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Snow Leopard Expedition

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Why Book With Us?

  • Safety
  • Small groups - (6-12)
  • Experience nature
  • Sustainable experiences

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+91-9667867679


contact@gooutwithowls.com

  • 8 Days/7 Nights
  • Easy
  • 13615 ft./4149 m
  • 6 Participants
  • January-February
  • Himachal Pradesh

Snow Leopard Expedition Overview

As winter sets in the highlands of Spiti Valley, the region adorns white cloaks, transforming the entire valley into a winter wonderland. During the cold and harsh winter of this trans-Himalayan region, an exotic Himalayan wildlife expedition awaits. Snow leopard sightings begin in the lower region, attracting wildlife enthusiasts to embark on the thrilling Snow Leopard Expedition or Snow Leopard Journey.

Snow Leopard Expeditions in India are rare and exclusive. Our Snow Leopard quest takes us to the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in the Trans-Himalayan region of the Spiti Valley. The sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1992, and it spans over 2200 sq. km with an altitude variation ranging from 3600 to 6700 metres.

 The sanctuary is home to around 30 Snow Leopards, and winter months are an ideal time to encounter and photograph this elusive cat in and around Kibber Village.

Besides the Snow Leopards, the Kibber Snow Leopard Expedition also chances upon other Himalayan wildlife like Siberian Ibex, Blue Sheep, Argali, Wolves, Red Fox, Woolly Hare, and Royle’s Pika. Birdlife is scarce, but some of the avifauna species include Golden Eagles, Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Yellow-billed Choughs, Snow Pigeon, Tibetan Partridge, and Chukars.

Embark on a brand new adventure this winter with OWLS and encounter the elegance of these grey ghosts whilst basking in the winter beauty of Spiti Valley.

Snow Leopard Wildlife Expedition brochure

  • Meals 
    • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners (Day 1 Dinner to Day 8 Breakfast)
  • Accommodation 
    • Tents, Homestays/Dorms
    • Cloakroom Charges 
  • Highly Experienced Leaders and Guides 
    • Trained and Qualified Guides
    • Certified Outdoor Leaders
  • Permits
    • National Parks and Sanctuaries
    • Forest Permits and Entry fees 
  • Camping Equipment
    • Kitchen Tent
    •  Toilet Tent
    • Dome Tents 
    • Sleeping Bags
    • Mattresses
  • Technical Equipment
    • Wilderness Medical Kit
    • Climbing Rope 
    • Climbing Accessories
    • Ice Axe
    • Microspikes
    • Oxygen Cylinder
    • BP Meter
    •  Oximeter, Thermometer etc.

 

Exclusions 

  • Transit meals and stay on Day 8
  • Travel cost to and from the starting point
  • Personal expenses 
  • Offloading charges 
  • Cost incurred due to change in the itinerary 
  • Additional services  (including mules, assistance, health-related support etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions list. 
  •  

Snow Leopard Expedition Itinerary

Day 1 : Drive from Shimla to Rampur/Kalpa

We begin this Spiti Valley Winter Expedition by hitting the road from Shimla. We pass through the popular towns of Sarahan and Rampur-Bushahr before entering the spectacular Kinnaur Valley. If the day is clear, we might catch a glimpse of the famous Kinner Kailash Peak – said to be the summer abode of Lord Shiva.

Upon your arrival at Kalpa, you will be treated to a piping hot cup of tea to warm you up before settling into your comfortable hotel room. However, it’s important to note that during the peak of winter, the road to Kalpa can sometimes become unsafe and inaccessible. If this happens, we will make alternate arrangements for your stay in Rampur. You can rest easy knowing that we will ensure you have a comfortable and safe overnight stay at a hotel in Rampur or Kalpa.

Day 2 : Drive from Rampur/Kalpa-Nako-Geyu-Tabo

After a comfortable night’s rest at Rampur / Kalpa, we set off on the famous Hindustan-Tibet Highway. We will encounter the convergence of Spiti and Khab on the way. Famed for its spectacular views and proximity to Tibet, this road snakes north into Nako, the last hamlet of Kinnaur district.

We will reach Spiti Valley after Sumdo. We will visit the famous 500-year-old Mummy in a village called Geyu.

We have a steaming hot lunch at Nako, before entering the magical Spiti Valley. Here, we spend the night at a comfortable and authentic homestay in Tabo. 

Day 3-5 : Excursions to spot the Snow Leopard

On this day, we will spend some time in Tabo Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage before we arrive in Kibber. This will be a 3-hour drive, if there is any Snow Leopard midway from this journey, we will try to spot it. While trying to spot the snow leopards, you need patience abundance and a bit of luck. These animals are extremely good at camouflaging with the surroundings. You need to be patient while on the lookout for this rare Himalayan wildlife. You will be looking at one, and not know it unless it moves. Hence it is extremely important to go on the snow leopard sightings with oodles of patience and concentration. The sharp eye of a local guide who is well aware of its characteristics enhances your chances of spotting one.

