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Sanjay Gandhi Lion Safari in Mumbai Sucks

Sleeping Lion, Sanjay Gandhi National Park Lion Safari, Mumbai
The only lion we saw on the entire lion safari, at least it wasn't completely caged like the tigers

I’m a huge fan of animals, especially getting to see exciting things like lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys, etc. in the wild. When planning my time in Mumbai, India I was happy to find the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the north of the city. With limited time, and considering what I read, I figured I’d skip the nature walk and mainly just do the Lion and Tiger Safari (supposedly there’s a good chance of seeing some leopards as well). Sounds cool right? Well I’m here to tell you it’s not…

White Tiger, Sanjay Gandhi National Park Lion Safari
The caged white tiger of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, only seen from the Lion Safari

This Lion Safari was not even as exciting as a drive through the San Diego Wild Animal park. It starts by driving through 2 cage doors in the safari bus. I kind of figured it was not what I thought it was going to be as soon as I realized the animals were actually caged in. We drove along a semi-paved path for a few minutes, until we came up on a couple large cages. One cage played host to a lone white tiger, while the other had a mother and her 2 adolescent cubs, just sleeping. 7 minutes after we entered, we continued on, out of the main fenced complex, out 2 more doors, and further down a paved road. Entering another large fenced area through 2 more gates we came across a single male lion sleeping in the grass. A minute or 2 so everyone could take a photo, and we exited the complex. At least this lion was semi-free, although still confined by the master complex of maybe an acre or 2. Less than 30 minutes later, and the bus returned to the ticketing area to drop us off.

Mother Tiger With Babies, Sanjay Gandhi Lion Safari
A mother tiger with her cubs at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park

So the safari sucked; it was worse than a zoo because you couldn’t even get as close to the animals, there were more fences between you, and you were stuck in a bus (possibly in a bad seat). At least it only cost 30 rupees entrance to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and 50 rupees for the Lion Safari, less than $2 usd in total. I’m also pleased I didn’t get too discouraged and lazy from this failure of a safari. I contemplated skipping the second main attraction of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the Kanheri Caves, which turned out to be very cool and will be referred to as Petra II in a forthcoming article (Petra, Jordan being one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen).

Sanjay Gandhi National Park Lion & Tiger Safari Map

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