Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Asiatic Lion, Gir National Park © K Claydon
Asiatic Wild Ass Little Rann © G DeanStriped Hyena Velavadar © J GloverGrey Hypocolius (female) © D BridgesMarshall's Iora © G Singh

Gujarat’s Iconic Birds and Mammals (12 days) B408

Tour ref. no. B408
Duration: 10 nights (12 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Mumbai/Delhi – Ahmedabad – Little Rann of Kutch – Great Rann of Kutch – Gir - Velavadar - Ahmedabad - Mumbai/Delhi
  • Macqueen’s Bustard in the Great and Little Ranns – chance of Great Indian Bustard at Lala Sanctuary
  • Thrill at the sight of Asiatic Lion at Gir, with Grey Wolf and Striped Hyena at Velavadar
  • Sociable Lapwing is a winter visitor here but requires a little luck to find
  • Scarce White-naped Tit, Marshall’s Iora and Grey Hypocolius – all likely on this tour
  • Sort through flamingos, waders (Crab Plovers among them) and gulls on India’s west coast
  • Five species of Owl possible including Pallid Scops, Mottled Wood and Indian Eagle Owls

Introduction

Experience a wealth of very special birds and mammals in India’s most westerly state of Gujarat.  At the Little Rann of Kutch watch Red-necked Falcon, Demoiselle and Common Cranes, then check huge flocks of larks in the wide vista arid zones.  See pelicans, flamingos and pratincoles in the wetlands. On to the Great Rann where Grey Hypocolius winter and Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Sykes’s Nightjar, Sykes’s Warbler and Sykes’s Lark are all regularly seen; and the nomadic Sociable Lapwing and White-bellied Minivet if you are lucky.

From watching Crab Plovers on the coast near Mandvi you’ll be transported to the forests of Gir National Park to search for Asiatic Lion in its only remaining home.  There is a high Leopard density here and also a chance of Mottled Wood Owl. Finally move on to Velavadar, famous for herds of the elegant Blackbuck, hundreds of harriers and a very good chance of wolf and hyena

See B 407 for short tour minus Gir and Velavadar.  Both can follow B 405 or B 406.

There are many ways to extend this tour, so please contact us for details

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you.

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Day 2: Mumbai/Delhi - Ahmedabad - Little Rann of Kutch

Meals: Dinner

Arrive in the morning at Ahmedabad airport where you will find your guide and driver waiting for you outside the airport building with your name on a placard. From here you’ll be transferred to the Little Rann of Kutch.  Check in at a comfortable safari lodge and if time allows you’ll explore locally with your guide.  Birds seen around the lodge have included the scarce Pallid Scops Owl, Sarus Crane, Sykes’s Nightjar and many other species.  Note: Lunch today is payable directly, just in case it is best to have lunch in Ahmedabad.

Day 3: Little Rann of Kutch

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris into the Little Rann for birding and to see the rare Asiatic Wild Ass (Onager).  You may well be rewarded with views of Macqueen’s Bustard, Lesser and Greater Flamingos Common and Demoiselle Cranes, Small and Oriental Pratincoles, Great White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers. The endangered Sociable Lapwing is sometimes seen in nearby fields outside of the sanctuary and, if they have been located, it should be possible to take a drive in the afternoon to look for them – it seems the most reliable time to see them is often the end of the afternoon.  Depending on the time of year, Rosy Starlings may have congregated around the villages.  We will look for crepuscular and nocturnal species this evening, too.  Night at your safari lodge.  Note: Expect the jeep safaris to be extremely cold first thing in the morning, wrap up warm and wear a jacket to keep out the wind.  The drive to the far side of the Rann for Macqueen’s Bustard could take about an hour.

Day 4: Little Rann of Kutch

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

We will enjoy another morning jeep safari into the Little Rann to cover different areas and look for some of the birds which may have been elusive on previous days.  Afternoon is at leisure to relax or walk around the lodge, take photos and just explore locally.  Night at your safari lodge.

Day 5: Little Rann of Kutch - Great Rann (Nakhatrana)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch enroute and dinner

After an early breakfast (and with packed lunch from your lodge or lunch at a local restaurant) you will drive (approx. 6 ½ – 7 hours) to the Nakhatrana area for a three night stay.  In the afternoon search thorn scrub for key species including Marshall’s Iora and White-naped Tit.  Over the next couple of days you should have another opportunity to see Stoliczka’s Bushchat, if you didn’t come across it at the Little Rann.     Night at resort in air-conditioned tent with attached bathroom.

