This summer, Simon from WILDFOOT went on an Indian adventure and recorded the highlights from his trip for you to enjoy. Below, Simon travels to India and begins his journey.
My flight to Delhi takes around eight hours from London. When I arrive, I check into an airport hotel to sleep for a few hours before my domestic flight to Ahmedabad the following morning.
The flight to Ahmedabad from Delhi took just over an hour, after which it was a seven-hour drive to the region and safari camp. There are easier ways of getting here, like arriving via Bombay and taking a short domestic flight, but this journey allows me time to relax and enjoy my surroundings.
As part of an experience much like WILDFOOT’s India Wildlife Special package, we are staying at the Lion Safari Camp, which is tented accommodation consisting of around 20 twin and double suites. Each of these tents comes with its own a toilet and shower, which is great for those who want to relax privately on an evening. The suites share a reception and restaurant area for engaging with fellow travellers.
We set out at 5am for the nearby reception centre. Every safari starts here and unfortunately, your guide has to go through the same rigmarole every time you go out on safari, which seems overly red-taped! However, if you visit yourself, our Wildfoot travel guide will assist and do most of the legwork, so that your day can begin at 6.30am rather than 5am.
Our experienced guide Jitendra speaks good English and is a dedicated and knowledgeable birder, as well as a general wildlife naturalist. He comes with a professional driver and a Suzuki Gypsy and asks us to spot a rare tiny bird at 30 metres in camouflage undergrowth before the sun rises.
Most of those who come to this region are in search of the Asiatic lion and the fantastic birding opportunities the Sasan Gir Forest National Park offers.
The park is only open from December to June and closes during the monsoon weather period, as accessibility would be impossible in a jeep. Within 30 minutes of entering the park, we see a young lioness, but she is walking away from us, so it’s not the best of sightings.
Monitoring her are allocated national park guides, and each lion or pride is carefully watched and guarded to ensure its welfare and safety. The state is very careful with these creatures. These lions only number 530, including 210 females, so their continual safety is paramount. The lion guide signalled us to approach and take a good view of her from around 50 yards.
The morning is exceptionally good for us, as we manage another three lion sightings and spot an array of other wildlife including spotted deer, blackbuck, grey langur monkey, Indian palm squirrel and over 30 species of birds. The woodpecker, purple sunbirds, large green barbet, red-vented bulbul, rose-ringed parakeet, Indian nightjar, grey wagtail, golden backed woodpecker and collared scops owl are all sighted by us, making it an even more unforgettable morning.
In his next blog, Simon will continue his journey through the Sasan Gir Forest National Park, and talk about the history behind one of the country’s most celebrated nature reserves. If you would like to retrace Simon’s adventures for yourself, please get in touch with the luxury travel agents at WILDFOOT today.