On the Trail of the Great Cats


Join us for an extraordinary wildlife expedition on the trail of the near-mythical snow leopards of the Himalayas and the Bengal tigers in legendary Kanha and Pench national parks! We’ll seek the elusive snow leopard in the high Himalayas of Ladakh, where soaring peaks glitter with snow and prayer flags flutter from whitewashed monasteries. Ladakh is a magical place—and the best on the planet to see a snow leopard in the wild. We’ve timed our visit for the winter months, when leopards come down from the snowy heights to follow their main prey, ibex and blue sheep. (Sightings of snow leopard have been excellent from November to March and are not dependent on snow conditions in the mountains). We’ll be based in the remote village of Ulley (13,000'), where a comfortable mountain lodge will welcome us (no camping!). Each day, our expert naturalist and local trackers, who know all the haunts of the “gray ghost,” will get us to the ideal locations to spot these rare creatures. We’ll also be on the lookout for other wildlife including Tibetan wolf, red fox, and Himalayan griffon vulture. A dramatic change of scene finds us in the subtropical world of Kanha National Park, India’s great tiger reserve, where prime teak forests are home to royal Bengal tigers. Spotting one of these magnificent predators is a true privilege, and the park is also home to a rich array of other Indian wildlife. From our award-winning lodge, we have exclusive access at the remote north gate of the park. With fewer travelers around, it means we’ll have a chance for more tiger sightings as well as leopards and Indian wild dog! We invite you on the ultimate experience of the great cats of India!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Delhi / Leh

Fly to Leh (11,500'), Ladakh’s capital, once a stop for trading caravans on the Silk Road across Central Asia. An immersion into another era, Leh’s Old Quarter is little changed from the 16th century. Like Tibet, Ladakh is a remote enclave of Tibetan Buddhism with a spectacular setting.

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Days 4-10
Ulley / Snow Leopard Tracking

In the remote village of Ulley (13,000'), with its prayer flags and yak corrals, our community-owned lodge puts us in the perfect place to track snow leopard in three valleys renowned for sightings. We set out by vehicle each day to get right to the prime viewing spots. Keeping an eye out for ibex, wolf, and soaring griffon vultures in this spectacular landscape, we hike with our trackers to high points for the best viewing opportunities. Our trip directly supports local community and conservation efforts that are critical for the survival of the magnificent snow leopard. Overnight in Leh on Day 10.

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Days 11-16
Kanha National Park / In Search of Tigers

Kanha National Park’s lush meadows and sal forests are ideal habitat for tigers and their prey. We explore by 4WD vehicle, enjoy village visits, and have a cooking demonstration at our award-winning lodge. Depart via Delhi on Day 16, or join our Pench National Park Extension for incredible game viewing from a luxurious and atmospheric lodge that puts us in the park’s game-rich northern reaches.

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Days 16-19, Mar 22-25, 2019
Pench National Park Extension
If Kanha is known for its tigers, Pench will complete the experience with leopards (as well as tigers), jungle cat, dhole (Indian wild dog), sloth bear, wild boar, mongoose, and gaur (Indian bison). Our award-winning accommodation, Jamtara, named on Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List, is an experience in itself. Depart on Day 19.

Video by WT Adventurer Karen Perry

“The trackers were out early every morning searching for leopards in the three surrounding valleys. For four days we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Himalayas, but no sightings of the elusive snow leopard. In the late evening of the next to last day our guide and trackers spotted Gyamo, a female leopard with her two cubs, and we quickly got into our vehicles to head down the mountain and get as close of a look as possible. The next day we had an even better experience as the guide and trackers spotted the same three leopards and we got to watch the cubs playing in the deep snow on the high ridge directly across from the lodge! ...a dream come true! ”
—Karen Perry (www.karenperryimages.com)



Track snow leopard in the high Himalaya with expert guides
Experience Ladakh’s breathtaking winter landscape and ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture
Search for Royal Bengal tigers in renowned Kanha National Park
Extend your adventure with exclusive access to Pench National Park, known for tiger, leopard, and dhole (Indian wild dog)


Length: 16 days
Cost From: $7995  
Arrive: Delhi, India
Depart: Delhi, India
Lodging: 4 nights jungle lodge, 6 nights lodge, 5 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Rugged road travel with occasional light hikes, altitudes between 11,000-14,000 feet, wildlife viewing by vehicle from a jungle lodge