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Sasan Gir, often known simply as Gir, covers an area of 1,492 square kilometres in the Gujarat Peninsula of Northwest India, close to the towns of Junagadh and Amreli.

The park was established to preserve the sole habitat of the Asiatic lion, a smaller, more compact subspecies of its African cousin, with a distinctive stomach fold. As well as roughly several hundred lions, felines are well represented by jungle cats, desert cats and rusty spotted cats, plus a healthy population of leopard.

Gir is home to myriad mammal species, highlights include sloth bear, striped hyena, golden jackal, chousingha (the world’s only four-horned antelope), wild boar, Indian flying fox and the Indian pangolin. For reptile enthusiasts, the dam area contains crocodiles, and there are numerous non-venomous snakes such as the Indian rock python – along with four venomous varieties: Indian cobra, common krait, saw-scaled viper, and Russell’s viper.

Gir has an estimated 300 bird species: 250 on the park checklist and 50 other species, including the endangered lesser florican and the saras crane, in the grassland around the periphery. The most notable are species such as painted sandgrouse, grey francolin, various quails, Asian paradise flycatcher, black-naped monarch, and white-browed fantail. Raptors seen include vultures, long-billed, Indian white-backed, and red-headed, or king; changeable hawk-eagle; eagles including crested serpent, bonneli’s,, and Pallas’s fish eagle; and osprey, laggar falcon, and white-eyed buzzard. Nightjars are commonly seen in the evenings, and wetlands like Kamleshwar Dam are good for waterfowl, with Indian skimmer, spot-billed and Dalmatian pelicans.

Gir was not always a national park, so its animals and birds co-exist with the remaining settlements of cattle herders, and it is not unusual to see large herds of livestock. Gir is most easily reached by flights from Mumbai to Diu airport, 110 kilometres from the park. In future flights may operate to Keshod, just 40 kilometres from Gir. The park opens from mid-October to mid-June; the best time to visit is between November and March.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: desert cat, jungle cat, leopard, lion, rusty-spotted cat
  • Where: Gujarat State, India

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

India’s Big Five

This wide-ranging trip provides a chance to see all five of India’s big mammal species: Asiatic lion, leopard, tiger, elephant and one-horned rhino. It visits three contrasting national parks: Sasan Gir in vibrant Gujarat, Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kaziranga in alluring Assam.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,945 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Wilds of Gujarat

A fascinating introduction to some of north-west India’s lesser known wildlife in Mahatma Gandhi’s home state, Gujarat. Enjoy safaris to see Asiatic lion, endemic blackbuck and nilgai, together with a visit to the remote grasslands, lakes and marshes of Little Rann of Kutch, home to the endangered Asiatic wild ass.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,945 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Gateway Hotel Gir Forest

With breathtaking views across the Hiran River and scenic forest surroundings, this hotel is just a short drive from Sasan Gir National Park, home to around 400 Asiatic lions. There is a choice of superior rooms, and executive or deluxe suites, all of which are spacious and offer modern amenities.

Lion Safari Camp

Pleasantly situated on a river bank outside Sasan Gir town, this eco-friendly, safari-style tented camp makes a convenient base for visiting nearby Sasan Gir National Park, the last remaining bastion of the Asiatic lion. The 21 spacious air-conditioned tents offer simple but adequate comfort.