Velvadar is a large tract of Vidi grassland that hugs the Gulf of Khambat in the south of Gujarat. This is flat, dry grassland, which is home to large populations of the highly endangered Black Buck – a breed of Indian Antelope. The Black Buck, with its distinctive horns, is one of the fastest mammals in the world. It is rapidly decreasing in number and Velavadar has actively lead conservation efforts to save its population of these elegant creatures.
Velavadar is also home to several other rare species including the Indian Grey Wolf. It is also an incredible wetland for birdlife and has been declared an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International. It’s a terrific environment to observe raptors in the wild, as well as several critically endangered species such as the Lesser Florican.
Velavadar is in the south west of Gujarat, bordering the Gulf of Khambat, near the city of Bhavnagar.
Topography: Flat, dry grassland interspersed by shrubs, saline plains, coastal marsh and mud flats create an ethereal terrain that stretches to the horizon. Two rivers, the Alang and Parvallo run through the area and create small water bodies that are scattered across the park.
In Season: The park is open…
16 October – 16 June
Several large conservation drives to save species like the Indian Grey Wolf, the Lesser Florican and the Black Buck have seen immense success in Velavadar. Increasing numbers have been recorded and the sightings are frequent.
The primary predator here is the Indian Grey Wolf. However, other smaller carnivores such as Jungle Cats, the Nocturnal Jackal, the Striped Hyena and Indian Fox make up a healthy population. Velavadar’s other major predators are its raptors including buzzards, harriers, falcons, eagles, shikras, sparrowhawks and goshawks.
The main herbivore here is the prized Black Buck, which can be seen in large numbers throughout the park. The Nilgai (Blue Bull Antelope) is the other large herbivore that is also present in fair quantity. Smaller hares, gerbils, and other rodents create the prey-base.
Velavadar is a spectacular wetland for birding – both resident and migratory birds can be seen here in high numbers. In the winter months you can spot pelican, cranes, ducks and a variety of other waterfowl. The winter is also the time when the Harriers come to roost in Velavadar and it’s a sight to behold so many different varieties in one place including Montagu’s Harrier, the Pallid Harrier and the Marsh Harrier. Velavadar is also a wonderful tract of wilderness in which you can observe several different species of eagles and falcons in their natural habitat.
The nearest airport is at:
The nearest railway stations are at:
Game drives by jeep – Take a game drive into the jungle with your private naturalist.
November to March is the best time to visit Velavadar.
Summers are dry and hot, lasting from March until mid-June. The monsoon lasts until October though the rain is sparse. Winters are cold and dry and temperatures may go as low as 5-10 degrees centigrade (high 20-30s in Fahrenheit, from November to March.
The Black Buck Lodge: What we love…the focal point of the resort is a lake like water body that attracts an abundance of bird life. The cottages are very well appointed and have lovely decks overlooking the landscape.