We have decided to go on a birding walk. Amil, our guide is an orphan from Nagarkot in Nepal. No schooling but he has learnt so much through self teaching. …. electrical issues like mending jacuzzi, and now this, birding.

We meet him at 7am at our lodge and immediately he rushes off making little bird calls to encourage our feathered friends to come closer. There is a jungle babbler and its friend, trying to break through the glass of the canteen window, here a bee-eater, pied kingfisher, ibis, crane, and some tiny little birds in a bush. He knows all their names, colours, whether male or female, and their calls. He delights in the spotting. A honey buzzard overhead, and there, across the river, a mongoose moves like a silky snake.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Jungle Babblers waiting for the canteen to open for breakfast

We’ve arrived at the entrance for the Sassan Gir Lion reserve. Now, I understand why a lion was seen wandering, and killing a cow, on the Porbandar road. Exactly what I would do if I were a lion. The Sanctuary is far from being a haven for wildlife, its heaving with people, there are jeeps crammed with excited safari goers, cars everywhere and people, people, people.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Bee Catcher

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Black Ibis family