Snow leopard country in autumn
Snow Leopard country in autumn
Ungulates (Blue sheep, Urial, Argali, Asiatic Ibex), Tibetan Wolves and Himalayan bird species in autumn (Tibetan Partridge, Black-necked Crane, Tibetan Sandgrouse,…) while looking for the world’s most enigmatic and mythical creature in the majestic mountains of Ladakh – the Snow Leopard. Daily routine will be exploring the valleys branching off from both main valleys where the camp and homestays are situated makes this tour strenuous. For sure the ultimate wildlife destination and experience in extraordinary wilderness landscapes targeting one of the most evocative mammals of our planet.
People interested in joining this tour:
- have be eager to search long periods for one of the world’s most enigmatic and rare animals in it’s natural environment,
- can’t be afraid of real adventure (camping and walking in hilly terrain on high altitude),
- must be in good shape and capable to carry their own tripod, telescope and binoculars.
Snow leopard high up in the Himalayas
Snow leopards do not occur in parks with an entrance gate, where people quickly pop in from their resort. Their natural habitat still is vast, desolate and not situated near overpopulated human areas. Instead of the well known gypsy ride safaris in Central India, it’s all about finding a snow leopard high up in the Himalayas. Up here, their natural prey still is abundant: marmots, blue sheep and ibex. Although everything is done to make the stay comfortable, accommodation will never be as good as in classic resorts or hotels, adding to the unique atmosphere. Despite this limitations, it’s an experience beyond all expectations. All potential areas that will be visited during both tours, are still pristine with humanization being limited or absent. Apart from snow leopards, other animals on top of the food chain are not scarce. While looking for the mythical cat, also Tibetan wolves, Himalayan griffon & bearded-vultures and golden-eagles will be spotted. Professional co-guiding by resident and experienced snow leopard trackers the key to success. Without them, chances are limited and less guaranteed.
The portable base camp (Zinghen, Wakha, Tsokar and Changla) is well equipped with cozy, quality iglo tents, a central heated dining room, and a basic fenced toilet and shower. Also homestead facilities will occasionally be used as an overnight facility. During arrival and departure days, all comfort is available in a hotel in Leh city. This hotel will also be used to overnight when shifting from one area to another as a compensation for the basic standards while camping. Catering is delicious and always plenty full. Preparing all kinds of different dishes on daily basis, master cook Urgen will prepare an extravaganza of fresh food. Where ever situated during lunch time, porters will always pop up with a warm lunch that will be consumed in the field.
Temperatures during day time still pleasant. Once the valleys are sunlit, it is common to stroll through the area in a t-shirt. But from the moment in the afternoon when the sun disappears behind the hills, things change. Once this happens at an altitude like this, the cold can arrive in a minute. This is especially the case near lake Tsokar. Apart from being the highest (4600m altitude), most remote and pristine region visited during the trip, the area is flat and well known to be windy. This means it’s important to dress and undress all the time to protect you against overheating and hypothermia.
It is necessary to take a complete set of clothes in order to feel comfortable when being all day in the field. It’s the only way to prevent you from consequences that extreme circumstances in this harsh environment might cause. Having these items to be protected against all elements (wind, cold and sun) a need to have: gloves, head, cap, sun cream, sunglasses, thermal underwear, ski-trousers, a windproof jacket, 4 season sleeping bag and footwear of good quality (SORELS).