The state government is opening up the Borivli national park to visitors for overnight camps, for the first time ever. The first such camp will be held on Saturday, with bookings now open for singles, groups and families.
The options for accommodation include dormitories and family tents at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) campsite, with the schedule for the 18-hour camp featuring guided sessions of stargazing and bird-watching within the lush SGNP.
“We want to give Mumbaiites a chance to know SGNP better,” said Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of forests at SGNP. “The national park is not just about boat rides and mini-trains. It has rich and diverse flora and fauna that many citizens are unaware of,” he added.
To offer a well-rounded experience, experts, including naturalist Shardul Bajikar and herpetologist Saunak Pal have been roped in as camp guides. Astronomy group Khagol Mandal will assist in the star-gazing sessions, and bird watcher and zoologist Parvish Pandya will lead the morning bird trails.
“The early morning experience of waking up to bird calls is what is missing in many Mumbaiites’ lives. While the session is called bird watching, one can experience various other components of nature in this trail, including insects, trees and plants,” says Pandya.
Two days after registrations opened, slots have already been booked. “This trip will be convenient as it’s in the city, and yet we will be able to experience all the elements of nature that we do during treks in far-off places,” says Rajshree Khatau, 48, a merchandise manager, avid trekker and Andheri resident who has booked a tent for herself and her 25-year-old son, Dhruv.
For 40-year-old educationist and photography enthusiast Priyanka Khade, this will be her first-ever nature trail. “I am excited to take photographs inside the forest. I am sure I will come back with some great images,” she said.
WHAT: Overnight camp at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali
WHEN: 5 pm on Saturday to 10.30 am on Sunday
COST: Prices start at Rs 2,000 per person, inclusive of all food and activities
CALL: 2884-7800, 94039-25626