Sasan Gir Safari – Gir National Park Lion Safari, Gujarat, India

Sasan Gir Safari

Sasan Gir Safari is one of the most incredible of wildlife experiences. Coming face to face with the Asiatic Lion in the Gir National Park is thrilling.

Sasan Gir Lions

Sasan Gir Safari is one of the most incredible of wildlife experiences. Coming face to face with the Asiatic Lion in the Gir National Park, Gujarat India is thrilling.

Don’t make any body movements“! was the staccato command issued by our guide Siddi Bapu. The six of us in the open jeep froze in our skins. Coming straight towards us was a full-grown lion. Not a muscle in our bodies twitched, as we watched transfixed. The lion came nearer and nearer. As he drew nearer, the embodiment of leonine beauty and grace mesmerized us.

As he walked, each leg rising and falling on the ground with perfect precision in a fluid movement, the jungle itself serenaded him. It was like the hero making his entry in a Bollywood film. He walked to the background music of crows and other birds striking up a racket. Our Sasan Gir Safari in Gujarat, India was surely turning to be the stuff of dreams, we thought in elation.

Read on to know more about our encounter with the King of the Jungle on our Sasan Gir Lion Safari. This Sasan Gir Safari travel blog will also provide all the information needed to plan an exciting visit to the wildlife sanctuary including details about Gir National Park entry fees, Gir Safari booking, Gir Safari rates, Gir National Park timings, and much more.

Sasan Gir Safari – Cavorting With Lions

Sunrise at Sasan Gir

The winter season ensured that there was a nip in the air as we drove past some wheat fields bathed in golden morning light towards the Reception Centre of the Gir National Park to begin our Gir Jungle Safari. We were really optimistic about sighting the big cat in what is the last home of the Asiatic Lion.

There is nothing that can beat the pleasure of watching wildlife in their natural environment, the thrill is unique, be it meeting mountain gorillas face-to-face in Africa, or catching the glimpse of the Royal Bengal tiger at the Pench National Park, or visiting any of the Wildlife sanctuaries in India. As we drove into the Reception Centre we had only one thing on our minds, Lions!

Sasan Gir Safari
Sasan Gir Safari

The Reception Centre is where we picked up our guide Siddhi Bapu.

Siddi Guide in Sasan Gir National Park

He belonged to the Siddi community that trace their ancestry to East Africa. In India, this community is found in regions of Gujarat, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Siddi Bapu informed us that his ancestors were from Nigeria. However, they have no connections with Nigeria now. They are fully integrated into the local culture and follow local customs.

Entry Gate to Gir National Park

Chatting with our guide we left the Sinh Sadan where the Reception Centre of Gir National Park is located and drove a few kilometres to reach the gate that led into the Gir National Park. We had been allotted Route No. 4 and the gate through which we entered the Park was common for routes 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, and 12. There is a different entry gate for the other routes. There is a total of 13 routes from which each Safari jeep gets allocated one.

Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

The sunlight pierced through the overhanging branches of the trees. We drove behind the brown cloud of dust blown by the jeep in front. Our guide regaled us with stories of Lions, he told us about the 2020 Lion census that was coming up. He also told us about celebrity visitors with whom he had guided during the Lion Safari.

Amitabh Bachhan had to do 3 Safaris before he could get a lion sighting,” said Siddi Bapu with a sardonic smile playing on his lips. He then went on to narrate an incident where a foreigner failed to get a Lion sighting even after camping there for a couple of weeks and going on numerous Lion Safaris!

Sasan Gir Safari
Sasan Gir Safari

Was he subtly preparing us for disappointment? Were we destined to return empty-handed? Or would we get lucky on our first safari itself? These were the questions that hummed through our minds as we drove deeper into the teak wood laden Gir forest in search of Lions.

Lion Ahoy!

A movement in the bushes to our right caught our attention. They turned out to be a small herd of docile deer glancing shyly at us. Their serene composure was testimony to the absence of any Lion in the vicinity.

