A Gir Forest Adventure

On our trip in Gujarat my mother had scheduled a safari at the Gir National Park, the only place in the world where you can find Asiatic lions that are not in captivity. We went for the early morning safari which was from 6:45 to 9:45 which is also the best time to spot lions and click their pictures as you could find them looking for places to rest during the day after hunting and walking around their territories all night.

So, we woke up early and set off on our gypsy with a guide and a driver hoping to spot some lions.

The first animals we spotted were deer and they were probably the early risers since lions might still be on the prowl. The five or six female deer were happily grazing near the track when we stopped and clicked some good pictures of them. While we were merrily clicking pictures our guide called our attention and pointed out an eagles nest high in a tree. He said that it was a crested serpent eagle sitting in its nest.

We continued driving looking out for anything interesting when they suddenly stopped the car! Our guide pointed to the left and we followed the direction his finger which went to some high grass where me and my father spotted something with spots. The guide quietly gave some facts on the leopard as we craned our necks to get a good view. My mother was struggling to spot it but in the end we all managed to, though sadly we had no pictorial proof because the leopard swiftly disappeared among the trees. The guide told us we were lucky because leopard sightings are rarer than lion sightings.

After the leopard sighting, we saw some parrots in tree holes and some squirrels scampering around. Then our guide saw someone from the forest rangers department who tracks lions. He signalled us to move backwards and to our thrill we saw two lions exit the nearby bushes and pad off along the track. I was holding my mother’s iphone, pointed it and spammed the click button over and over again. I was really excited about this sighting but sad that we couldn’t follow them. In Gir national park there are multiple “routes” and the lions weren’t on Route 5 (Our route). This was also super duper rare, as two male lions are rarely ever seen together. The ones we saw were probably young (teenage in human life) brothers still together, according to our guide. Anyway, this was shaping up to be a good trip!

We continued on through the forest spotting deer and birds all around. In the end we went as far as we could and turned about and started driving back. A little way along we spotted a holdup where jeeps had stopped to look at the same two lions we had spotted earlier. This time we managed to click some beautiful pictures of lions really up close…THEY LOOKED AMAZING!

In the end, on our final way back we spotted more deer and also saw a peacock which flew up into a tree. This was the first time I had seen a flying peacock; it was quite a sight.

This was a brilliant safari where you could see wildlife before your very eyes as it went about its daily life. It was the best time I have ever had in my life even if it was freezing in the early part of our safari. If you like animals you should plan a trip to Gir for a fun time and also remember to stop by the museum and take the animal quiz or just listen to various animal sounds, it’s all up to you.

Some suggestions if you are going to make this trip it would be best on the early morning or afternoon safari if you are looking for lions. If you want an abundance of animal sightings, then the afternoon session will get you lots of deer and monkeys. For the morning bring jackets and scarfs since it will be cold. In the evening it gets dusty so bring something to cover your eyes and a jacket to protect yourself. I hope you do go to Gir (when the world is better) but till then the lions are waiting (and no American football fans, I don’t mean the Detroit Lions).

See you in the forest. Please do be in a gypsy!

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