World Big Cat Safaris, the privately-owned specialist safari-company, has launched a pioneering 15-day trip to Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya, in search of the rare snow leopard. The trip, for a group of up to 9 travellers, begins in Delhi on February 15 2010 and is priced from £2,950pp (2 sharing) or £3,600 for solo travellers. Leading the group is Dr Yash Veer Bhatnagar, director of The Snow Leopard Trust and a world authority on the rarest and most beautiful of wild cats.
The time of year and the location offer the best chance to see the critically endangered snow leopard, of which 4000 – 7500 are estimated to live in the mountain regions of Central Asia. In winter months they move to lower altitudes in pursuit of prey, and the Ladakh region sees the highest number of sightings. Other wildlife likely to be seen by the group includes Golden Eagle, Argali (impressively horned wild sheep), Bharal (blue sheep), Red Fox and Tibetan Magpie.
On arrival in Dehli (international flights can be booked independently or by World Big Cat Safaris) the group flies to Leh to acclimatise. At altitudes between 3500m and 4200m, the itinerary includes Husing – the snow leopard capital – the upper Rumbak Valley, Phyang Village, Ganda La and the remote village of Yurutse. Accommodation combines quality hotels (in the towns), tented camps and local houses in mountain villages, where guests will enjoy a fascinating experience of the traditions, cuisine and culture of a warm and hospitable people.
Cultural highlights of the trip will include Shey Palace and Monastery (a ruined palace with a spectacular 39-foot Sakyamuni Buddha, of gilded copper), Hemis Monastery (the largest and richest in Ladakh) and Stok Palace on the other side of the Indus. Views of the Zanskar Range and K2 on the return journey to Delhi are a memorable way to end this adventure of a lifetime. Travellers will need to be prepared for harsh weather and extreme cold, but a sighting of the snow leopard will more than make up for any hardship.
The price includes accommodation, most meals, internal flights (Delhi-Leh-Delhi), transfers, porters/ponies (to carry baggage), park/monument fees, local guides, insulated mattresses/sleeping bags and the invaluable knowledge of Dr. Yash Bhatnagar. The Snow Leopard Safari supports The Snow Leopard Trust and the local Ladakh communities.
For more information, please see the Track the Snow Leopards PDF Brochure.
RESERVATIONS : Tel: 01273 691 642 / www.worldbigcatsafaris.com