Tailor-Made

Summer Wildlife of Ladakh

Travel to the far northerly reaches of the Indian Himalayas in summertime, discovering the diverse wildlife and spectacular landscapes of Ladakh. Your expert guides will take you out in search of ibex, wolves, bears and even the elusive snow leopard - the ‘Grey Ghost’ of the Himalayas.

Duration 15 Days
Price From $10,329
When Jun - Sep
Destination India

Safari Overview

In the far north of India lies the Himalayan region of Ladakh, a land known for its Buddhist culture, cheerful mountainfolk, hilltop monasteries and stunning landscapes. There is an austere beauty here in Ladakh’s jagged mountain precipices painted in their subtle pastel shades, and the advent of summer brings with it both blossoming flowers and a surge in activity, both for the region’s people and its wildlife. Warm days, cool nights and a lack of snow on the mountainsides and the roads make it possible to access a larger part of Ladakh, while both predator and prey can be found in greater numbers than at any other time of year. This safari will take you in search of the wildlife that lives here, just one of the ingredients that make Ladakh a truly distinctive destination.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Venture through a land over 10,000 ft above sea level and discover what makes Ladakh’s mountain culture so unique.
  • Track the ‘Grey Ghost’ of the Himalayas, the snow leopard, alongside expert guides.
  • Watch for elusive Himalayan brown bears as they search for food following the end of their winter hibernation.
  • Enter centuries-old monasteries and attune yourself to the energy present in these sacred sites.
  • Look to the skies for golden eagles, black-necked cranes and other birds soaring silhouetted against the clouds.
  • Catch sight of other hardy Ladakhi wildlife like the ibex, urial, Himalayan wolf, red fox and long-tailed marmot.

Ladakh is a safari destination unlike any other, and summer is the best time to become acquainted with the wildlife that calls this area home.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Delhi

You'll be welcomed to India’s bustling capital city by your local guide, who will take you on a short sightseeing tour of the city, taking in the Qutub Minar, the 73m-high tower dating back to the 13th century, and Humayun’s Tomb, which was built in the 16th century and is considered to be the architectural forerunner of the Taj Mahal. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at leisure.


Day 2

Delhi – Leh

This morning you will be escorted to the airport to board your short flight to Leh, the former capital of the Kingdom of Ladakh. On arrival into this high-altitude city, you will be transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is left for acclimatisation, an essential time for resting in order to avoid the negative impacts of life at 11,500 ft. This is a magical time to enter into this region, as the high-altitude pastures are accessible and at every turn the jagged mountains are framed by vivid blue skies and emerald green pasturelands.

Overnight: The Grand Dragon Ladakh B, D

Day 3

Leh

Spend today getting used to the high altitude and absorbing your breathtaking surroundings here in the Himalayan city of Leh. You will meet the members of the Snow Leopard Conservancy who will explain the vital work that they are carrying out to protect this beautiful and elusive big cat. Head out this afternoon to visit Thiksey Monastery, an impressive imitation of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, dramatically perched on a slope overlooking the Indus Valley. Later, return to your hotel to relax or spend some time exploring the bustling bazaars of Leh’s old town.

Overnight: The Grand Dragon Ladakh B, D

Day 4

Leh – Dras

After breakfast this morning, you will be collected from your hotel for the scenic drive to Dras (approximately 5.5 hours). Your journey will take you past the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus Rivers, and you will stop off for a visit of the spectacular Alchi and Lamayaru Monasteries en route. On arrival, settle in to your simple homestay accommodation - your base for the next couple of days. The rest of the day is yours to relax at your leisure, keeping an eye out for the Himalayan brown bears who call this area home. The bears hibernate through the bitter winter months up until late March, so will be active at this time of year in search of food in the scrub and high-altitude pasturelands surrounding your homestay.

Day 5

Dras

From your spectacular location in the Dras Valley, surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Himalayas, you will spend today exploring the hills with your specialist naturalist guide in search of India’s largest carnivore, the critically endangered Himalayan brown bear. This isolated region is also home to a number of other species, such as wolves, foxes and long-tailed marmot, as well as a small population of snow leopards.

