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Gujarat Birding and Wildlife Tour

Gujarat Birding and Wildlife Tour (13 Days)
From USD 2500

Overview

The Gujarat birding & Wildlife Tour takes you to the best birding & wildlife destinations in the West Indian state of Gujarat. Velavadar Park lies inland from the Gulf of Cambay on the West coast of India. Created for the conservation of the Blackbuck, Valavedar is a tiny 35sq kms but unique grassland ecosystem. Valavedar is of interest to birders because of the huge roost of about 2000 harriers, which is formed every winter. (Oct to early Feb). The dominant species is Montagu’s. Another rare sight ( June to Oct) is that of the lesser Florican, which migrate and settle here to breed in the grasslands. Birders can spot the Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Ashy- crowned sparrow lark, Rufous-tailed, and crested Larks, Desert and Variable wheatears, Southern Grey and Rufous–tailed Shrikes. Apart from the Harrier, other raptors to be seen could include Black-shouldered Kite, Shikara, and Short-toed Snake Eagle. Common Crane and other waders can be spotted on the Alag River. The park has more than 1,000 Black Buck that can be viewed on the open grassland from very close range. The wolf and the jackal are the main predators in the park. Other mammals likely to be seen are Bengal fox, Black–naped Hare, Indian Desert Gerbil, Jungle cat, and Nilgai. Your next destination is Gir, located in southern Gujarat. The main reason to visit Gir is to see the Asiatic Lion, in its natural habitat. Latest census reports have counted 107 lions at Gir. Gir comprises diverse habitats – open scrub country, dry deciduous and tropical thorn forest and an evergreen corridor along the riverside. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded. Changable Hawk, Crested serpent, and Bonneli’s Eagle, Black Ibis, Wooley-necked Stork, Rock Bush Quail, Painted Sand Grouse, Crested Tree Swift, Greater Rocket-tailed Drongo, Black headed Cuckooshrike, Asian Paradise-Flycather, Brown, Fish and Great Horned Owls; Pygmy Woodpecker, Black Headed Oriole and Indian Pitta are the chief attraction. The last destination is the Kathiawar Peninsula in Gujarat State. A large portion of this low-lying peninsula accumulates water and gets converted into a vast swamp during the monsoons. As it dries in the winter sun, it becomes a desert like expanse of dry silt, interspersed by lagoons and small islands with vegetation called “bets”. This is the Rann of Kutch. The South East portion of the Rann called the Little Rann, is open to tourists. This unique region is astonishingly rich in bird life; particularly in winter when millions of waterfowl, along with desert species, can be spotted. The entire 4950 sq kms of the Little Rann of Kutch, has been designated as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, as it is home to the rare and endangered “khur” – The Indian Wild Ass; not found anywhere else in the world. In winter the Little Rann is host to a variety of birds – almost 300 species.

Departures
Any day of the week. Ideal time to go is from October to May. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Ahmedabad
On arrival in Ahmedabad, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Time permitting, there will a trip for birding in the thol wetlands near Ahmedabad. This wetland attracts large number of waterfowls and one can also see some eagles and raptors. It is also good for sighting small birds like warblers, flycatchers, bee-eaters, munias, weavers, variety of storks, herons and egrets.

Day 2-4: Little Rann of Kutch
You will leave early morning for a visit to the wetlands near Nalsarovar - a Ramsar site. Nalsarovar attracts huge variety and numbers of waterfowls, waders, cranes and other winter migrant species. Transfer to Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) & check into your resort. After lunch you will be going for an evening safari to the little Rann of Kutch. Over the next two days, there would be a full day of birding / wildlife safaris & excursions at LRK . It is one of the most important birding areas in Gujarat with over 350 species of birds recorded in this area. Some of the most important species that we will be searching in these two days are Houbara bustard, Greater Hoopoe lark, Pallid scops owl, Falcons, Aquila eagles, Gyps vultures, Sociable lapwing, Short eared owl, Indian rock eagle owl, Syke’s Nightjar. Little Rann of Kutch is also famous as the last habitat for Asiatic wild Ass. Apart from this you will also try to search for Desert and Indian fox, Jackal, Striped hyena, Desert cat and Indian wolf.

Day 5-7: Greater Rann of Kutch
Transfer from LRK to the Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) with en-route birding and check in at hotel. Afternoon birding around the resort and the next two days would be full day of birding / wildlife excursions in GRK. Greater Rann of Kutch is approximately 30,000 sqkm area with a wide array of habitats. Your main targets in this area will be Great Indian bustard, Grey Hypocolius, Sociable lapwing, white-naped tit, Desert warbler, Stoliczka’s Bushchat & Red tailed wheatear. You will also have a chance to see Desert Cat and some reptile species.

Day 8-9: Jamnagar
Depart for Jamnagar arriving by lunch followed by afternoon birding. Jamnagar is located in the Gulf of kutch. It is excellent for a wide variety of waders i.e plovers, sandpipers, oystercatchers etc. You will be visiting Khijadiya bird sanctuary, Charakala salt pans and some other wetlands during our stay at Jamnagar. Some notable species that we will try to find are Crab Plover, Eurasian oyster catcher, Black necked stork , Black necked grebe, Great crested grebe, Indian skimmer.

Day 10-11: Gir
Depart for Gir NP. Afternoon birding around the resort. There would be morning and afternoon safari in Gir NP for Asiatic Lions during your stay here. Gir national park is the last home for Asiatic lions. During our safaris the main attraction will be Asiatic lions. You also have a good chance to see leopard, Sambhar deer, Spotted deer, Chinkara and jackal. Gir is also great place for a large variety of dry deciduous forest dwelling bird species.

Day 12: Bhavnagar-Velavadar
Depart for Bhavnagar. On arrival, check in and depart for Velavadar National Park for afternoon safari for viewing Black Bucks. Velavadar National park is an amazing grassland and one can see hundreds of black bucks in the grass. Apart from that, it is the world’s larges congregation site for harriers. There is also a very good chance of spotting Indian wolf, striped hyena, Indian fox and jungle cat during the safaris.

Day 13: Depart
After morning birding and safari, depart for Ahmedabad and onward flight. Tour ends

Price 
USD 2500 (based on minimum 2 persons travelling). Please mail us for larger group rates.

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels / resort as per mentioned meal plan
  • Air-conditioned Toyota Innova for all transfers mentioned as per the above mentioned itinerary
  • Meals as mentioned in the above itinerary
  • All entrances to Wildlife Sancturies and National Parks
  • 02 jeep safaris (by exclusive jeep) in Velavadar National Park with local lodge guide
  • 05 jeep safaris (by exclusive jeeps) in Gir National Park with local park guide
  • 04 jeep safaris (by exclusive jeeps) in Little Rann of Kutch with local lodge driver cum guide
  • All currently applicable taxes

Exclusions

  • Flights
  • Tips to the driver & guide
  • Camera Fees (if any) at park
  • Personal expenses, laundry, beverages