Guest Post by Andrew Samuel
If you haven’t gone over his other travel posts, you definitely should. Here is the link to a few of his posts – Kabini nagarhole national park
The Pride Of Gujrat – Gir Sasan
In January of 2015, I visited the famed Gir Sasan Asiatic Lion Wildlife Sanctuary. The trip was planned in the month of December 2014, and accordingly safari bookings and accommodation at a well-maintained resort were arranged. On 25th Jan, we boarded the train at Pune to Junagadh at 7.30 pm in 2A/C. The journey was pleasant and comfortable. Next day, at 3.30 pm, we reached the Junagadh Railway Station and our pick-up vehicle dropped us at Gir Sasan around 5.15 pm. Enroute, Dharmesh our guide who was also the driver, showed us many bird sightings and even took us to a close-by lake, where to our amazement, we spotted crocodiles basking lazily in the sun on the shores of the vast lake.
After spending some time there, we headed for our resort and relaxed at the resort which was placed amidst the picturesque green environment. After a sumptuous dinner, we went on a night trail walk around the resort which was situated very close to the habitat of the lions. Locals said that they have very often spotted leopards and lions near the resort after sundown. We excitedly listened to the other amusing tales the locals had to enlighten us with. Mostly consisting of hilly and rugged terrain, the Gir forest is plentiful with water bodies. The Gir is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions are found and are considered one of the most important protected areas in Asia.
The dry deciduous vegetation of the Gir forest is the ideal layout for lions, but apart from the lions and leopards, the park is home to two different species of deer. The Sambar is counted largest Indian Deer. The Gir forest is also known for the Chowsingha – the world’s only four-horned antelope. The forest is divided into eight entry zones for wildlife enthusiasts in the core area; the most sought-after being the second zone, which is currently home to three prides of lions.
Another interesting yet little-known facet of the Gir is that owing to its copious population of aerial life including several rare species of birds, it’s a ornithologists’ paradise.
Next morning at 5.00, we got ready for our first safari. Dharmesh, our trusted safari gypsy guide and Manoj, our open gipsy jeep driver, after completing all the forest formalities, took us to the entry gate. We drove into the lion forest with our hearts beaming with excitement! We felt the chilly January wind brush against face and body, whilst our souls were enchanted by the virgin beauty of the flora and fauna of the forest. The sun rose up, spreading its warmth around the verdant landscape. After venturing further into the wilderness, we reached a small waterhole and to our utter astonishment, we witnessed a pride of lions, constituting a fully grown male, a lioness and three cubs. To watch them drink water from the small cool stream and the cubs play around, was indeed a sight to behold.