Sasan Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

We crossed a rivulet and the Guide informed us that the water was the home of crocodiles, though we did not spot any. Probably, they were spread languorously on the rocks behind basking in the sun.

Landscape of Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

A cute little bird drank water from a small stream as a couple of trees threw their shadows in the water. It was a picture of serenity. Everything seemed calm in the jungle. Things seemed to be in perfect harmony, the only jarring effect perhaps was our presence.

A sounder of wild boars made their way noiselessly in the shadows. We came upon a small clearing in the path. It was then that we saw the Lion.

Lions of Sasan Gir

In the distance, straight in front of us a Lion crossed the track and sat down beside it. There were two jeeps in front of us and we were still quite a distance from it.

Asiatic Lion of Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

The jeeps had stopped in their tracks. It was clear that now it was going to be a game of waiting.

Asiatic Lion
Sasan Gir Safari

The lion sat gazing towards the path and was soon joined by another Lion who too crossed the path and sat next to the first lion.

We were delighted! We had been able to sight not one but two lions. But alas! they were quite far off. The two lions are male and are siblings informed our guide, they are 3.5 years old and control a wide territory, he added.

“Reverse”! on hearing this, our jeep started retreating in reverse, so did the other two jeeps. It became clear why this was done very soon. One of the lions stood up and started walking along the path, straight towards us.

This was when Siddi Bapu issued his stern command, “Don’t make any body movements”!

Lion sighting at Sasan Gir
Sasan Gir Safari

The Lion sauntered towards the front jeeps, crossed them and slowly, with a typical, “devil may care”, attitude walked past us. It passed from the right side of our jeep and disappeared into the woods. Even as we looked in amazement at the leonine grace of the big cat retreating into the jungle, it dawned on us that there was another big cat behind us!

Lion sigting Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

As we turned back towards the point where the two Lions had been sitting, we saw the second Lion too following the footprints of his brother Lion, but with a difference.

The second Lon moved towards our left flank. He walked towards the trees and then took a slight turn and came straight towards our jeep. We could literally hear his breathing and are sure he would have heard the loud thumping of our hearts.

Lion Safari at Gir National Park
Sasan Gir Safari

Our eyes met for a fraction of a second, and he was gone in a flash of golden glory. The mand on his lithe body glistening in the sunlight, his limbs moving in rhythmic perfection, a gait that would be the envy of any supermodel. He too walked away along the path, took a left turn and disappeared behind his brother into the woods.

There was absolute silence for a few moments, as we all soaked in and absorbed the intensity of what had just happened. And then all hell broke loose, excited chatter erupted in the jeep and the guide had to warn everyone to be silent as moved ahead into the Gir National Park.

But for most of us, our purpose for visiting the Gir National Park had been served. We were thrilled out of our wits.

To get an immersive experience of our Sasan Gir Safari do take a look at our YouTube video:

Up Close With Lions At Sasan Gir(Gir Lions Video 2020)

Sasan Gir in Gujarat, India is the last home of the Asiatic Lion. Lions in the wilderness can be seen today only in Africa and Sasan Gir. The Gir National Pa…

About Gir National Park

Gir National Park

The Gir National Park is the last home of the Asiatic Lion. It is home to the Asiatic lions formerly categorized as Panthera Leo Persica and now having the scientific name Panthera Leo Leo. It is an endangered species. Lion in their free environment can only be seen in the Gir National  Park in India or in the jungles of Africa.

In Asia, excessive hunting and habitat loss over the years has ensured that now the lions are restricted to the tiny region of the Gir National Park. As per the last lion census that was carried out in 2015, there are 523 lions in the Gir National Park, which was a substantial increase over the previous census. A Lion census is carried out every 5 years and hence the next census is due in the year 2020.

Totally the Gir National Park is spread over an area of about 1412 sq. Kilometres. The region is basically a Teak forest. Apart from Teak trees, there are over 132 other dry deciduous tree species. The Gir National Park is home to over 500 plant species.

