Gir National Park
Junagadh District, Gujarat
Keshod, 70 km and Rajkot, 160 km
November 15– June 15
December to March
Gir is located on the Saurashtra Peninsula in the West Indian state of Gujarat and is the only place outside Africa where lions live. The entire area extends over 1412 km2 and is a mixture of dry deciduous and savannah forest. With more than 500 lions and 400 leopards, Gir has one of the highest densities of big cats in India.
Gir does not look unlike the African plains – the landscape varies between dry deciduous forest, acacia bushes and grasslands crossed by rivers and streams.
The Maldharis, who live around the park, have an exceptional tolerance towards big cats. They have nothing against lions killing their cattle. They do not even blame them when they kill people. They are very proud of the lions, feel honored by their presence and mourn them when they die. Gir is one of the greatest conservation success stories in the world.
It is thanks to these people that this last population of Asiatic lions was able to recover from only 20 specimens around 1900 to more than 500 today. Have a look at the fascinating documentary Asia's Big Five – The Lion (in German).