Snow Leopard Expedition: 14 Days in Ladakh

Snow Leopard Expedition: 14 Days in Ladakh

This Snow Leopard tour with Brad Josephs is a rare opportunity to spot and photograph elusive Snow Leopards in the wild. We'll use the same guides and trackers as BBC’s Planet Earth II and NatGeo's Hostile Planet. The majority of this trip is based deep in Hemis National Park in Ladakh, India, with one of the world’s highest concentrations of snow leopards.

The high reaches of the Ladakh Range are prime territory for the magnificent Snow Leopard. As the winter sets in and the snow line descends, these shy and elusive creatures move down to lower altitudes in search of their prey, the bhairal, urial, and the arghali, the mountain sheep and antelope of this region. We'll explore Hemis National Park on daily treks with our expert spotters Khenrab and Dorjey to spot and track snow leopards on this once-in-a-lifetime snow leopard tour.

This 14 day adventure starts off with a day in Delhi before we head up to the high mountains of Ladakh. A few easy days of sightseeing initially allows us to gently acclimatize to the 10,000+ foot altitude of Leh. After that we head off on a short trek to a small village within the national park. Here we'll be hosted in camps that will afford us warm shelter on cold winter nights and be our base as we explore the nearby area in search of the ghost of the mountains.

Hemis National Park is India's largest conservation area with over 1,700 square miles of territory. The park lies within the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe ecoregion, and contains pine forests, alpine shrublands and meadows, and alpine tundra. Most reports indicate that the park is home to a large breeding population of snow leopards mainly in the Rumbak and Matho area.

Key Information

  • Price $7523
  • Duration 6+ days
  • Group Size 5+
  • Date 16/02/2020 - 29/02/2020

Highlights

  • Track Snow Leopards with Expert Trackers
  • Learn about Wildlife Photography & Film-making from Naturalist & Photographer Brad Josephs
  • Other wildlife includes Eurasian Lynx, Tibetan Wolves, Blue Sheep, Fox

Itinerary

Snow Leopard Tour Day 1
Arrive in Delhi
We’ll pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the Roseate House. Breakfast.

Snow Leopard Tour Day 2
Delhi to Leh
An early wake-up call today as we catch the morning flight to the Trans-Himalayan town of Leh. Leh straddles the old silk route and was a nexus of important Central Asian trade routes till the late 1950’s. Today the bustling town serves as an entry point to a dozen different types of mountain and high altitude adventures. We’ll check-in to our hotel in Leh, the Grand Dragon, and spend the day at a pace that is slower than normal to properly acclimatize to the high altitude. We recommend reading a book, drinking a few cups of tea, and enjoying the view. Time is the best way to acclimatize. In the evening we’ll have a welcome dinner and trip briefing with the whole crew. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Grand Dragon Hotel.

Snow Leopard Tour Day 3
Walking tour of Leh.
Stretch your legs and continue to acclimatize on today’s guided tour of the old town of Leh, the Leh Palace, and Namgyal Tsemo, the beautiful 16th century monument to victory that crowns the central peak in Leh. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Grand Dragon Hotel

Snow Leopard Tour Day 4
Leh to Zingchen. Trek begins.
We’ll set out for Hemis National Park today with an hour long drive to Zingchen. We’ll start the trek with a walk to our camp. Spend the daylight hours searching for the elusive ghost of the mountains through your binoculars and the evenings around the kitchen fire or tucked into your ultra warm sleeping bags. Breakfast, lunch, dinner at Camp, or packed.

Snow Leopard Tour Day 5 – 11
Exploring Hemis National Park
We’ll explore Hemis National Park with out expert spotters on the look out for wildlife such as the Argali (Great Tibetan Sheep), Bharal (Blue Sheep), Shapu (Ladakhi Urial), and the elusive Snow Leopard. Our camps will be moved depending on our spotting success and intel reports of snow leopard spotting around the valley. Each day will consist of trekking for a few kilometers, perhaps 4-6 KM per day. We will also stay in the village of Rumbak at a homestay when we get near it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner at Camp, or packed.

Snow Leopard Tour Day 12
Trek to Zingchen, drive to Leh
After a trek to Zingchen and a short drive to Leh, re-discover the comforts of a hot shower. Free day to rest, relax, and explore Leh. If you’re interested in picking up some souvenirs or antiques, one of our guides can take you shopping. Breakfast, lunch, dinner at Grand Dragon Hotel.

Snow Leopard Tour Day 13
Fly to Delhi
Say goodbye to the mountains and fly to Delhi in the morning. Arrive in Delhi and check in to the Roseate House for a relaxing end to your amazing adventure in the Trans Himalaya. Breakfast

Snow Leopard Tour Day 14
Fly out of India
Book a late afternoon or evening flight to make sure you’ve left enough gap time just in case our previous day’s flight is rescheduled due to bad mountain weather. Breakfast.

Please note that this itinerary may change slightly depending on the areas where snow leopards have been spotted in the lead up to your trip.

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Andy

Andy Suiter – August 17, 2019

This is the second time I've traveled with Voygr Expeditions, and I'm sure to come back for more. What makes Voygr so special is that they have created adventures that are deeply aligned with and respectful of the land, the people, and the wildlife who live where we travel. The Snow Leopard tour is a true adventure. You're a few hours hike in the Himalayas, and you camp surrounded by nothing but ridges and peaks for miles and miles. You have all of the freedom you would want to explore, but they also provide the comforts you would expect from a high end luxury tour. Compared to other companies in the area, we no doubt had the best set up - the best guides, meals, tent (more like giant yurts) set ups (we had in tent heaters turned on at sunrise, and about an hour before we went to bed), and Expert trackers. Behzad and his team were great with the communications and planning ahead of time, pick up was a breeze, and everything was taken care of from beginning to end. All I had to worry about was being present and enjoying every moment of the trip. The service was unlike anything I've seen. No matter where you were, tea and cookies would find you. Each meal was multi coursed and delicious. It was a great mix of local style food, Indian food, and good old comfort food (pancakes were a treat). I went into this trip with zero expectations around seeing a snow leopard or any other wildlife. I was excited to just be in the mountains, and meet great people, but I ended up seeing so much more than I could have imagined - tibetan wolves, eurasian lynx, beautiful golden eagles, lammergeiers, and of course the snow leopard. Viewing the snow leopard for hours was truly special, and Behzad's team and the others on the trip were the perfect people to enjoy it with. Lastly, the thing I appreciated most about this trip was how much of a positive impact this expedition has on the local community, the national park, and wildlife conservation in general. The entire crew is local, the trackers are local, and so much money is flowing back into the communities and directly towards leopard and wildlife conservation. Behzad and his team care so much about this, and do whatever they can to add value to the communities and lands where they travel. Thanks Behzad, Rashid, Caitlin and team. See you sometime soon. :)

Tuition Quality
Location
Value For Money