Sasan Gir National Park attracts flock of tourists to see the Asiatic lion in the wild, as it is the sole place in the globe where these species are now found. Once almost on the verge of extinction and listed as critically endangered in 2000, the population of Asiatic lions have recovered well in last couple of years due to great conservation efforts. The park’s core zone which is sprawl over almost 260 square kilometers, was crowned with status of national park in 1975. However, this wildlife sanctuary was set up much earlier in the 19th century.
As per the current census conducted in 2020, the number of Asiatic Lions in Gir and the surrounding area increased by 29 per cent since 2015 which is the great ray of hope and gave boost to the conservation effort. The total lion population was recorded at 674. Its favorable geographical features like hilly terrain make it a suitable habitat for wildlife species such as leopards, jackals, antelope and deer. Gir is an abode of crocodiles, and over 300 species of resident birds as well.
Location of Gir National Park
Gir National Park is located 65 kilometers south east of Junagarh districts in Gujarat. It is only 40 kms form Veraval. The main entry to the park is located at Sasan Gir Village; this is where the park orientation centre and reception (Singh Sadan Guest House) is located.
The nearest railhead is at Junagarh, and this is the most preferred approach to the park. It receives trains from Ahmedabad and Rajkot, and major cities interstate. Reaching to Sasan Gir is by road is about one and half hour. Veraval is at one hour. Taxi as well as public buses run regularly to Sasan Gir from both places during the day.
Alternatively, you may take a private bus to Sasan Gir from Ahmedabad as it drops you right next to the Sinh Sadan guesthouse and reception center. Therefore, it is more convenient than the train. The journey takes around seven hours.
Best Time to Visit Gir
Gir National Park is open for visitors from mid October until mid June. Safari is of three hours; they start at at 6.30 a.m., 9.00 a.m., and 3 p.m. The Devalia Interpretation Zone Safari Park is open all throughout the year, from Thursday to Tuesday (Wednesday closed), 8.00 a.m. until 11 a.m., and 3.00 p.m. until sunset (around 5 p.m.).
Entry Protocols & Online Booking of Safaris
Travelers coming to Gir must obtain an e-permit, which grants access to visit Gir National Park, for the Gir Jungle Trail. The permit is issued per jeep vehicle, with up to six occupants.
Permits for both Gir National Park (Gir Jungle Safari) and Gir Interpretation Zone (Devalia Safari Park) can be obtained online here. The advance bookings can be made is three months in advance, and the latest is 48 hours beforehand. Only 30 vehicles are allowed in the national park at a time, so permits for the Gir Jungle Trail are limited.
Please note that all permits for the Gir Jungle Safari MUST be obtained online well in advance, not at a booking counter as you be disappointed here.