Ulley village, west of Leh is an area that is only recently being developed for Snow Leopard watching.
You will be staying at The Snow Leopard Lodge – which apart from being more comfortable than camping out in sub-zero temperatures – puts money directly into local hands and strengthens the constituency of the snow leopard. This will be your base for your stay searching for snow leopards and other high altitude wildlife. Add to this the interest of living with a Ladakhi family in the depths of winter and understanding their lifestyle and you have a very special experience in store - especially sharing the large and warm kitchens that are the heart of a Ladakhi home in winter and resplendent with brass, copper and silver ornaments.
Settle in on arrival and acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley. You will be based here and the advantage of Ulley is that it is relatively free of tourism and the chaos that has enveloped the first snow leopard destination - Rumbak.
The lodge consists of 6 bedrooms, built separately from the main house with a dining room and kitchen – all in the same low stone built building.
Ulley is a remote hamlet of 7 houses at the head of the valley, situated at about 13,000 feet. It’ wild and remote locations means that you are surrounded by wildlife with Ibex and Himalayan fox, snow cock, lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, golden eagles and much else constantly present and visible from the house itself.
Secondly, the wildlife sightings are not limited to snow leopards and blue sheep as at Rumbak (another popular area for Snow Leopard tracking) but you also have Ibex, urial, fox and most excitingly wolves here. On one occasion clients watched 4 wolves for about 6 hours feeding on a young dzo they had killed about 100 yards from the house. Several times clients have spotted leopards from or close to the house.
Add to this the huge difference in comfort, warmth etc which allows people to stay longer thus maximising chances of good sightings. But to my mind the biggest bonus is the fact that you have virtually exclusive access to this amazing area; that you can decide how much walking you want to do - fit clients have accompanied Norbu and the other trackers following leopards; you are putting money directly into local communities by way of the homestay and the services of Norbu and trackers from two adjoining valleys who we employ. In every respect the client experience is hugely improved.
The advantage of this area is that from here you can explore 3 valleys, which, apart from snow leopards, are great for finding urial, Ibex, wolf and Himalayan fox. Norbu is an exceptional tracker and spotter whose entire being seems to be narrowed down to the field of vision of his binoculars. Booking in at the Lodge is the simplest way of looking for snow leopards allowing you complete flexibility as to the number of days you want to spend and requiring none of the elaborate preparations that you need to camp out.
Nearest Airport : Leh - 2 Hours