Venture on an exhilarating safari through the pristine wilderness of Ladakh, unraveling the mysteries of the elusive snow leopard.
In this high-altitude realm, nestled between the towering peaks of the Karakoram and the Great Himalayas, your journey unfolds against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and untamed beauty. Join us on an expedition that transcends the ordinary, where Ladakh’s unique historical legacy, multicultural markets, and serene Buddhist traditions converge.
Follow the tracks of the elusive snow leopard through stunning Himalayan mountains. Meet members of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, who work tirelessly to protect this endangered species. Spot other species like the ibex, bharal, Himalayan wolf, Tibetan sand fox and golden eagle silhouetted against the stark beauty of the Ladakhi landscape.
Immerse yourself in Ladakh’s cultural richness, intertwined with its Buddhist heritage. From vivid prayer flags to intricately carved ‘Mani walls,’ explore the mesmerizing stupas, chortens, and gompas scattered across the landscape. Experience the peaceful lifestyle of Buddhist monks and their beautiful hilltop monasteries in Leh.
Day 1 - Arrive in Delhi
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to Hotel Andaz or similar. Upon checking in, you’re free to spend the rest of the day exploring the nation’s capital, or relax at the hotel and recover from your flight.
Day 2 - Delhi - Leh
Today is an early start as you transfer to Delhi Airport for your flight to Leh, a town high in the Himalayas that will be your home for the next three nights. On arrival you will be transferred to the Grand Dragon, where you will have a free day to relax and acclimatise to Leh’s altitude of 11,500 ft above sea level.
Day 3 - Leh
This morning you will visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy; here you will see the efforts made by the authority with the help of the local community to conserve the endangered snow leopard. In the afternoon, you will visit the Thiksey Gompa, the most picturesquely situated monastery in Ladakh, perched high on a hill above the Indus.
Day 4 - Leh
Today you set out for an extraordinary drive East heading towards Taglang La and the villages of Gya Lhato and Meru. Enjoy the dramatic scenery and have a chance of sighting wildlife including Blue sheep, Golden eagles and Bearded vultures Rafts of Red billed Choughs, Tibetan Partidge and the more common Chukor partridge.
Day 5 - Leh - Ulley
Today we will drive west on the road to Kargil and Srinagar, following the Indus River. You pass through the small town of Nimmu, one of the most important in Ladakh, where the Zanskar river meets the Indus. After a little over an hour you head north on a road marked to Likir, one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries.
This is snow leopard country. The landscape here is even bigger, more expansive and open, until you turn off onto a dirt road, winding up a narrow valley, following a stream called the Ulley Chhu. Smaller valleys intersect and the guides have their heads craned all the time, scanning the hill sides and the skyline for any silhouette. Look out for the magnificently horned male Ibex standing vigil on some impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff. Explore the wilderness of Ladakh from Snow Leopard Lodge.your home for the next 6 nights.
Day 6 - 10 - Ulley
Over the next few days you explore the area on foot and SUV’s with Norbu tracking the snow leopard. You will be amazed at the sheer dedication and commitment he brings to his trade and the effort he makes to ensure that his guests leave happy. Norbu interacts closely with the local people and uses the network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. In the process there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to get insights into local folklore, as well as learn about local customs and traditions.
Day 11 - Ulley - Leh
After another morning out, we say our goodbyes to our host after lunch and drive back to Leh town. Enroute we visit the Alchi monastery if time permits, one of the oldest monasteries dating back to the 11th century, before spending the night at the Grand Dragon Hotel.
Day 12 - Leh - Delhi
Early this morning you will be taken to the airport for your flight back to Delhi. During the flight you will have spectacular views of the Zanskar Range to the west, including the two peaks of Nun and Kun, and you may even be able to spot K2 (the second-highest peak in the world) to the north. Towards the east is the amazing Chang Thang Plateau, the landscape of which is dominated by vast turquoise lakes and rolling mountains. Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to Hotel Andaz or similar.
Day 13 - Depart Delhi
Today you will be met and transferred to the international airport to board your international flight home.
In an area of sublime beauty, both scenically and culturally, the Grand Dragon Ladakh creates a unique blend of traditional architecture with luxurious amenities, in the perfect location on top of the world. Based in the beautiful mountain region of Ladakh, the views from each of the 53 deluxe rooms and 6 royal suites are spectacular. Owned and operated by the Abdu family from Leh, it welcomes each guest warmly throughout the year, whether you are planning on tracking the magnificent snow leopard through the ranges, or rafting down the mighty Indus and Zanskar Rivers.
Located in the village of Ulley in West Ladakh, north of the Indus River, at the head of the valley of the Ulley Chhu at an altitude of about 13,000 feet. Ulley itself is a hamlet of just about 7 houses beyond which are the high summer pastures of Yak and Dzo. Recently developed for Snow Leopard tracking, the lodge has quickly gained a reputation not just for the high numbers of snow leopards but as one of the best areas to see Ibex, Urial, Wolf, Himalayan fox, Bearded and Himalayan griffon vultures and golden eagles. It began originally as a homestay owned by one of Ladakh’s top snow leopard trackers – Tchewang Norbu – under the auspices of a program initiated by the Snow Leopard Conservancy designed to use tourism as a conservation tool for the preservation of snow leopards and their ecosystem by putting tourism revenue directly into local community.
|09 - 21 January 2025
|Small Group Safari