Expedition: Snow leopards of India
Travel with environmental photojournalist, Fiona Ayerst deep into the Ladakh region of India on a tutored photographic expedition to document the elusive snow leopard.The capital Leh sits at a very high altitude and it is vital that we relax and get used to the thin air. While we do this we’ll be traveling around the Leh area and visiting some of the stunning cultural sites and monasteries or just chilling in the comfy hotel or around town. After this period of relaxation, the adventure begins and we will visit some of the most populated snow leopard areas in the world. There is a massive chance that you will see and photograph the wild snow leopards in their natural habitat. You will also have the opportunity to see tibetan wolves, ibex, urial, golden eagles, lammergeyer, pica, snow owls and many more fascinating species.
- DATES: 14-days in February annually
- GUIDE & TUTOR: Fiona Ayerst
- LOCATION: Ladakh, India
- COST: $4275 sharing, $4745 single
- MAX GUESTS: Nine
- INCLUDES: Snow leopard expeditions, local guide, photographic tutor/guide, accommodation, meals, local travel
- EXCLUDES: Photographic equipment, flights, travel insurance
- RECOMMENDED OPTIONAL ADDONS: 6-day Holi festival at $1700 (share), $2000 (single)
Experience and document the greatest events that nature has to offer with the guides and tutors from Africa Media.
You will be led by Jigmet Dadul or one of his guides. They are from the snow leopard conservation India trust. Jigmet and his team are the most respected leopard spotters in the area. They will also have the assistance of locally trained guides and scouts using high power spotting scopes.
There will be a combination of camping and traditional homestays high up in the Himalaya mountains. Camping – Shared or single tents are available with a comfortable mattress, pillow, sleeping bag, blanket & a much needed hot water bottle for the evening. The main dining tent will be equipped with a gas heater. Homestay – The houses have wood fire heating in the main kitchen/living room. The guest rooms consist of beds or futon style mattresses with plenty of warm quilts & blankets. Homestay hosts have been trained in accommodating travelers and are members of a community conservation effort to conserve the endangered snow leopards. In Leh, before we leave for the valley, you will receive 2 nights in a heated luxury guest house- before moving to the Ulley valley or Stok and on your return you will receive a further night in the same or a similar quality guest house.
As you will be travelling in the winter local food will consist of plenty of hot healthy food such as organic rice, vegetables and meat. The Ladakhians know how to cater and eat well and there is no shortage of food and hot drinks to keep you warm and full of energy.Bring healthy snacks if you feel you will need to supplement this diet.
This trip is for photographers of all levels and you will receive one-to-one instruction on an informal basis from Fiona Ayerst about how to photograph the snow leopard, wildlife and culture of India. It is suggested you borrow or buy a scope too as it is much easier to use than binoculars, for spotting the cats.
This photo tour is not for you if you aren’t able to walk comfortably. Our special itinerary takes you off the beaten path to the best locations for photographing the elusive cat. You will be hiking and climbing at altitudes of up to 4000 m so you will need to be reasonably fit. (I highly recommend 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day at least 3 months prior to the tour date and for longer if possible).
Addon: Holi festival, Agra, New Delhi experience
Agra is home to the Taj Mahal is and is an interesting train ride from New Delhi. For those joining me on this leg there are also some great bustling markets scenes (and shopping) to be found in New Delhi. We will be dividing our time up between New Delhi and Agra. Holi or ‘Phagwah’ is the most colourful festival celebrated by the Hindus. It is celebrated as harvest festival as well as welcome-festival for the spring season in India. People smear coloured powder called ‘gulal’ or coloured water on each other and rejoice…This is a sight a photographer cannot afford to miss. It’s a riot of colour. Given the volatile nature of the dollar and that I am pre-booking with the guides 15 months in advance, I reserve the right to ask clients to pay a supplement should the value of the dollar decline substantially before final payments are due on 1 October 2017.Should you book on the tour you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $1250 to secure your position. The deposit must be paid within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. The trip will go ahead even if there are only 1 or 2 people booked. You will receive a PDF full of information and a contract should you wish to join me.
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