Leh to Ulley
Today after breakfast you will make your way to Ulley by road, generally following the Indus River. Pass through the small town of Nimmu where the Zanskar River meets the Indus. Head north on a road marked to Likir – one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries. This is all snow leopard country. Smaller valleys intersect and the guides have their heads craned all the time, scanning the hillside and the skyline for any silhouette – notably the ibex, a massive wild mountain goat indigenous to the region. There are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned male ibex standing on impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff.
This afternoon you will arrive at Snow Leopard Lodge which, apart from being more comfortable than camping out in sub-zero temperatures, puts money directly into local hands and strengthens the constituency of the snow leopard. The lodge is built separately from the main house with a dining room, lounge and kitchen with a personal cook and camp staff– all in the same low-built stone building with luxuries like extra gas heaters, a warm shower and bathroom, and comfortable mattresses that go a long way to alleviate the cold and the altitude.
Experience living with a Ladakhi family in the depths of winter to immerse yourself in their lifestyle. From the house and its terraced fields, you will have a superb view across the valley and are almost certain to see ibex from here, and possibly much other wildlife including wolf, Himalayan fox and perhaps even snow leopard. Settle in on arrival and acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley. From here you can explore three valleys, great for spotting wildlife.
Over the next few days, explore the area on foot and vehicle with your exceptional spotter Norbu tracking the snow leopard. Norbu interacts closely with the local people and uses the network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to get insights into local folklore, as well as learn about local customs and traditions.
Snow Leopard Lodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner