Some years ago a world famous ornithologist and I were hosted by our mutual friend Muzahid Malik at his safari, bird watching and cultural establishment on the edge of the salt flats of the Litlle Rann of Kutchh in the Indian state of Gujarat. Muzahid comes from an illustrious lineage traced to the 15th century. His ancestor, Baktiar-ud-din was awarded the 24 sq mile jagir (Indian equivalent of a dukedom) of Dasada for military service rendered to the Sultan of Gujarat and bestowed the title of Malik Bakhan. We could not have a more amiable and caring host.
Our trysts in the flats, bush and villages accompanied by Muzahid himself or his Naturalists were like exploring a macrocosm through a microscope. Secrets were unveiled, stories were told and introductions to local people both familiar and friendly.
The Rann Riders Resort at Dasada lies 90 km northwest of Ahmedabad. Here, to my mind, one can have some of the most engaging Rann experiences. Accompanied by conversant and passionate naturalists and guides, you can sign-up for panoramic photo safaris, self-drive cross desert safaris, birding, horseback riding and safaris, camelback riding and safaris, camel cart rides and safaris, captivating village excursions, camping, fishing, motorcycle and cycle tours, compelling cross-country jeep and wildlife safaris, and participate in the music and dance of local communities.
In keeping with the tradition of their ancestors, the owners of Dasada extend their undivided attention to every guest, garnished with the generous hospitality of the Kathiawad region. This destination works equally well for an off-beat lazy holiday, active adventure and discovery, quality time with the family, bonding with friends, an experiential honeymoon or for an epicureans’ feast.
Set amidst agricultural fields and wetlands, each of the 32 air-conditioned cottages (in single, double and twin configurations) provide a dry dressing area and a tiled bathroom with western-style toilet fittings and hot-and-cold water showers. The cottages have wheel-chair access, provide a tea and coffee maker, free internet, the expected toiletries (razor and toothbrush on request), and a make-up mirror. The resort has a meeting room with AV equipment. Massages, laundry and babysitting services are available. There is ample secure parking space. The reception and restaurant are open only during the day.