Sasan Gir Safari

In terms of Fauna, the Gir National Park is home to more than 38 different species of mammals, more than 35 species of reptiles, and more than 300 species of birds. Apart from the Lion other animals that call Gir National Park their home is, Leopard, Hyena, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, Wild Boar, Marsh Crocodile, and others.

The birds that fly over the Gir National Park include the likes of the Brown Fish Owl, Red-Headed Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Indian Vulture, Crested Serpent Eagle, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Mottled Wood Owl, and many more. There are many migratory birds in Gir National Park also.

Beautiful Landscapes of Gir National Park

Sasan Gir Safari

Yes, the sighting of wild animals is why most of us visit the forests and National Parks. But apart from this the sheer natural beauty that the landscapes offer is a treasure in itself. The Gir National Park too has a pristine and wild beauty that is so endearing.

In the summer months, the forest is dry, but after the rainy season, the streams and watering holes are full, the trees topped with a green cover, and the animals at their happiest. We visited during the winter months and loved the spectacle that unveiled before us as we embarked upon our Gir National Park Safari.

The teak forests presented a beautiful sight as we weaved through the narrow path that cut across the jungle. The terrain is made up of rocky hills of volcanic origin, and water natural water bodies. Water from seven rivers flows into the Gir forest area. These are the Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shinghoda, Raval, Ghodavadi, and Macchundri. To conserve the waters of these rivers four dams have been constructed.

Panoramic view of Gir National Park

We drove across a beautiful stretch of road that ran parallel to the waters of the Hiran river, close to the Kamleshwar Dam. There is a tall observation tower here that offers spectacular and panoramic views of the Gir National Park.

Sasan Gir Safari FAQ

Sinh Sadan Sasan Gir

There are always a lot of questions that jump to mind whenever you think about a wildlife safari, the Gir forest safari is no exception. Readers are sure to have innumerable questions about Gir Safari packages, Safari booking at Gir National Park, online booking Sasan Gir Safari, Devalia Safari park vs Gir Jungle trail, Gir National Park best time to visit, how to plan Gir forest trip, What to pack for Gir Lion Safari, etc.. We hope the FAQ section answers all these questions, but do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any other detail or clarification.

Is Gir safari safe?

Yes, it is, lions passed by us and we did not feel threatened. Following the instructions of the experienced and professional guides is important.

Is morning Lion safari better than the evening Lion safari?

Sighting is a matter of luck so it is not necessary that one is better than the other. Both are different experiences.

How can I go to Gir National Park?

Please refer to our, “how to get to Gir National Park”, the section above for details.

What is the best time to visit Gir Forest?

October to February and March to June months are good for visiting Sasan Gir.

Which is the best season to visit Gir National Park?

Winter is the best season in terms of weather, but chances of sighting could be more in summer as the forest cover is less. Also, note that the Gir National Park is closed from 16th June to 15th October every year.

What documents are required for Gir Lion Safari permit?

One needs to carry a valid Government identity while going for the Sasan Gir Safari. This could be your passport, Aadhaar card, Driving License, etc.. Make sure you have the original with you which you may have to show before being allowed on the safari.

What are the permit charges for Gir Lion safari?

The permit charges are calculated per Gypsy(Safari Jeep)which can seat 6 persons. This means the cost would be the same whether there are 6 of you or just one. Current permit charges range between 800 INR to 1000 INR based on the day you are doing the Safari. Rates on Weekends and Public Holidays are slightly higher. The charges for foreigners are also different.

Check out the official Government website for current rates and Sasan Gir Safari booking.

How many lions are there in Sasan Gir?

As per the last census of lions that was done in 2015, there were 523 lions in the Gir National Park. The next census is to happen in 2020

Is private vehicle allowed in Gir National Park?

The Safari Jeeps that are used or Sasan Gir Safari are owned privately and have an agreement with the Gir National Park. Check out the official website of Gir National Park for details.

What are the Gir National Park entry fees ticket?

The charges for Gir National Park include the permit charges, the jeep and guide charges as well as charges for Camera are separate. Do check out the official website for current rates and Gir National Park Safari booking.

Are there tigers in Gir Forest?

