The Gujarat birding & Wildlife Tour takes you to the best birding & wildlife destinations in the West Indian state of Gujarat. Velavadar Park lies inland from the Gulf of Cambay on the West coast of India. Created for the conservation of the Blackbuck, Valavedar is a tiny 35sq kms but unique grassland ecosystem. Valavedar is of interest to birders because of the huge roost of about 2000 harriers, which is formed every winter. (Oct to early Feb). The dominant species is Montagu’s. Another rare sight ( June to Oct) is that of the lesser Florican, which migrate and settle here to breed in the grasslands. Birders can spot the Stoliczka’s Bushchat, Ashy- crowned sparrow lark, Rufous-tailed, and crested Larks, Desert and Variable wheatears, Southern Grey and Rufous–tailed Shrikes. Apart from the Harrier, other raptors to be seen could include Black-shouldered Kite, Shikara, and Short-toed Snake Eagle. Common Crane and other waders can be spotted on the Alag River. The park has more than 1,000 Black Buck that can be viewed on the open grassland from very close range. The wolf and the jackal are the main predators in the park. Other mammals likely to be seen are Bengal fox, Black–naped Hare, Indian Desert Gerbil, Jungle cat, and Nilgai.
Your next destination is Gir, located in southern Gujarat. The main reason to visit Gir is to see the Asiatic Lion, in its natural habitat. Latest census reports have counted 107 lions at Gir. Gir comprises diverse habitats – open scrub country, dry deciduous and tropical thorn forest and an evergreen corridor along the riverside. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded. Changable Hawk, Crested serpent, and Bonneli’s Eagle, Black Ibis, Wooley-necked Stork, Rock Bush Quail, Painted Sand Grouse, Crested Tree Swift, Greater Rocket-tailed Drongo, Black headed Cuckooshrike, Asian Paradise-Flycather, Brown, Fish and Great Horned Owls; Pygmy Woodpecker, Black Headed Oriole and Indian Pitta are the chief attraction.
The last destination is the Kathiawar Peninsula in Gujarat State. A large portion of this low-lying peninsula accumulates water and gets converted into a vast swamp during the monsoons. As it dries in the winter sun, it becomes a desert like expanse of dry silt, interspersed by lagoons and small islands with vegetation called “bets”. This is the Rann of Kutch. The South East portion of the Rann called the Little Rann, is open to tourists. This unique region is astonishingly rich in bird life; particularly in winter when millions of waterfowl, along with desert species, can be spotted. The entire 4950 sq kms of the Little Rann of Kutch, has been designated as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, as it is home to the rare and endangered “khur” – The Indian Wild Ass; not found anywhere else in the world. In winter the Little Rann is host to a variety of birds – almost 300 species.
Day 1: Velavadar
Arrive at Ahmedabad airport and depart by surface for Velavadar (140 km / 3 hrs approx.). Arrive Velavadar National Park and check into the lodge. In the afternoon, visit Velavadar National Park, mainly for the elegant Black Buck antelopes. We will have good opportunities to photograph Black Bucks sparring. Other mammals which we may encounter are jungle cat, jackal, and Indian fox, Indian wolf and striped hyena. One very interesting aspect of Velvadar is the roosting site of harriers, up to 2000 harriers have been recorded here together at dusk.
Day 2: Gir National Park
Morning game drive into the Sanctuary accompanied by a local guide. Later depart by surface for Sasan Gir (220 kms / 5 hrs drive approx) . Arrive Sasan Gir in the evening and check into the lodge.
Day 3 & 4: Gir National Park
Two days to explore Gir, where we avail a total of 2 park drives each day to maximize our chances of wildlife viewing and birding. Best known for the last remaining population of Asiatic Lions, Gir is also one of the finest reserves to see Leopards. Some of the birds found here include the Indian Jungle Nightjar, Mottled Wood Owl, Rock Bush Quail, White-bellied Minivet, Painted Sandgrouse, Black Ibis, Rufous-fronted Prinia & Crested Hawk Eagle. Overnight at Gir Birding Lodge.
Day 5: Bhuj
This day we do along drive to Bhuj with some birding opportunities en route (430 kms / 9 hrs drive approx.). Arrive Nakhatrana in the evening and check in to the lodge.
Day 6 & 7: Bhuj
Two full days birding in Bhuj with your bird guide. The area around Bhuj offers very good birding, both in the desert landscapes and along its sea coastline. The Grey Hypocolius, the sole member of its family, over winters can be seen here. The White-naped Tit, Indian-endemic Marshall’s Iora, Sykes’s Lark, , Indian Eagle-Owl, the Painted Sandgrouse and White-bellied Minivet are some of the others seen in this region. Also on the visit to the sea shore should see the Lesser Sand Plovers, the Crab-Plover, the Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Tern and Heuglin’s Gull.
Day 8: Rann of Kutch
Early morning birding at Bhuj looking for species we may have missed out and later drive to Little Rann of Kutch (325 kms/7 hrs drive approx.). Arrive Little Rann of Kutch and check in to the lodge. Evening game drive into the Wild Ass Sanctuary.
