Best Time To Visit Gir National Park

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: November 6, 2023

asiatic lion in the nature habitat in gir forest
Asiatic lion in the nature habitat in Gir forest

When it comes to wildlife safaris in India, Gir National Park holds a special place. It is the only natural habitat of the majestic Asiatic lions, an emblem of the wild that beckons wildlife enthusiasts from around the globe. Nestled in the western state of Gujarat, Sasan Gir, or Gir National Park, offers a safari experience unlike any other. However, to truly make the most of this adventure, knowing the best time to visit Gir National Park is crucial. In this travel guide, we will delve into the myriad aspects of planning your journey, including the prime season for safari, the nuances of the first Gir forest safari booking, and insider tips to ensure a memorable journey into the heart of the Gir forest.

1Understanding Gir National Park

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Gir National Park and Sanctuary Gujarat India

Before we discuss the best time for visiting, let’s get acquainted with Gir National Park. Spread over 1,412 sq. km, the park is a wildlife sanctuary that was established to protect the Asiatic lion. It is protected area offers a rich biodiversity including various species like wild boar, Indian gazelle, spotted deer, and more, making it a treasured wildlife sanctuary for India.

2Best Time to Visit Gir National Park

The Gir jungle trail remains open from mid-October to mid-June, which broadly defines the best time to visit. The park closes during the monsoon months for regeneration and is inaccessible to visitors.

Peak Season (December to March)

The winter months from December to March are considered the peak season when the weather is pleasant and conducive for wildlife spotting. During this period, the forest department regulates a seamless process for the Gir jungle safari booking, ensuring visitors get to enjoy the Gir jungle safari in the best possible conditions.

Shoulder Season (October to November and April to June)

Mid-October to November serves as the opening period after the monsoon and is a good time to witness the lush greenery of the dense forest. April to June is when the temperatures soar, but it increases the chances of spotting Asiatic lions as they often come out in search of water.

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Mehsana breed buffalos in a fight at Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

3Planning Your Safari: Gir Safari Booking

Online safari booking is the most efficient way to secure booking a spot for a Gir jungle safari. The Sasan Gir safari booking can be done through the official website managed by the forest department. It is advisable to book well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the peak season, to avoid the disappointment of spot booking, which can be uncertain due to high demand.

Jeep Safari: The Quintessential Gir Experience

The jeep safari is the highlight of the Sasan Gir National Park. In an open jeep, you get to traverse the designated safari route, which has been carefully laid out by the forest authority. A safari permit is essential, and each jeep can accommodate up to six persons, ensuring an intimate experience with nature. Safari jeep ride times are divided into different time slots throughout the day, and interested candidates must select their actual date and time while filling out the booking form.

Safari Permit and ID Proof Requirements

For Indian nationals, ID proof such as an Aadhar card or voter card must be presented. For a foreign tourist passport details are mandatory. Ensure that all details, including passport number Aadhar card, or voter ID, are accurately mentioned on the booking form to avoid any issues at the check post.

Devalia Safari Park: An Enclosed Alternative

The Devalia safari park, also known as the Gir interpretation zone, offers a shorter, more predictable jeep ride. While it’s a fenced part of the sanctuary, it’s a good alternative, especially for those pressed for time or visiting outside the best time slots for the main park.

Costs and Charges: Plan Your Budget

The permit charges, service charges, and camera charges are separate, and it’s essential to be aware of these while planning your safari experience. The booking amount is generally non-refundable, and in case of unavoidable circumstances leading to cancellations, such cases are addressed as per the forest department’s policies.

4Ensuring a Smooth Experience: Tips and Tricks

asiatic lion clicked at gir national park
asiatic lion clicked at gir national park
  • Safari Booking: Always opt for online safari booking to get e-permit in advance. Spot booking is subject to availability and can be unpredictable.
  • Safari Ride: Choose your safari ride time keeping in mind the better chances of wildlife sightings during early mornings or late afternoons.
  • Permit Charges: Keep in mind the permit charges while budgeting for your trip. These charges are essential for maintaining the park and the safety of the lions.
  • Safari Route: Respect the designated safari route during your jeep ride for safety and regulatory reasons.
  • Natural Habitat: Do not disturb the natural habitat of the wildlife; it is their home and we are the visitors.
  • Passport or Voter Card: Keep your passport or voter card handy as you will need to show your id proofs at the entry check post.
  • Photography: If you’re keen on photography, consider the camera charges as an investment in capturing the splendid wildlife. Be prepared with extra batteries and memory cards.
  • Clothing: Dress in layers and opt for camouflage or earthy tones to blend with the natural surroundings. Early mornings can be chilly while afternoons can be quite warm, especially from April to June.
  • Health Precautions: Carry insect repellent, sunblock, and plenty of water. The Gir forest can be rugged and dusty, and it’s important to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
  • Guides and Experts: Accompanying guides are knowledgeable and mandated by the forest authority. Their expertise is invaluable for both safety and learning about the park’s flora and fauna.
  • Accommodation: Plan your accommodation well in advance. Staying near Sasan Gir can save travel time to the park. Many lodges and resorts offer complete packages including safari bookings.
  • Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from the wildlife and follow the safari guide’s instructions at all times. Remember, the welfare of the wildlife and the integrity of the park are paramount.
  • Child Policy: If you’re traveling with family, be aware that generally one child aged below five years is allowed per jeep without any extra charges.

5Dealing with Unforeseen Circumstances

While safari booking is generally straightforward, unforeseen circumstances like inclement weather or other unavoidable situations can lead to changes in plans. In such cases, the safari booking amount might be non-refundable but keep in touch with the forest department for updates on policy.

6Wildlife Spotting in Gir

pair of spotted dear chital standing under the forest of sasan gir
Pair of Spotted dear Chital standing under the forest of Sasan Gir

The Gir jungle is teeming with life. Apart from the Asiatic lions, you may encounter the Indian gazelle (chinkara), the wild boar, and various species of deer including the spotted deer (chital), and sambar. Bird enthusiasts can also revel in the sight of numerous bird species. Wildlife sightings are often a matter of luck and patience, but the best time to visit Gir National Park increases your chances of a fruitful forest safari.

bright peacocks walking along the grass
bright peacocks walking along the grass

7Additional Attractions

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Post monsoon lush green landscape of Sasan Gir

While the Asiatic lion is undoubtedly the star attraction, Gir National Park is also home to a wealth of other attractions. Don’t miss out on:

Orientation Centre: Before you begin your jeep safari, the orientation centre offers insightful information about the park’s history and biodiversity.

Souvenir Shop: Post-safari, visit the souvenir shop within the national park booking premises to pick up memorabilia that supports local crafts and conservation efforts.

Sasan Gir Village: Engage with the local culture by visiting the nearby Sasan Gir village where you can witness the lifestyle of the people living in proximity to the park.

8Wrapping Up

Visiting Gir National Park is an experience that wildlife enthusiasts cherish. By planning your trip during the best time to visit Gir National Park, you ensure not only a comfortable journey but also the highest likelihood of witnessing the Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. Make sure to follow the rules laid out by the forest department, respect the natural environment, and secure your single jeep safari booking in advance to enjoy the majestic wilderness of Gir. Whether it’s the thrill of the jeep safari, the anticipation of spotting a lion, or the peace of the dense forest, Gir National Park promises an adventure that stays with you for a lifetime.

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Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: November 6, 2023
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