smooth experience! The rest of the day will be at leisure, and you can recover from your journey and prepare for the travels ahead!
Your IWS Guide will meet up with you early in the morning and you’ll kick off your adventure now. Delhi has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some amazing monuments and places of historic and religious significance. You’ll be taken around by your IWS Guide and you will be trying to cover all you can. You’ll eat some of the best food in this part of the world, and you’ll sense flavours we guarantee you would never have imagined existed. After a soul-filling day exploring the city, you’ll return to your hotel room by evening, when you can relax and unwind.
Fly to Ahmedabad
Early next morning, you will be taking the flight to Ahmedabad. After a 2-hour flight to Gujarat, you will check into your hotel, relax and get ready to explore this city. After freshening up, you’ll head out to the hotspots of the city. From Akshardham Temple, a huge temple of Lord Swami Narayan built in the middle of the city to Sabarmati Ashram, home to Mahatma Gandhi, you along with your IWS Guide can try and finish as much as you can! The list of places to see in Ahmedabad is countless, but you can fine-tune your day plan as and when you go around the city. You will return to your hotel after evening. You can now sit back and relax, replenish your energy.
Long drive to Gir
Today you will be having a long day of travel, from Ahmedabad to Gir. The drive can take up to 8 hours, so starting early is advisable. You’ll have your meals on the go, as there are many good and established cities you’ll pass through. By evening you will reach your resort at Gir, where you will check-in, unpack, and have the rest of the evening at leisure. From the next day, your safaris would kick off!
Safaris into the park
Day 5, 6, 7
Your back-to-back morning and evening safaris begin this day onwards! Arguably the most exciting part of the journey. The massive 1500 sq. km forest is full of life and activity, and other than the magnificent Asiatic lions, you’ll also experience the other unique wildlife of the park such as Indian leopard, jungle cat, striped hyena, golden jackal, four-horned antelope, chinkara, and porcupines. Safari timings will be communicated to you the day before by your IWS Guide, since they vary as per the seasons and, sunrise and sunset time. All meals would be in your resort, and the rest of the hours, you can kick back and enjoy the sounds and fragrances of the wilderness.
Drive to Little Rann of Kutch
Post-breakfast, you will kick off a long drive to the Little Rann of Kutch, which is one of the most fascinating and unique landscapes in the entire world. Wild Ass Sanctuary located in this Rann is the home of Asiatic Wild Ass (locally known as khur), one of the most endangered species in the world. You’ll reach LRK by evening, check-in your resort and relax for the rest of the evening, as safaris start the next day!
The Little Rann of Kutch adventure
Early morning, you’ll be heading into the land of the super elusive Indian wild ass, try to get close to this shy and timid beauty. After a full day of tracking, you will retire to our resort and relax in the evening. Other rare mammals of this sanctuary are the chinkara (or Indian gazelle), two types of desert fox (Indian and White-footed), jackals, caracals, nilgais, Indian wolves, blackbucks, and striped hyenas.
Drive back to Ahmedabad and fly to Delhi
Today, you will spend the morning on safari into the sanctuary, return by noon, pack up, have lunch, and post-lunch, ride back to Ahmedabad, which is just 3 hours away from you. Once there, you will take the evening flight to Delhi, and arrive back in capital by late evening. You IWS Guide will drop you to at your preferred location, and bid you farewell for your adventures further into the country!
Frequently Asked Questions
Doubts? Continue reading! We have answered few of the common questions in the minds of travellers. If this doesn't answer it, feel free to get in touch any time through mail or call!
What kind of a traveller does this expedition cater to?
We have designed this trip keeping in minds the needs of every kind of travel enthusiast. You need not be a hardcore wildlife buff or a super-dedicated wildlife photographer to enjoy this trip. Like all the other IWS itineraries, this one aims to get you close to the wilder and unexplored side of India, and you would enjoy it irrespective of the category of traveller you fall into!
Will be have someone who will accompany us during the trip?
Yes! We will a lot you one of our IWS Guides who will travel with you and coordinate everything during your travels, from taxis, to hotel rooms, from safari timings and zones, to interaction with the locals. He/she will have it all laid out properly for you so that you don't have to get into the hassle of logistics and enjoy your travels to the most!
What camera equipment is optimal for photography during this trip?
For the camera body, any D-SLR would be great. Ideally, something with a high burst rates of around 6fps and above (for those high speed action shots) and decent ISO performance (since we will be getting the best shots at either dawn or dusk) would be better. For bigger mammals, a lens with a reach of 400mm would be ideal. For smaller mammals and birds, 600mm would be just perfect. If you wish to exploit the stunning nightsky for some astrophotography, don't forget that fast wide-angle lens! And oh! Don't for get extra memory cards and hard drives for dumping the thousands of amazing shots you will be capturing!
I am not an expert wildlife photographer. Would I still be able to enjoy this trip?
Most certainly! The cameras we have today are smart enough to get you some great shots even in Auto mode. However if you do wish to learn about the finer nuances of the art of photography, do let us know beforehand. We have a special IWS Guide who is an expert photographer and has taken several photography workshops. He will certainly help you to kick your photography skills up a notch!
How will we be travelling between the stops?
The mode of travel between locations would depend upon the distance and the quality of roads or trains available. For road transfers, you will be taken around in AC MPVs. For rail transfers, we would prefer berths in 2nd Class (two-tier) AC express trains. Choice of airlines for even further away destinations would depend solely upon your timing and convenience.
What kind of vehicle will be taking us into the park during the safaris, and is it safe?
The safari vehicle is a standard open top 4x4 gypsy modified to suit the different type to terrains of Indian forests. Because of being open from all four sides, the gypsy does give a feeling of being exposed to the wilderness, but it is absolutely safe, and there has been no cases where the animals has tried to attack a vehicle unless it is provoked or harassed.