Explore the Sanctuary - Vansda National Park
With trees reaching a height of 120 ft. the forests of Vansda are dense and varied. With the rain gods being generous (over 2,000 mm rainfall), parts of the Park have moist deciduous forest with kaatas bamboo. Dry deciduous forest occurring in other areas has 'manvel' bamboo and adds to the diversity of habitats.
The variety of plants (over 450 species) keeps our eyes searching for more and leaves us content at the end of the day. Beautiful Orchids are a sight to behold thanks to their dainty and pretty flowers. Even a rotting log is decorated with ferns and mushrooms. The bracket fungus on logs and tree trunks will definitely catch your attention. You may also come across a wild relative of the banana plant.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but in Vansda its everywhere in different forms. Small creatures with their amazing diversity are the real treasures. Among these are over 60 species of butterflies and 121 species of spiders. The largest of the spiders of Gujarat - the Giant wood spider is common here. In fact, recently 8 new species of spiders were reported from Vansda. A trip here means getting lost in observing myriads of insects, centipedes, millipedes and snails. And to stop you in your tracks are the elusive snakes of which there are over 30 species. About 11 types of frogs and toads ensure that the snakes continue to thrive here.
For the bird-watcher too there are 115 species of birds including those found only in the Western Ghats like the Great Black Woodpecker, Malabar Trogon, Shama and Emerald Dove. Other noteworthy avian wonders include the Grey Hornbill, Racket-Tailed Drongo, Paradise Flycatcher, Leaf birds, Thrushes and Sunbirds. Although Vansda has lost the Tiger, Wild Dog, Otter, Sambar and Sloth bear; it still boasts a good diversity of mammals such as the Leopard, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Civets, Mongooses, Macaques, Barking Deer, Four-horned antelopes and the only herd of Spotted Deer in this part of the State.
Visitors must get permission a few days in advance, and it is advisable to call before you make the journey to make sure that the park is not closed due to bad weather and road conditions. There is no camping allowed. Entrance fee is Rs. 20/- per person for Indians, 5 USD per person for Foreigners, and Rs 200/- per vehicle (light motor vehicle), though these fees are subject to change. For updated information and details contact the Range Forest Officer Tel: 0230 230057 or Deputy Conservator of Forests, Dang (South), Ahwa Tel: 02631220246 or Forests and Environment Department 14/8, Sachivalaya, Gandhinagar, Gujarat 382010, Fax: 079 23252156
How to get there
By road: The park lies close to National Highway 8 and is bisected by the Waghai-Vansda State Highway. The nearest town is Waghai, 4km away. It is 28 km from Ahwa, 40 km from Billimora, and 60 km from Saputara. The area is easiest explored with a private vehicle, but public transport is available, though less convenient. There are buses from Surat, Billimora, and Valsad to Vansda village, and from there you can hire a jeep to the park for about Rs 50/- per person. There are no taxi operations close to Vansda, but you can also get a cab from Surat, Bilimora or Valsad. By ST bus, Ahwa, the district headquarters and on a plateau from which begins the ascenscion from Waghai to Saputara, is often the most convenient place to arrive in the Dangs.
By rail: The nearest railway station is Waghai. The narrow gauge rail link connecting Ahwa to Billimora runs through the park, but ask around to check if its still functioning when you come here.
By air: The nearest airport is in Surat, 120 km away.