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2by2 for holidays that will change your life
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
Call 01582 766122
Gujarat India Wildlife Holidays Tours Ahmedabad Sasan Gir Safari Goa

Birding Tour, India: Little Rann of Kutch + Banni Grasslands, Gujarat + Gir

India Birding: Gujarat + Asiatic Lions of Gir
7PO14A
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,795
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Birding Tour India Little Rann of Kutch Banni Grasslands Gujarat Gir

Renowed for its birdlife, both migrant & endemic, this private birding tour in India starts in the Little Rann of Kutch, home to McQueen bustards, eagles, cranes, flamingos & more. The Banni Grasslands in Gujarat are rich in birdlife & home to the last remaining cheetah in India. Visit Gulf of Kutch, Velavader & view Asiatic lions in Gir National Park. English speaking driver, local birding guides & private jeep safaris included.

Birding Tour India Little Rann of Kutch Banni Grasslands Gujarat Gir
• 
Birding Tour, India
• 
Ahmedabad, Gujarat
• 
Dasada
• 
Little Rann of Kutch
• 
Banni Grasslands
• 
Lala Bustard Sanctuary
• 
Jamnagar & Gulf of Kutch
• 
Gir National Park
• 
Asiatic Lions
• 
Velavader National Park
• 
Birding Tour, India
• 
Ahmedabad, Gujarat
• 
Dasada
• 
Little Rann of Kutch
• 
Banni Grasslands
• 
Lala Bustard Sanctuary
• 
Jamnagar & Gulf of Kutch
• 
Gir National Park
• 
Asiatic Lions
• 
Velavader National Park
Day 1
You will be met at Ahmedabad Airport and transferred to your hotel in this city that is the capital of the state of Gujarat and its commercial hub.
 
The 607-year old walled city was India's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city historic has played a prominent role in the country's history, as this was the home of Mahatma Gandhi who was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement and civil disobedience campaigns.
 
Note: Gujarat is a 'dry state, so ask your driver to take you to a government liquor store within 4 days of your arrival, where you can obtain a 7-day online permit (which can be extended 3 times = max 4 weeks). For this you need to retain your boarding pass or train ticket; have 2 forms of identification (eg passport & driving licence) & passport photo in up-loadable form. You will also be finger printed. Each weekly permit allows you to buy 1 bottle of spirits (eg whiskey), 3 bottles of wine or 10 beers. Do NOT carry alcohol in your luggage, as there are severe fines for this.
Day 2
Today enjoy a City Tour of this regional capital that is rich in culture and history.
 
Highlights include a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram (Mahatma Gandhi's former home), the magnificent Hathee Singh Jain temple and the Adalaj Stepwell - an intricately carved Hindu "water building" that is five stories deep.
 
We also visit the Kite Museum, the Calico Museum of Textiles and Shreyas Folk Museum with its impressive range of Gujarati folk art - including wood carvings, metalwork, embroidered textiles, tie-dyed quilts and festival masks.
 
Note: Kite Museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Day 3
This morning your birding guide will collect you from your Ahmedabad hotel and introduce you to the beauty of Gujerat as we travel 2-hours to Dasada, birding along the way.
 
On arrival enjoy a private jeep safari into the Little Rann of Kutch, established as a sanctuary for the endangered Asiatic Wild Ass. Bird watching is outstanding here and this reserve has been declared a RAMSAR site of international significance. The best birding is during the winter months from October to March when waterfowl gather in vast numbers. Cranes and flamingos can also be seen in incredibly large numbers - as well as many species of larks, shrikes, warblers, robins, thrushes and many birds of prey including the great Indian bustard.
 
Other animals you may see here include foxes, jungle cats, desert wolves, the elegant blackbuck, the graceful chinkara and the nilgai (or blue bull, the largest antelope in India).
 
Day 4
This morning enjoy a private jeep safari to the "bets" - elevated patches in the flat salt plains of the Little Rann of Kutch that are seasonally flooded with up to 2-meters of water during the southwest monsoon.
 
During the dry season the plains turn into a salt-encrusted wasteland covered with scrub and grass, with the bets providing wet season refuge to the wildlife. In winter here you can see the McQueen bustard, booted eagle, buzzards, eagles and other birds of prey.
 
In the afternoon we visit the seasonal wetlands of Nawa Talao Lake, another birding hotspot where you can spot demoiselle cranes and flamingos in the winter.
Day 5
Today we leave Dasada and travel 6-hours to the historic town of Bhuj, crossing shimmering salt flats and a seemingly inhospitable landscape incapable of supporting life yet dotted with villages and camel trains of the semi-nomadic Rabari people.
 