There are no tigers in Gir Forest.

How many Sasan Gir Safari routes are there?

There are 13 different routes within the Sasan Gir Safari that is open to the public and where Jeep safaris are conducted.

What are the Gir Forest timings?

Safaris are available in the morning and afternoon and the timings vary depending on the season. Usually, morning safaris are from 6.45 AM to 9.45 AM during winters, while the afternoon safaris are from 3.00 PM to 6.00 PM during winters. In Summers morning safaris are between 6.00 AM to 9.00 AM and afternoon safaris are from 4 PM to 7 PM. Do check out the Gir Safari booking official website for current timings and other details.

How far is Gir from Dwarka?

Gir is at a distance of about 287 kilometers from Dwarka.

How do I get to Gir from Somnath?

The distance from Somnath to Gir is about 67 kilometres and one can travel by public or private buses or taxis.

What is Gir Online Permit Booking System – GSLCS?

This is the Gir Safari booking official website (https://girlion.gujarat.gov.in/), where one can do online booking for Gir National Park. On this site, one can book for jeep Safari in Gir as well as Devalia jeep and Bus Safaris.

Important Tips, Dos & Don’ts (Things to keep in mind for Gir Lion safari)

Herd of deer at Gir National Park

  • No plastic is allowed inside the Gir National Park, the authorities will provide refillable water bottles to carry with you during the Sasan Gir Lion Safari
  • All vehicles entering the Gir National Park are inspected for plastic items by the authorities
  • Wear comfortable and light-coloured clothes that blend with the forest landscapes
  • Avoid dressing up in flashy and bright-coloured dresses for the Lion Safari
  • Depending on the season of your visit carry protective gear like hats, shades, anti-dust face mask, sweaters, and jackets
  • Remember that you are encroaching the home of the wild animals and hence respect their privacy
  • At all times follow the instructions of the Guide and maintain silence
  • Photography is allowed so carry a camera, DSLRs, GoPro, Mobile, etc. but please ensure this is done without disturbing or provoking the animals
  • Leave the forest as it is and just carry back lovely memories

Places To Visit Near Gir National Park

  • Devalia Safari Park also known as the Gir Interpretation Centre located within the Gir National Park is a fenced-off area that showcases the different habitats and wildlife of the region
  • The famous Jyotirlinga temple of Somnath is about 67 kilometres from the Gir National Park
  • Other places of historical and religious significance like Bhalka Tirth where Lord Krishna is said to have ended his avatar, are in and around Veraval and Somnath
  • Junagadh with its many attractions is also located nearby
  • Kamleshwar Dam located inside the Gir National Park

How to Reach Sasan Gir Forest, Gujarat, India /  How To Get To Gir National Park

In Gir National Park

  • Gir National Park is located in the western Indian state of Gujarat
  • The distance from Junagadh to Gir National Park is about 55 kilometres
  • The nearest airport to the Gir National Park is at Rajkot at a distance of about 170 kilometres, there is an airport at Keshod however currently no flights are operating there
  • The Gir National Park is located about 347 from the city of Ahmedabad
  • One can reach Gir National Park either by flying to Ahmedabad or Rajkot and travelling the remaining distance by road, rail transport is also available

Are you looking to get to Sasan Gir for a safari in Gir National Park? You can book a cheap flight through TripAdvisor or Agoda or CheapAir or Cleartrip or Makemytrip or Priceline right here. Once you reach Ahmedabad by flight, you can travel to Sasan Gir from Ahmedabad by road or train. Some of the options could be by self-drive car or cab or bus or alternatively take a train to reach Sasan Gir.

Where To Stay In Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India

Gir Jungle Lodge
Gir Jungle Lodge

There are various accommodation options when it comes to Sasan Gir Hotels. There is a choice of luxury and budget range of hotels in Sasan Gir.

We stayed in a Gir forest resort called Gir Jungle Lodge, that claims to be the “Largest Legal Resort In Sasan Gir”. The place was quite spacious and the rooms comfortable. The food was also good and consisted of traditional local food like Theplas, Undhiyu, etc..

