One of the most vivacious states in India, Gujarat, is known for its enchanting beauty, rich historical and cultural heritage, picturesque beaches, magnificent temples and more. But, one of the most fascinating aspects of Gujarat that does not get the attention it deserves is that it is also one of the wealthiest states in the country in terms of wildlife. 

Home to many biodiversity spots in India, Gujarat has a diverse natural habitat, ranging from deserts to grasslands and lush green forests, which provide the perfect ground for a variety of species to thrive. If you are a quintessential animal lover, you would love to visit the Gujarat wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, where many wildlife species, including some of the most endangered ones, are protected and conserved. 

So, if you are keen on a rendezvous with wild animals and stunning local and migratory birds, here are some of the best wild sanctuaries in Gujarat that you would love to visit. 

  • Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Once a private forest and hunting ground of the former royal families of the princely state of Rananav and Jamnagar, the Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the major tourist attractions in Gujarat. Located just about 15 km from one of the important port cities in India, Porbandar, this sanctuary is a massive land of blissful wilderness. 

The landscape of the sanctuary is made of lush green forests, with narrow streams and rivers flowing through them. The locals in the region refer to the sanctuary as Rana Barda or Jam Barda, and it is home to many endangered bird, reptile, and mammal species. 

As you go on a jeep safari inside the sanctuary, you may spot the local inhabitants, like leopards, wolves, lions, and more. While touring around the forest, keep your eyes and ears open to the sweet calls and sights of colourful birds like spotted eagles and flamingos. 

  • Best time to visit – October to February
  • Safari Timings – Morning to Evenings
  • Ticket Prices – 50


  • Gir National Park

When you talk about sanctuaries in Gujarat, you cannot miss mentioning the Gir National Park. Located about 60 km from Junagadh, the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is spread over an area of 1412 sq km, and it has a reputation for having the largest population of Asiatic Lions in India. 

While lions are the park's main attraction, it is also home to many other beautiful creatures like spotted deer, sambar deer, hyenas, leopards, wild boars, nilgai, and more than 300 species of birds. At the park, you can go on a jeep safari that takes you deep into the jungles and watch the majestic creatures roaming freely in their natural habitat. 

As you keep your eye out for the wild animals, don’t miss to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. As you move from one zone to another, you can see and feel the change in the landscape very conspicuously; there are grasslands, isolated hills and rugged ridges. 

All in all, the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat, gives you the chance to enjoy the best of both worlds – wildlife and natural beauty!

  • Best time to visit – October to June, December to April
  • Safari Timings – 6am – 9 am, 9.00 am to 12.00 am, 3pm to 6 pm
  • Ticket Prices – Rs. 4,500/jeep (for Indian nationals), Rs. 13,800/jeep (for foreign nationals)

 

  • Marine National Park

While you may have visited a few national parks in India or overseas that are on the land, Gujarat has one of the most unique national parks, called Marine National Park. Yes, you heard it right, it is a wildlife sanctuary in the water. It is located in the Gulf of Kutch and is a treasure trove of marine creatures, coral reefs and much more.

Here, at this marine sanctuary in Gujarat, you can also spot some of the unique and mysterious marine creatures like sea urchins, sea cucumbers, molluscs, sponges, and a variety of colourful fishes. This stunning national park comprises 42 islands, and almost all of them are surrounded by coral reefs. 

Until 1980, this park was called a marine sanctuary; in 1982, it was declared a national park. Touring this park is a wonderful experience for all, especially if you are travelling with your kids. It is a great way to educate them about the complex marine ecosystem and the beautiful life that thrives underwater. 

The park has three distinctive divisions: mangroves, coastal sea, and salty marshlands. The best way to get a close-up look at the colourful marine species here is to go scuba diving. It gives you a chance to swim with the school of fish and spot the beautiful coral reefs. Also, if you are lucky, you may spot some exotic species like pufferfish, sea stars, stingrays, and octopuses. 

