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Sason Gir: home to the Asiatic lions

December 7, 2011
IMG_1743 gir siddhar web

Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary (Gujarat) is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries of India. It’s also the only known home of the world-famous Asiatic Lions in Asia.

It covers some 1,412 sq km, and in November 2010 I had the privilege of being hosted by Gujarat Tourism  to their first International Bird Convention,  (search for ‘Gujarat’ to see other blogs I’ve  and written about this fabulous State) and after that, thanks to RAO Tours I explored parts of Gujarat I hadn’t seen such as the Sasan Gir

Mainly made up of dry deciduous forests with short and gnarled teak trees, thorn bushes and grassland, it’s obviously a perfect home to its (approx.) 360 lions.

During the jeep tour, my guide tells me there are some 450 plant species, 32 mammals, 310 birds, 24 reptiles and over 2,000 species of insects. It also has nearly 300 Leopards , 30,000 Spotted Deer, Antelopes, Striped Hyenas, Jackals, Nilgai, Sambar, Wild Boar, Ruddy Mongoose, Jungle Cats, Indian Porcupine, Gazelles and Crocodiles to name a few. Most of these provide the meals for the carnivores!

The birders in the group were thrilled with the bird population, (see Alan McBride ‘s diary) and even I, a non-birder could tick off a number in my book of lists!

The jeep safari’s almost guarantees a lion sighting – although, as I was in the last jeep, I was upset not to get good lion photos. However, like many missed photos, the image of the original remains firm in my memory.

I stayed at the Vanvaso Resortand loved it so can well recommend them: it has been built with care and attention to detail – combining nature with luxury accommodation . I loved my bedroom and the bathroom was a combo  of indulgence and the jungle ambiance.

I also visited the Lion Safari Camp where I had a tasty BBQ meal and was fascinated with the Siddis who trace their ancestry to Africa. They are believed to have come to India as mercenaries, slaves and labour. Here in Gir, there are villages of the Siddis, who are well-known for their dances and ability to live with the lions.

Ranjit Sinh Parmer ( CEO Palaces of India) joins us on the jeep

Enjoy this slide show of some of my photos from the area: as always, copyright to all my photos are owned by me

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