Blackbuck National Park / Velavadar National Park
At a distance of 45 km from Bhavnagar, Blackbuck National Park is a national park located at Velavadar in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. Also known as Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, it is one of the famous places of wildlife in Gujarat and among the must include places in Bhavnagar Tour Packages.
Velavadar National Park was formerly the private hunting ground for the Maharajas of the princely state of Bhavnagar. With an area of about 18 Sq. km, it was declared as a reserve forest and later notified as a National Park in 1976 CE. In 1980 the area was extended to cover about 34 Sq. km of grassland. The park has been classified as Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of the semi-arid bio-geographical zone due to its unique ecosystem which consists of exclusive grassland habitat, shrub lands, saline plains, and mud flats. The park lies between two rivers namely Parvalia and Alang, which drain into the Gulf of Cambay.
The park has been established for the protection of the blackbucks and has the highest number of blackbucks in India. More than 3, 000 black bucks exist on the open grasslands of Velavadar. The sanctuary is also home to other animals like nilgai, jackal, wolf, jungle cat, and fox. Besides, one can also spot many bird species which include pelicans, flamingos, white and painted storks, three kinds of cranes, many birds of prey, and the rare Stolizca's Bushchat in the southern part of the park, where all the wetlands lie. The extremely rare Lesser Florican, one of the 50 rarest birds in the world, breeds here. In the winter, thousands of migratory birds from Central Asia, Siberia and Europe land here to escape the extreme weather conditions.
A wildlife safari to this National Park is sure to prove a lifetime memory for its visitors as it allows you to watch the abundant wildlife of the region very closely. Unlike other national parks, there are no safaris provided by the forest department, so one has to use their own vehicles to enjoy a ride around the park but be cautious as animals cross the roads at all times, so be sure to drive slowly and safely. However, the forest department guide is compulsory for the safari.
November to March is the best time to visit this national park when the temperatures are pleasant. And, it is also the perfect time for birdwatchers to capture countless migratory birds who visit the Park. The park is closed from mid-June to mid-October due to monsoon floods.
The park has a bungalow operated by the forest department where a stay can be arranged by prior booking. There is also a private lodge named The Blackbuck Lodge right next to the park.
Timings: 6.30 AM - 1 PM & 3 PM - 6.30 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 20 for Indians, $ 5 for Foreigners, Rs. 50 for Camera for Indians & $ 10 for Camera for Foreigners (up to 4 Hours)
Vehicle Fee: Rs. 200 for Indians & $ 20 for Foreigners (for up to 6 persons), Rs. 500 for Indians & $ 50 for Foreigners (for up to 15 Persons) & Rs. 1750 for Indians & $ 175 for Foreigners (for up to 60 persons)
Guide Fee: Rs. 50 Indians & $ 10 for Foreigners (per hour)