There is a Government Guest House at Sinh Sadan also that has rooms as well as dormitories for accommodation.

Sasan Gir offers a full range of accommodation options. You can book the best hotels in Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India.

You can book a hotel or resort in the Gir area through TripAdvisor or Cleartrip or Agoda or Makemytrip or Priceline and save huge by getting the best deals on booking your stay.

Click to book the best hotel/resort

Sasan Gir Tours/Package Tours available from Ahmedabad to Gir National Park

Planning a Gir Lion Safari is easy. You can now book the Gir National Park tour from Ahmedabad.

Click to book the Gir National Park tour from Ahmedabad.

We do hope you liked our Sasan Gir Safari travel blog and are excited about visiting the last home of the Asiatic Lion. We are sure you will find all the information provided here helpful for planning your Gir Lion Safari. Do let us know your view with a roar of approval through our comment section. If you need any other information do ping us on any of our communication channels.

You may be interested in reading our other posts on Wildlife:

On the Trail of the Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Pench National Park – Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India

Mollem National Park – Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Goa

10 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India

Chitwan Jungle Safari | All About Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Chitwan Jungle Walk – Losing Yourself In Nature

We were hosted by Gujarat Tourism. However, the views and opinions expressed here are our own.

PinitSasan Gir Safari - Gir National Park Lion Safari, Gujarat, India

Sasan Gir Safari

Sasan Gir lion
Sasan Gir lion safari

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11 thoughts on “Sasan Gir Safari – Gir National Park Lion Safari, Gujarat, India”

  1. Wow! What an incredible experience! Life is so funny, you sign up for something that could be dreamy, start to get concerned it won’t happen for you, then get the best experience possible. I’m very jealous and this is going on my list!

  2. It was good that your guide set your expectations about the possibility of not seeing lions. We have had luck on our safaris. But have talked to others that were not so lucky. I do know that feeling you got when you saw a lion on the road you were travelling. So thrilling to watch them walk past. And hoping they ignore you! What a great experience you had.

  3. Oh my goodness! Your description in the beginning was so vivid – I felt like I was right there with you. And you’re right – seeing wild animals in their natural habitat really is beautiful and mesmerizing. What a lovely memory – and such gorgeous creatures.

  4. I can only imagine what this experience must have been like for you! How lucky to have had such a close encounter with the lions–and I’m so glad they kept walking past. They sure made their point, didn’t they? I hung on each word of this story, waiting to learn what would happen in the next moment. Thrilled to see the video of the whole experience, too. Thanks for sharing this exciting moment, as well as all of the other helpful tips about Gir National Park. I’m a huge wildlife fan, so I hope one day to see it for myself.

  5. I’ve never been on a safari before, so for me this is very interesting information. Having such an up-close encounter with the lions must be exciting, but quite intimidating. I had no idea that you can go on a safari two-three times in a row and not see what you came to see. That guy must have been really unlucky. Gir National Park will definitely go up on my list of places to see in India.

  6. A safari is one thing I really would love to do one day but I am just waiting for my two younger children to be a little bit older, but when we do, its going to be amazing. I would love to be as close to the lions like you were. Just to see them staring at you (peacefully I may add) is an experience which you will never forget and this is something I would like to add to my life experiences.

  7. Your experience reminded me of the time many years back when I have faced a number of lions during our open jeep safari in South Africa. It’s quite an experience. Haven’t been to Gir but got a feel through your experience.

  8. that was such an amazing experience. the only time I got to experience a ‘safari’ was when we visited the cebu safari adventure park. It’s not really in the wild. we got to see white lions but it would be amazing if we could see them in the wild too.

  9. Great post!! I have never paid much attention to the wildlife in Gujarat and it seems pretty amazing. The lions in Gujarat seems a bit different than the African lions. I would love to give wildlife in Gujarat a try too.

  10. Wow what an incredible experience and I am glad, unlike your tour guides previous client, you actually got to see lions! I’m yet to go on a safari or even to India so this was very interesting reading. Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

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