Day 6: Fuley/Chhari Dhandh/Banni Grasslands

Meals: Packed breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Depart for Fulay very early (at first light) after tea and biscuits and with a packed breakfast and packed lunch. The drive to the only known regular wintering site in India for Grey Hypocolius will take about 35 minutes.  Locally you should see at least six species of raptor and many more birds around Chhari Dhandh wetland in the Banni grasslands.  Locally today you may see Indian Eagle Owl, Sykes’s Nightjar, Sirkeer Malkoha, Rufous-fronted Prinia, Asian Desert Warbler, Grey-necked Bunting, Red-tailed Wheatear and perhaps Painted Sandgrouse towards the end of the day.   Discuss with your guide (if you have opted to have one) or driver what you would like to do tomorrow, confirm the likely drive times and arrange meals – decide if you require packed lunch and if so pre-order it with staff.  Night at resort in air-conditioned tent with attached bathroom.

Day 7: Naliya Grasslands and Lala Bustard Sanctuary and/or Modhva Beach, near Mandvi

Meals: Breakfast or packed breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

Today you could visit Naliya grasslands and the Lala Bustard Sanctuary (approx. 2 ¼ hours drive each way).  It is becoming increasingly difficult to see Great Indian Bustard in Gujarat.  Naliya grasslands and Lala Bustard Sanctuary is probably one of the best places to look for them locally and the area holds other typical species including Bimaculated Lark, Long-legged Buzzard, Fan-tailed Warbler and many others as well as Indian Gazelle (Chinkara).   If you were to drive on from Lala to Modhva Beach, near Mandvi the drive would be approx. 2 hours.

Alternatively, explore Modhva Beach (near Mandvi) where target species include Crab Plover, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Slender-billed, Pallas’s, Brown-headed and Heuglin’s Gulls.   Other species not previously mentioned and often seen include Lesser-crested and Caspian Terns, Kentish Plover and Great Knot.  Return to same resort.  The journey time from resort to Modhva  is approx. 2 ¼ hours.

Day 8: Nakhatrana area - Gir National Park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch enroute and dinner at Gir

Today will involve a lot of driving (around 8 hours), but you can stop occasionally to stretch your legs and stop for lunch en-route (which will add a little to the drive time).  Arrive Gir and check in at Gir Birding Lodge.  Your guide will explain meal times and the start times for safari drives.  Gir National Park is the only place in the world to see Asiatic Lion and the park also boasts a healthy Leopard population.  Golden Jackal, Wild Boar and other more common mammals will be added to the list.  Birds might include Collared Scops and Mottled Wood Owls, Painted Sandgrouse, Tawny-bellied Babbler, White-eyed Buzzard, Black Ibis and Small Minivet.  Explore locally outside of the National Park in whatever time remains.

Day 9: Gir National Park and local area

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Today enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Gir National Park with the prime aim of seeing Asiatic Lion and, with some luck and good fortune, Leopard as well as many species of birds.  Note: Safari drives are often of around 3 hours duration.  You’ll have lunch back at your lodge and will be able to explore locally with your guide and visit a lake nearby.  Night at same lodge.

Day 10: Gir - Velavadar

Meals: Breakfast at Gir, packed lunch and dinner at Velavadar

Enjoy a final morning jeep safari inside Gir National Park.  Breakfast will be served after the safari and you will then depart and drive (approx. 6 – 6 ½ hours) to Velavadar National Park.  Note: If anyone is keen on architecture and culture do let us know, as we could include an extra night to enable you to visit Palitana Temples atop the Shatrunjaya Hills.  Arrive early evening and relax at your lodge.  Note: Indian Grey Wolf and even the scarce Stoliczka’s Bushchat have been seen in the area of the hotel as well as more common species including mongoose and Spotted Owlet.