We will be spending some time in Tabo Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site before we continue to Kibber. The drive will take around three hours, and if we happen to come across a Snow Leopard during our journey, we will try to spot it. However, spotting a Snow Leopard requires a great deal of patience and a bit of luck, as these animals are incredibly good at blending in with their surroundings.

It’s highly recommended to go on Snow Leopard sightings with a local guide familiar with their habits, as this can increase your chances of spotting one.

Our expert spotter narrows down the most likely locations for snow leopard sightings using their extensive local networks. After exploring Kibber, we will venture out into Chicham village and try spotting the elusive species.

Apart from the snow leopards, the region is also home to other Himalayan wildlife like Ibex, Blue Sheep, Eurasian lynx and Shanko (red fox). The team will engage with locals during this duration. 

The region is also known for producing the exquisite pashmina. We will try our hands to understand the process of producing classic and exclusive Pashminas. We will beat the frigid winter temperature of Spiti by indulging in cooking local cuisines using locally sourced ingredients. The team will hike to the Tiri Phu monastery and immerse ourselves in the serenity of the place before resuming our regular life.

Day 6 : Drive from Kibber-Key Monastery-Hikkim-Kaza

Exploration of Spiti isn’t over yet. We begin the fourth day with a drive to the renowned Ki Monastery. The car will first stop at the base of the monastery hill for the ultimate photo opportunity of this remarkable structure amid white snow. With over 1000 years’ worth of stories to tell, the Key Monastery, situated at a height of 13,668 ft was founded by a disciple of the famous Atisha, in the 11th century CE. Belonging to the Yellow Hat or Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, this monastery is famous as a prominent centre of learning, as well as a refuge for Tibetans. Being remotely located atop a hill overlooking endless plains, the Key Monastery is an obvious choice for those seeking peace and calm.

Later, we drive to Hikkim to visit the world’s highest post office. If you are lucky, you might even meet the postmaster and hear his stories.

After completing our picturesque journey around Spiti, we will finally reach Kaza and rest here overnight.

Day 7 : Drive from Kaza to Rampur

The sixth day marks the end of this expedition. We make our way south towards Kinnaur Valley. After a scenic and memorable drive, we will end the journey at Rampur. Overnight stay at a hotel in Rampur.

Day 8 : Drive from Rampur to Shimla

How to reach Shimla for the Snow Leopard Expedition?

The pick-up point for the Snow Leopard Expedition is Shimla. For this experience, you have to reach Shimla on Day 0, or Day 1 morning. If you are reaching on Day 1, make sure to reach before 5.30 am for OWLS pick up. 

OWLS pickup vehicle will leave at 6:00 am from Old Shimla Bus Stand, Shimla. Book your air ticket to Delhi or Chandigarh.

Here is a travel plan you can follow to reach Shimla for OWLS pick-up

Travel Plan A – By Air to Chandigarh, followed by Road Journey to Shimla

Day 0: Arrive in Chandigarh on Day 0 (refer to the itinerary) and take a bus to Shimla from Sector 43. Look for a suitable hotel/hostel and stay overnight in Shimla. 

Chandigarh to Shimla distance is 113 km, and it takes 3.5 to 4 hours to cover the distance. 

Upon arriving at Chandigarh airport you can head to Sector 43 and board a bus from there. If you prefer travelling by HRCT buses, two buses depart during the first half of the day. Additionally, evening buses are scheduled to leave around 6 PM and 8 PM.

If you want to travel by privately run buses, check out Red Bus or MakeMyTrip. Chandigarh to Shimla bus fare ranges between Rs 250 to 400.

Travel Plan B – By Air to Delhi followed by Road Journey to Shimla

Day 0: If you fly to Delhi instead of Chandigarh, you can book an overnight bus to Shimla from Delhi. New Delhi to Shimla distance is approximately 355km, and it takes 6h to 7 hours to cover the distance. 

Remember to board a bus that arrives in Shimla before 5:00 AM on Day 1 as the cab leaves the OWLS pick-up point at 5:30 AM. The second option is to arrive in Shimla on Day 0 and stay here for a night. 

HRTC buses ply between Delhi and Shimla every day from ISBT, Kashmiri Gate. Delhi to Shimla bus will cost you anywhere between Rs.400 – Rs.1500. The Volvo buses are on the higher side and comfortable for overnight journeys. Ordinary buses will cost you around Rs 400 to Rs 500. 

Note – We recommend buses over different travel options at any time based on availability, time and cost.