Snow Leopard & Brown Bears

Highlights

  Snow leopard opportunities
  Inspiring scenery
  Photographic dream 
  Home-stays, meet the locals 
  Glorious birds

Dates: 5 – 16 November 2020

Price is from £4,875.00 pp

Ladakh is today one of the largest Union Territories in India and is home to exceptional wildlife. This diversity is a result of the unique landscape and the weather conditions in the region. The fauna of Ladakh has much in common with that of Central Asia in general and that of the Tibetan Plateau in particular. Brown Bears, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Wolf & Fox are just a few of the amazing wildlife found in this region.

Exceptions to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds – a total of 225 species have been recorded. Many species of finches, robins, redstarts and the hoopoe are common in summer. The brown-headed gull is seen in summer on the river Indus and on some lakes of the Changthang.

At a Glance

  • Price is £4,875 00 pp.
  • Group size is a minimum of 8.
  • Duration is 12 nights in India.
  • Accommodation is in either home-stays or cottages.
  • Price includes international and internal flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and activities stated in the itinerary.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi, freshen up and then fly to Ladakh.

Days 1 – 2: Acclimatisation in Ladakh.
This morning you take a morning flight to Leh in Ladakh. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Leh. Acclimatizing is important as the expedition takes you to an elevation of 3500m to about 4900m. To make this more enjoyable there is some local sightseeing in and around Leh for those who feel up to it. It is imperative that all guests spend at least 2 days in Leh to acclimatize.

Leh, a high-desert city in the Himalayas, is the capital of the Leh region in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. Originally a stop for trading caravans, Leh is now known for its Buddhist sites and nearby trekking areas. Massive 17th-century Leh Palace, modeled on the Dalai Lama’s former home (Tibet’s Potala Palace), overlooks the old town’s bazaar and mazelike lanes. Explore to your hearts content.

Accommodation: The Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh. This is perhaps the best and the most comfortable accommodation option in Leh, a good place to begin and end your hardy wilderness experience. The rooms are well designed and luxuriously appointed with contemporary fittings like double glazing, centrally controlled air conditioning and heating, LED Satellite TV, in-room electronic safe and spacious en suite bathrooms.

These rooms have large picture windows and offer uninterrupted views of the snowcapped Stok Kangri Mountains, or Khardung La pass, Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa.

Days 3 – 6: Dras – Search for the Brown Bear
Acclimatized and well rested this morning we make our way to Dras. Here we explore the region in search for the Brown Bear, visit the Shina Tribal Village, Shina or Shin are a Dardic tribe who speak an Indo-Aryan language called Shina. The days here are spent Brown Bear tracking along with other Trans-Himalayan wildlife like Tibetan wolves, ibex, red foxes, long-tailed marmots and perhaps even snow leopards can be encountered on these trips which include Umba-La (access is based on snow levels at the time of the year) and the apricot orchards in the beautiful village of Karketchu.

Accommodation: Himalayan Brown Bear Lodge near Dras.

Days 7 – 10: Snow Leopard Expedition into the hills.
We transfer to Ulley. Here we will spend the days trekking through the valley in search for wildlife. Expert trackers and spotters accompany the group to ensure the best opportunities to spot wildlife. Ladakh at the northern boundary of India, is a once in a lifetime, must visit destination.

The stark natural beauty is awe-inspiring as is the elusive and enigmatic snow leopard that is found amid the mountains of Ladakh. The climate of the area is sub-arctic to arctic with less rainfall during summers and heavy snowfall during winters and temperature dropping much below freezing point.

Each day we walk out of our accommodation and explore the area. Ulley lies at the heart of three interlocking valleys that support between eight and ten snow leopards (based on the most recent census data). All the time our guides will be tracking snow leopards, as well as looking for wolf, urial, ibex, fox and an array of birds that surprisingly thrive in this harsh winter landscape. Ulley village and its surrounding area have only recently been developed for snow leopard watching and is the perfect place to get away from the crowds and spend time with nature.

Accommodation: Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley is perhaps the best and the most comfortable accommodation in the region when searching for the elusive snow leopard. The lodge consists of 4 bedrooms, built separately from the main house with a dining room and kitchen – all in the same low stone built building. 

Add to this the interest of living with a Ladakhi family in the depths of winter and understanding their life-style and you have a very special experience in store – especially sharing the large and warm kitchens that are the heart of a Ladkahi home.

Day 11: Continue to explore Ulley Valley. In the afternoon transfer back to Leh.
Accommodation: The Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh

Day 12: This morning catch a flight to Delhi. You have the day at leisure.
Accommodation: Overnight will be at the Holiday Inn, Aerocity.

Day 13: Early morning transfer to the International airport and catch you flight back home.