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Track Snow Leopards in the Himalayas with New Scientist

  • EXPERT-LED GROUP TOUR
Departure dateDuration
Prices Start from
Tour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
22/03/2113 Days £6,295 ex. flightsJennifer Nandi10 AVAILABLE Reserve your place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Orjan Johansson Image, Collared snow leopard, Altai Mountains, Mongolia 1

Snow Leopards

Track snow leopards, blue sheep, ibex and Ladakhi urial.

Snow Leopard Lodge 2

Expert trackers

Spend time in the company of the Snow Leopard Conservancy and expert trackers.

Ladakh, India 3

Ladakh geology

Explore the geology of Ladakh, the highest altitude plateau region in India.

Lounge area 4

Ladakhi culture and homestay

Home-cooked meals and a comfortable bed in a Ladakhi homestay.

Why we like it

As part of this snow leopard group tour, there will be a $200 USD per person donation to the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLC-IT). They are a non-governmental organisation founded in 2003 and based in Leh.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Delhi
  • Day 2
    Delhi to Leh
  • Days 3 - 4
    Leh
  • Day 5
    Leh to Ulley Valley
  • Days 6 - 10
    Snow Leopard tracking in the Ulley Valley
  • Day 11
    Ulley Valley to Leh
  • Day 12
    Leh to Delhi
  • Day 13
    Delhi
Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Twin room, Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Snow Leopard Lodge
India
Lounge area
India

Snow Leopard Lodge and Annex

The Snow Leopard Lodge and Annex is the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh. 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 the local community.

Accommodation is fairly basic but comfortable and warm. Three twin bedrooms are en suite, while a further eight rooms share bathrooms. The lodge provides warm showers and also stores extra gas heaters on site. Hot water bottles are provided at night when the heaters are turned off. An assortment of Ladakhi, Indian and Continental cuisine is served in the communal dining room in the main house.

Why travel with Steppes Travel and New Scientist to track Snow Leopards in India?

Exceptional guides are the first essential component of a successful snow leopard holiday and in Jennifer Nandi and the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLC-IT), Steppes Travel is confident we have found just that. SLC-IT trackers have an intimate knowledge of Ulley Valley and the movements of its snow leopard inhabitants.

While a comprehensive understanding of snow leopard behaviour is critical, a good relationship with the local community is equally important. Local shepherds and farmers will know where snow leopards have been most recently spotted and so the chief tracker has developed a strong bond with the community of Ulley, taking full advantage of hundreds of local pairs of eyes and ears on the ground.

What happens on a typical day?

A typical day will start with hot tea/coffee, followed by a bowl of hot water for a refreshing wash. Our expert guides will already be on the search for snow leopards, either from the homestay or from a close-by lookout. Trackers may have gone out into the valley and are in constant communication with the team from the Snow Leopard Conservancy. After breakfast, the group will set out and drive into the valley before hiking on foot to search for snow leopards.

The trackers will be in constant communication with one another and keep the group informed of any information along the way. In the evenings, there will be opportunities to hear from the leaders during post-dinner presentations.

When is the best time to see Snow Leopards?

From the end of January to March, as the snow on the mountains starts to melt, this drives the snow leopards, and their prey (the blue sheep) to lower, almost snow-free elevations, this allows the guides and trackers much better access to look for them, and concentrating them in a smaller area.

How likely am I to see Snow Leopard?

To see a snow leopard requires luck but as with any safari, to some extent luck can be improved by patience, planning and professional guiding. It is no coincidence that the best guides are also the luckiest guides and on the most recent safaris clients have been rewarded by excellent snow leopard sightings. All our clients travelling in 2019 had sightings of snow leopard.

Is Ladakh of interest to geologists?

Ladakh is the highest altitude plateau region in India (much of it being over 3,000 meters), incorporating parts of the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River valley. The mountain ranges in this region were formed over a period of 45 million years by the folding of the Indian Plate into the stationary landmass of Asia. While the Himalayas were formed from the base material of the Indian plate, the Zanskar Range consists of layers of sediment from the ocean floor, and the Ladakh Range of granite was born of the immense heat generated by the friction between the two plates.

As part of this tour, Jennifer will be giving lectures on the geology of the region.

Do I need to be physically fit to enjoy this tour?

Whilst in the Ulley Valley out searching for snow leopards there will be some small hikes on rough terrain so it is vital that you have adequate hiking boots. However, the amount of hiking you choose to do is up to you. It is our aim to hike a few miles every day, with the uphill sections being at a slow pace due to the altitude. Due to the small group size, there will be several guides with us on all the hikes that will happily stay with members of the group that may get tired or just want to rest.

What will the weather in Ladakh be like in March?

From January to March in Ladakh, the days will be cool, and the nights can get below -25. This tour departure is out of the main tourist season for the region, so it makes it a lot quieter.

It is vital that you have the correct clothing for this tour. Our travel specialists can advise you on clothing and packing lists to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

What is the standard of accommodation on this tour?

On this tour, accommodation is a homestay style lodge, hosted by a local Ladakhi family known to Steppes personally. Lodgings are basic but far more comfortable than camping and to enhance your stay, we bring in our own cook and camp staff along with gas heaters, a warm shower, comfortable mattresses, and bed linen. The homestay has undergone some upgrading to offer higher comfort.

Whilst in Leh, the hotel is the best available, offering comfortable rooms, stunning views of the Stok Range, great hospitality and in-house dining.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of our tour experts.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply. For this tour, it is capped to two people due to the size of the property in Ulley.

Can I extend my time in India?

Absolutely. India is a vast country with vibrant cities, fabulous beaches and iconic wildlife. Please speak to one of our India specialists for further information.

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Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Active
Two Single supplements available

Due to the remoteness of this tour, the accommodation whilst in Ulley is in a small homestay with only six rooms, therefore, we have to cap our single supplement to a maximum of two places. However, if you are willing to share, we will do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex.

Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf and the above is an indication of the cost, based on return flights departing from London. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by Jennifer Nandi from Leh
  • Accommodation throughout
  • All meals in Leh and Ulley
  • Local guide and trackers in Leh and Ulley
  • Internal flights
  • Sightseeing in Leh
  • Transportation throughout
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters

What is excluded

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Drinks with meals
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Items of a personal nature

Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 01285 601 784

Departure dateDuration
Prices Start from
Tour ExpertMax Group SizeStatus
22/03/2113 Days £6,295 ex. flightsJennifer Nandi10 AVAILABLE Reserve your place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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