Day 11: Velavadar National Park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch  and dinner at Velavadar

Enjoy morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Velavadar National Park and birding around the lodge during the middle of the day.  Typically each safari lasts around three hours.  Velavadar is a great place to look for Indian Grey Wolf and Striped Hyena, and whilst difficult to guarantee, we have a high success rate of sightings.  The beautiful  Blackbuck and rather oddly-shaped Nilgai (both are antelope) can be found here in large numbers.  Perhaps the star bird is Stoliczka’s Bushchat but many other species are present – the number of Montagu’s, Pallid and Hen Harriers can be in their hundreds.  Other birds of prey include Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles and Lesser Florican occurs here, though this species is very difficult to see in the winter months.  Often overlooked here are the high tideline salt and mudflats, seasonal marshes and a large lake. Depending on water levels, all the egrets may be seen, including Western Reef Heron, together with Painted Stork, Black-headed and Red-naped Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, a variety of ducks and waders and sometimes Demoiselle Cranes, pelicans or flamingos. Spend another night at the same lodge.

Day 12: Velavadar - Ahmedabad - Mumbai/Delhi

Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Take a final jeep safari drive inside Velavadar, returning for a few hours of relaxation and lunch.  Then drive (approx. 5 hours) to Ahmedabad for an internal flight to Mumbai (or on to Delhi – there are no direct flights from Bhuj to Delhi).  We can help you identify an internal flight to connect with international flights which you can book easily yourselves.   Your guide will say farewell at the airport.

Tour ends

Prices, the names of hotels and a list of inclusions/exclusions are shown below.

Note: For a shortened version see B 407.  If you’d like an extra night at Velavadar or at any of the other locations please speak to us and we can amend accordingly.  Extra note: you could extend this tour with a night or two based at Mandvi Beach Resort, near Bhuj or alternatively with two nights at Jamnagar and from there you could visit Khijadiya coastal wetland and Narara.  Extra driving time is involved to reach Jamnagar and you should have seen most of the coastal species at Modhva/Mandvi, but larger numbers of Crab Plovers and a few other waders are seen at Narara.  Khijadiya wetland (near Jamnagar) is simply wonderful with views over a freshwater marsh on one side of the road and coastal mudflats with stunted mangroves on the other.  Alternatively this tour can be preceded with Bustards and Bushchats Tour reference no. B 405 (7 nights) or B 406 (9 nights).  As with all our itineraries we can amend this and look at availability of guides and accommodation to suit you, whilst advising on the best time of year to visit.

Price per person using local guides at each location:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1405
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1285
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1140
Single room supplement £395

Note: A supplement applies for Gir jeep safaris if taken on a weekend or during festival times, including Christmas and New Year.  Please ask for details.

Price per person using the same accompanying guide for the whole tour:

2 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1665
3 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1455
4 people travelling together (on a twin share basis) £1270
Single room supplement £395

Note: A supplement applies for Gir jeep safaris if taken on a weekend or during festival times, including Christmas and New Year.  Please ask for details.

Price is based on the following hotels:

Place Hotel name No. of nights
Little Rann Rann Riders, Air-conditioned Cottage or Hut 3
Great Rann Infinity Resort, Air-condioned Tent or Hut with attached bathroom 3
Gir Bird Birding Lodge, Deluxe Cottage 2
Velavadar Blackbuck Lodge, Deluxe Cottage 2

Price includes

  • Accommodation in the above mentioned hotels/lodges/resorts with meals as listed
  • All mentioned transfers by air-conditioned vehicle (a/c saloon car for 2, Innova for 3 or 4)
  • The prices above give you the option of local guides (English can often be very limited but they know the birding sites) or have an accompanying guide with good English from Day 2 till drop at Ahmedabad
  • Four jeep safaris in the Little Rann, three jeep safaris in Gir National Park and three jeep safaris in Velavadar National Park by exclusive jeep all inclusive of entrance fee
  • All currently applicable taxes

Price excludes

  • Any International airfare to/from India including International airport tax
  • Internal flights within India
  • Meals not specified
  • Tourist visa and travel insurance
  • Camera fee
  • Entrance fee and monument guide for Palitana Temples should you decide to visit
  • Any additional taxes levied by the Government of India on the tourism sector in future
  • Any expenses of personal nature such as hard/soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls, tips etc.
  • Any item not mentioned in the price includes section.
  • Any increase in the entrance fee to National Parks or Sanctuaries in the future. The price is based on the current entrance fee
  • Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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