Warm food, welcoming locals, increasing constructions and perpetual potential of a garba outburst, Ahmedabad is an eccentric city in which one may reside. While the city offers a more-than-adequate dwelling experience, it is not uncommon to want to break out of the concrete routine to something different. If you have seen enough of the buildings and roads, travel to these wildlife havens in close proximity to the city:
Gir National Park
Quite possibly the most popular wildlife destination in the state of Gujarat, Gir National Park is home to a large number of Asiatic lions. What once was a British hunting ground, is now one of the most protected areas in the country due to the volatile numbers of the species. A wide variety of majestic creatures are found here. While most visitors seek out a glance of the Asiatic lions, one can also find Indian leopards, Indian cobras, golden jackals, striped hyenas and sloth bears. You can indulge in a jeep safari to make the experience more up-close and personal. Additionally, hotels and resorts offer tent-stays, an enchanting accommodation to tie the trip together.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 354.5 km or 7 hour, 37 minute drive
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Here’s one for the birdwatchers. Only a short drive away from the city, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is a wetland popular for the sheer variety of migratory birds. The marshy lands and ponds are temporary homes to some 200 species of birds, including pelicans, kingfishers, herons, godwits, white tailed lapwings, storks and many, many more. The area is the biggest wetland sanctuary in the state and a wondrous site for those who enjoy observing their winged friends. Since most of the birds are migratory, the best time to visit for the full experience would be November to February.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 63 km or 1 hour, 40 minute drive
Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary
Saurashtra is not particularly known for lush greenery, which is why the tall grasses and deciduous trees of Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary are an oddity in the dry, brown landscape of the surrounding area. The concentration of the forest welcomes thriving biodiversity, with an abundance of chinkara, jackals, wolves, foxes and a colourful mix of birds. Managed by the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER), the area holds educational significance. Pack your camping gear for a campsite adventure in the wild.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 182 km or 4 hour drive
Wild Ass Sanctuary
An expansive canvas of beige and brown, the Wild Ass Sanctuary offers a unique experience to visitors. Nestled in the Little Rann of Kutch in Saurashtra, the area invites thousands of tourists every year. While it is home to the endemic Indian wild ass, the area also offers views of lesser flamingos, dalmatian pelicans, desert foxes and black cobras. The shallow waters of Kutch also hold prawns and fish. Additionally, shopping for embroidered fabrics and handmade goods at Kutch markets are always a treat.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 140 km or 2 hour 40 minute drive
Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary
The thought of wildlife getaways paints a picture of a natural habitat, sprawling with towering trees and lush greenery. Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat breaks this with its man made structure. A shallow freshwater artificial lake, the area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1988. With its clear waters dotted with reed beds, it makes for an ideal habitat for birds and insects. The area is home to geese, egrets, herons, ducks, whistling teals, pelicans and spoonbills, all harmonizing in a marvelously chaotic tone. The place is an adventurous weekend trip for bird lovers.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 30 km or 1 hour drive
Velavadar Blackbuck National Park
An unusual tropical grassland ecosystem, Velavadar Blackbuck National Park is a one-of-a-kind ecological reserve. Home to the endemic blackbucks, the park is also the residence of wolves and a varied gamut of birds (pelicans, ducks, waders, storks, cranes). We suggest hiring a vehicle to cover as much of the area as possible. However, shorter treks are also possible on foot. Keep in mind that the park stays shut for the monsoons from June to October. The ideal time to visit would be December to March.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 144 km or 3 hour drive
Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary
Adorable yet fiesty, a sloth bear is can easily be accepted as the ideal spirit animal. While their looks suggest a cute demeanour, sloth bears are actually some of the most aggressive animals when their territory is encroached upon. Hence, be respectful of their space. Just a quick drive away from Ahmedabad city is Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary on the state border of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Apart from the namesake, the area is also home to various species ranging from leopards, foxes and boars to porcupines, Rhesus macaque and snakes. Rare, endangered species are not uncommon in this unique ecosystem. We would suggest a trip from the early onset of winters, October-December.
Distance from Ahmedabad: 177.5 km or 3 hour 45 minute drive