Things to do in Gir Forest National Park – A Complete Travel Guide

Gir Forest National Park, located 65 kilometres from Junagadh district in Gujarat, is the only place in India preserving the mighty Asiatic lion. We recommend that you reach this serene jungle by booking a cab with Savaari from Rajkot to Sasan Gir. Read on to learn some exciting facts about Gir Forest National Park.

Table of Contents

  1. About Gir Forest National Park
  2. Things to do in Gir Forest National Park
  3. How to Plan a trip to Gir Forest National Park
  4. Resorts & Hotels to stay in Gir Forest National Park

About Gir Forest National Park

One of Gujarat’s most exciting tourist spots, Gir Forest National Park, is the only abode to the Asiatic Lions besides Africa. Situated in Talala Gir in Gujarat, this wildlife sanctuary is a part of the Kathiawar Gir deciduous forests ecoregion. Furthermore, the National Park provides travelers with the unforgettable experience of visiting a place that almost solely plays a vital and defining part in preserving and sustaining certain wildlife species. 

It might also not be wrong to say that this national park invites wildlife buffs, thrill seekers, birdwatchers, and nature lovers worldwide. And the most delightful experience for travelers is to embark on a scenic Lion Safari in the National Park and drive around to locate wild animals amidst the stunning wilderness. So if you are planning a Gujarat trip anytime soon, the magnificence and thrill of the National Park would be the ones to treasure for a lifetime. Keep scrolling below to read the exhaustive travel guide and learn more about the places to visit.

History about Gir Forest National Park 

During the early 19th century, the rulers of India, especially the  Nawab of Junagarh, invited British colonists and administrators for various hunting excursions. They usually did this to retain prosperous trade, control, and political ties with the Britishers. And the Gir Forest was the most preferred hunting ground of the British officials and the Nawab of Junagarh as they could poach the wild Asiatic lion. Nevertheless, by the end of the 19th century, the intended outcomes of these malicious hunting activities showed up. 

Moreover, given this excessive hunting, only about a dozen Asiatic lions were left in the country. Therefore, considering the Asiatic lion’s uniqueness, the wildlife associations decided to save and preserve Asiatic Lions by creating a sanctuary. Until today, the forest zone of Gir National Park is regarded as one of the most significant and guarded areas in Asia due to its biodiversity and the presence of rare Asiatic lions.

Gir Forest National Park: Forest and Wildlife

Gir Forest National Park’s deciduous, dry forests are supposed to accommodate over 500 flora species, with lofty teak trees being the densest. In addition, other notable species comprise babul, Jamun, and the forest flame. Besides, Prosopis and Casuarinas were grown along the shore borders of Gir under the recent afforestation program. Furthermore, the National Park remains synonymous with the royal Asiatic lions that attract wildlife buffs from all around the globe. 

This national park is the ultimate home of the endangered species of Asiatic lions that are unquestionably the country’s pride. With a population of approximately 400 leopards and 500 lions on its premises, the National Park is one of the largest wild cat habitats and also a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Apart from the lions and leopards, the national park also accommodates various species such as Sambhar, Deer, Cheetal, blue bull, antelopes, jackal, hare, and hyenas, among other species of fauna.

Besides, the reptiles category in the National Park is defined by the Marsh crocodile, Monitor Lizard, and hir Tortoise in the water regions of the sanctuary. Also, pythons and snakes can be seen in the dense scrubs near the water bodies. Adopted under the Indian Crocodile Conservation Project in the late 19th century, the Gujarat State Forest Department utilised the reserve spot where the region blossomed with more than 300 bird species. 

Moreover, the scavenger cluster of birds has six registered species of Vultures. Some specific species of theForest National Park comprise the Brown Fish Owl, Crested Serpent Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Crested Hawk-eagle, Rock Bush-Quail, Black-headed Oriole, Indian Eagle-Owl, Pygmy Woodpecker, Crested Treeswift, Indian Pitta.

Interesting Facts

  • TheForest National Park presents a shelter to approximately 2,375 diverse wildlife species, including the mighty Asiatic Lions.
  • African and Asiatic Lions are both subspecies of the same wildlife species.
  • The Forest National Park is situated on the outskirts of charming Lake Nalsarovar, a popular wildlife sanctuary.
  • Asiatic Lions separated from African lions possibly 1000,000 years ago.

Top reasons to visit Gir Forest National Park

  • Home to the ever-majestic Asiatic Lions, the National Park is the only place in India that nurtures these royal creatures.
  • Witness the picturesque wildlife safari in an open jeep. 
  • A flourishing diversity of flora and fauna

Things to do

Gir Forest National Park, with its stunning rugged terrains and hilly and pale tropical landscape, will mesmerise you with its dry deciduous forests, wetland biomes, Thorn forests, and shrublands. Furthermore, it is a perfect spot for wildlife and nature photography. 

So if you wish to spend quality time with your friends and family, wildlife holidays in the national park would be the most suitable option to enjoy a blissful time in the lap of untouched wilderness and peace. Here are some exciting things to do in the National Park. 

