The Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Indian state of Gujarat, is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the country. In fact, it spans the entire area of the little Rann of Kutch where small grass covered areas, known as baits, forms the flora and is an important source to support the fauna of the region.
Asses consists of members of the horse family which are found in plenty in the region grazing on the grass covered expanse. The asses are tough animals with no match in the animal kingdom for the power and stamina they possess.
Major Wildlife Attractions:
Asses are the prominent attractions and the animal found in large numbers in the region. Herds of these animals can often be sighted in the area, grazing on the patches of grass. It is an interesting experience to observe some of their peculiar habits.
Besides the asses, other animals that can be found in the area include the endangered Ghudkhur, Blue-Bull, Chinkara, Hedgehog and carnivores such as the Wolf, Jackal, Fox, Jungle and Desert Cats.
The avian population of the area is equally diverse with more than 300 species of birds already registered. Some of the famous birds include Cranes, Flamingos, Houbara Bustard, Falcons along with a large number of larks, another major attraction of the area.
The Rann of Kutch is also known for its varied reptile population such as snakes, tortoises and lizards, most of which can not be found anywhere else in the country.
To sum up, the Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary is habitat to around 93 species of invertebrates that include 25 species of zooplanktons, 1 specie of annelid, 4 crustaceans, 24 insects, 12 molluscs and 27 spiders.
The area around the Rann of Kutch is full of tourist attractions. Excursions to a local Saurashtriyan village, famous for its handloom and dyeing units, will further enhance your experience.
Those interested in bird watching and wildlife photography can go for special photography trips and boat rides.
Trekking and camping with local migrating tribes are organised between the months of July and September.
Jeep Safari is an excellent option to explore the vast open expanses of the Rann of Kutch. The experience of observing animal habits from close quarters is enhanced by the salubrious climate and the breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset. Safaris of various durations are organised but a trip of at least three to four days is recommended to fully enjoy the experience. Besides the wildlife of the area, safaris also cover a host of other attractions including historic monuments, inland salt works and numerous other places of interest. Camel safari can also be organised by the tour operators, on request.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit the sanctuary would be the post monsoon month of October, when the grasslands are replenished with water and a number of wild asses can be seen grazing upon and playing around in the area. The months of December to March is the cooler period when the weather is ideal for a wildlife safari. From April onwards, the heat starts building and it can get scorching hot during May and June.
How to Get there:
Air: Bhuj is the nearest airport, while Ahmedabad is the most convenient airport, connected by Indian Airlines flight from Delhi (6:00 & 18:15, daily) from Mumbai (5:30 & 19:30, daily) Kolkata (15:45, daily).
Rail: Viramgam is the nearest railhead. It is connected to Delhi through the ALA Hazrat Exp. (11:50, Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun) and daily to Mumbai through the Bhavnagar Exp. (21:25), Saurashtra Mail (20:25), Sau Janata Exp. (16:35), Kutch Exp. (17:10) & Saurashtra Exp. (7:55)
Road: Wild Ass sanctuary is connected by road to other parts of the country. One can get to the park in a four wheeler, preferably a sturdy vehicle like a jeep, as the roads may be a bit bumpy and uneven as some points. To reach from Ahmedabad, take the NH8A to Sarkhej, state highway to Bajana via Sanand, Viramgam, Mandal, Dasada and Zainabad.
General Info / Tips:
The two main entry points into the park are Bajana and Jinjhwada
Park charges Entry Fee : Rs. 10 (Indians) & US$5 (foreigners), Vehicle : Rs. 20 (Indians) & US$ 5 (foreigners), Guide:
Rs. 30 (Indians) & US$ 5 (foreigners), Still Camera : Rs. 50 (Indians) & US$ 5 (foreigners)
Sanctuary timings are 6 AM to 6 PM.
It is advisable to visit the sanctuary during the winter months, especially if you are not used to withstanding high temperatures.
Prior information about the timings can be of much help.
Things to carry include sun screen cream, a sun hat, sunglasses and other protective clothing for protection against the strong sun rays.
Take along a camera and binoculars to enhance your experience. The camera should be fitted with a sun filter.
The conditions in the area can sometimes be a bit tough. The safari should not be too demanding, especially for
first time visitors.
Little Rann of Kutch
Wild Ass, Chinkara, Cranes, Flamingos, Snakes, Tortoises