Exploring the Snow Leopard’s capital !!
About the Tour:
Snow Leopard (Scientific name : Panthera uncia) is the king of Snow capped Mountains in Himalayas. It is listed as endangered by IUCN. It is one of the most solitary, elusive, rare and endangered predator in the world and few resorts say that only a few hundred are left in wild. This spirit of mountains has adapted himself to survive in the harsh climate of Himalayas and hence casual sightings are extremely rare.
Snow leopards in heavy snowfall tends to move downwards where it can prey on local animals and hence chances of sighting one becomes more in month of Feb to April. Later in summers you will find them at the highest peaks in the snows, and hence tracking becomes difficult. We at Mumbai Travellers will be exploring Snow Leopard territory with the local experts who help in tracking down the snow leopards for various video documentaries that we see on Television and internet. The group will also be escorted by a resource person from our wildlife division, so that sighting this solitary animal becomes easier.
Mumbai Travellers welcomes you to the most challenging and unique wildlife expedition of the world – The great snow leopard expedition. After a lot of research and piloting we have finalized that for the year 2018-19 we will be conducting this expedition at Hemis National Park near Leh for it is by far the most potential destination to sight and photograph this rare big cat. Winter is a great time to sight snow leopards for they migrate down to the lower altitudes chasing their prey and gives us ample opportunities to track one. Kindly make a note that it is a limited edition expedition and hence available on first come first served basis. Kindly find the details of upcoming expedition below:
Photo Credit : Mr. Ranganathan
SHORT INFO & DATES
Batch 01 : 21st Feb to 1st March, 2020
Category : Wildlife
Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SNOW LEOPARDS :
Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other big cats but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes,generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg (60 and 121 lb), with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg (165 lb) and small female of under 25 kg (55 lb).They have a relatively short body, measuring in length from the head to the base of the tail 75 to 130 cm (30 to 50 in). However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in), with only the domestic-cat-sized marbled cat being relatively longer-tailed. They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder.
Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in color.
Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards’ tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain they inhabit. Their tails are also very thick due to storage of fat and are very thickly covered with fur which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep. ( Info source: Wikipedia )
Day 1 – 21st Feb – Arrive in Leh (Rest)
Take the early morning flight to Leh from New Delhi. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel located near Leh market.
Complete rest for the day is highly recommended as it eases the process of acclimatisation. Also sipping hot tea while stretching your legs in the lap of Himalayas is definitely not a bad way to start you trip, alternatively you can also choose to visit the local market in the evening. Dinner and overnight stay in Leh.
Day 2 – Drive to Ule, walk on the frozen Zanskar
Early morning we depart for Ule and stop at confluence to experience the walk on the frozen Zanskar river. Reach Ule by lunch time.Dinner and overnight stay in Ule Homestay.
Day 3 – 23rd Feb – Explore Ule
Today, we will be exploring the Ule landscape, which is known for its Leopard sightings as well. Apart from that keep a look out for Urial, Agrali and Tibetian Antelope here.
Day 4 – 24th Feb – Half day at Ule. Late evening back to Leh
We shall explore more of Ule and late afternoon we head back to Leh.
A bonfire to keep you warm and dinner afterwards. Overnight at Leh.
Day 5 – 25th Feb – Leh to Zinchen. Trek to Rumba
This is the part that we have been building up to.
Post breakfast we head to the Hemis National Park. From Phey Bridge onwards we start hiking along side Indus towards the Zingchen Gorge. We continue up the gorge and soon enough lay our eyes on the high altitude Hemis national park, the home of the Snow Leopard. Keep your senses sharp and look out amidst the cliffs and at the base of rocks where they mark their turf.
We spend the night in Rumbak Homestays and it is our first night in the stunning Hemis wilderness.
Trekking time: 5-6 hrs. Elevation: 12,400 ft
Day 6 – 26th Feb – Explore Rumbak
Over the next 3 days we trek around Hemis National Park tracking the Snow Leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is home to blue sheep, argali (a large horned sheep), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf, one of the most prolific hunters of the region. You are likely to see signs of Snow Leopard, as winter is the time when they descend to lower elevations. If lucky, you’ll actually see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a near vertical ridge. Return to camp for some hot servings and warming tea and share tales of the day.
**Snow Leopards naturally predate on wild bharal (blue sheep) or ibex (mountain goat) however they have been known to kill domestic animals such as local farmers’ goat and sheep. They are able to kill and carry up to 3 times their body weight and are generally opportunist hunters.
Overnight in camp/home stay.
Day 7 – 27th Feb – Turhan Valley
Today, we trek to the Turhan valley another great place to spot the elusive cat.
Overnight in camp/home stay.
