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Mysterious and beautiful, the snow leopard epitomises the remote and rugged wilderness of the Himalayas. Staying in a comfortable lodge, we join expert local trackers in search of this elusive cat.

For many years the only option available to anyone who wished to see a snow leopard was a rugged trekking and camping trip. However, working in conjunction with an expert local operator, we have developed a less demanding alternative that stays at a simple yet comfortable lodge located in the Ulley Valley, making our tour considerably easier and more comfortable. 

Working closely with a team of local trackers from the Snow Leopard Conservancy, renowned for their ability to locate these cats, we follow in vehicles which allow us to move easily between locations and get as close as possible to any sightings before setting out on foot.

Our tour begins in Delhi where we overnight before flying to Leh, the capital of the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. Here we have our first introduction of Himalayan wildlife as we spend two days exploring the surrounding area. Wildlife sightings we hope to enjoy include blue sheep, golden eagle, red-billed choughs, Tibetan partridge, chukar partridge, ibex and bearded vulture. We then continue by road to Ulley and begin our search for the mysterious snow leopard. During the course of the week, we may also be rewarded with other wildlife sightings including ibex, urial, Himalayan fox, wolf, Himalayan griffon and bearded vultures, and golden eagle.

Typical Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart the UK

    Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi.

  2. Day 2: Arrive Delhi

    We arrive Delhi late morning and take a short transfer to our hotel located near the airport. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Accommodation: Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, 1-night

  3. Day 3: Fly to Leh

    This morning we have an early start with a morning flight to Leh. On arrival, we meet with our local naturalist leader and transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure as we acclimatise to Leh’s higher altitude, situated at 3,500 metres above sea level.

    Accommodation: The Grand Dragon Hotel, 3-nights

  4. Days 4-5 : Explore the surroundings of Leh & search for Himalayan wildlife

    Over the course of the next two days we explore the surrounds of Leh and begin our introduction to Himalayan wildlife, On our drives we keep a keen eye out for species such as blue sheep, ibex, golden eagle and bearded vultures.

    One afternoon we visit Thiskey Gompa, a picturesque monastery perched high on a hill above the Indus, from where we have a magnificent view of the valley.

    We also take time to visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy to meet staff for a briefing on the history of snow leopard conservation in Ladakh to gain an insight into the current threats to highly endangered snow leopards, and the strategies that have been adopted to combat those threats.    

  5. Day 6: Drive to Ulley Valley

    We drive west from Leh following the Indus River to Ulley, passing through the small town of Nimmu, one of the most important in Ladakh, where the Zanskar River meets the Indus. Continuing west for around another hour, we then turn north towards Likir Gompa, one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries and enter snow leopard country.

    The landscape here becomes even more expansive and by now our guides will have their eyes peeled, constantly scanning the hill side and the skyline for any possible silhouette. This is also excellent ibex country and there are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned ibex standing vigil on some impossibly narrow outcrop a few hunded metres over a plunging cliff.

    Accommodation: Snow Leopard Homestay, 7-nights

  6. Days 7-12 : Searching for Snow Leopard in the Ulley Valley

    We have six full days to enjoy the wildlife and habitats of the high Ulley Valley and surrounding area – our exact programme over the days will be dictated by the latest sightings.

    From Ulley we are able to explore three valleys: Hemis Shukpachen, Saspoche, and Ulley itself, all of which support a healthy population of snow leopards and other Himalayan wildlife. Our guide is an exceptional tracker and spotter with an uncanny knack for finding snow leopard. Over the next few days we explore the area with him on foot and by 4WD  in search of snow leopards. During our stay we also have plenty of opportunities to gain insights into local folklore and learn about Ladakhi customs and traditions.

  7. Day 13: Drive to Leh

    After a final morning in the field we return to Leh. Time permitting, we stop en route to visit Alchi Gompa, an 11th century monastery and one of the region’s oldest.

    Accommodation: The Grand Dragon Hotel, 1-night

  8. Day 14: Fly to Delhi

    This morning we take a domestic flight back to Delhi and overnight at a hotel near the airport.

    Accommodation:  Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, 1-night

  9. Day 15: Fly to the UK

You should note: The price of this tour includes a donation of US$200 to the Snow Leopard Conservancy.

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 days from £4,795 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 14 days from £4,245 pp
  • Group size: 9
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return flights between Delhi & Leh
    • 6 nights hotel accommodation
    • 10 nights lodge accommodation
    • Most meals (breakfast only in Delhi, full board elsewhere)
    • Transfers
    • Services of a local naturalist leader
    • Park fees
    • US$200 donation to the Snow Leopard Conservancy
  • Activities available:
    • Culture
    • Nature drive
    • Walking
Featured locations:


Leh, the capital of the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, and has a distinctly Tibetan feel. Sights include the Royal (Leh) Palace and the Shanti Stupa. It is the ideal place to acclimatise to the higher altitude before venturing into snow leopard territory.

  • Where: Ladakh State
  • Ideal for viewing: bharal, golden eagle, lammergeier, Siberian ibex, urial
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt

Ulley Valley

The village of Ulley, which lies at the centre of three interlocking valleys, is surrounded by spectacular mountainous scenery, where you can observe the diverse wildlife of Ladakh. Highlights of the valley include Siberian (Asiatic) ibex, bharal, urial, red fox, wolf and the elusive snow leopard.

  • Where: Ladakh State
  • Ideal for viewing: snow leopard, Siberian ibex, bharal, red fox, Tibetan partridge
  • Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt
Featured accommodation:

Snow Leopard Lodge

In the heart of Ladakh lies this comfortable lodge, the ideal base for a snow leopard quest. The small guesthouse provides comfort at sub-zero temperatures, with the added experience of living with a Ladakhi family. With superb views across the valley, you may see ibex, bharal or even wolf.