Fun things to do in Gir Forest National Park

  • Enjoy the famous Lion Safari: Gir Forest National Park is the most suitable destination for Lion Safari in Gujarat. It is the only natural living area for endangered Asiatic Lions besides Africa. In addition, Lion Safari in Gujarat would be an exciting and memorable trip to the wild world of adventures. Moreover, depending on your preferences, you can take the morning safari slot to glimpse the captivating sunrise and lush greenery other than spotting the magnificent Asiatic Lions.
  • Explore the Devalia Safari Park: The Devalia Safari Park, popularly known as the Gir Interpretation Zone, was established to lower the excess of travellers at the Gir National Park. It is an eco-tourism site famous as “Gir in a nutshell”, which accommodates all the habitats and wildlife of Gir within its borders. Prominent species you can spot here are the Asiatic Lion, Blue Bull, Leopard, Sambhar and Peafowl. 

[Also read: Things to do at Rajaji National Park]

Things to do near Gir Forest National Park

  • Visit the famous Somnath temple: This stunning historical spot is close to the National Park. Moreover, situated approximately 45 km, this Hindu temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. In addition, the magnificent Somnath Temple is also believed to be one of Gujarat’s best travel getaways and home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
  • Trek up the Girnar Mountain: This mountain, standing tall and proud at the height of approximately 1,100 metres, is situated 5km east of the Junagadh district. Another interesting fact about this mountain is that there are numerous historical temples constructed from the 11th century to the 15th century. 
  • Witness the scenic Kamleshwar Dam: The Kamleshwar Dam is unquestionably one of the most incredible scenic places to visit with your friends and family. This dam has been set up across the Hiran river, one of the seven rivers streaming within the National Park.

How to Plan a trip to Gir Forest National Park?

The National Park is readily accessible via railways, roadways, and airways. In addition, the closest airport to this national park is the Keshod Airport, situated approximately 50 to 60 km. On the other hand, the Gir railway station is the nearest railhead, and there is also a bus stand in Sasan Gir, conveniently situated near Gir National Park.

How to reach?

  • By Rail– Sasan Gir has a railway station but is not well-linked with the country’s main cities. Therefore, taking a train to Rajkot or Junagadh and taking a cab to Gir from the railway station is best.
  • By Air- The closest airport to Gir Forest National Park is Keshod, which lies roughly 85 km away from Gir National Park. In addition, the second closest airport is Rajkot at 140 km, easily accessible by other prominent airports in India. From the airport, taking a private cab is the most suitable way to reach Gir. 
  • By Road– Gir remains well-linked with the roads with the nearby cities and towns. Moreover, direct buses ply from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Dwarka, Rajkot, Surat etc., to Junagadh, where you can hire a cab to reach Gir. 

Best time to visit

December and March is the most suitable time to visit Gir Forest National Park during winter. Also, it is during this duration that the weather in Gir is agreeable and cool. In addition, the guarded zone of Gir Forest National Park remains closed every year from 16th June to 15th October. So you must avoid visiting the place during this time. Moreover, while April and May are a bit humid, it is the best time for wildlife photography and spotting. 

Travel tips for visiting Gir National Park Forest 

  • Always ensure you do not wear excessively bright clothes as they might catch unnecessary attention from wild animals. Hence it is better to carry clothes that harmonise with nature.
  • Never feed wild animals, as it is risky to do so.
  • Smoking, drinking or lighting are strictly forbidden on the national park premises.
  • It is better to book your safari online in advance to avoid the last-minute hassle.
  • Take your identity proofs for inspection at the entrance gate.
  • Comfortable clothes, pairs of shoes, binoculars, water bottles and cameras should always be on your packing list.
  • Hiking, picnicking and camping are not allowed on the national park premises.

Gir Forest National Park Safari Timing and Tickets

There are two safari slots in the National Park, i.e., morning and evening. Morning safari at this national park begins at 6 a.m. and continues till 9 p.m. On the other hand, the timings for the evening safari are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Moreover, the Jeep Safari would cost roughly INR 5300-5500 for Indians and INR 12,800-13,000 for foreign travellers, and every such jeep accommodates up to 6 adults plus one child.

Hotels and Resorts near Gir National Park

Hotel Name Address Phone Number
Woods at Sasan Gir Forest,India, Sasan-Talala Hwy, Sasan, Gujarat 02877281000
Woods at Sasan Gir Forest,India, Sasan-Talala Hwy, Sasan, Gujarat 02877281000
The Fern Gir Forest Resort SH-26, Malia Sasan Rd, Sasan Gir, Gujarat 09099049264
Sarovar Portico Sasan Gir Sasan Junagadh Road, Village Bhalchel Dist. Junagarh, Sasan Gir 434887201

Now that you know all about Gir Forest National Park, why wait? Plan your trip to the National Park. Soak in the wilderness by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install the Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.   

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Swati Deol

About the author

A Journalism Graduate who is a Travel Lover, Photophile and a Foodie..... who also has a small addiction to long roadtrips.

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