The Elusive Snow Leopard Quest
Only a handful of individuals have ever seen a snow leopard in the wild, so this is an opportunity to join those select few and search for one in its natural environment in the high Himalayas of northern India. You will hike for six days through prime habitat to look for evidence of its presence; this will include searching for tracks, sign, and remains of prey in the hope of being able to pick up a fresh trail and follow it to get a first hand sighting of this mercurial creature. You will also get to visit beautiful temple complexes in the mountains, as well as visit some other architectural wonders of the Indian landscape in and around Delhi including the great Taj Mahal.
The Elusive Snow Leopard Quest
November – December, February – April
Experience & Activity Level:
Previous tracking experience helpful but not required.
Participants should be in good physical condition and
able to cope with high altitude and inclement weather.
Tents and 4 star hotels
Starting at $5,590 per person ($730 single supplement)
- Hozing Valley
- Agra (Taj Mahal and Fort)
The Himalayas of northern India is a premier destination for attempting to track and locate one of the world’s most secretive creatures, the snow leopard (an animal that is prized for its regal skin and thus sold in the black markets throughout Asia). Because of its endangered status, this is a rare chance to view some of the last remaining specimens in the wild while helping ensure its future by joining an excursion that encourages conservation efforts for its continued survival.
This trip will start in the bustling city of Delhi, where you will be given a guided tour of its iconic landmarks including the Parliament House and Humayun's Tomb among many other fascinating sights. The following day you will fly to Leh, which was the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh and now its capital, located in the northern tip of India in the high mountains. You will spend a couple of days here relaxing and exploring the town with its amazing monasteries and tremendous vistas, while acclimatizing to the high altitude and getting over your jet lag before journeying onward.
From Leh you will head further into the mountains into the Hozing Valley, which is known as the “the world capital of the snow leopard!” Hozing Valley will act as the base camp as we venture out for the next five days towards the many bye-valleys that fan out across the pasturelands. During these days your expert guides will teach you how to recognize snow leopard (and other animal) tracks and the smell its scent, how to identify scrapes, and other important sign used to locate its whereabouts.
Your guides will also lead discussions about snow leopard behavior including its hunting tactics and how to find an interpret kill sites on the landscape. They will also inform you about local lore regarding the snow leopard and the significance that this majestic animal has held for the locals who have inhabited these rugged landscapes for millennia. In addition to looking for tracks each day in the valley, you also be on the lookout for the alarm calls of deer and blue sheep to snow leopard movement, excited magpies screaming about discovered fresh kills, red foxes nervously moving in the nearby terrain trying to steal part of the meat, and golden eagles hovering above a carcass.
After our time in the Hozing Valley, you will journey back south for more cultural activities, including an afternoon tour of Old Delhi. Here you will get to see the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in all of India, as well as spend time strolling down the former imperial avenue known as Chandni Chowk (Silver Street), where you can look at the handmade items for sale in the silversmiths’ stalls as well as the handmade wares available in the many other traditional shops.
Your final excursion will be to take a train to Agra where you will first gaze upon the empty palaces, intriguing mosques, and haunting forts of Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted sandstone city lying on a rocky ridge. Next you will head to the magnificent Agra Fort, with its impressive ramparts and imperial quarters, followed by a visit to the crown jewel of India, the Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world with its white marble facade encrusted with precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pear. As you return to back to Delhi in preparation for your departure flight, you will feel satiated with all of your incredible adventures over the last two weeks and will head home full of great memories and wonderful stories!