Gujarat, one of the most vivacious states in India, is known for its enchanting scenic beauty and picturesque beaches. The state is also one of the wealthiest wildlife destinations in the country that boasts of rich biodiversity. With its diverse natural habitats ranging from grasslands to lush forests and from sea coasts to lakes, Gujarat attracts tourists from all over the world. This beautiful state is home to several endangered species of animals that you will get to see by including some of the best sanctuaries in your itinerary. The wildlife sanctuaries such as Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Velavadar blackbuck National Park, Gir National Park, and Marine National Park are some of the best places to visit in Gujarat. So, if you want to explore wildlife and wish to get closer to nature and adventure, here are our recommendations for the top 10 National Parks of Gujarat for Wildlife Sanctuaries which are perfect for a holiday full of adventure: –
1. Gir National Park
Located around 43kms from Somnath and 60kms from Junagadh, Gir National Park is one of the major attractions of Gujarat. Spread across nearly 1412 sq km of land, Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place in India having the largest population of Asiatic lions. Apart from lions, the park is home to wild boar, sambar deer, spotted deer, Nilgai, and carnivorous animals, including hyena, wild cat, fox and leopard, and more than 300 species of birds. One of the most beautiful national parks in the Gujarat, Gir National Park has a distinctive landscape comprising of isolated hills and rugged ridges. If you are looking for a park with exciting wildlife and natural beauty, you can plan on visiting Gir National Park in Gujarat.
2. Velavadar National Park
Established in 1976, the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park is situated in Bhavnagar in Gujarat. Initially a private hunting ground for the Maharaja of Bhavnagar, Velavadar National Park is famous for having the rare species of blackbuck. The wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 3,000 blackbucks and over 120 species of birds, including flamingos, Pelicans, white and painted storks, etc. The Velavadar blackbuck national park also has mammals like nilgai (another Indian antelope), jungle cat, jackal, fox, wolf, and more. It is a perfect place to weave some unforgettable memories with your friends and family.
3. Marine National Park
Located in the Gulf of Kutch, the Marine National Park in Gujarat is a treasure trove of mysterious marine creatures such as sea cucumbers, sponges, sea urchins, mollusks, corals, and a variety of fishes. Surrounded by coral reefs, this national park comprises 42 islands, amongst the Narara and Pirotan are the most famous ones to enjoy marine life. In 1980, the area was known as a marine sanctuary, and later it was declared a national park in 1982. Marine National Park has three distinct divisions like the coastal sea, the mangrove backwaters, and the salty marshland. Here, one can spot a number of marine animals like sea anemones, stingrays, octopuses, pufferfishes, sea stars, crabs, and more. The visiting time for Marine National Park in Jamnagar starts from 9 AM onwards.
4. Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary
The Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary is known to be thronged by families, youngsters, and nature and wildlife lovers. Situated 70 km from Vadodara, the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary was under the realm of Jambughoda’s princely state of Gujarat before Independence. Covering an area of about 130 sq km, this wildlife sanctuary is now a full-fledged reserve of abundant flora and fauna, offers a perfect setting for a fun-filled weekend. The Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, including wild boar, blue bull, sloth bear, hyenas, jackals, and leopards.
5. Barda Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over an area of 192 square kilometres, the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is a major tourist attraction in Gujarat. Located at a distance of 15 kilometres from Porbandar, the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is made up of lush green forests, surrounded by dams, narrow streams, and rivers. Also known as Rana Barda and Jam Barda, this sanctuary provides a home to many endangered species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. The Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is inhabited by leopards, snakes, crocodiles, lions, wolves, chitals, chinkaras, and beautiful birds such as spotted eagles, migratory flamingos, and crested eagles. Those who are looking forward to enjoying an adventurous tour should definitely give this place a try.
6. Vansda National Park
One of the most beautiful national parks of Gujarat, Vansda National Park is located in the Navsari district of Gujarat, a 25-minute drive from Vansda town. This national park was once the private property of the King of Vansda, thus it was named Vansda National Park. With lush dense forests and trees reaching a height of 120 ft., the Vansda National Park is truly a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. The main attractions of this national park in Gujarat include 450 species of plants and around 115 species of birds. The park is home to grey hornbill, paradise flycatcher, racket-tailed drongo, leaf birds, yellow back sunbird, peafowls, jungle babbler, and globally threatened forest spotted owlet. Here you can also see mongooses, barking deer, jungle cat, leopard, and hyena.
7. Purna Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Dang district of Gujarat, Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an undulating territory with rolling hills and small valleys. With a landscape having lush green and thick forests, small tribal villages, scattered fields, and rivers, the Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for witnessing the maximum rainfall in the region. With its reserved forest covering an area of 160 sq km, the Wildlife Sanctuary has some of the elusive species, including barking deer, Indian civet cat, common mongoose, bonnet macaque, Leopard, python, flying squirrel, hyena, chital, sambar, four-horned antelope, grey jungle fowls, cloropsis, flycatchers and more.
8. Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary
Declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1988, the Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary is a famous tourist spot in Gujarat. Located along the coast of the Gulf of Kutch, this Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 332.87 hectares with two plots of terrain, divided by agricultural lands and wastelands. The Sanctuary is home to around 12 species of mammals, 88 species of birds, and 8 species of reptiles. It harbours a huge number of wild animals including wolves, jackal, blue bull, the jungle cat, and the mongoose. One of the most interesting things about the Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary is that it has many rare species of plants. Some of these plants include Prosopis Juliflora, Suaeda, dichantheum, Salvadora, Capparis, etc. If you are looking for a break from the hectic schedule, Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary serves as the best place to do so.
9. Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary
Located at a short distance from Gir Forest National Park, Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the five protected areas for Asiatic lions. Spread in an area of 18. 22 square kilometres, the sanctuary is famous for its hill tracks, tall grass, and semi-dry deciduous trees. Pre-independence, this area was a part of the royal estate of Bhavnagar, and later it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 2004. The Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more than 12 lions, leopards, spotted deers, Pangolin, Sambar, Chinkara, and Nilgais (blue bulls). It is a great place for catching natural vistas and enchanting views.
10. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1982, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a prominent name in the list of national parks in Gujarat. It is situated in the western Satpura Range south of the Narmada River in Gujarat. The sanctuary derives its name from the temple of Lord Shiva that was once presented in this area near river Narmada. Unfortunately, the temple is now submerged under the Sardar Sarovar. Later, a new Shoolpaneshwar temple has been constructed near Rajpipla. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its deep splendid valleys, vast, undulating terrain, majestic waterfalls, somberly silent rocks, ever-pervading greenery, and breathtaking landscapes. This sanctuary is inhabited by diverse kinds of animals that include sloth bears, pangolins, barking deer, leopards, and various species of birds and reptiles. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary provides you with the perfect setting to connect with nature and wildlife.
When you plan a trip to Gujarat, heading to one of these wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Gujarat is something you should not miss out on. To make it easier, you can also choose the best Gujarat tour package to explore major sightseeing places in the state.