Small Group Safari or Tailor-Made

Quest for the Snow Leopard

The ultimate pioneering safari for big cat enthusiasts; track the elusive and beautiful snow leopards of the Himalayas. Camp, meet the locals and hopefully be one of few people to see these big cats in the wild.

Duration 14 days
Price From $5,289
When Nov - Mar
Destination India

Safari Overview

This exclusive pioneering itinerary is a once in a lifetime chance to join the experts in the search for the elusive snow leopards of Ladakh. Sightings are not guaranteed and if this elusive leopard is sighted it is often at a distance where a spotting scope is required, but this trip is about the all-round spirit of adventure and the outstanding location as well as the wildlife. Other than the snow leopards, we hope to see golden eagles, argali, blue sheep and red fox. Please bear in mind that the itinerary may change as we move and camp according to the movements of the snow leopards.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Travel in a small group of like-minded individuals alongside the experts.
  • Searching for the elusive snow leopards in the wild.
  • Witness the incredible landscapes of Hemis High National Park.
  • See amazing Himalayan wildlife.

Learn from the experts about this elusive creature and experience first-hand how to track these big cats.

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Delhi

Upon arrival into Delhi International Airport you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to relax after your flight and let the anticipation build prior to your adventures of the coming days.

Day 2

Delhi - Leh

An early start this morning as today is the day you fly north towards the Himalayas. Starting at Delhi airport, you fly to Leh and transfer to your hotel where there will be a warm drink waiting for you. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax and acclimatise; oxygen levels are lower here.

Day 3

Leh Monasteries

A relaxed start this morning before you visit the Shey, Thikse and Hemis monasteries, as well as Stok Palace. Shey Palace and Monastery were both constructed in 1655, the palace and adjacent fort are in ruins but the monastery is still in use. Inside you will find a 39-foot statue of Sakyamuni Buddha made of gilded copper. Thikse Gompa is an impressive imitation of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, dramatically perched on a slope overlooking the Indus Valley. Within one of the newly built structures lies a three-story statue of the Maitreya Buddha, one of the most beautiful pieces of religious art in Ladakh. Founded in the 1630s by Stags-Tsang-Ras-Pa under the royal patronage of the great ruler of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal, Hemis is the largest and richest monastery in the area.

Day 4

Leh - Husing (Hemis National Park)

Today you will set off towards the wilds of Hemis High National Park in Zingchen. After an hour in the car, it’s time to trek deeper into the beautiful gorge towards Husing Camp. The trek takes about an hour and a half, and you’ll arrive in time for a well-deserved lunch. Husing is at the intersection of three prominent valleys and is known globally as “the world capital of the snow leopard”. Snow leopards have been spotted mating here twice recently on its high ridge line.

Overnight: Husing Camp B, L, D

Days 5-6

Husing

Over the next two days your local expert will take you on an early morning excursions to the trails frequented by the snow leopard; teaching you how to interpret through local art, and techniques of smelling of rock sand, reading of pug marks and more. The expert will also share local traditional knowledge on how to identify the hunt patterns and kill spots of the snow leopard. Some prime examples include: alert calls of deer, blue sheep or bharals; hovering of the golden eagle over kill spots; and nervous movement of the red fox kill vicinity.

Overnight: Husing Camp B, L, D

Day 7

Husing - Rumbak Doh

Continue to identify vantage points through mapping and tracking; and learn techniques in gaining confidence of the villagers so that they can alert and relay instant information of signs and sightings.

Day 8

Rumbak Doh

Today you make your way up towards the higher grounds of the Husing Ridge; expect a stunning panoramic view of the Phyang Village and Stok Kangri from here. The area is known for excellent sightings of fauna such as bharal (blue sheep) and red fox; as well as avi-fauna like that of the lammergeyer, golden eagle, yellow-beaked chough and Tibetan magpie.

Day 9

Rumbak Doh

Today you follow the faint village trail towards the base of Ganda La, where you come across the quaint village of Yurutse (a single housed village).This valley offers great chances to come across the globally threatened Tibetan argali, a small population of which colonized this part in the 1970’s. Argali is a magnificent wild sheep and the males grow enormous horns. You may also have the opportunity to visit some interesting conservation education work today.

Day 10

Rumbak Doh

Spend the morning exploring the area around Stok La base continuing your search for the snow leopard. Return to base for lunch and depart back to Husing to camp. In the evening, explore the Kharlung area, a wonderful place to watch the sunset over the Himalayas.

Overnight: Husing Camp B, L, D

Days 11-12

Husing - Zinchen - Ulley/Saspoche

After breakfast, hike up the Kharlung Valley, another excellent area frequented by snow leopards. Spend the day in this beautiful region, enjoying lunch at a remote homestay. Return to your camp in the evening.

Overnight: Husing Camp B, L, D

Day 13

Saspoche - Leh

After breakfast, trek down south to spot the ibex which are found in large numbers in this region. Enjoy a hot lunch before driving back to Leh for the evening.

Day 14

Depart India

Today you will bid farewell to K.C, Tsering and the rest of the team and be driven to the airport for your flight back to Delhi.

Trip Details

Trip Information

This is a small group safari departing on set dates, limited to just 8 passengers. Accommodation is basic – camping out in the Himalayas is about the experience rather than luxury, but we’ll aim to make your visit to one of the most beautiful areas in the world as comfortable as possible.

 2018 Departures   Prices 
 Feb 17-02 Mar   From £3,875 per person
Request a detailed itinerary

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our small group safaris in India.
Download our free guide Request a detailed itinerary