I am looking to travel near Gir National Park with my husband and two sons for four days in April. I would love to have your suggestion on what we could do in those 05 days apart from a safari in the National Park. I want them to take an interest in birds and animals but also villages and local cultures.
—Sneha Gupta, Lucknow
When at Gir National Park, there is a lot to do and explore in the vicinity other than the Jeep Safries that you enjoy to see the Asiatic Lion.
Did you know if Gir National Park did not have the Majestic Asiatic Lions, it would still have been a cherished wildlife destination as it is a ‘Birding Paradise’. The Gir biodiversity boasts of more than 450 species of birds. You could take morning and evening walks around the hotel or resort wherever you’re booked for some amazing birding.
Choose Sasan Gir as your base, which is often the base for the visitors. You can both see and interact with the ‘Siddi’s’ or the Africans brought in by the erstwhile rulers of the Junagadh Principality from East Africa to serve their Kingdom as they were considered to be strong and fearless in the presence of Wild Animals. You can visit two villages in the vicinity of Sasan Gir given by the Government of India to the African Indians to maintain their culture and traditions. Some luxury hotels provide evening Dhamaal Dance performance, which is the ‘Siddi’ Africans’ traditional dance.
You can also visit Hiran & Shingoda rivers in the vicinity and look for the Crocodiles which back on the shores in the afternoon. There are many lakes and ponds in the entire region, and often Crocodiles are found in these lakes and ponds.
I recommend you to take a day ride to Junagadh city, which is about 80 km from Sasan Gir. This was the Kingdom of Nawab during pre-independence times, and the city boasts some stunning colonial and Nawabi architecture other than the Museum and the Sakkarbaug Zoo. The ‘Mahabat Maqbara’ at Junagadh city is a no miss. While at Junagadh city you can see the ‘Uparkot Fort’ which houses the ‘Turkish Cannons, A Jama Masjid, Buddhist Caves & two Stepwells cut into stones.
The famous Somnath Temple is only 70 Km from Sasan Gir, making a pleasant excursion for you.
The Portuguese Island of Diu is 65 km away from Sasan Gir. A full day visit including Fort, Churches, Caves and some lovely beaches at the southern rim of Diu is a perfect trip for the family.
There is so much to do when at Sasan Gir National Park. Have a good time there Sneha!
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Naturalists, tour leader, crocodile & snake rescuer, and a Muralist, Haseeb is working for the cause of conservation, both as a freelancer and a consultant.