The Snow Leopard, locally known as Shan, is one of the rarest large cat species found anywhere in the world. It is so difficult to see largely because of the tough and rugged terrain it is found in. It is a large cat species primarily found in the high mountain ranges of Central and South Asia and it is an endangered species as listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Hemis National Park and Ule region in Ladakh are 2 of the finest places to see this elusive animal. The timing of this trip is crucial because in the bitter cold months of January, February and March Blue Sheep, the primary prey of Snow Leopard, descend down to the lower valleys and the Snow Leopard too follows it prey down.
The lower valleys have human inhabitants as well and livestock is also easy prey for Snow Leopard at this time. Apart from this rare animal Ladakh is also home to other lesser known species like the Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Lynx, Argali (Great Tibetan Sheep), Bharal (Blue Sheep), Shapu (Ladakhi Urial), the Ibex and several others that with a bit of luck could be seen on this trip.
Day 1 - Arrive Leh (L & D)
Take the early morning flight to Leh from New Delhi. Upon arrival, transfer to the Grand Dragon Ladakh located near Leh market. Complete rest of the day is highly recommended as it eases the process of acclimatization .Also sipping hot tea while stretching your legs in the lap of Himalayas is definitely not a bad way to start your trip. Alternatively you can also choose to visit the local market in the evening for a bit of last moment shopping required for the expedition. Dinner and overnight stay in Leh.
Day 2 - Local wildlife viewing (B, L & D)
Post breakfast departure for full day drive to Gya and Lato area close to the town of Leh for some viewing of Blue Sheep and trans-Himalayan birds like Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagles, Chukar Partridge, Tibetan Partridge, Great Rose finch and others. These areas lie in the same valley as Leh and in similar altitude giving guests a good chance of acclimatizing and seeing wildlife at the same time. We will stop and have a picnic lunch at a scenic spot in the valley. Post lunch we will make our way towards the Indus River and a walk around the river bank for some Himalayan birds like the rare Ibis bill and Solitary Snip. In the evening guests will be taken back to the hotel for dinner, overnight in Leh.
Day 3 - Drive to Uley - Route Experience Frozen walk (B, L & D)
Early morning after breakfast we depart for Uley and reach by post lunch time. On route we will halt at Indus - Zanskar confluence & do short 30 minute walk on frozen river Zanskar which is a 2 hours drive from Leh. After lunch and some rest we will depart for Uley which is one of the best places in the world to see snow leopard. On route to Uley keep a look out for Urial, Agrali, Tibetan Antelope and Wolf. Upon arrival in Uley we will reach in to a quaint home stay. Dinner and overnight stay in Uley.
Day 4 - Explore Uley (B, L & D)
After breakfast we shall explore more of Uley by walking and scanning the ridges for the Snow Leopard and Himalayan Ibes. Hot lunch will arrive depending on where we are. Late evening we will make our way back to the home stay, Dinner & overnight stay in Uley.
Day 5 - Explore Uley & overnight at Leh (B, L & D)
After breakfast we will explore Uley a little more, this will help us increase our chances of seeing the snow leopard and some other wild life in and around the area. We will make our way back to the home stay for lunch and post lunch depart to Leh. This drive will take us approximately 5 hours possibilities of seeing some wildlife on the way Overnight in Leh.
Day 6 - Leh to Zenchen Trek to Rumbak (B, L & D)
This is the part that we have been building up to. Post breakfast we make our way to the Hemis National Park. From Phey, bridge onward we start along-side Indus towards the Zingche Gorge. We continue up the Gorge and soon enough lay our eyes on the high altitude Hemis National Park the home of Snow Leopard. Keep your senses sharp and look out amidst the cliffs and at the base of rocks where they mark their turf. We spend our night in the Rumbak home stay and it is our 1st night in the stunning Hemis wilderness. Overnight at Rumbak.