  • Best time to visit – October to February
  • Safari Timings – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Ticket Prices – Rs. 100 for entry only, Rs. 300 for guide and Rs. 200 for camera

 

  • Purna Wildlife Sanctuary

Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is the epitome of wilderness. An unfiltered and undulating territory with rolling hills and small valleys, this Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is sure to give you a blissful holiday experience. Covering a massive area of over 160 sq. km, the landscape of the sanctuary is replete with lush green forests, small tribal villages, scattered fields, and rivers. 

The sanctuary is also known for receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in the state. It is home to elusive species like Indian civet cat, barking deer, bonnet macaque, flying squirrel, flycatchers, four-horned antelope, jungle fowls, leopards, pythons, and more. 

  • Best time to visit – October to February
  • Safari Timings – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Ticket Prices – Rs. 20 (for only entry), Rs. 200 (for jeep safari), Rs. 300 (for guide)

 

  • Kutch Bustard Sanctuary

If you are an avid birdwatcher and love seeing the colourful birds in the wild, you would love to visit the Kutch Bustard Sanctuary in Gujarat. As the name says it all, this wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat is home to the Great Indian Bustard, one of the heaviest flying birds in the world. 

The locals in the region call this stunning creature 'Ghorad', and its height and weight are close to an Ostrich; interesting, right? The government of India declared this forest region as a sanctuary to conserve and protect the Great Indian Bustard birds. 

Apart from this beautiful bird, the sanctuary is home to many other exotic bird species, like the Mc Queen’s Bustard, Merlins, Bush Chats, Lesser Floricans, etc. You can also find some wild animals like desert cats, wild cats and harriers. 

  • Best time to visit – October to March
  • Safari Timings – Morning to Evenings
  • Ticket Prices – Free

 

  • Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary

As the name says, this sanctuary in Gujarat is known for its star residents, sloth bears. The incredibly beautiful and pristine topography of this place makes you feel like you are in a hill station. The weather here is pleasant, which makes your holiday experience even better. 

Spread over an area of 150 hectares, the sanctuary is presently managed by the Gujarat Irrigation Department. Many wildlife enthusiasts and photographers from all over the country come here to see the sloth bears and observe the behaviour of these gentle giants. 

One of the most significant reasons why this sanctuary has a high population of bears is the thick cover of the mahuda trees that flourish here. These trees provide the bears with their favourite food and create a perfect ambience for them to thrive. 

Apart from the bears, the sanctuary is also home to big cats like leopards and wildcats. Also, several species of reptiles and birds call this sanctuary their home, including the majestic king cobra, Indian monitor lizard, partridge, golden-backed woodpecker, green pigeon, Alexandrine parakeet and more. 

  • Best time to visit – October to February
  • Safari Timings – NA
  • Ticket Prices – NA

 

  • Thol Wildlife Sanctuary

Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, as it is located around Thol Lake. One of the highlights of the sanctuary is that it has a shallow water body inside where several species of birds come to quench their thirst. Another major attraction here is the Sarus Crane and Flamingos. These are exotic and rare bird species that are hard to find anywhere else. 

A paradise for all birdwatching enthusiasts, the sanctuary also houses many other wildlife species like the striped hyenas, wolves, golden jackals, blackbuck, etc. Apart from the animals, the greenery and the overall serene environment of the sanctuary will instantly cheer you up. 

  • Best time to visit – November to February
  • Safari Timings – 6 am to 5.30 pm
  • Ticket Prices – Rs. 50

So, there you have a list of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Gujarat. Has the wildlife enthusiast in your awakened yet? If yes, don't wait anymore. Plan a family holiday to one of these sanctuaries and explore the rich and abundant flora and fauna of our country. These sanctuaries are truly wonderful, where you can be in the laps of nature and learn about our forests and wildlife species. 

  • Destination
  • Travel
  • Gujarat

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