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In Search Of The Snow Leopard

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highlights
  • Chance to see the rare and elusive Snow leopard
  • Wonderful winter walking in mountainous Ladakh - when it is cut off from the rest of the world
  • Visit ancient monasteries and attend a colourful monastic festival
  • Enjoy a homestay night and traditional meal with a friendly Ladakhi family
The In Search of the Snow Leopard tour starts and ends in New Delhi. The In Search of the Snow Leopard is a Trekking tour that takes 14 days taking you through New Delhi, India and other destinations in India.

Snow leopards are one of the world's most elusive mammals but in winter they descend from the high Himalaya in search of food. Inhabiting some of the most remote and mountainous regions of Central Asia, the mission to see this enigmatic cat is really more of a pilgrimage. Other rare high altitude wildlife and isolated Himalayan Buddhist communities only add to this quest's allure. The itinerary varies slightly by departure date to fit in the different festivals. Please see the Trip Notes for full details.
customer reviews
4.0 - Very Good Based on 2 reviews
Cold Ladakh
4 - Very Good
“In spite of the temperature of Ladakh (very cold) we were well looked after by our leader Valerie and the trekking team.”
IN SEARCH OF THE SNOW LEOPARD
4 - Very Good
“My overall rating would have been a 5 'starrer', if we had seen a snow leopard. However, despite recent signs (pug marks, scrape areas and scats) all round our camp, we did not see one of these secretive cats. Anyway I had a great time. ”
The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day. You are free today to explore Delhi or rest after your flight; rooms may not be available until noon but it is often earlier than this. There is usually a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.*Standard Hotel*
Usually we have a very early start today for the flight to Leh. We may have to leave the hotel at around 2am and drive to the airport for the very early morning but highly spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh. Incredibly beautiful in winter we fly over the huge expanse of snow-capped peaks. Landing in Leh the temperature will drop dramatically and we will need our down jackets at the airport. If the weather is good and the flight goes on time we should be in Leh for breakfast. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the morning we rest and catch up on some sleep and in the afternoon there will be a gentle orientation walk of Leh and its bazaars.*Standard Hotel*
Once a year every monastery in Ladakh has a festival where the monks dress in elaborate brocade and silk costumes and re-enact century old stories of the Tibetan Buddhist religion. People come from all over Ladakh to the festivals and these are a great social as well as religious occasion.

The 10th February 2018 departure will spend today at the Dosmoche Festival in Leh, also known as the ‘Scapegoat’ festival, which happens in the New Year to bring good luck for the year ahead.

The 26th February 2018 departure will spend the day at Matho Festival which features the appearance of the state oracles who go into trance like states.

The whole day will be spent at the festival and in the evening we return to our hotel in Leh. 

*Standard Hotel*
Today we visit some of the most important monasteries in the Indus Valley. First we drive just over half an hour to Shey, once the residence of the Ladakhi royal family. Below the old palace ruins is a small temple containing a two-storey gilded statue of Buddha. From Shey we can either drive or walk across the fields to Tikse. Set on a hill it is one of the most impressive gompas in Ladakh, It has several temples, one of which contains a superb statue of the Future Buddha. We then drive on to Stakna, a small but friendly monastery perched atop a huge rock. In the late afternoon we return to Leh.*Standard Hotel*
Today we leave Leh and we drive across the Indus towards Jinchen. We follow the trail from Phe to the entrance of the impressive Rumbak Gorge. The trail takes us up into the narrow gorge and we start our search for evidence of Snow leopard and Blue Sheep. We camp tonight at our base camp at Husing (3,700m).*Full-service Camping*
The next five days will usually be spent in and around the Husing, Tarbuns and Rumbak Valleys in the Hemis National Park. There will be no fixed itinerary and our days will be decided on by our expert wildlife guides - this is to maximise the chances of seeing a Snow leopard. Our days will be spent searching for Snow leopard and other animals which inhabit this area. The extreme cold of winter forces the Snow leopard and other animals down from the high altitudes they normally inhabit. Ladakh is situated at an altitude range of 3,300m - 6,000m and hosts an incredible amount of wildlife. It is full of endangered species including Snow leopard, Tibetan Ibex, Bharal (Blue Sheep), Wolf, Red Fox, Ladakhi Urial and Lynx. We usually spend most of the time at our base camp at Husing (3,700), and daywalks will take us into both the Husing and Tarbuns Valleys, both well-known haunts of the Snow leopard. In 2014 the group saw three Snow leopards in this area and there were also sightings in 2015. A good pair of binoculars is recommended to scan the slopes in and around camp. Our wildlife guides will carry spotting scopes, which they will set up at camp and on ridges on the daywalks. They will also go out in the early mornings and late evenings to search for evidence of any animal movement. We will explore the area around Rumbak Sumdo and Yurutse (4,400m), well known for its sightings of Argali Sheep.

Overnight we will use a mixture of camping and home stays. One night will be spent in Rumbak village, where we will use a Ladakhi home stay - a basic Ladakhi house. The other five nights will be spent camping. We will have a full trekking crew with us including guides, assistant guides, cook, kitchen assistants and porters.

Our guides will be in touch with other guides and if Snow leopards have been spotted in other areas of Ladakh we will need to be flexible and move the camp.

*Full-service Camping*
Today we trek back to Jinchen, where we will meet our transport back to the relative comforts of our hotel in Leh*Standard Hotel*
An early start for the flight back to Delhi. The rest of the day is free in Delhi for individual shopping or sightseeing.*Standard Hotel*
A free day in Delhi in case of any delays in the flight from Leh. If we fly to Delhi on schedule then today is free for individual sightseeing. You may want to visit Old Delhi with the magnificent Red Fort and Jami Masjid. Humayun's Tomb (a forerunner to the Taj Mahal) is worth a visit. In New Delhi there is India Gate and Parliament House to see; and of course Delhi has a wealth of interesting shops and markets.*Standard Hotel*
The tour ends after breakfast today. Those travelling on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the daytime flight back to London. The group flights depart around lunchtime and will arrive in the UK the same day.**
what’s included
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotels, 5 nights full-service camping and 1 night homestay , All accommodation 
Meals
  • All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 10 dinners
Transport
  • Travel on foot, by jeep and 2 internal flights
  • All transport and listed activities
Others
  • 7 days winter walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and appropriate staff. Min age 18 yrs
  • Altitude max. 4550m, average 3800m
  • Festival visited varies by departure date
  • Some deparures led by Valerie Parkinson
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Specialist wildlife guide
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from New Delhi are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this In Search of the Snow Leopard tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 14 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends New Delhi, India/ New Delhi, India
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for In Search of the Snow Leopard
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Payment

A deposit of 340 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 56 days before departure. For any departures within 22 July 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The In Search of the Snow Leopard tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this In Search of the Snow Leopard tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this In Search of the Snow Leopard tour. You can cancel the tour up to 57 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 56 days of departure.
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