12 Days from$3050 p/p in USD
Guided, Small Group
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. A large cat species primarily found in the high mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, the snow leopard is an endangered species as listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Hemis National Park and Ule region in Ladakh are two of the finest places to see this elusive animal. 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.
Safari types:Birding Safari, Guided Safari, Mountain Safari, Trekking Safari, Wildlife Safari
Activities:Walking Safari, Trekking
Getting around:Transfer Vehicle
Start/end:Start in Leh, end in Leh
Timing of the Expedition
The timing of this trip is crucial because it is in the bitter cold months of January, February and March when the blue sheep, the primary prey of snow leopards, descend down to the lower valleys and the snow leopard follows its prey down. The lower valleys have human inhabitants as well and livestock, which is also easy prey for the snow leopard at this time.
Expedition leader - Aly Rashid
Wildlife and the wilderness has been a passion for Aly ever since childhood. This passion for wildlife inspired him to work with his family to set up and run Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, one of the finest wilderness camps in India. At Reni Pani Aly has been heading the naturalist team for over 7 years and in this time his passion for wildlife has been instilled in the ethos of the lodge atmosphere. A trained naturalist and ornithologist, he has travelled across the country and has been involved with wildlife in various localities. His deep involvement with Satpura since his childhood has been a motivation to protect and conserve wildlife in this landscape.
Aly inspired Reni Pani’s camera trap studies in the reserve forest area outside the park that revealed breeding populations of several large carnivores like leopards, wild dogs and sloth bear and also the presence of a young male tiger. His passion for research and conservation has also taken him to Panna National Park where he worked with renowned small cat expert and scientist Shekhar Kolipaka for the Caracal Research and Conservation Project in 2014. Aly is also involved in leading wildlife expeditions both within India and abroad.
Rates – Per Person USD
From USD 3,050 per person, based on DOUBLE occupancy
NB: minimum of 6 people is required to operate the safari
- 4 nights’ accommodation in Grand Dragon Ladakh, Leh on twin/double sharing basis
- 5 night stay in home stay in Rumbak on twin/double sharing basis
- 2 night stay in home stay 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 wilderness expert and naturalist
- 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
- International and domestic airfares
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Anything not mentioned in Includes
- Expenditure of personal nature like bottled water, laundry, telephone calls, extra beverages
- Any sudden increase in price due to steep hike in park
- Entry fees, steep hike in fuel costs or any unforeseen circumstance like extreme climate conditions, natural calamities, riots etc.
- This itinerary is owned and delivered by ‘Jehan Numa Wilderness Expeditions‘
- All prices are ‘From’ and may vary at the time of booking
- Display price is usually based on two people sharing
- ‘Jehan Numa Wilderness Expeditions‘ reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
- All itineraries are subject to availability
Day by Day Overview
Take the early morning flight from New Delhi to Leh, a high-desert city in the Himalayas in northern India. 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 the 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
Post breakfast departure for the 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 eagle, 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 more Himalayan birds like the rare ibis bill and solitary snip. In the evening guests will be taken back to the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in Leh
Early morning after breakfast we depart for Uley and arrive post lunch time. En route we will stop at Indus – Zanskar confluence for a short 30 minute walk on frozen river Zanskar which is a two hour drive from Leh. After lunch and some rest we will depart for Uley, one of the best places in the world to see snow leopard. On the way to Uley keep a look out for urial, agrali, Tibetan antelope and wolf. Upon arrival in Uley we will reach a quaint home stay for the night.
Dinner and overnight stay in Uley
After breakfast we shall explore more of Uley by walking and scanning the ridges for the snow leopard and Himalayan ibex. 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
After breakfast we will explore Uley a little more, this will help us increase our chances of seeing the snow leopard and other wildlife 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 with the possibility of seeing some wildlife on the way.
Dinne and overnight stay in Leh
This is the part we have been building up to. Post breakfast we make our way to Hemis National Park. From Phey bridge onward we go alongside Indus towards the Zingche Gorge. We continue up the Gorge and soon enough lay our eyes on the high altitude Hemis National Park, home of the 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, our first night in the stunning Hemis wilderness.
Dinner and overnight in Rumbak
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 winter is the time that they descend to lower elevations.
If you’re lucky you will see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a vertical ridge. 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.
Usually we will have breakfast at the home stay and set out for the day in search for high altitude wildlife. A 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.
Dinner and overnight in Rumbak
Today we will explore Urutse (13,500 ft) and Gandala Pass base which is known for its ibex, Eurasian lynx and Tibetan wolf. We will trek up the valley scanning the mountains for snow leopards with a 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.
Dinner and overnight in Rumbak
After an early breakfast we walk down the valley towards Zinchen, which is the entry point of Hemis National Park. This walk is mostly down hill and we will take it slow, continuing 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
After breakfast transfer to Leh airport for the onward flight.