Check into your hotel in Bhuj, which had a long and proud history of kings and empires but whose old town was tragically destroyed in an earthquake in 2001.
Day 6
After a morning exploring Bhuj, we travel 1-hour to Moti Virani where a local birding guide will show us the roost of the grey hypocolius, one of the few sites where this perching song bird can be seen in India.
 
In the afternoon we continue to Mandvi and check into our simple beach camp. Here you can enjoy a swim in the Arabian Sea or simply relax on India’s longest private beach.
Day 7
Today we take a full day excursion with a local birding guide to the protected Banni Grasslands, a belt of grasslands on the outer edge of the desert and marshy salt flats of the Great Rann of Kutch.
 
These are India’s largest grasslands and rich in wildlife, including a large concentration of aquila and other eagles. It is also the habitat of the last remaining cheetah in India. The water bodies here are known for their large flocks of waterfowl.
Day 8
Today we spend a full day visiting the Lala Bustard Sanctuary near Naliya, one of the prime habitats of the endangered Indian bustard and home to a variety of other birdlife.
 
Chinkara gazelles are likely to be seen here and there is also the chance to spot the elusive Indian wolf.
Day 9
A full day on the road day as we drive 7-hours from Mandvi to Jamnagar.
 
After checking into your hotel, enjoy a late afternoon visit to Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary with a local birding guide. This reserve is a breeding area for many bird species that do not nest elsewhere including Indian skimmers, grebes, storks and terns.
Day 10
This morning enjoy bird watching with a local birding guide along the Gulf of Kutch, one of the finest birding stretches on the Indian coast.
 
Among the birds frequently sighted here are several species of plovers, oystercatchers, sandpipers and a multitude of terns. Also nearby is the Marine National Park - a habitat for nesting turtles in season, as well as porpoises and dolphins.
Day 11
Today we leave Jamnagar and travel 4-hours to the town of Gondal, which owes much of its modern success to the philanthropy of one of its ruling maharajas, Bhagvat Singh, who pioneered electricity, education, rail and road networks in the early 20th century. His legacy is celebrated at the wonderful museum in the Naulakha Palace. The town is also home to an Ayurvedic University and some delightful temples.
 
Check into your heritage hotel, owned by the family of the last maharaja of this small princely state. In the late afternoon you can visit nearby grasslands with a local birding guide. Here you may see owls, quails and shrikes among others. The lakes around Gondal also attract large flocks of demoiselle cranes, white pelicans, ducks and other water birds.
Day 12
Today we drive 4-hours from Gondal to Sasan Gir.
 
Along the way we stop at the historic town of Junagadh with its wonderful Indo-Islamic architecture, fascinating Old Town market area and imposing hilltop fort.
 
Afterwards we continue to Sasan Gir and check into your hotel. In the afternoon enjoy a private jeep safari into Gir National Park - the sole remaining habitat of the severely endangered Asiatic lion.
Day 13
Today is devoted to the birds and wildlife of Gir National Park - the only game sanctuary in India where you can see the endangered Asiatic lion. It is home to abundant bird life as well as 38 different mammals, 37 reptiles, over 300 birds and more than 2,000 species of insects.
 
Two private jeep safaris per day are included, one in the early morning and one in the afternoon.
 
Mammals found here include the sloth bear, cobra, jungle cat, striped hyena, golden jackal, mongoose, palm civet and ratel. Leopard, desert cat and rusty-spotted cat also live here but are rarely seen. The main herbivores you are likely to see are the chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara, wild boar and blackbuck. There are no tigers in Gir National Park.
 
Note: In the winter months, morning safaris require warm clothes including woolly hats and gloves to protect you from the wind chill in your open vehicle. This park is closed during the monsoon season (mid June to September).
Day 14
We leave Sasan Gir early this morning and travel 5-hours to Bhavnagar.
 
Along the way we stop at Velavadar for a jeep safari in Blackbuck National Park. This "off the beaten track" wildlife sanctuary is  renowned for its large herds of graceful blackbuck. These fast moving antelope are quite enchanting, with their beautiful long spiralled horns.
 
Blackbuck National Park is also a great birding destination, as it is home to the largest Harrier roosting site in the world. There are also many bustards found here. You can also hope to see the Indian fox, striped hyena, jackal, wild pig, hare, jungle cat and the strange nilgai (that looks half-horse, half-cow). This park is one of the few places in India where the wolf is thriving, although difficult to spot in the wild.
 
Afterwards we continue to our hotel in Bhavnagar.
Day 15
Transfer to Bhavnagar Airport for your flight home.