Day 6

Dras - Ulley

Early this morning you will head out for your final exploration of the hills around your homestay, before returning for breakfast. You will then be driven back towards Leh and on to Ulley Valley (approximately 6 hours), where you will start your search for the world’s most elusive big cat: the snow leopard. This area is also known for excellent sightings of fauna such as urial, wolf, Himalayan fox and golden eagles. The region is also known as prime ibex country, and there are few sights more evocative than a magnificently horned male ibex standing vigil on an impossibly narrow outcropping, a few feet over a plunging cliff. On arrival at the village of Ulley, check in to your simple but comfortable mountain lodge, your base for the next few days.

Overnight: Snow Leopard Lodge B, L, D

Days 7-8

Ulley Valley

Spend your days high up in the dramatic Ulley Valley with your expert guides, who will take you out in search of the elusive snow leopard and the other wildlife that calls this isolated region home. In the summer months, the grey hills are transformed to a lush green and herds of herbivores gather in large numbers to graze on the new pasture, attracting predators such as wolves to the valleys. You will explore the hills around your lodge and drive to nearby valleys, to maximise your chances of a sighting of the solitary ‘Grey Ghost'. Keep an eye out for the other wildlife to be found here, including ibex, yaks, blue sheep, red fox and golden eagles. You will head out twice a day, once in the early morning and again in the afternoon. Your evenings will be spent relaxing back at your lodge, interacting with your guides and reminiscing about the day’s sightings.

Overnight: Snow Leopard Lodge B, L, D

Day 9

Ulley - Nimmu

A leisurely start this morning as you relax or take a final opportunity to explore the hills around your lodge. After lunch you will be collected from your hotel for the scenic drive to Nimmu (approximately 1.5 hours), with an optional stop at the picturesque Likhir Monastery en route. On arrival at your heritage hotel, settle in and relax, perhaps spending your afternoon in a hammock set amongst the apricot orchards. This evening, take a stroll around the traditional village to immerse yourself in traditional Ladakhi culture.

Day 10

Nimmu - Tso Kar

Departing your hotel with a packed breakfast this morning, you will be driven towards the high-altitude lake of Tso Kar and your luxury tented camp (approximately 5 hours). Your journey will take you through dramatic gorges and past the remote, traditional villages of Latho, Gya and Miru, nestled in the foothills of imposing Himalayan peaks. You may spot blue sheep, golden eagles, bearded vultures and other wildlife that occupy the steep cliff walls. Tso Kar Lake is surrounded by marshlands that are home to a rich variety of birdlife, including black-necked cranes. You may also see kiangs, a type of wild ass that graze the lush, green plains here. On arrival, settle in to your lakeside camp for a sundowner, followed by dinner.

Overnight: Kaafila B, L, D

Days 11-12

Tso Kar

Spend your days here exploring the high-altitude pastures around your camp in search of the resident wildlife. You may choose to spend your time with the Changpa herders, who wander these areas with their flocks of goat and sheep, often numbering close to 1,000 animals – quite a dramatic sight against this expansive, barren landscape. Or take an optional excursion to the peaceful Tso Moriri Lake; framed by beautiful snow-capped mountains, this is a sacred site for Ladakhis. Spend your evenings relaxing at your peaceful lakeside campsite.

Overnight: Kaafila B, L, D

Day 13

Tso Kar - Leh

This morning you will rise early for your transfer to Leh. You have the option to take a longer, more scenic route back, which takes you towards the Indus Gorge past hot springs and the high-altitude lake, Tso Moriri (approximately 8 hours). On arrival, check in to your hotel and the rest of the day is yours to relax at your leisure.

Overnight: The Grand Dragon Ladakh B, D

Day 14

Leh - Delhi

This morning you will bid farewell to this extraordinary region as you board your flight back to Delhi. On arrival you will be collected and transferred to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax and reminisce about the incredible landscapes and wildlife of the unforgettable region of Ladakh.

Day 15

Depart Delhi

This morning you be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport, in time to catch your international flight home.

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.

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