The Marine National Park and sanctuary lies on the Gulf of Kutch region. This is one unique region in the whole of the world where exotic marine creatures can be viewed even without taking a deep sea dive or just by wading through the waters during the ebbing tide periods. The marine national park has an area of 162.89 sq kms while the sanctuary has an area of about 457 sq kms. The area is made up of 42 islands in total. Out of these 42 islands beautiful coral reefs can be spotted in nearly 33 islands. Mangrove swamps, sandy beaches, creek networks, mudflats, sea weed and grass beds etc are the major features you could visualize in the ecosystem that supports the teeming marine life at the marine national park and sanctuary. Of the many islands of the park, the Pirotan Island is the most famed one as it is actually a remarkable treasure trove of rare marine life.
Marine Life at the Park
Marine life at the marine national park is exotic, rejuvenating, enormous and awe-inspiring. Most of these sea creatures can be viewed during a wading session at low tide. Giant sea anemones with scores of harbor shrimps sticking to them in clusters is a sight you will probably not forget all through life. Over 40 species of vibrantly colored sponges, color changing octopuses, starfishes, strange sea cucumbers, puffer fish, star fish, dolphins and many more.
Birds at the Park
Many are avian species too flock at the park. Herons, spoonbills, painted strokes, ducks, gulls, egrets, little cormorants, ibises, Osprey Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, Teens, Pallas’s fish eagle are some of the birds that can be spotted with ease at the marine national park.
Best Time to Visit
The winter months spanning between the end of the October month and the end of the February month are ideal for undertaking a trip of the marine national park. The summer months of April-May need to be avoided as the sun’s heat is unbearable during that time. Also, the monsoon months of June, July and August are unsuitable for the trip as the area becomes too muddy and watery.
How to Reach
If you are traveling by air, you have to take a flight to the nearest airport of Jamnagar located at a distance of nearly 7kms from the Marine national park and then complete the rest of the journey by means of road transport. If you wish to avail the road route you can reach Jamnagar city from any other part of Gujarat by means of private and public buses or cabs. If you plan to travel by train, Jamnagar railway station and Rajkot railway station are the two railheads falling in vicinity to the park. Thus you need to travel by train to any of these parks before you could reach the park by hiring a cab/taxi from the station.
If you wish to travel through the water way, you can hire a boat from Jamnagar’s Nava port or Bedi port. For doing so you must reach the port at least one hour prior to the high tide and arrange few hours of journey in either direction. To have a hassle-free boat ride to the islands of marine national park, you need to be well aware of the boat timings and tide timings that vary seasonally.
Travel Tips For a Tour
If you are planning to visit the marine national park then these travel tips may come handy. Read on
- Make sure to carry drinking water.
- You must know about the timings of low tide prior to visiting the park and thus plan your trip accordingly.
- Carrying binoculars is advised as you can, in that case, catch a clearer and magnified image of the sea creatures.
- Wearing a broad beamed hat is a must to shield yourself from the scorching sun rays.
- Wading through the knee deep sea waters would be necessary when you visit the marine national park. Thus, wearing sandals is a must.
- Exploring the sea bed and beaches may require about 2-3 hrs. So, keeping dry fruits and biscuits is advisable in order to get rid of the hunger pangs.
- Hiring a guide can improve your understanding of the marine life and inculcate interest in it.
Entry & Fares
The entry fee for Marine National Park is Rs 150 per head and in case, you hire a guide you have to pay another Rs 100 per head.
You could put up at the rest house managed by the forest department located nearly 8kms from Jamnagar. Also there are numerous luxury, medium-range plus budget hotels at Jamnagar where too you could choose to stay. Some of the well known hotels where you could consider staying are: Hotel President, Aram hotel, Mepani Corporation etc.
Things to Do
The main activities you could undertake at the park are-
- Wade through shallow sea waters to explore the exotic wildlife unfolding out of the receding tile.
- Take some of the weird creature into your hands and marvel at the close look you are able to take of them.
- To take as many photographs as you can of these exotic marine life.
- To indulge in the most enjoyable bird watching.