The Kingdom of the Snow Leopard

Most people who spend there entire life in the realm of the snow leopard never see one. But if you join our trek into the Kingdom of the Snow Leopard you will be embarking on a mission into the best place in the world to see them, during the perfect time of year. Hemis National Park during winter is our destination and this snow covered wilderness plays host to a population of snow leopards some 200 strong. During the colder months they head down the mountainsides and to altitudes which we can easily explore. Using state of the art equipment and local experts we have a great track record when it comes to finding these elusive cats. Also home to some other rare mammals and birds this park and this tour are a must for any wildlife adventurer who wants the ultimate wildlife encounter!

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Local Snow Leopard Expert Guides

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9 Nights Camping in Hemis NP

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Local Homestays in Hemis NP

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75% Sighting Sucess for Snow Leopards

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Spotlighting At Night for Snow Leopards

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9 Full Days of Snow Leopard Tracking

  • Snow Leopard
  • Golden Eagle
  • Argali
  • Bharal
  • Snow Partridge
  • Tibetan Wolf

Destination:

India

Tour Dates:

5/3/2016 - 20/3/2016

Duration:

16 nights

Type / Focus:

Snow Leopards

Tour Difficulty:

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Price:

£2675 per person

Deposit:

£645 per person

Single Supplement:

£300

Minimum Passengers:

4 persons (total) before tour runs

book online

Holiday Breakdown

Day 1

Delhi

On arrival in Delhi you be met by your zoologist guide and local driver and transferred to your nights accommodation; level – 3* (Hotel Sun Court Yatri). You will have your evening meal here.

Day 2

Leh

This morning after breakfast you will be taken to the domestic airport to catch the plane north to the state of Ladakh and the capital Leh (3,500m). Once you arrive in Leh you will be met by another local guide who will take you to your hotel. You will spend a few days here to begin to acclimatise to the altitude. In the evening you will have your welcome to the Himalayas meal at your accommodation, level – Category A (Hotel Omasila) where your snow leopard expert will brief you on the rest of the trip.

Day 3

Leh

Today is another important acclimatisation day and you are free to explore the local market. This local market is a very important Tibetan market and traders come from all over the Himalayas to buy and sell goods here and you can easily get lost in the seemingly never ending lanes and allies. You will have your meals at your accommodation, level – Category A (Hotel Omasila).

Day 4

Leh

Today is your final acclimatisation day in Leh and you will be taken on a guided sight seeing tour of Leh Palace, Victory Peak, the old quarter and a local conservation office. This will give you a greater idea of the close links Leh has to Buddhism and Tibet as well as giving you your first impression of how important the environment and conservation is to the local people. Once again you will have your meals at your accommodation, level – Category A (Hotel Omasila).

Day 5

Hemis National Park

After brealfast this morning you will driven to Phey (4,100m) and begin your trek into the beautiful environment of Hemis National Park. Your trek will begin along the Indus River Gorge which forms a dramatic entry to the park. Hemis is the largest national park in India and one of the most important regions in Asia in terms of preserving Himalayan ecosystems and it is one of the last refuges of rare mammals such as the argali, bharal, kiang, shapu, Asiatic ibex, brown bear and in some areas migratory herds of Tibetan antelope and Tibetan gazelle. Your trek will be accompanied by your snow leopard expert, a cook, porters and mules to help carry our camping equipment. They will quickly set up your accommodation, level – trekking camp. for the night and prepare your evening meal.

Day 6

Hemis National Park

This morning after breakfast you will begin your first wildlife watching trip with your snow leopard expert. Alongside the argali, bharal and numerous migatory birds in the area you may see Tibetan wolves as well as signs of snow leopard. The winter is the best time to see snow leopards as they come down to lower altitudes to avoid the heavy snow fall and follow their prey species down the mountain slopes. You will spend the majority of the next 8 days walking through the juniper, populus and salix forests in search of prints and scat from these elusive cats. If you are accompanied by a zoologist he will set up camera traps along the way and over night so you can see if there are snow leopards around the area after dark. Your evening meal will served at your accommodation, level – trekking camp.

Day 7

Hemis National Park

The next seven days will be spent trekking to and around nearby sites where snow leopards have been seen recently. Your snow leopard expert will speak to local shepherds to help find snow leopards. Snow leopards are of course very difficult to find and see but here in Hemis and particularly the Rumbak catchment area during winter they are seen with some regularity. This is mainly down to the incredible work in local community conservation programmes to promote the plight of the snow leopard. Their local knowledge is exceptional and you will soon realise what an integral part of tracking snow leopards the local Ladakhi people are. Your evening meal will be served in a traditional Ladakh homestay. The community conservation programme has introduced homestays to the local people and this will give you a real feel for the culture of the Ladakhi people.

Day 8

Hemis National Park

Once again today you will head out to the areas highlighted by local people to find snow leopards. As snow leopards prey on livestock the locals have a good idea of where they are and how to find them. The community conservation programme is very important for the long term survival of snow leopards as the local people now see the snow leopards as a source of income and no longer as pests. Once again your evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 9

Hemis National Park

Today will follow the same format as yesterday as we aim to find snow leopards. If conditions allow and your zoologist has permission he will use infra red cameras and camera traps to help you locate them. Evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 10

Hemis National Park

Once again today will be spent tracking this big cat through the high passes and incredible scenary. It is very important to keep your eyes peeled as the grey coats of the cats are very hard to spot against the rocks of the cliff faces. It is possible to walk right past a snow leopard (within a few feet of one) and not know it was there. Evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 11

Hemis National Park

Trekking and tracking again today. It is also important to look for environmental queues when tracking for predators. Following circling vultures and eagles can often bring you to a fresh kill and in this area the possibility of that kill being made by a snow leopard is pretty high. Your evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 12

Hemis National Park

Today will begin and end in the same way as the previous five as we aim to locate one of the rarest and certainly one of the most beautiful mammals in the world. Your evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 13

Hemis National Park

Today is your last full day trekking in search of snow leopards. If camera traps have been used this is the exciting time when we will see what footage we have got of the rarely seen Himalayan wildlife. Your evening meal and accommodation will be at a homestay.

