Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch – Travel Guide 2022

“Our Jeep gushed through the parched land into what seemed like nothingness. The landscape was in the shades of black, brown, and pale blue, not a single tree around. Struggling to keep my hair in place, I barely managed to stand in the moving jeep, hoping to get a better view of the mystic land. Suddenly, the jeep slowed down, engines turned off. Camouflaged into the surroundings, was a herd of Indian Wild Ass (Khur).

Vivid memories from one of the most mystic and enchanted land, The Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch. The last place on earth, that is home to Indian Wild Ass (Khur). Spotting the shy creatures, a vast group of flamingoes dotting the marshland pink and white and the unique salt pans was indeed a surreal experience. If I must name the best experience of Gujarat, Wild Ass Sanctuary it was, after the White Rann of Kutch. Read more about the Rann Utsav here. 

This week fresh from the #Rannkikahaniya series, this article provides you with all the information you need to know to plan a visit to Wild Ass Sanctuary. Let me first tell you little Rann of Kutch.

Desert Safari at Wild Ass Sanctuary , Gujarat is one of the most thrilling experiences
Desert Safari at Wild Ass Sanctuary , Gujarat is one of the most thrilling experiences

What is Little Rann of Kutch?  

The Word Rann of Kutch (the word Rann means Desert) usually brings the visuals of gorgeous white dessert featured in many Bollywood movies but there is more to Rann of Kutch than just the white Rann (as it is called). The Little Rann of Kutch is another hidden gem one must explore while visiting Kutch. Do not get confused by its name, little Rann is not little by any means. This arid marshland is spread across approximately 5000 square km. Little Rann of Kutch has stunning visuals, diverse flora & fauna to mesmerize any traveler. 

Little Rann of Kutch is the 15th Biosphere Reserve. Its strategic location on the bird migration route makes it the perfect feeding, breeding, and roosting ground for many migratory birds.

The Marshland of Little Rann of Kutch
The Marshland of Little Rann of Kutch
Captivating sunrise at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat
Captivating sunrise at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat

Little Rann of Kutch: Home to Gujarat’s largest wildlife reserves

The main attraction in Little Rann of Kutch is the Wild Ass sanctuary. The unique topography of this area varies from marshlands, waterbodies, grey, parched lands, salt pans, scanty shrubs, and much more. Apart from the animals, the wildlife sanctuary is also a paradise for bird lovers and wildlife photographers. 

Not just the natural beauty, this region has also beautifully preserved the local traditions and culture. This area is inhabited by ethnic tribes including Rabaris, Bharvads, Agariyas, and mirs. Witnessing the locals adorned in traditional attires and large silver jewelry is a feast to the eyes. 

Bird watching at Wild Ass Sanctuary
Bird watching at Wild Ass Sanctuary
ndian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch
Indian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch

Little Rann of Kutch: Wild Ass Sanctuary 

The Wild Ass Sanctuary is home to Indian Wild ass or ghudkar. It is one of the last places on earth to spot these magnificent wild animals. Though the place is dedicated and dominated by the Indian wild ass, it’s also home to almost 30 to 35 different types of mammals. The most common animals spotted here are caracals, Indian wolves, blackbucks, striped hyenas, antelopes, and Chinkaras. If you are lucky, you will be able to witness all these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. 

The Sanctuary is also a refugee to many migratory birds like Desert Wheatears, Lark, the White-browed Bulbul, Indian Coursers, Saras Cranes, both Indian Flamingoes, and Pelicans. 

Wild Ass Sanctuary, Bajana, Gujarat
Wild Ass Sanctuary, Bajana, Gujarat

How to reach Little Rann of Kutch/ Wild Ass Sanctuary 

The wild Ass Sanctuary has two main entrances – Dhrangadhra and Bajana.

By Rail:  You could reach the little Rann of Kutch by rail via the Dhrangadhra railway station which is 16 km away. Another railway route which you could take if you wish to enter the Sanctuary from Bajana is via the Viramgam railway station.

By Road: The Wild Ass Sanctuary is well connected to major cities in Gujarat by Road. It is 130 km from Ahmedabad, 45 km from Viramgam, 175 km from Rajkot, and 265 km from Bhuj. It takes 2-3 hours to reach Dhrangadhra and Bajana from Ahmedabad. 

By Air: The closest airport is Ahmedabad international airport, another option is the Rajkot international Airport. 

How to visit 

The best way to explore the vast span of Wildlife Sanctuary is through a Jeep Safari. Jeep safari is mostly a part of the package at the resort you are staying. However, you can also go on organized jeep and minibus safaris from Dhrangadhra, Patadi, or Zainabad. Private jeeps are available for hire at these places too. 

We entered the Sanctuary from the Bajana entrance, which is close to the wetlands where you can spot migratory birds. 

