The Sasan Gir Sanctuary was set up with the sole purpose of protecting these lions and provide them with a safe habitat. It has been a success story, for the lion population has increased from 200 in 1980 to over 360 at last count. The local Maaldhari or nomadic herders have been prevented from grazing their cattle in the Sanctuary. They have been moved out and provided alternate grazing site so as not to disturb the lions. As the lions have proliferated they have on occasion moved out of the Sanctuary into the neighboring villages with one enterprising one even landing up on the beach at Diu. As the forest cover around the Sanctuary reduces due to the pressure of population the lion will no doubt be threatened.
Though the Lion is the star attraction at Gir, there is other wildlife to keep the visitors clicking away. Look carefully and you will see leopards, foxes, hyenas and even wild boars. The lion of course is king. If you are persistent enough it is almost guaranteed that you will see the lion. Keep your cameras ready and take pictures to prove that you met the King of the jungle. Birders will delight at the colour provide by the peacocks and parrots. You can see crocodiles at the crocodile-breeding centre. You can see all sizes, from tiny hatchlings to big ones. They are used to re-stock the sanctuary.
A permit is necessary to go on a safari in the park. So hire a vehicle in the park for at least a 2 1/2 hour trip. Also do take a guide as they know the lay of the land and can show you maximum wildlife in a limited amount of time. Within the sanctuary in the Devalia area lies the Gir Interpretation Zone. Here you can ride a bus in a 4 sq km fenced in compound and see Gir's wildlife much like in a zoo. Not half as much fun as the sanctuary wild areas but if you see very little then it helps make up for the disappointment.
There are a few guesthouses in Sasan Gir but it is best to book ahead. The Sasan village is lined with food stalls so you wont go hungry. Restaurants serve simple vegetarian "thali" meals delicious and wholesome.
Junagadh and Veraval are connected to Sasan Gir and buses ply the route at regular intervals. The best time to visit is from December to April. The Sanctuary remains closed from mid June to mid October and sometimes longer if the region experiences a heavy monsoon. During this time the grasses grow tall and it is impossible to see the wildlife in any case.
Gir National Park is 60 km from Junagadh, the most common base for making a visit, and 360 km from Ahmedabad. The main centre is at Sasan Gir, and has a forest guest house maintained by the park, just opposite the railway station.
By rail:One can travel by rail to Junagadh from Ahmedabad or Rajkot and then take a 65 km road trip on bus or taxi to Sasan Gir.