Snow Leopards in the Upper Himalayas – Photography Special Led by Chris Weston – Small Group, Max 11 Pax
SMALL GROUP – MAX 11 GUESTS
Join multi award-winning photographer Chris Weston on this exhilarating tour in pursuit of photographing one of the most iconic and elusive animals in the world – the Snow Leopard! When it comes to spotting snow leopards in the wild, the very best place to go is the Ladakh region in the Indian Himalayas, and that’s exactly where this fantastic itinerary will take you. Travelling in a small group led by your renowned photography expert, you will visit a region which is home to exceptional wildlife and incredible scenery that is sure to be unforgettable. After time to acclimatise in the historic town of Leh, one of the highest permanently inhabited towns in the world, you will spend 5 nights at the wonderful Snow Leopard Lodge in Ulley searching for memorable wildlife encounters. As well as the search for snow leopards, you will also be on the lookout for the brown bears, Himalayan wolves, Himalayan foxes, Ladakh urial, ibex, small mammals and abundance of diverse bird species that are native to this area.
Whether you’re a photography novice or a pro looking to hone their skills or tick off that bucket-list wildlife shot, with the small group setting and one-to-one tuition on offer, this trip is a photographer’s dream. Learn new skills, meet like-minded travellers and perfect your wildlife photography, with the enigmatic Himalayas as your classroom.
Please note: Prices shown are person based on a twin share rate. Solo travellers can book for a single supplement of £2,235 per person.
- Enjoy a dedicated photography tour in search of snaps of the elusive Snow Leopard
- Join special guest lecturer Chris Weston, an award-winning travel photographer, and perfect your photography skills with special workshops and tutorials
- Meet with the Snow Leopard Conservancy and learn about the conservation work in place
- Explore around one of the highest and most remote places on earth
- Visit and stay in the historic town of Leh, with options for visiting the market and Buddhist monastery
- Search for other iconic wildlife including brown bear, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan fox, ibex and much more
- Incredible diversity of birdlife
- Small group experience allowing for flexibility and dedicated photo tuition
- Flights from Delhi to Leh & return
- 2 nights at JW Marriott in Delhi with breakfast included and welcome dinner on first night
- 3 nights at the Grand Dragon Hotel with breakfast, lunch & dinner included
- 5 nights at the Snow Leopard Lodge with breakfast, lunch & dinner included
- Interaction with the Snow Leopard Conservancy
- Daily wildlife excursions in Ulley led by Chris Weston, a local naturalist guide and a team of trackers and spotters (walks, treks and jeep drives)
- All road transfers
- One-to-one and group photography tutorials from Chris Weston
- Pre-departure group and one-to-one Zoom briefings and tutorials
- Exclusive & ongoing access to Chris Weston's Facebook page with tuition and pointers
Your Special Guest Guide
Photographer, Writer, Filmmaker
Since 2001, wildlife photography has been a full-time part of my life. Much has changed in that time. Film has become digital, photography has become multi-media. I embrace it all. I love telling stories and I’m happy doing that with a stills camera, a pen or via a film or documentary. They are my tools. The story is my “Why”.
I have a vested interest in our planet and the environment. Forests, woodlands, grasslands and tundras, deserts and oceans and seas – they are my “office”. I feel compelled to protect them, in whatever way I can. My skill is visual communication, so I use my camera to educate and inform with the aim of provoking action.
So much to experience
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Delhi - Arrive
Arrive independently to Delhi International Airport and meet your tour representative to transfer to your Aerocity hotel for your included overnight stay. After checking in, the rest of the day will be at your leisure, and you may wish to join an optional tour of Delhi. In the evening you can attend a welcome dinner where you will meet Chris and find out all about the adventures that lie ahead.
One night’s accommodation at JW Marriott, Aerocity, Delhi, with breakfast and welcome dinner included.
On the morning of day 2 you will transfer back to the airport for your included flight to Leh in the Ladakh region. Upon arrival you will transfer to the beautiful Grand Dragon Hotel. Since the majority of your itinerary will see you stay at areas of very high altitude, it will be necessary to spend a couple of days here to acclimatise before we head into the Ulley Valley. Leh lies at an altitude of 11,562ft above sea level and the area is also a desert, meaning a lack of trees which also contributes to low oxygen levels. There will be no activities planned for today as it will be necessary to stay at the hotel to acclimatise. There is plenty to keep you entertained at the hotel, including 3 different eateries, a games room, wellness centre and beautiful gardens.
The following day, if you are feeling suitably acclimatised, a local sightseeing tour around Leh can be organised. This will bring you to visit the Leh Market, Shanti Stupa and a Buddhist monastery. In the evening you can enjoy your included interaction with the Snow Leopard Conservancy which will introduce you to facts about these big cats and other wildlife in the region, the landscape of the area, the people, and the challenges facing the wildlife and the work being done to protect them. In the morning it will be time to set out to find these elusive big cats for yourself!
