A paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, Gujarat is home to many wildlife resorts and specialty jungle lodgings. Here is a collaborated list of the best wildlife resorts in Gujarat located in the vicinity of the best known sanctuaries and national parks in the state.
1. Wild Ass Sanctuary, Rann of Kutch
Watch out for: Wild ass, nilgais, desert cats, desert foxes, wolves, MacQueen's bustards, flamingoes, Demoiselle cranes, Sykes nightjars, sand grouses, harriers and owls.
Rann Riders Safari Resort
Rann Riders is an eco resort with rustic cottages that blend with the rural countryside of the Dasada Village in which it is located. They offer horse, camel and jeep safaris into the Wild Ass Sanctuary. This also makes a great base for exploring the local culture and handicrafts of the Surendranagar District.
USP: The cottages are built like the kooba and bhunga houses of the local tribal community, beautifully decorated with mirrors, embroideries and mud plaster designs. The tandoori cuisine and the regional specialities are a must try.
Desert Coursers have been organizing safaris since 1984 and are probably your best bet if you wish to experience the real Rann of Kutch. They provide eco-friendly cottages with all the modern amenities and local cuisine. They also provide customized cultural and wildlife tours.
USP: The cultural tours are not to be missed. The property lies right next to a lake, so it attracts more than 70 species of birds to the property.
Royal Safari Camp
Another gem in Kutch, the Royal Safari Camps promises you an experience you aren’t likely to forget. The camp is beautifully constructed by the local artisans. Each of the 18 red stone cottages exhibit impressive craftsmanship, and have all the modern conveniences. In addition, the grounds have facilities for billiard, lawn tennis, swimming pool, theatre and a multi-cuisine restaurant.
USP: They offer on-the-foot excursions, which are a delightful way to exploring the countryside. Try fishing in the artificial lake created within the property.
2. Gir National Park, Junagadh
Watch out for: Asiatic lions, Indian leopards, sloth bears, golden jackals, four-horned antelope, nilgais, chitals, blackbucks, monitor lizards, crested hawk eagles, black-headed orioles, woodpeckers, crested treeswifts, Indian pitta.
Lion Safari Camp
One of the most reputed camps inside the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary,this camp is the ultimate choice for accommodation in this area. Set within acres of mango orchards, the Lion Safari Camp provides 25 AC tented accommodations which are surprisingly luxurious. The interiors are quite lavish and are complimented with all the necessary modern amenities. This has been voted as one of the best wildlife resorts in Gujarat.
USP: The deck in the camp is a great spot to observe the surrounding wildlife. The tariff, inclusive of all three meals, is pleasantly surprising.
Gir Birding Lodge
The Gir Birding Lodge sits right at the entrance of the national park and is also set amidst sprawling mango orchards. It offers comfortably furnished standard rooms as well as standard and deluxe cottages. Surrounded by thick groves of the Kesar mango trees, the property attracts a huge number of birds during peak season.
USP: Check out their natural history library. You should also opt for the game-watching drive within the sanctuary where you will be accompanied by their resident naturalists.
Asiatic Lion Lodge
Nestled between the two forested hills of the Gir National Park, the Asiatic Lion Lodge is an ideal choice for avid wildlife enthusiasts looking for plenty of privacy. The lodge offers rustic cottage accommodations with en-suite bathrooms, and verandas with safari chairs. It is just a 10 minute drive from Bhambha Fol Gate and 15 minute drive to the Sasan Gir. They provide jeep safaris, tribal village visits and a daily movie on the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.
USP: The lovely jungle-side cafe with library. You can also opt for cycling and guided nature walks with knowledgeable guides.
3. Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, Bhavnagar
Watch out for: Blackbucks, foxes, jungle cats, lesser florican, larks, MacQueen’s bustards
The Blackbuck Lodge
For those who do not wish to compromise on comfort, the Blackbuck Lodge offers unparalleled luxury right in the midst of an untamed landscape. The cottages are big and airy with minimalistic design. Additional facilities include a swimming pool, open air barbeque and library.
USP: The secluded setting and close proximity to the Blackbuck National Park. Each room has a veranda out back with deck chairs, perfect for watching blackbucks which amble into the premises. Also it is a 90 minute drive to Lothal, one of the important excavation sites pertaining to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Kaliyar Bhavan Forest Lodge
This is one of the two accommodation options near the Blackbuck National Park. This lodge is a great choice for those who do not wish to spend too much on luxury. Run by the forest department, Kaliyar Bhawan Forest Lodge offers clean standard rooms with basic amenities. All the meals provided are vegetarian. There is just one AC room (rest are non AC) and no TV.
USP: Low tariffs. It is located right in the middle of the park.
4. Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary, Panchmahal
Watch out for: Sloth bears, jungle cats, hyenas, leopards, wolves, four horned antelopes, herpetofauna, birds
The Caravan Serai Resort
Located at the foothills of the Jambughoda Sanctuary, the Caravan Serai is an activity-centric resort with accommodations provided in tents and wooden caravans. Recreational areas include swimming pool, golf course, discotheque and spa. The resort offers a strategically positioned tree decks for birdwatchers. The rooms do not have TVs. Activities organized here are: rope slings, jungle safari and trekking, Tarzan swing, machaan, monkey jumps, obstacle racing, rock climbing, rappelling and canal surfing.
USP: Barely 20 km from Champaner (UNESCO Heritage Site).
Dhanpari Eco Campsite
This is another forest eco-tourism site within the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary. Dhanpari Eco Campsite provides humble, no-frills cottage accommodations surrounded by magnificent forests teeming with a variety of flora and fauna. The campsite is located close to the Kada Dam. There are machaans erected for viewing wildlife.
USP: The beautiful nature trail within the campsite. It also has an orientation centre, that provides information on what to expect during the local safari.
5. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Narmada
Watch out for: leopard, sloth bear, Rhesus macaque, chausingha, barking deer, pangolin, herpetofauna, Alexandrine parakeet.
Presidency Forest County
Surrounded by teak and sandalwood forests, mango orchards and the beautiful Baldeva Dam Lake, the Presidency Forest County is set in a dreamy location. Situated very close to the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, the resort offers wildlife excursion tours along with numerous adventurous activities. Guests can avail deluxe rooms or tented accommodations.
USP: The stunning location of the resort.
From deciduous forests and wetlands to grasslands and desert plains to coastal and marine locations, Gujarat offers a myriad of natural habitats which in turn has led to the flourishing of a spectacular variety of wildlife species, making this one of the popular biodiversity hotspots in the Indian subcontinent. Make sure you visit some of these best wildlife resorts in Gujarat and experience the untamed wild side of this wonderful state.