Gujarat is a prominent hub of wildlife among the states, nestled on India’s western coast. It is home to 4 astonishing national parks. From mighty lions to elusive blackbucks, the national parks in Gujarat are bestowed with excellent biodiversity.
In addition to land animals, it offers bountiful opportunities to explore aquatic life through coral walk. If you ever visit this western state of the country, make sure you also explore these four national parks.
A Quick Glance Through
- List of National Parks
- Tips for Visiting
List of National Parks in Gujarat
1. Blackbuck National Park
Adjoining the coast of Gulf of Khambhat, Blackbuck National Park boasts a unique landscape featuring grassland as well as wetland.
The park is situated in Bhavnagar district of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. It is also referred to as Velavadar Blackbuck National Park as Velavadar is the nearest village to the forest.
Once a hunting ground for the royals of Bhavnagar Princely State, it was set up as a national park in 1976.
At 34 sq km, it is one of India’s smallest national parks but replete with wildlife. Blackbucks are the most conspicuous animal in the park.
Upon enquiring, our guide told us that the park hosts more than 1500 blackbucks. So, you can be sure to sight them.
Aside from blackbucks, you may spot nilgai, wild boar, jackal and jungle cat. Wolves and hyenas are also found here, but the sighting is rare.
A narrow road divides the park into grassland and wetland. In the southern part of the park lies the mudflats (wetland) that attract numerous aquatic birds.
Some of the commonly spotted birds are flamingo, grey heron, white ibis, openbill stork and harrier birds. It is undoubtedly one of the most amazing national parks in Gujarat for wildlife lovers
Winter is the best time for birdwatching in this park. Beautiful migratory birds from places like Siberia and Afghanistan also arrive here.
Also Read: 15 Most Beautiful Birds in India.
The park is closed from June to October in monsoon. So, plan your trip accordingly.
You can take your car inside the park. Jeeps are also available for those who don’t have their vehicle. Hiring a guide is mandatory for all.
How To Reach Blackbuck National Park
The park is conveniently accessible by road from Bhavnagar (42 km) and Ahmedabad (144 km). By cab, it takes around 1 hour from Bhavnagar and 3.5 hours from Ahmedabad to reach here.
The nearest domestic airport and railway station are in Bhavnagar. It is connected by flight from Mumbai. If you are arriving from any other city, book your flight via Mumbai.
Private buses also run to Velavadar from nearby cities including Ahmedabad and Baroda.
Where To Stay
Blackbuck Safari Lodge is one of the best places to stay near the park. It is a well-kept resort, roughly 10 minutes drive away from the park.
2. Vansda National Park
Tucked in the Sahyadris, Vansda National Park is situated some 68 km away from Navsari city in South Gujarat. The forest area was once owned by Vansda Kingdom. In 1979, it was declared as a national park with an expanse of 24 sq km.
The park is bestowed with thick foliage and varied wildlife. Teak, mahuwa (mahua) and other tropical trees are abundant in this forest.
Giant bamboos also enhance the ethereal charm of the jungle. The river Ambika drains it before merging into the Arabian Sea.
Leopard, hyena and dhole are the major predators in this national park. Besides these carnivores, you may sight gray langur, spotted deer, jungle cat, barking deer and wild boar.
A variety of butterflies, spiders and snakes add to the faunal diversity of the park. With over 150 bird species, Vansda is one of the best national parks in Gujarat for birding.
Grey hornbill, paradise flycatcher, jungle babbler and racket-tailed drongo are some of the commonly sighted birds in the park.
Due to heavy rainfall during monsoon, the park stays closed from June to October. In all other seasons, it is open from 8 am to 5 pm.
How To Reach Vansda National Park
This Park is well connected by road from nearby towns and cities.
It lies approximately 53 km from Saputara, 78 km from Valsad, 110 km from Surat and 240 km from Vadodara. Waghai is the nearest town, around 4 km from away.
The closest railhead is located in Waghai, but mostly passenger trains run from here. Bilimora junction, roughly 60 km away, is the nearest major railway station.
By flight, you can reach up to Surat. And then, rent a cab for the onward journey.
Where To Stay
You can stay in Saputara and conveniently visit the park as a day trip. It takes almost an hour to reach there from Saputara.
