In the deep west of India, a vast tract of Veedhi grassland runs all the way along the Gulf of Khambat. This unusual ecosystem is known as Velavadar, and is home to some of the most endangered species in India.
Velavadar is a designated sanctuary to protect the rare Black Buck, a swift moving and beautiful herbivore. With its distinctive black and white coat, spiralled antlers and leaping gait, they’re lovely animals to observe in their natural habitat.
But the Black Buck is not the only endangered species here.
Velavadar is also a natural habitat for the critically endangered Striped Hyena, a fascinating carnivore that only survives in a few parts of the planet today.
The major attraction is Velavadar’s winter Harrier roost in September-October when the entire sky is filled with a huge cloud of these magnificent birds of prey who come here from Northern Europe for the winter. One can observe clouds of Montagu’s Harriers, Pallid Harriers, and Marsh Harriers as well as other very unusual avian species like Francolins and Bushchats.
Another rare species that is found here is the Indian Grey Wolf, which is the apex predator in Velavadar.
The region has also been declared an Important Birding Area by Birdlife International and one can spot critically endangered avians like the Lesser Florican here.
Velavadar is ideal for a wildlife aficionado who enjoys observing unusual species in their natural habitat.
Encounters Asia can assist guests with arrangements, logistics, and permits to shoot photographs and film in Velavadar. The accommodations here are comfortable and full of local character. Our team of experienced trackers and naturalists are well-versed in the flora and fauna of the park. The best way to explore the park’s biodiversity is to take a jeep safari with one of our guides.
If you are a keen birdwatcher and want to observe or photograph the arrival of the Harriers into Velavadar, then September-October is the best time to visit.
By November, they tend to disburse and only a few hundred remain in the area, all the way till March when they commence their return to Eurasia. The closest airport to Velavadar is in the city of Bhavnagar, and one can fly in from larger cities like Mumbai or Ahmedabad.