In the winter months in Ladakh, we provide you with a unique and rare experience to search for the elusive Snow Leopard. With our superb Snow Leopard naturalists, we will take you to the best Snow Leopard habitats in the Hemis high altitude National Park. Some of the birds that you may come across while on the trek are Golden Eagle, Lammergeier, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Himalayan Griffon, Himalayan Snow Cock, Tibetan Partridge, Chukar Partridge, White Winged Redstart, White Browed Tit Warbler, Robin Accentor, White Breasted Dipper and Brown Dipper. Whilst on the trek, you will also have the opportunity to stay in Home Stays and in tents in the prime Snow Leopard habitat. Other wildlife that is likely to be seen, are the Blue Sheep, Ladakh Urial, Eurasian Lynx and the Tibetan Argali.
Flight to Delhi on own basis. Meals: Own basis
Arrive in Delhi in the morning, where you will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be at your leisure.
In the morning, transfer to the airport to take a direct flight to Leh. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. Leh is situated at an altitude of 3500mts and is the capital of the once ancient Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. Upon arrival at the hotel, a warm cup of tea will be served and you will be briefed about the trek. The rest of the day is for you to relax, or enjoy a leisurely walk around Leh market, whilst you acclimatise. Evening meal will be with your Snow Leopard team, where there will be a briefing about your tour.
Visit to Shanti Stupa and monasteries in Shey, Thiksey and Hemis. This will give you an experience of Tibetan Buddhism which has been prevalent in this area for centuries You will also have the opportunity to visit the local market.
Drive to Zingchan (around 01 hour drive) and then you will commence your trek further into the gorge towards the Husing Camp (02-03 hours). This is the entry point to Rumbak Valley and the home of the Snow Leopard. Husing lies at a junction of a major Snow Leopard corridor linking three valleys and the cats have been seen mating twice on its high ridge line.
Today you will trek into the interiors of Snow Leopard country. Trek from here to Husing, where you have your first camp and where you will have the opportunity to interact with the locals of the area and gain a good insight into their culture. Your sighting may include birds like Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Chukar, White-winged Redstart, Himalayan Snowcock, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Choughs, Robin Accentor, Horned Lark, Tibetan Snowfinch, or maybe a Eurasian Eagle Owl and a few other species. Some of the mammals you may spot are, Blue Sheep (Bharal), Mountain Weasel, Red Fox, Stone Marten and if lucky, Royal Pika on a warm day.
Today you and your team will move to Rumbak Doh, often called ‘The Snow Leopard capital’. You will explore the area on foot (trekking and walking), to try and spot the Snow Leopard. You will also have the opportunity to look for other animals and high altitude birds. This is also a good place to learn about local folklore, as well as finding out about their customs and traditions. Apart from the high altitude birds, your guides will try to look for Asiatic Ibex, Ladakh Urial and Tibetan Argali also known as Great Tibetan Sheep, Eurasian Lynx and Tibetan Wolf.
Today, you will travel back to Husing. From here, you will drive and hike to Uley where you will spend your final days looking for/watching the Snow Leopard and its prey. You may also catch sightings of the Asiatic Ibex, Ladhak Urial and Tibetan Wolf. Birds that can be locally sighted are Great Rosefinch, Brown Dipper and White-winged Redstart.
Hike down to Uley Tokpo, where your vehicle will pick you up from the end of the hiking point, where you will proceed to Leh and check into your hotel.
After an early breakfast, transfer to Leh Airport for your return flight back to Delhi. Once you land in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. (Optional guided tour of New Delhi or a birding trip to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary.)
After breakfast, transfer to Delhi International Airport for your flight home.
WEATHER: Usually sunny days but with dry chilly winds, the temperature can drop to minus Centigrade at nights but will warm up as the sun comes out during the day. December maximum temperature averages 7°C which can fall to -15°C. January and February it can fall to -30°C to -35°C at night.
EQUIPMENT (to be brought by the individual): High quality trekking gear is difficult, if not impossible; to buy in India, so check the equipment list before leaving home. Please sort out and divide your trekking equipment into three categories:
You will not have access to your duffle bag once you leave camp in the morning, as it will be carried by pack ponies or porters. Therefore, you must anticipate all your daytime needs and carry these items in your day pack. Your day pack should be large enough to accommodate your water bottle. Personal first aid kit, sun cream, sweater or down jacket and lunch box
Clothing and equipment: A list of suggested clothing and equipment for the Snow Leopard trek has been mentioned below. This is a comprehensive list and experienced trekkers will often take only a selection of these items based on what has worked in the past. You will need a 4 season sleeping bag for this trip. Trekkers should bring all their gear in one large duffle bag and a small backpack (30 to 50 litres). Each day you will carry the small pack containing items that you might need while trekking such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottle and some snacks. The rest of your personal equipment, contained in your duffle bag, will be carried by ponies.
In case of medical emergencies or high altitude sickness both Zinchen and Saspoche are within a days reach to the government hospitals Zinchen to Leh is 1 hours drive and Ulley to Leh is about 3 hours drive The first 2 days are recommended for complete rest and acclimatization to ensure that the rest of the trip runs smoothly The homestays are basic & simple rooms with dry compost toilets and they do not have showers Hot water will be provided in buckets if needed
In case of severe injury or sickness – the clients will be first put on a local horse and assisted till the point where the road starts and from there on – they will be driven to the Government Hospital. From Zinchen it is about 1.5hrs and from Ulley it is about 4hrs drive to Leh.