An adventure in the stunning Indian Himalaya, in search of the elusive Snow Leopard.
One of the worlds most elusive creatures, the Snow Leopard inhabits the mountains of central and south Asia. In Ladakh the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC) engages local people and builds on their traditional beliefs to create harmony between people and the endangered snow leopard. Its creative programs serve as a model for community-based conservation and bolster the snow leopard’s chances for survival. Through these efforts it is believed that Snow Leopard numbers are now increasing. On this very special adventure we journey into the Hemis National Park where we base ourselves in a camp for 3 days, each day venturing out in the wintery conditions in search of Snow Leopard. Our expert guides will communicate with the local people and other guides to ascertain the location of the Snow Leopard in the area, giving us the best possible chance of a snow leopard sighting. Our adventure also includes a day of ice trekking on a frozen river, one of the most extreme forms of trekking. This is the traditional form of travel for the people of Zanskar in winter, when the mountain passes and villages are snowed in for much of the year and travel is extremely difficult. During our time in Leh we take in the splendours of Shey Monastery, Thikshey, and Hemis and wander the local market
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Delhi – India|
|DEPARTURE DATES||1 – 9 February 2019|
|DURATION||9 days/8 nights|
|PRICES per person|
AU$5,290 twin share rate
AU$6,380 single rate
|GROUP SIZE||2-12 Guests|
Welcome to India! On arrival you will be met by a representative of Adventure Associates and transferred to the 5 star Oberoi Hotel
Fly Delhi to Leh (3524m), Ladakh
Morning transfer to Delhi airport to board the flight to Leh. On arrival in Leh you will be greeted by a representative of Adventure Associates and transferred to the Grand Dragon hotel. Due to the high altitude in Leh we recommend that you rest and take it easy in the hotel this afternoon to aid acclimatisation. In the late afternoon we will take an optional visit to the Snow Leopard Conservancy to learn about the conservation efforts in the Ladakh region.
Following breakfast we take the day to explore the spectacular monasteries of the Indus Valley.
Built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountains, Hemis is the biggest and the most important monastery in Ladakh. It was built in the 17th century by Chapgon Gyalshas and ever since has enjoyed the patronage of the royal family. Hemis is the headquarters of the Drukpa order and all the monasteries throughout Ladakh are administered by it. This wealthiest monastery contains gold statues and stupas decorated with precious stones and many priceless old Thankas.
Thiksey, one of the most imposing monasteries belonging to the 15th century, stands on a crag overlooking the flood plain on the east bank of the Indus. The monastery belongs to the Elugpa order (Yellow sect) and is a 12- Storey Monastery painted deep red, ochre and white with typical tapering walls. There is a 15m high Buddha figure at the entrance of the new temple. The layout of the monastery complex resembles the Potala palace in Lhasa.
On the east bank of the Indus River sits the beautiful Shey Monastery. Up until the 16th century it was the royal palace. There is a 17.5 m high blue haired Maitreya Buddha of copper, brass gilded and studded with precious gemstones.
In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel, the rest of the day us at your leisure. You may chose to walk to the nearest market at your own pace or spend some time relaxing at the hotel. Overnight Hotel Grand Dragon.
Leh to Hemis National Park
Following breakfast, we drive to Phey, where we will begin our trek into the Hemis National Park. From Phey we trek along the spectacular gorges of the Indus River. After reaching the park, we will set our tents for overnight.
Hemis National Park, snow leopard tracking
We spend two full days based in the park searching for Snow Leopard. Our guide will be in communication with other guides and locals in the area, to ascertain where snow leopard activity is, each day we will walk to the areas where we hope to find Snow Leopard.
Snow Leopard Conservation
Snow leopards suffer from low natural density, large home ranges, dependence upon prey whose numbers are low or declining, and high vulnerability to poaching and other threats from humans. Human density in snow leopard habitat is among the lowest in the world, but our impacts are pervasive. Livestock herding and poaching has led to ever-increasing human-wildlife conflict even within officially protected areas. The main conflict comes from snow leopards killing domestic livestock – in effect these people’s “cash-in-hand.”
Complacent guarding, poorly constructed night-time pens, favourable stalking cover and insufficient wild prey all contribute to livestock loss. Loss rates of snow leopards vary widely from less than 1% to 3%, but the annual economic impact of livestock depredation may range from $50 to nearly $300 per household. This is significant given annual per capita cash incomes of $250-$400. Herders are especially angered by events of surplus killing when a snow leopard enters a corral and kills up to 50 or more sheep and goats in a single instance. Herders naturally want to retaliate by killing the offending cat. Those snow leopards living outside protected areas are all the more vulnerable. In some areas livestock comprises up to 50% of a snow leopard’s diet, highlighting both the importance of domestic animals to the cats, and the important role that local communities may play in sustaining the species. To offset this, alternative sources of income, such as tourism or sale of handicrafts, may greatly increase local people’s tolerance for co-existing with this predator. – Snow Leopard Conservancy.
Hemis National Park – Zingchen – Leh
To Shingra, ice trekking
Following breakfast we leave the park and drive to Shingra (2.5 hrs). Here we will experience ice trekking on a frozen river, a type of trekking which has become quite popular in recent years in Ladakh. With the assistance of our guide we will be fitted with crampons and given instruction on how to walk on the frozen ice. In the afternoon we return to Leh and our final group dinner.
Fly Leh to Delhi, trip concludes
Following breakfast we transfer to Leh airport for our return flight to Delhi. If your departure from Delhi is in the late evening we will arrange a room in the hotel for the day. There are no organised activities today, and so you may use the time to do some last minute shopping or just relax at the hotel. Later in the evening transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
How to Book
To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us to reserve a place 02 6355 2022 or firstname.lastname@example.org, then complete the Adventure Associates Booking Form and return to us with your AUD 1000 per person deposit.
|Deposit required per person:||AU$1000 per person|
|Balance due:||75 days prior to departure|
|If booking within 74 days of departure:||Full payment must be made.|
Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form. Travel insurance is strongly recommended at the time of booking.
Cancellations must be advised in writing to Adventure Associates. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.
|More than 100 days prior to departure||AU$500 per person|
|Between 99 and 75 days prior to departure||Full loss of deposit per person|
|Between 74 and 31 days prior to departure||75% of tour cost per person|
|On or within 30 days prior to departure||No Refund|
If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out Travel Insurance. Once the Land Tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.