2 nights’ accommodation at the Grand Dragon Hotel with breakfasts, lunches and dinners included.
Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley
On the morning of day 4 it will finally be time to make our way to Ulley to begin our search for the elusive snow leopard, filled with expectation and excitement. Here we will check into the Snow Leopard Lodge homestay, the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh, which was initiated by the Snow Leopard Conservancy to use tourism as a conservation tool for the preservation of snow leopards and their ecosystem, by putting tourism revenue directly into local community.
The lodge lies at an altitude of about 13,000 feet in the Ulley Village which is a hamlet of just 7 houses. During your time here you will take daily guided excursions into the valleys, mountains and hills surrounding the lodge which have gained a reputation not just for the high numbers of Snow Leopards but also as one of the best areas to see Ibex, Urial, Wolf, Red Fox, Bearded and Himalayan Griffon Vultures and Golden Eagles. Excursions will involve walking, some trekking, and sometimes guided drives to the nearby valleys. Each day your guides and expert photographer will help you seek out those unforgettable snaps and we will be on a constant lookout for sightings and observations across this stark untouched landscape. With exclusive use of the lodge, mealtimes will be flexible, allowing us to stay longer in certain areas where sightings might be expected, and also so that we can travel at a pace that is comfortable for everyone in the group. Chris, your expert photography guide, will offer tips and tuition throughout, so that if you finally catch sight of your subjects, you can capture the moments perfectly. Please note, although this is one of the best places in the world to spot snow leopards, sightings can never be guaranteed.
5 nights’ accommodation at the Snow Leopard Lodge Homestay with breakfast, lunches, dinners and all guided excursions included.
After your thrilling search for snow leopards and the other iconic wildlife species that reside here, there will be time for one last excursion in the morning before we make our way back to the Grand Dragon Hotel in Leh for some well-deserved relaxation, stopping at Alchi Monastery along the way. By now you will have hopefully photographed all that you came to see and today will be the perfect opportunity to sit down and collate all the magical pictures you are sure to have taken.
1 night’s accommodation at the Grand Dragon Hotel with breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Delhi - Depart
On the morning of day 10 we will transfer to the airport for your included flight back to Delhi, where you will check into the JW Marriott Aerocity hotel again for the final night of your itinerary. The rest of the day will be at your leisure, and the following morning a transfer will be provided back to the airport for your onward or homeward flights.
A view from Above
JW Marriott, Aerocity, Delhi
The 5-star JW Marriott, Aerocity, Delhi offers 511 spacious and luxurious bedrooms close to Delhi International Airport. With stylish accommodations, personalised service, fantastic restaurants and bars, swimming pool, day spa and modern fitness centre, the hotel offers everything you could need for a relaxing and truly comfortable stay.
Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley
Located in Ulley village, just under 4,000 metres above sea level in the remote Ulley Valley, Snow Leopard Lodge is the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh and provides comfortable accommodation in one of the best places in the world to search for sightings of the elusive snow leopard. Simple, cosy and traditional, the lodge offers homestay-style accommodation where you will be staying with a Ladakhi family who will give you an insight into their lifestyle in this harsh and extreme landscape. The lodge has 5 twin bedrooms which share 3 en-suite bathrooms, and 1 single bedroom with its own en-suite bathroom.
Expect truly warm hospitality here, with local and international cuisine served up by your welcoming hosts. You can even get involved in the cooking if you wish, allowing you to get even more immersed in the local culture and life. There is a lovely communal space which has been traditionally decorated and offers the perfect place to unwind after a long day of searching for iconic wildlife. Due to its remote location, there is little to no internet or phone signal, meaning total immersion in your unforgettable surroundings and the quest for unforgettable wildlife sightings.
The Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh
One of the first 5-star luxury hotels in Ladakh, the Grand Dragon Hotel is a beautiful family-owned hotel and offers truly luxurious accommodation in historic Leh, accompanied by wonderful views of the upper Himalayas. The hotel is decorated magnificently throughout, with handmade paintings around every corner, and fixtures that are reminiscent of royalty. Each of the beautiful bedrooms and suites feature sumptuous furnishings, spacious en-suite bathrooms, LED satellite TV and views of the mountains or gardens. Many of the upgraded suites and rooms also feature balconies, underfloor heating, and lots of luxurious extras.
Three wonderful dining and snack options are available here, including a bakery and oriental cuisine restaurant. There is also a wellness centre, games room, business centre, shopping arcade, gym, manicured gardens and jogging track.
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