A long weekend appears on the horizon and where does one go specially in pandemic times? How about a destination which includes a sensuous cocktail of romance, adventure, luxury, delectable Kathaiwadi cuisine, safaris amidst the grasslands where endangered Black bucks, Indian grey wolves, hyenas, fox, antelopes, migratory birds, other mammals roam free and offers a Savannah experience almost similar to Africa’s wilderness? My answer is the Black buck lodge spread over 70 acres and located on the periphery of the Velavadhar national park in the state of Gujarat.

Much credit is due to Micky Desai, the owner of the lodge, a wildlife & fitness enthusiast who has painstakingly built his labor of love and transformed a landscape of unending grasslands into an oasis attracting animals, birds, nature enthusiasts and guests seeking privacy, romance and luxury. The 14 cottages are unique with a spacious bedroom, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, a patio which overlooks the grasslands and is ideal for spotting birds, black bucks who come calling and if you are in a mood to indulge Micky has recently built two suites which include a private plunge pool & a deck spacious enough to lounge for hours on end gazing into the meandering  grasslands. The housekeeping staff excel and when you enter your cottage on return from an evening safari you will  find the  turn down service has prepared your bed for a good night’s rest while the subtle lighting helps lifts the mood.      

A safari lasting a little over 2 hours in the morning and in the evening can be awe inspiring and the experience you get at Velvadhar will  make you crave for more. The eco system of the grasslands and the semi arid conditions together with the inundation of sea water during the monsoon months has created a habitat on which depends the varied fauna of the park for survival.

There is so much to do at the lodge after a safari- you could choose to spend time in the library, take a dip in the pool, visit the spa and tone your tired muscles. You could also take time off from safari like I did and visit the world’s largest temple complex of  900 temples perched at 7300 feet on Shatrunjaya hill and while getting to the top involves a climb of 3750 steps/2.5 hours but the experience is worth the effort. While my wife decided to sleep in I departed the lodge at 5.30 am in the morning and returned by 12 noon.    

Lunch at the lodge’s waterfront glassed dining room is always sumptuous and Dinner under a starlit sky will satisfy one’s hunger pangs with mouth watering & delectable barbecue snacks and Kathiawadi cuisine while the bonfire specially during the winter months helps to enhance the romantic quotient of  one’s stay at this charming lodge.

My take is that the lodge’s seem-less hospitality, the opportunity to watch black bucks from your patio and the safari experience which apart from the 100s of black bucks, eagles, wild wolves and hyenas  is indeed hard to beat. The meaningful wildlife experience and the accommodation could match the best in Africa’s wildlife camps. This is truly an eco friendly camp where everyone is trying their best to avoid the use of  plastic.

Post Covid I know we will return soon to enjoy the hospitality crafted by Micky and his passionate team for another exhilarating experience in the Velavadhar wilderness.   


How to get there and other useful information :

Driving time – The distance from Ahmedabad airport is 144 kms/85 miles and could take about 2.5 hours and  52 kms/31 miles and an  hour’s drive from Bhavnagar airport

Recommend- A stay of minimum of 3 nights

Best Time to visit – The winter months from November to February are ideal for wildlife viewing and wolves being nocturnal the odds of seeing them on an evening safari are high.

The temperature during the day is in the mid 20s and at night it could hover in the range of 6-7 C hence the average temp could be 11-12 C.

December is the coldest month and the wind chill factor is high.

Monsoon months – June to September– The water bodies are full at this time, there’s plenty of bird life, butterflies and fireflies at night which is outstanding. While hyenas are less the wolves and black bucks are found all over the park.

Jain Palitana temple complex– The distance is 90 kms/47 miles each way and could take about 2 hours.

Signature dishes

V- Dungari Nu Saak

Bharwa Bhindi

Charcoal grilled fish in mustard curry

Desi mutton curry

Chocolate éclair banana tart




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