January 26, 2020 : Into the Wilds of Sasan Gir National Park
Our final day of touring is a full one – beginning before sunrise as we enter the Sasan Gir National Park in hopes of catching sight of the wildlife there during their active early-morning period of the day. We are not disappointed, as you will see. After the morning game drive we return to our lodge for breakfast. Afterwards several of us went into the village of Sasan Gir to shop. After a rest period we return to the National Park for an afternoon game drive with more wonderful wildlife sightings.
We arrive at the registration point before first light of day. The place is bustling, and it seems they will be taking a census of Gypsies? What else could that sign mean?
Heading out on our first game drive, we hope these illuminated statues of wildlife won’t be all we see!
A spotted deer is well camouflaged in the early morning light.
The Gods are smiling down on us because before long we encounter the King of the Forest himself — a well-fed lion. He and his hunting partner have just finished feasting on some hapless deer, which was too far gone to identify.
The meal has left the lion thirsty for something to wash it down with.
We track the mobile lion (the other one is still feasting) for a while, and every so often he shoots us a glance that says “Keep your distance or you’ll be my next meal.”
A beautiful reflection at the water’s edge. Narcissus?
Amazing that I got this shot — I just pointed as the bird took off and got lucky with the reflection creating a near-perfect circle.
There is a dam in the Park which creates a large lake. We drive across, and people headed our way are bathed in perfect light for a photo.
The waters of the lake look appealing, but beware of what lurks there.
There is a tall observation tower at the other end of the dam which provides great views over the lake and the National Park.
Our happy, wildlife-sated group heads back to the lodge for breakfast.
During our visit to the village I stop in at the local barbershop to have my own mane trimmed. It has been a long trip, and the hair is getting unruly. Cost of the cut? About $1.30. I paid the man five times what he asked, and he was overjoyed.
I will miss seeing people so elaborately and colorfully outfitted when we leave Gujarat.
On the afternoon game drive a spotted deer is the first species of wildlife spotted, just like this morning. They are quite plentiful, so it’s no wonder the lions are faring so well.
Sambar deer are unusual-looking animals, like a cross between a horse and a deer.
Another Sambar Deer – a male this time.
A juvenile Sambar Deer calling out for its mother in “Sambar” tones.
“If I could just get some tissue to wipe my eyes, I’ll be ready for my close-up.”
Sasan Gir is also populated with a great variety of bird species. I don’t remember what this one is, but he sure gets a “birds-eye view” of insects on the ground with those stilt legs!
My hair often looks like that when I get up in the morning too.
Our group assembles in a private dining room for our farewell dinner accompanied by music played by the gentleman in red at the far end of the table. We have covered many miles together and seen incredible marvels. It will be hard to say goodbye tomorrow.
Today is Republic Day honoring the date when the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950. At lunch and dinner, almost all the dishes incorporated the colors of the national flag in some way, as does this wonderful dessert tonight.
The ever-popular Gulab Jamun, served tonight on a spoon, leaves a lasting sweet taste in our mouths as we say goodnight to each other one last time.
This entry brings this Gujarat tour blog to a close, as tomorrow will simply be taken up with a drive back to Rajkot followed by a flight to Mumbai where we go our separate ways. It has been great to have you traveling with us, and we’ll see you again soon on another Toto Tours adventure!