Day 9: Rann of Kutch
Full day to explore LRK. Morning and evening visits the Wild Ass Sanctuary by exclusive jeeps, some of the other mammals besides the Wild Ass, we hope to see are the Desert Fox & Indian Wolf. The star birds here are the wintering McQueens Bustard, Sykes Nightjar, Greater Hoopoe Lark, Indian Courser, White tailed & Sociable Plovers, Great White & Dalmatian Pelicans, Demoiselle Cranes and raptors like the Pallid & Montaqu’s Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Imperial, Tawny & Greater Spotted Eagles.
Day 10: Ahmedabad
Morning visit the sanctuary for the species we may have missed out. Afternoon depart by surface for Ahmedabad (100 kms / 2 hrs drive approx.) to board your flight. Tour ends.
USD 1980 - 2 to 3 persons travelling
USD 1485 - 4 to 5 persons travelling
USD 1380 - 6 to 8 persons travelling
Cost inclusions: Accommodation for 09 nights on twin share room basis with private facilities, most meals, All surface transfers by air-conditioned vehicles, 02 game drives by exclusive jeep in Velavadar National Park, 04 game drives by exclusive jeep at Gir National Park, 02 full & 01 half days birding in Bhuj by private vehicles, 04 game drives by exclusive jeep in Little Rann of Kutch, Service of an English speaking local guides/ naturalist: inclusive of guiding and park entry fees payable, Assistance on arrival and departure at each destinatio.
Cost exclusions: Airfares, Any expenses of personal nature such as telephone calls, laundry, aerated drinks etc., Portage and bellboys tips not included in the cost, Camera fees to be paid extra directly in monuments/ park, Tips/ gratuities paid to naturalists, drivers, bellboys, waiters etc.
The design of Kalypso Birding Tours is focused on the selected bird-rich areas covering hot spots. The tour spans the entire range of altitude and habitat, thus presenting a unique birding opportunity.
VISITORS TO INDIA MUST OBTAIN A VISA BEFORE DEPARTURE
INFORMATION ON WEATHER, CLIMATE & CLOTHING
In general the weather will be warm and pleasant. You will need cotton wear during the day but nights can be cold during December and January.
LIST OF CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
• Trekking/ walking or running shoes ( trainers)
• Campshoes or throngs ( flip-flops)
• Socks – Cotton. One pair woolen or polypropylene.
• Sweater or light jacket
• Hiking shorts or skirts
• Light Waterproof jacket / poncho
• Hiking pants
• T-shirts or Blouses
• Sunhat ( wide brim preferable)
• Swimwear ( optional)
• Small Rucksack (day pack)
• Water bottle
• Flashlight with spare batteries and bulb
• Toilet articles
• Swiss knife
• Sunblock ( at least SPF-35 for the higher altitudes)
• Hand Towels for day use
• Laundry soap
• Personal medical kit
• Pre-moistened towelets
• Sewing kit
• Bandana / sweatband
• Sun glasses
• Global positioning system GPS
• Laptop or Notebook for recording bird lists etc
Water Bottle: Suggest carry on person either in day pack or on belt.
Tripods/ telescopes & allied equipment
India is located in south-central Asia. Its climate is mostly tropical or sub-tropical and subject to seasonal monsoon winds, especially the southwest rain during summer. (Feb to Mar are dry months)
The most important cause of illness of travelers in India is food and waterborne diseases. Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause diarrhea. Infections may cause simple diarrhea and vomiting, fever, or, in extreme cases, liver damage (hepatitis). Malaria is a preventable infection that can create trouble if left untreated. One can prevent infection by taking prescribed anti-malarial drugs and protecting against mosquito bites.
Please ensure that your insurance company covers illnesses and accidents abroad.
During this birding trip you need not worry about your fitness if you take simple precautions:
• Carry all the important presc
• Wear a sun hat when exposed.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink tap water. Use only bottled mineral water which is always kept in the back of your vehicle.
• Carry your personal medical kit and insect repellent.
• To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
• Do not eat food purchased from street vendors.
• Do not drink beverages with ice.
• Do not eat dairy products unless it is known that they have been pasteurized.
• Avoid handling animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats) to avoid bites and serious diseases.
Although yellow fever does not occur in India, proof of appropriate vaccination may be required depending on countries visited before coming to India. Any person (except infants up to the age of six months) arriving by air or sea without a certificate is detained in isolation for a period up to six days if he or she:
• Arrives within six days of departure from an infected area, or
• Has been in such an area in transit.
• Has come on a ship which has started from or touched at any port in a yellow fever infected area within 30 days of its arrival in India provided such ship has not been disinfected in accordance with the procedure laid down by WHO, or has come by an aircraft that has been in an infected area and has not been disinfected in accordance with Indian or WHO regulations
The following countries and areas are regarded by India as infected:
Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Surinam, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia.
No other vaccination certificate is mandatory, though you may like to consult your doctor for inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis A, and meningitis.
Visit your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before the trip to allow time for shots to take effect. The following vaccinations can be thought about depending upon your doctor’s advice:-
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG):
Japanese encephalitis, only if planning to visit rural areas for four weeks or more; Rabies, if someone is exposed to wild or domestic animals during recreation.
Medical Information Update
Information given above are liable to change from time to time and one should contact the Indian missions of the respective country or the government tourist offices for more information.