Day 14

Leh

This morning after breakfast you will continue your trek to the village of Zingchen. Here you will be met by your local driver and transferred back to Leh in time for your evening meal at the accommodation, level – Category A (Hotel Omasila). Here you can share the pictures and amazing sightings you are bound to have had over the last two weeks and enjoy your last night in the foothills of the Himalayas before the hustle and bustle of Dehli.

Day 15

Dehli

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to catch your return flight to Dehli. Once you arrive in Delhi you will meet your local driver and be taken to your accommodation, level – 3* (Hotel Sun Court Yatri). The rest of the day is free for you to relax and catch up on some much needed rest after the long days of trekking and tracking.

Day 16

Delhi

Today is your last day in India and it will be spent on a sightseeing tour of New and Old Delhi. All the sights from Red Fort, Jama Misjid, Quitb Mintar and Connaught Place will be explored before your farewell meal at your accommodation, level – 3* (Hotel Sun Court Yatri).

Day 17

Home

Today after breakfast you will be transferred to Delhi airport in time to catch your return flight home.

Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.

This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.

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Extra Information

Weather Conditions

The weather in Hemis National Park during winter is very cold. The temperature can vary from -20 degrees C to 15 degrees C and the sun can be very strong. There is always the threat of snow and blizzards, so you have to be prepared for; well Himalayan winter weather!

What's Included

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day (not during the trek). We have our own private air conditioned vehicle with an excellent local driver. We have brilliant local guides, snow leopard expert and zoologist escorts (where available).

All our excursions including treks, guided walks monastery and park entrance fees are also included.

All camping equipment, porters, mules and cook are included in the cost as well.

Personal Equipment

We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as very warm winter clothes, such as down jackets & trousers, walking socks, gloves, hats, scarfs, fleeces etc. Broken in and comfortable walking boots are essential. Sleeping bags are also needed. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day. All your gear should be in one bag and that bag should not weigh more than 15kg (if you intend for the porter to carry your bag), it is a good idea to have important and personal belongings in one smaller rucksack that you will carry yourself, as the porters may walk ahead or behind and so getting things from your large bag maybe more difficult to get out whilst on the move,

Included Equipment

We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4 people these do not stretch too far. We also provide a spot light for nocturnal viewing (this is subject to local condition when we arrive). All camping and cooking gear is also provided as are mules and porters and a camp cook.

Extra Expenses

Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not inlcuded are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souveniers and tips. Any departure taxes applicable when leaving are not included (but may be included in the cost of your flights), Please check this before hand. Due to new permiting regulations in Hemis National Park there is the optional extra for the use of camera traps to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.

Flight Information

As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport

We recommend Finnair as a good airline for flights to Delhi. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.ticketstoindia.co.uk. They are an ATOL bonded company and this provide all the securities related to ATOL protection. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.

Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.

Visas and Health Information

All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for India. These are only obtainable in advance from your local embassy. The easiest way to find information is by visiting http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/ (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).

There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit India, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting India as soon as you have decided on this trip.

There is a risk of altitude sickness during this trek. This can affect everyone and anyone and has no bearing on physical fitness, even if you have not suffered before you may now and if you have suffered in the past you may not on this trip. We take all precautions including many acclimatisation days so please speak to your GP to get more information.

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  • Mo-Mo making lessons and the homestay visit where great...Food was great and plentiful!

    4 Stars

    Justen Dralle & Zoe Brocklehurst, Toronto, Canada

    February 17, 2011

  • Camera traps and Spotlighting where great ideas...Excellent Indian food and great non-Indian choices for those who prefer.

    5 Stars

    Elton & Liz, Martizberg, South Africa

    February 17, 2011

  • It was very lucky that we had Jigmet and Tashi around as they worked tirelessly to try and find Snow Leopards.

    5 Stars

    Dr Lesley Cupitt, Sunshine Coast

    December 20, 2011

  • This has been one of my favourite experiences. Nothing would have made this trip any better. From Martins extreme passion and knowledge about his work to the beauty of the area and wildlife viewed.

    5 Stars

    Stacey Perna, Chateauneuf des Grasse

    February 17, 2013

  • Excellent trip and once again Mr. Royle has shown me an animal that I didn\'t think was possible not that long ago.

    5 Stars

    Chris Scharf, San Francisco

    February 17, 2013

  • It has been a thoroughly enjoyable tour...seeing the snow leopard mother and 2 cubs was a highlight for me, as well as watching Tottenham beat Newcastle in the middle of the Himalayas, thanks Martin and Nawang

    5 Stars

    Phil Davison, Norfolk

    February 17, 2013

  • For my first wildlife holiday I loved everything about it, being in the mountains and tracking snow leopards was all incredible...loved every second!

    5 Stars

    Gary Bennett, Cheshire

    February 17, 2013

  • We are already looking into our next trip with Royle Safaris, we loved the whole experience and seeing 5 different snow leopards is incredible.

    5 Stars

    Roy Leigh, Northwich

    February 17, 2013

  • Other than the problem with my eyes, everything was brilliant. I loved visiting the SLC offices after experiencing the Himalayas and seeing wild ones

    5 Stars

    Robert (Andrew) Logan, Northwich

    February 17, 2013