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Gujarat North West
ISLAND AND WILD LIFE SAFARI
Remote and strange could best sum up this unique experience. This region remains unsurpassed in terms of beauty, exuberance and colour that no one with a taste for adventure, excitement and the exotic would like to miss. Breathtaking vistas, intriguing history, abundance of tradition, colour and enchantment. This is the cohesive western Gujarat.
GUJARAT ISLAND AND WILDLIFE SAFARI
DAY 1. AHMEDABAD / BASADA / SAFARI CAMP : Arrive Ahmedabad from Delhi / Bombay.
Transfer to Dasada. Lunch at Fatima Manzil castle. Evening, jeep drive across
the Rann of Kutch in open desert plains or optional excursion to the Modhera
Sun Temple. Overnight safari camp.
2. RANN OF KUTCH / WILDLIFE : Jeep drive to the exquisitely carved gateway of the 11th century Solanki Rajput fortress that protected the Zinzuwadia township at the edge of the Rann of Kutch from where your walking tour / camel safari / horse back journey begins. Trek to Kharaghoda and after a hot lunch, continue to Bajana creek, where you will enjoy watching huge flocks of flamingoes, pelicans, cranes, storks and other attractive birds. Dinner and night camp beside the marshes and watch pelicans and night herons fishing in the moonlight.
3. VILLAGE SAFARI / TREK : Proceed through desert scrublands and salt plains- the last stronghold of the Asiatic Onager ( Wild Ass ) in the Indian lowlands - to the Dehgam village, populated by Rabari cattle grazers, Muslim cameleers, Bharvvad shepherds, goat herds and other colourful communities. The village has a variety of attractive dwellings from the picturesque kooba huts of the Bajania nomads to pastoral houses ornamented with mirror inlays and embroideries. Night camp in the village, which has a good view of the salt flats.
4. TREK / WILDLIFE : Continue trekking / riding to Bardala, another colourful village bedecked with mirror inlays and embroidery. The trek leads through some interesting grasslands inhabited by blue bull, wolf, desert fox, Indian fox and Desert hare. Proceed on foot to where you will see asphalt roads for the first time and then by vehicle to the Dhangadhra circuit house / Dasada safari camp.
5. NALSAROVAR BIRD SANCTUARY / BOAT EXCURSION : Proceed to Nalsarovar bird sanctuary for a country boat excursion among thousands of colourful birds. Picnic lunch at a reedy island populated by the nomadic Bharwad shepherds and resident fishing tribes. Proceed to KP Farms garden resort for buffet lunch, swimming and recreation. Dinner, folk dance performances and night halt at the Palace Utelia.
6. PALACE RETREAT : Proceed for a day of rest and recreation at the splendid Wankaner palace. It has a few vintage cars, swimming pool, paintings and a small guest house / Gondal Yuvraj's palace ( has a fine collection of Vintage cars, horse carriages and the Maharajah's original saloons, besides its own swimming pool, squash court and motor boats, good continental cooking and spacious rooms ) / Limbdi palace ( has a museum of relics, motor boats, swimming pool and accommodation in lakeside cottages ).
7. REEFWALKING TRIP : Proceed to Okha and, time permitting, leave for a reefwalking trip along some of the finest coral formations on India's northern coast. Night halt at a guest house / camp on a white beach.
8. MOTOR BOAT CRUISE : Travel in motor boats to Danni Pt. and set up camp on the island, fringed by rock pools full of marine life and offshore waters, good for swimming.
9. MOTOR BOAT CRUISE : Cruise to another island, with excellent coral reef formations, mangrove swamp forests white sanded beaches and fishing people. Night camp.
10. CRUISE TO GULF OF KUTCH : Cruise to the Gulf of Kutch mainland and night halt at hotel Aram / The President.
11. MARINE CRUISE : Cruise again to the most scenic island, selected from the archipelago of 42, noted for its variety of white beaches, rocky shores, coral reefs, mangrove forests, lagoons. Except for the lighthouse staff, the island is completely uninhabited. Among the marine life present here are 200 species of mollusk ( including. octopus, sea hare, conch shell etc ), echinoderms ( star fish, brittle star, sea urchin etc ),150 species of reef fish ( puffer or reef joker, butterfly, parrot etc ) and one of the world's largest congregations of shore birds. It is also worth watching for dolphins, finless tortoise and green sea turtle surfacing for air. Return to Jamnagar for night halt.
12. JUNAGARH : Travel to Junagarh and see the Uparkot walled fortress ( believed to be older than the 9th century, when its recorded history begins ), the 3rd to 5th century Buddhist caves, the Rang Mahal Palace, the silver doored Maqbara royal mausoleum and the spiral staircased minarets. Overnight hotel.
13. JUNAGARH : Trek through jungle passes and ascend the pinnacle of the 3500 ft Girnar peak, sightseeing the complex of Jain and Hindu temples, dating back to the 12th century, and the Muslim Dargah. Night camp on the peak.
14. JUNGLE TREK : Descend through spectacular wooded valleys and night camp at a forest clearing at the base of the peak, where your sleep may be interrupted by the roaring of lions and panthers or the alarm calls of the Sambhar.
15. GIR LION SANCTUARY : Continue to Sasan Gir and drive in search of the Asiatic Lion and other endangered wildlife. Night halt at Taj group Lion Safari Lodge / Cottage resort.
16. Transfer to Ahmedabad to board flight to Bombay or Delhi.
Proceed to Bhavnagar on Day 16 for meals and night halt at the Nilambagh Palace / hotel Jubilee / hotel Blue Hill. See the huge colony of roosting and nesting storks at Pill gardens. Drive and ascend next day to the Palitana Jain temples, considered among the most exquisite marble temples in lndia. Or two full days of rest and recreation at the Diu island, which has a lovely palm fringed beach, fishing villages, a huge 16th century Portuguese fortress with cannons, arches, tidal moats and the largest battlements along India's west coast. Overnight at the Samudra beach resort.
Best time : October to April