Day 8- 28th Feb – Rumbak – Urutse.(13,500 ft) – Rumbak
Today, we will explore Yurutse (13,500 ft) and Gandala Pass base which is known for its Ibex sightings.
Overnight in home stay at Rumbak.
Day 9 – 29th Feb – Rumbak to Zinchen. Back to Leh
Trek down-valley past familiar Snow Leopard haunts and piles of carved Tibetan prayer stones to Zingchen; about 5 hrs. We take it slow exploring the familiar haunts of the Leopards with packed Lunch so that we make it to Zingchen by late afternoon.
Post our arrival in Zingchen, we head back to civilisation – Leh. After a much needed and deserved shower it is time to relax, grab a drink and enjoy the last of the gorgeous and peaceful Himalayan scenery.
Farewell dinner and overnight in Leh.
Day 10 – 1st March – Depart for Delhi/Mumbai
Early morning depart back home with memories for a lifetime.
Tour Price – Rs. 1,00,000 /- + 5% GST + Air Fare (Indian National)
Early bird special costing: Only Rs. 85000/- + 5% GST + Air Fare (Indian National) (For First 3 Bookings)
– 3 nights accommodation in deluxe property in Leh on twin sharing basis (Heater facility)
– 6 nights stay in homestay Ule/Rumbak on twin sharing basis (Bukhara local fireplace )
– All meals during the trip
– Porter charges Zinchen to Rumbak & back
– Service of an expert naturalist & Spotter
– Jungle Lore escort
– Surface transfers as per plan by tempo traveler
– Inner Liner permits, monastery fees and taxes
– Wildlife permit fees Rs 1600/- per day per head
– Local sightseeing/monastery
– Cost for supplementary services.
– Cost for Airfare, Train fare, Insurance Premiums.
– Cost for service provided on a personal request.
– Cost for personal expenses such as laundry, bottled water, soft drinks, incidentals, porter charges, tips etc.
– Cost for any other service not mentioned under the “Cost Includes” head.
– Difference in cost arising due to change in Taxes by the Government which will have to be collected directly ON ARRIVAL.
– Difference in cost arising due to mishaps, political unrest, natural calamities. In such case extra will have to be paid on the spot by the guest directly.
Know What Kind of Tour is this:
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In the event of any cancellation by you, the initial deposit amount paid, shall stand forfeited and further cancellation shall be levied as per the following terms:
– 6 weeks before date of departure: 20% of tour cost + Air / Rail cancellation charges.
– 4 to 6 weeks before date of departure: 50% of tour cost + Air / Rail cancellation charges.
– 2 to 4 weeks before date of departure: 80% of tour cost + Air / Rail cancellation charges.
Weather Link: Visit Website
One must note that temperatures in Hemis National Park will drop further and we are expecting temperatures of about -20C to -25C deg during the night and – 2C deg during the day.
Historically it hasn’t been lower than this.
** Please note that this being the mountains at high altitude, weather can change drastically.
Once you move to a higher altitude, the body needs rest to get acclimatized, hence the day 1 plan. On reaching Leh – You should take complete rest and drink a lot of water and black tea (Hydration is an integral part of acclimatization). This is essential so that you can enjoy the rest of your trip at ease.
**No alcohol on Day 1 (on reaching Leh) and refrain from smoking, if you do smoke that is.
THINGS TO CARRY
Rucksack, Sports bag or Suitcase – (Ideally this should be your check-in luggage)
Daypack bag (This will be useful during our treks in Hemis National Park)
Full Sleeve Thick Woolen Sweater, Jacket (preferably waterproof) and Wind Cheater
Thermal Inner – preferably nylon – it’s a good idea to get cotton thermals too as a protective extra layer
Monkey Cap, Muffler, Gloves, Socks (All woolen or fleece)
Sun Glasses (other than blue shades)
Cold Cream, Sun Screen Lotion, Lip Guard
Torch with extra cells
Shoes optimal for trekking (with ankle support)
Also would recommend spare shoes ( need not be trekking shoes, just in case )
Adequate T-Shirts, Trousers, Underclothing ( Would be better if you carry muted colour clothing, given that we will be in a wildlife reserve)
Hand Towel, Napkin, Handkerchief
Personal Toilet paper, Toothpaste/brush, Sanitizer, Soap, Shaving Kit and other toiletries
Personal Medicine Kit
Hot water bag / Flask for hot water
Small extension board to charge your electronic gadgets
iPod / PEN DRIVE for MUSIC (Optional)
Books for reading
*Please note that the Kit List mentioned is a standard one for all our Himalayan trips, hence one can make a few changes as per personal preferences.
It is recommended that you carry your Binoculars during this trip.
Recommended – Carry Camphor or Easibreathe Inhalant Capsules for easy breathing
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