Himalayas Snow Leopard Safari: Exhilirating Experiences as we Track Snow Leopards

Himalayas Snow Leopard Safari: Exhilirating Experiences as we Track Snow Leopards

 

We spent 9 days in the mountains at over 3900meters, very well cared for by our guides, and enjoying some wonderful experiences.

We spent every day in search of Snow Leopard tracks in the surrounding areas.

It was great fun and a wonderful adventure to set out each morning with great anticipation as we tried day after day to find the elusive ‘Grey Ghost’. It was great fun and a very rewarding experience in every way, especially as we were aware of the cats’ proximity, and actually found tracks very close to our camp on a number of occasions.

Each day as we continued to search for the cats we were exhilarated by the sense of adventure, the grandeur of the surroundings and the numerous chances we had to encounter the iconic Blue Sheep.

We had limited success this year … the guides told us that the ‘Blue Sheep’, the major diet of the Snow Leopard, remained way up in the higher altitudes of the mountains because of the warmer conditions, instead of venturing to the lower slopes of the mountain in search of warmer conditions.

We searched the hillsides with our field scopes for the cats, or their tracks – or any other sign of their presence – maybe even the remains of a kill.

On the fourth day we had some luck! We sighted a Snow Leopard that we watched for a while on a ridge not that far away, and as we watched, it moved up and across the ridge and disappeared from view. We contemplated the feasibility of following the cat, but the ridge, although not too far distant, was a good two hours away in those conditions.

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Two days later the leopard was back in our valley, and when we awakened we found the tracks very close to our tents. We followed the tracks – and what an experience it turned out to be. Following fresh leopard tracks in thick snow in the Himalayas is an indescribable event, and a memory that will last me a lifetime! We followed the tracks for five kilometers, taking three hours for the trek before we lost the track! But the memories and photographs!

And each day brought new thrills. The terrain in that area is just breathtaking, and although we had limited luck with the leopards, we had plenty to photograph. Not only the scenery – Blue Sheep, Bearded Vultures – all against the stunning backdrop.

When we returned to Leh on the ninth day, we found that our flight was delayed. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy some luxuries that we had all but forgotten about way up in the mountain slopes. First, we were warm! Oohh, what a pleasure! And a HOT shower with running water, no less! We settled in, cleaned up, warmed up, enjoyed a hot meal, and left in good spirits.

Looking forward to the 2017 trip …