There are two lodges, both state-owned and with good facilities. The three-star Lion Safari Lodge (tel 21) is good value at Rs300 for single rooms, Rs450 for doubles, and worth it if you can get one of the upper-storey suites with balcony overlooking the reserve. Ground-floor rooms are uncomfortably close to the noisy video parlour. Facilities include bank, post office, restaurant and laundry. The management arranges trips into the sanctuary and, on request, local folk dances.
The cheaper option is the Forest Guest House, set in a beautiful garden courtyard, and offering some of the best-value rooms in India: immaculate double ‘chalets’, some air-conditioned, from Rs40-150. All rooms have bath/shower room and mosquito nets. For shoestring travellers, there are Rs4 dorm beds. Also a cheap restaurant.
The Lion Safari Lodge restaurant does reasonable Indian food and ‘Continental Suggestions’. You can eat well here for Rs75. Forest Guest House provides cheap, good Rs14 thalis and vegetarian meals, but only does food at certain, awkward times of the day. If you’re resident, on a budget, do not forget to order your meals in advance. The Milan Parotha in the village main street serves good vegetarian breakfasts from 8.30 to 9.30 am.
For tourist information, contact the Forest Ranger. He is usually to be found in a small hut in the Forest Lodge compound between 9.30 am and 5.30 pm daily. If absent, he’s probably playing ping-pong in the lodge reception area. Ask for xeroxed information sheets on the sanctuary, full of useful facts and figures. The Gujarat State Tourism Corporation offers a special two-day package tour of the Gir Sanctuary. This includes reception at Keshod airport (80-minute flight in from Bombay), accommodation at the Forest Lodge, a tour of the sanctuary, and a visit to Somnath Temple. Trained guide supplied. Contact Government of Gujarat Tourist Office, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Bombay (tel 2024925) for further information. Sasan-Gir is 2 hours from Veraval/Somnath by local bus (about 6 departures daily); it is best approached from Diu via the ‘express’ bus from Oona (3 hours, 2 departures per day only—check timings at Diu tourist office).