Day 7 to 9 - Explore Rumbak (B, L & D)
Over the next 4 days we trek around Hemis National Park tracking the snow leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is a home to blue sheep, Argali (a large horned sheep). Numerous mountain and migratory birds,as well as the occasional Tibetan Wolf, one of the most prolific hunters of the region. You are likely to see sights of Snow Leopard,as winters is the time that they descend to lower elevations. If lucky you see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a vertical ridge. Usually we will have breakfast at the home stay and set out for the day in search for high altitude wildlife. Hot lunch will be served at the location where we are searching. After the day’s wildlife viewing we will return to our home stay and have dinner. Overnight at Rumbak Snow leopards naturally predate on Wild Bharal (blue sheep) or Himalayan Ibex (mountain goats) but they are also known to kill domestic animals like Yak and Zho, this is the reason both Uley and Rumbak, although village areas, are one of the best places in the world to see the otherwise extremely elusive Snow Leopard.
Day 10 - Explore Rumbak (B, L & D)
Today we will explore Urutse (13500ft) and Gandala pass base which is known for its Ibex, Eurasian Lynx and Tibetan Wolf. We will trek up valley scanning the mountains for snow leopards with packed lunch. Expect to reach Urutse at lunch time.
Post our arrival in Urutse we rest for a while, have lunch, scan for some wildlife on the high passes and then start making our way back to Rumbak. Overnight at Rumbak.
Due to the rugged terrain of the Himalayas most of the herbivores are related to the agile footed sheep. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 11 - Urutse to Zinche (Back to Leh)
After an early breakfast we walk down the valley past familiar towards Zingchen, which is the entry point of Hemis National Park. This walk is mostly down-hill and we will take it slow and keep on our search for Snow Leopard and other Himalayan wildlife. As we arrive Zinchen we will have hot lunch at the entry point and the move towards Leh. After a much needed and deserved showers it is time to relax, grab a drink and enjoy the last of the gorgeous and peaceful Himalayan scenery. Farewell dinner and overnight in Leh.
Day 12 - Leh – Delhi (B, L & D)
After breakfast transfer to Leh airport for flight to Delhi.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Minimum size of the group to operate should be 6 Pax
- 4 Nights accommodation in Grand Dragon Ladakh, leh on twin/double sharing basis
- 5 Night stay in homestay in Rumbak on twin/double sharing basis
- 2 Night stay in homestay in Uley on twin / double sharing basis
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
- Service of an expert naturalist and spotter for the group
- Jehan Numa Expeditions tour leader
- Surface transfer as per plan
- Inner liner permits(if required), monastery fees and wildlife permits for entire trip
- 1 still camera fee per person for entire trip.
- Insurance fee
- Any meal other than what is specified above or anything not mentioned in inclusions above.
- Any expenditure of personal nature like bottled water, laundry, telephone calls, extra beverages. Any sudden increase in price due to steep hike in park Entry Fee, steep hike in fuel cost or due to any unforeseen circumstance like extreme climate conditions, natural calamities, riots etc.
- Guests must be aware that due to the climatic and altitudinal conditions in Ladakh, the schedule and itinerary may change at short notice
- Based on the sightings we may also make the schedule flexible so as to maximize chance of seeing the Snow Leopard or other wildlife that participants are expecting to see
- Due to the elusive nature of almost every animal in Ladakh guests must know that we do not give any guarantee of viewing and you will need a good deal of luck to see the snow leopard apart from the obvious skills of the tracking team
- Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a common occurrence in Ladakh and we recommend to all guests to visit their general physician before signing up for this program. Medicines like Diamox can be taken for pre-relief from this condition but only after consultation with your physician. Out team will not recommend any medication or line of treatment in situations where guests are suffering from AMS. However, we will do our best in quick relief management and ensuring that guests can reach the closest professional medical assistance.
- Temperatures can plummet to -25 C and it is recommended that guests carry suitable equipment including sleeping bags suited for sub-zero temperatures.
- Guests are required to obtain a valid travel insurance which also covers adventure travel. This will be mandatory before signing up for the program.
Aly Rashid – 1 February to 12 February 2023
1 February-12 February 2023
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