Gir Forest National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, western India. It was established to protect Asiatic lions, who frequent the fenced-off Devalia Safari Park, along with leopards and antelopes. Gir Jungle Trail, outside the fenced area, traverses deciduous forest and is home to wildlife including vultures and pythons. The Kamleshwar Dam has marsh crocodiles and birds, such as Indian skimmers and pelicans.
Gir Interpretation Zone – Devalia
Devalia Safari Park also known as Gir Interpretation Zone – Devalia, is the establishment of particular eco-tourism zone to reduce overload of tourists from Gir Forest Visit and to provide whole wildlife of Gir at single place in safe habitats. This Interpretation Zone comprises of 412 ha chain link fenced area which is regarded as ‘Gir in a nutshell’ covering all habitat types and wildlife of Gir. The basic aim of creating this facility is to provide an opportunity of viewing lions and other animals in their natural habitat within a short period of time at cheaper rates. There are animals like Asiatic lions, Leopards, Blue Bull, Sambhar, Chital, Jackal, Black buck, Wild Boar etc. The presence of Savana habitat and other flora is also another attraction of the area. Many rare birds including Peafowl and vultures are common in the Devalia.
Gir National Park is open from mid October until mid June. There are three, three-hour Gir Jungle Trail jeep safaris per day inside the park. They start at 6.30 a.m., 9.00 a.m., and 3 p.m. The Devalia Safari Park is open all year round, from Thursday to Tuesday (closed Wednesday), 8.00 a.m. until 11 a.m., and 3.00 p.m. until dusk (around 5 p.m.).
Gir National Park is situated in the southwest part of Gujarat state, 360 kilometers from Ahmedabad, 65 kilometers from Junagadh, and 40 kilometers from Veraval. It's inland from the beaches of Diu. The entrance to the park is located at Sasan Gir village, and this is where the park reception and orientation center is (next to the forest department's official Sinh Sadan guesthouse).
There's also a Gir Interpretation Zone, also known as Devalia Safari Park, 12 kilometers west of the village, at Devalia. It's an enclosed area of around four square kilometers that contains a variety of wildlife, including lions. A bus takes visitors on a 30-40 minute tour of it.
In order to hire a jeep (gypsy), you must report with your permit to the reception center at government-owned Sinh Sadan guesthouse, at the safari entry point. Arrive around 30-45 minutes before your safari is scheduled to depart so that you have plenty of time.
Certain types of private vehicles are allowed in the park but only if they use petrol. A driver and guide are still required.
There are eight safari routes, although most overlap with each other, with different entry and exit points. They're randomly assigned by the computer (along with a driver and guide) when you present your permit. Vehicles must all move in one direction along the routes, without reversing or diverting. Unfortunately, there are reports of forest workers herding the lions to certain areas so tourists can see them.