Vansda National Park

Vansda National Park, also known as Bansda National Park, is a protected area which represents the thick woodlands of the Dangs and southern Gujarat, and is situated in the Vansda tehsil, Navsari District of Gujarat state, India. Riding on the banks of Ambika River and measuring roughly 24 km2 in area, the park lies about 65 km east of the town of Chikhali on the National Highway 8, and about 80 km northeast of the city of Valsad. Vansda, the town from which the name of the park is derived, is an important trading place for the surrounding area where the majority of the population is represented by adivasis. Vansda-Waghai state highway runs through the park, so does the narrow gauge rail link connecting Ahwa to Billimora.

Established in 1979 as a National Park, the deciduous forest area having groves of “Katas” bamboo owes its beauty to no felling of trees since 1952. Nestled in the Western Ghats of Sahyadri range, it has a unique flavour of flora and fauna population.

Apart from the botanical garden, some of the other attractions include local tribes, “Gira Falls”, and the “Conservation center”. As a part of developing ecotourism Gujarat Government has developed a campsite at Kilad. There is also a deer breeding center maintained by Nature Club Surat in this region.

The best time to visit is post-monsoon season till winter when the forests are lush green and streams are full.


Animals found in the park include the Indian leopard, dhole, rhesus macaque, common palm civet, Hanuman langur, small Indian civet, four-horned antelope, wild boar, Indian porcupine, barking deer, striped hyena, jungle cat, flying squirrel, pangolin and Indian giant squirrel. Pythons and venomous snakes such as the Russell’s viper, cobras and kraits can also be found.

In 1992, a rusty-spotted cat was spotted in a farmhouse at a plantation of mangoes in this park. In February 2020, dholes were sighted in the park, with camera traps confirming the presence of two individuals in May 2020. This was the first time in 50 years that dholes were confirmed in Gujarat.

Like Purna Wildlife Sanctuary in the Dangs’ Forest, and Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary,[citation needed] the Bengal tiger is reportedly extinct in the State of Gujarat. However, since the area where the state borders Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh has tigers anyway, the forest is a potential habitat of the tiger.

Here, a high diversity of species of forest birds is the main attraction for ecotourism. About 155 species of birds are found including common grey hornbill, grey-fronted green pigeon, yellow backed sunbird, Malabar trogon, jungle babbler, forest spotted owlet, shama, great Indian black woodpecker, are found. Apart from this, there is a variety of insects, centipedes, millipedes and snails. There are about 121 species of spider including the giant wood spider, the largest species of spider in Gujarat.


There are 443 species of flowering plants. This includes teak, sadad, khakhro, kadad, humb, timru, kalam, bamboo, dudhkod, mahudo, behda, umaro, kusum, tanach, asan, shimlo, ambla, sisam, chopadi bondaro, etc. There is a variety of colourful orchids at Ambika river.



About The Place: This 24 km National Park was once the private property of the King of Vansda. The tall trees making a thick canopy making the ground dark even during mid-day is a unique aspect of these forests unlike the other forests in Gujarat. The generous rainfall has aided the growth of teak and bamboo growth creating the cool shadows. Vansda Park in fact is a fertile ground for over 450 species of plants of which 443 are flowering plants.

Wild animals such tigers, wild dogs, otters, sloth bears and sambar used to abound in Vansda but sadly they are almost completely absent now. Instead, leopard, hyena, chital, chausingha, jungle cat, common palm civet, mongoose, macaque, barking deer, wild boar, langur, porcupine, flying squirrel, flying fox, pangolin, rusty-spotted cast are all found in Vansda now.

However, the main draw at Vansda is its birds. This bird watchers paradise showcases 115 species of birds, including the racket-tailed drongo, paradise flycatcher, pompadour pigeon, grey hornbill, jungle babbler, yellow back sunbird, leaf birds, thrushes, peafowls as well as the globally threatened forest spotted owlet and birds found only in the Western Ghats, like the Indian great black woodpecker, Malabar trogon, shama and emerald dove.

Look out for: Racket-Tailed Drongo, Paradise Flycatcher, Pompadour Pigeon, Grey Hornbill, Jungle Babbler and Yellow Back Sunbird.

Be one of few to record: Indian Pitta.

Seasons: Pre-monsoon to winter.

Recommended time in the field: 2 Days.


The best time to visit is from the pre-monsoon season to winter, when the forest is at its most lush and the streams are full.

You will most likely see more birds and plant-life than wild animals, but if you keep your eyes sharp, especially if you have some experience, look out for tracks and droppings through which to learn about the lives of the animals.

Ahwa, 28 km away, has more facilities. Saputara also has comfortable facilities and is often used as a base to explore the area, but is 60 km away. In Waghai, the nearest town to the park, 4 km away, the facilities are more basic, but also more charming, and can serve as an appealing alternative base.

How to get there

By Road: The town of Waghai is 51 km away. Ahmedabad: 409 km. Surat: 164 km. Mumbai: 250 km. Vadodara: 309 km. There are State Transport buses and private luxury coaches from Waghai and Ahmedabad. If you are coming by a private car, than National Highway might be quicker, but the state highway will offers a stunningly scenic drive.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Waghai, on the Billimora-Waghai narrow gauge section of the Western Railway. For those coming from Gujarat via Surat or Ahmedabad or even from Mumbai, Billimora is the more convenient rail head, and a direct bus service is available from there.

By Air: The nearest airport is Vadodara, 309 km away.

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