Tented accommodation is also offered by the Dang Forest Division. Located alongside the Ambika river, tented camps are part of Kilad Nature Education Campsite.
3. Gir National Park
Renowned as the only abode of Asiatic lions on earth, Gir National Park lies near Talala Gir city in Gujarat. In the 19th century, the Gir forest served as a hunting ground for the Nawabs of Junagadh State.
The lion population kept dwindling due to hunting. Barely a dozen lions were surviving in India by the end of the 19th century.
Today, the park stands as a symbol of extraordinary conservation achievement. An estimation done by the Forest Department in 2020 says that there are 654 lions in the Gir forest including males, females and cubs.
It was created as a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 measuring 1412 sq km. A 258 sq km expanse carved out of the sanctuary became Gir national park in 1975.
In addition to Asiatic lions, you may see carnivorous animals like leopard, hyena, fox and wild cat. Spotted deer, nilgai, sambar deer and wild boar are commonly sighted in this forest.
The park has more than 300 species of birds including peafowl, crested serpent eagle, Indian pitta and crested hawk-eagle Without any doubt, Gir is one of the best national parks in Gujarat for wildlife enthusiasts.
The park remains shut for tourists from June 16th to October 15th in the monsoon season.
Refer to this detailed post on Gir if you are planning to visit this fascinating land of lions: Gir National Park – Only Habitat of Asiatic Lions.
How To Reach Gir National Park
Gir is well-linked by road from cities like Veraval (70 km) and Junagadh (76 km).
The two nearest railway stations are Veraval Junction and Junagadh Junction. From both the railheads, it takes almost 2.5 hours to reach the park by cab. Rajkot Airport is the closest airport, approximately 162 km away.
Where To Stay
Several resorts and jungle lodges are located in the vicinity of the park. Among the budget-friendly options, Gir Jungle Lodge is a great choice. It is hardly 2.5 km from the safari entry point.
4. Marine National Park
In the Gulf of Kutch along the Jamnagar coast lies one of most amazing national parks in Gujarat, called Marine National Park.
This area was first declared as a marine sanctuary in 1980 and then a national park in 1982. It is an archipelago of 42 islands with Narara and Pirotan islands as the famous ones.
This park is a treasure trove of elusive marine creatures including corals, sponges, molluscs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and a variety of fishes.
Some of the endangered turtle species like olive ridley and green sea turtle are also found here. Coral Walk is the main draw of this marine park that offers opportunities to explore the unspoiled marine reserves of the region. It lasts for about 3 to 4 hours.
The timing depends on tidal movement. Coral walk is done between two high tides in the dry period. High tide occurs at 12 hours’ interval.
Rainy shoes or crocs are recommended when you are going for the coral walk. It requires wading through about a foot of deep water.
You can obtain an entry permit at Narara after reaching there. Hiring a guide is worthwhile as they are knowledgeable and help you sight a variety of sea creatures.
Pirotan is the other island that is equally famous for its enchanting marine world. The boat journey from Rozi port takes 1.5 to 2 hours to reach here.
On your way to these islands, you get to see stunning views of mangrove woods.
The mangrove forests support a wide range of avifauna like kingfisher birds, terns and several types of raptors.
How To Reach Marine National Park
The best way to reach Narara is by cab from Jamnagar which is 54 km away.
Taking a bus from Jamnagar is not quite convenient since it drops you at the nearest town called Vadinar. It is around 15 minutes drive from there. So you need to arrange your transport from Vadinar. The nearest railway station and airport are in Jamnagar.
Where To Stay
Jamnagar is the best location to stay if you are planning to visit this marine park. It is just a day trip from here.
Tips For Visiting National Parks in Gujarat
- Gir entry tickets can be booked online using the permit booking link. For all other national parks, you can obtain the permit offline after reaching there.
- During the rainy season, from June to October, most of the national parks in Gujarat are closed. So, avoid planning your trip in the monsoon.
- When you are visiting Marine National Park, always wear rain-proof shoes or boots. Normal sports shoes are fine for jungle safari in all other parks.
- Some must-have things in your backpack – binoculars, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, drinking water and hand sanitiser.
Over To You Now…
Have you visited any of these amazing national parks in Gujarat? Share your experiences in the comment section below.