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India: Snow Leopards, Ibisbill & Monasteries (EWT)

We are currently only offering this tour as a Custom Tour. Please Contact Us for more information

Tour Overview:

Ladakh is one of India’s hidden gems. While the tiger parks of central India, and the Taj Mahal in Rajasthan, are indeed worthy of the multitude of accolades thrown their way; to overlook Ladakh, in the extremities of the north, would be an unfortunate oversight for the nature lover with a cultural bent. This region is set within some of the most impressive mountain landscapes that the subcontinent has to offer, drawing apt comparisons with the magical scenery once a honeypot for adventure-seeking tourists in the 70s-90s in neighboring Nepal. In addition to the Himalayan mountains being a draw unto themselves, there lives one of the most fabled creatures on Earth, the Snow Leopard, a cat as impressive as the landscapes in which it exists. Formerly one of wildlife’s ‘Holy Grails’, this heavy-coated cat has become suddenly visible in recent years, with the development of expert local trackers, and an ever-increasing knowledge of the natural history of the species. While a relatively recent form of tourism, it has grown fast, and thus it is no longer compulsory to ensure the hardship of camping during the Himalayan winter in order to see them. Simple, heated lodges with a ready supply of hot water, and plentiful electricity have now made this a more comfortable experience than ever before in very recent years, and opened up this beautiful region, and its premier feline target, to many that would formerly not have been able to come.

Ladakh is in the heart of Tibetan Buddhist country too, and so it would be a crime to miss this absorbing element of the region. While acclimatizing in the city of Leh, (in a wonderful hotel with all the mod cons), we will also experience ancient life, with a visit to the colorful Thiksey Monastery fenced in on all sides by the snow-dusted Himalayas, and within a short drive of another enigmatic species, the Ibisbill, a bird which lives along the banks of the Indus River.

As this is a long way to come, and to a country so utterly inimitable, we also offer two easy one-day extensions running before the main tour. Firstly, a cultural day within Old Delhi, visiting some of its most revered sites, from the Red Fort to Humayuns Tomb. This easygoing day will also ease those arriving from afar to shake off any unwanted jetlag. Secondly, is a day of fantastic birding, and of bird photography at Sultanpur National Park, lying just outside of Delhi. In the wintertime, the lake and its surrounds are bursting with waterbirds, from cranes to storks, and geese to kingfishers, there will be plenty to see and photograph at a place that regularly yields 100 bird species days. Finally, at the very end of all this, is a hardier offering of organised camping in Hemis National Park for several days, to increase the chances yet further of the Snow Leopard, and add yet more wildlife experiences to the trip, where other animals roam the same lands as the leopard.