In Search of the Snow Leopard

Tracking and photographing high-altitude mammals and their predators
Overview

overview

Snow Leopards are rare throughout their range in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.  Hunting sparse game over large territories of very rugged terrain, it is difficult to predict or plan to see a Snow Leopard in the wild and there are never guarantees. However, JOURNEYS senior naturalist-guide Avi Sarkhel has been monitoring a particular Snow Leopard population in Ladakh which he has  been able to relocate on frequent occasions. Observing and photographing these Snow Leopards of Ladakh will be the main goal of this trip.  Certainly you will also see other mammals and birds, as well; and each evening you'll enjoy the traditional Ladakhi hospitality for which this Buddhist area of the Himalayas is noted.  Several nights will be spent in tents, and temperatures may go down to 5 degrees fahrenheit. You may hike higher than 13,000’ after acclimatizing in the Indus and Zanskar Valleys at 11,000’.  In the past, the Snow Leopards have been observed both close to the villages where you will stay and in more remote areas accessed by full days of vigorous hiking, sometimes through snow.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: arrive delhi

    Arrive at Delhi International Airport, where your guide will meet you. Transfer to hotel.

     

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Shanti Home Stay (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: leh
    Ladakh Urial Male

    Your guide will transfer you to the airport early in the morning for your flight to Leh. On arrival, meet your crew and drive to the Mahe Retreat or Omasila. The rest of the day is free in order to acclimatize. Share a meal with your guide in the evening.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Mahe Retreat or Omasila (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: leh

    If you're up for it, tour the Shey and Thikshey monasteries. Explore one of the palaces, Stok or Leh. Those who don't tour in the morning will tour in the afternoon, while the morning group rests.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Mahe Retreat or Omasila (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: leh

    This will be the last day for acclimatization. Short birding trips to the Spituk, Sakti or Shey are will be organized. If you wish to explore the near and surrounds yourself or see a monastery, this can also be organized.  

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Mahe Retreat or Omasila (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: leh to hemis national park
    Lammergeier hovering overheard

    After a scrumptious breakfast, you will be driven from Leh to the entrance of Hemis National Park, about 1-2 hours drive. Here you will leave the car and meet your local tracker and then start the trek to the base camp looking for snow leopards and other mammals along the way. On reaching camp, you will relax for a while, settle in with a hot drink and possibly have lunch. 

    In the afternoon, your expert guide will take you down the trails frequented by the elusive snow leopard, and will teach you the art of tracking these big cats. You may be lucky and see one on your first day! The excursion will last 3-4 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tented Camp
    Show on a map
  • Days 6-13: hemis national park and ulley village
    Golden Eagle

    The next 8 days will be spent searching for snow leopards, your guides will decide on a day to day basis where the best places to go will be and also if they stay in Hemis or try Ulley Valley, which might mean packing camp up and leaving the area and driving to Ulley which is three hours or more from the entrance to the park. The main priority of the tour is the Snow Leopard and the tour leaders will decide if and when it makes sense to try for Himalayan Ibex or another mammal.  

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tented Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: hemis to leh
    Snow leopards

    After a final hike inside the sanctuary or at Ulley, you will be driven back to Leh. The rest of the day is yours to relax and celebrate the trip, whether you spotted the snow leopard or not.

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Mahe Retreat or Omasila (or similar)
  • Day 15: delhi

    Depart in a private vehicle to the airport, where you will catch your plane to Delhi. The flight offers spectacular views of the second highest peak on earth, K2. Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met at the airport and taken to the hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Shanti House (or similar)
  • Day 16: delhi

    This day is a buffer in case you lose a day due to weather. If all has gone as planned, tour Delhi or go for a short birding tour in Okhla, a neighborhood in the South Delhi district.

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Show on a map
  • Day 17: depart delhi

    Drive to the airport and catch your flight home.

    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Jan 31-Feb 16, 2016
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$4,750
group size 3-5 add $200
Single Supplement:
$425
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
17 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
1
Group Size:
6-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
5
JOURNEYS grading system from I to IV will help you choose an experience with physical demands which match your motivation. 1. Active Active exploration with optional day hikes, easy walking, leisurely bicycling or light canoeing. Comfortable travel by vehicle. 2. Vigorous Experience may include regular hiking or physical exercise in varied environments. Travel by vehicle may be long or over rough terrain. 3. Challenging Parts of trip will involve physical challenge. Daily hiking in rough terrain, high altitude, rough road travel and remoteness from modern medical care may be unavoidable circumstances. 4. Demanding Extended foot travel in very remote areas. Previous wilderness travel experience advisable. Doctor's certification may be requested.

Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in Journeys Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Custom trips and private departures require $800 per person deposit. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: Journeys can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

Download Trip Itinerary

Please tell us specifically the name of the website, publication or friend, or 'other' place where you heard about us.
×
×