You can obtain the entry permit from the Forest department at Dhrangadhra and Bajana. The entry fee varies depending on the weekdays or weekends. Also on whether you are an Indian or domestic traveler. 

During the week, the rate is 600 rupees for Indians and 2,600 rupees for foreigners. It increases Saturdays and Sundays, and holidays. The guide may cost you another 300-400. 

In addition, if the safari is not a part of your accommodation package, you may have to pay  2,000-3,000 rupees for the jeep, which accommodates a maximum of 6 persons. You also need to pay additional charges for the cameras. 

Desert Safari, wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch
Desert Safari, wild Ass Sanctuary
Marshland at Little Rann of Kutch
Marshland at Little Rann of Kutch

Where to stay

Depending on which entrance to the Sanctuary you choose, you can either stay at Dhrangadhra or near Dasada. Some of the popular options are Rann Riders (it’s the most popular traditionally designed eco-resort in the area), The Royal Safari Camp, another eco-friendly resort. We stayed here during our tour. 

You can also check out Desert Coursers, a resort run by the Dhanraj Malek, a scion of the royal family of Zainabad. Bhavna Resort and farms, Patdi and Little Rann Resort, Zainabad are a few more places you can consider. 

Royal Safari Camp, Dasada
Royal Safari Camp, Dasada

How many days do you need to visit Wild Ass Sanctuary? 

One day is enough to explore the Wild Ass Sanctuary. 

I recommend including the nearby areas also in your itinerary. Depending on the time and available budget you can easily plan a 3-10 days trip. 

Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat
Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat

Best time to visit Wild Ass Sanctuary

The best time is from October and March. During this time, the vegetation is fresh, so the wild animals come to feed on the freshly grown grass. You could easily spot them during a jeep safari.

An early morning jeep safari is the best way to explore the Little Rann. During the mornings, there are more chances to spot the wild animals.  The Afternoon safaris are also available.

Morning Desert Safari, Little Rann of Kutch
Morning Desert Safari, Little Rann of Kutch

Things to do/ experience during the Dessert safari 

1. Witness the spectacular Sunrise 

If you choose the morning safari, the panoramic backdrop of the rising sun on the vast stretches of wet marshlands will welcome you. 

Sunrise at Wild Ass Sanctuary
Sunrise at Wild Ass Sanctuary

2.Spot the India Wild Ass (Ghudkhar or Khur) & other wild animals

During the safari, you could spot wild ass in its only home. These shy animals move in herds. They can run as fast as a horse. You can also spot other wild animals like desert foxes, jackals, antelopes, etc.

Indian Wild Ass (Khur)
Indian Wild Ass (Khur)

3.Bird Watching

The Sanctuary is a paradise for bird lovers. The Kutch wetland is the largest breeding ground for the flamingos.  You can spot a variety of other migratory birds also. 

flamingos at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat
flamingos at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat

4. Witness the Salt pans and salt making 

Salt pans are another attraction at the Little Rann of Kutch. Witness the vast salt pans and meet the salt farmers of the Agariyas tribe who migrate to this area in October to toil the land and produce salt.          

House of Agariya salt farmers, Little Rann of Kutch
House of Agariya salt farmers, Little Rann of Kutch
Salt Pan, Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat
Salt Pan, Wild Ass Sanctuary, Gujarat

Things to keep in mind while visiting Wild Ass Sanctuary

1.        It is better to opt for a morning safari.  

2.        Do carry sunscreen, sunglasses, a windcheater, and a scarf to protect your skin and hair.  

3.        The marshy land could be hard on your feet, so choose the right set of footwear before heading

here. There is no harm in carrying extra footwear. 

4.        Do carry drinking water with you

5.        For photography you need a good camera 

Exploring the rich diversity of Little Rann of Kutch, getting familiar with the unique landscape has been one of the most exhilarating experiences so far. If you are planning a trip to Kutch, do not forget to include this hidden gem in your itinerary.

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Trave guide to Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann OF Kutch, Gujarat
Trave guide to Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann OF Kutch, Gujarat

18 thoughts on “Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch – Travel Guide 2022

  1. Wild Ass sanctuary is such a unique and beautiful wildlife park with stunning biodiversity and landscape. You have documented everything so well and your pictures are perfect!

  2. I like to visit wildlife reserves, and this looks a really pretty one, as well as seeing all these wonderful animals

  3. Bird sanctuaries in India are homes to various types of birds. Due to its vast and varied geographical setting and climate and extended coast line, India provides shelter to thousands of bird species. Out of 8650 species of birds seen in the world, India houses more than 1250 species. Some of the legendary species of birds observed in the bird sanctuaries and national parks of India are racquet tailed drogas, treepies jungle owlets, minvets, ioras, golden orioles, magpies, robins, sunbirds, white throated kingfisher, drogas, mynas, pipits, Asian paradise flycatcher, larks and Siberian cranes.
    https://www.indianetzone.com/37/bird_sanctuaries_india.htm

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