Himalayan Brown Bear Lodge
The Snow Leopard Lodge is the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh. It began originally as a homestay owned by one of Ladakh’s top snow leopard trackers – Tchewang Norbu – under the auspices of a program initiated by the Snow Leopard Conservancy designed to use tourism as a conservation tool.
The Lodge is located in the village of Ulley in West Ladakh, north of the Indus River, at an altitude of about 13,000 feet. It is 2 – 3 hours driving time from Leh. Ulley itself is a hamlet of just 7 houses beyond which are the high summer pastures. This is excellent Ibex country and an area that has only recently been developed for Snow Leopard tracking. It has quickly gained a reputation not just for the high numbers of Snow Leopards but as one of the best areas to see Ibex, Urial, Wolf, Red Fox, Bearded and Himalayan Griffon Vultures and Golden Eagles.
The Snow Leopard lodge is also open in the summer from which to enjoy not just the stunning high altitude fauna, but also the flora of Ladakh, both on foot and using vehicles, guided all the way by our excellent nature guides and spotters.
Style of TourJeep Safari and Hiking
Best SeasonApril to November
StaysBrown Bear Lodge
Day 1: Arrive in Kargil from Leh and drive to Drass
- Arrive at Kargil and transfer by our vehicles to Brown Bear Lodge. Check in at Lodge in Brown Bear Landscape, Briefing by Tour Leader and Spotter. Dinner at the lodge.
Day 2: Brown Bear Tracking
- Early Start to the day at 5 am. Depending on the snow conditions, we will hike up or use ponies to reach the adjacent hillside, which provides a good vantage point to scan for bears. Our spotters will accompany us. Packed breakfast can be reached on site. During the day, we will visit the near by Shina villages towards Mushkow valley. This valley also boasts of other wildlife such as marmots, Ibex, Fox and Wolves. A variety of birds are also present in this region. This area has some great walks amidst blooming tulips and other wild flowers through the summer.
Day 3 & 4: Brown Bear Tracking
- Morning and evening Brown Bear tracking. Depending on the sightings in our base valley, we can drive to other adjacent valleys such as Umba La (based on snow levels at that time of the year), Pandrass, Matayen, Shimsha Kharbu, Suru or the apricot orchards in the beautiful village of Karkitchu.
Day 5: Drive back from Drass to Kargil and onto Leh
- Return to Kargil visiting the Hundurman border museum near on the LoC. Continue journey from Kargil.These itineraries are customizable based on guest interests to an extent and within the limits of the region/scope of operation.Depending on the time of the year these itineraries can be started from both Srinagar and Kargil and any further assistance on either end of the fixed departure can be provided by us if one r
- Transport fully engaged on disposal throughout the journey Ex Kargil
- All Meals in Kargil and Drass
- Accommodation at the lodge in Drass including all meals
- Tour Leader
- Spotting scope to shares
- Local Spotters
- Local Porter/Mules
- Community Fee
- First Aid and oxygen cylinder
- Museum and Monastery tickets
- Personal binoculars/spotting scopes
- Personal expenses such as mineral water, beverages, alcohol
- Medical/Travel insurance
- Emergency evacuation cost
- Cost incurred due to change in itinerary on account of road blocks, weather change, vehicle breakdown
- Tips to drivers/guides
- We strongly suggest to DMCs that an added conservation fee (INR 1000) be included/night/guest. This will be handed over to The Himalayan Brown Bear Project to be used in conservation projects in the Kargil area
- Power: Erratic power (based on site) with generator backup on schedule
- Food: Mix of Indian / Continental / Ladakhi. Set Menus.
- Rooms: 5 Twin Rooms (with 1 or 2 shared Toilets).
- Small library of reference books and fiction
- Binoculars available on request
- Tea / Coffee & cookies available all day in the dining / lounge area
- Drinking water provided
- Packed lunches / tea coffee provided when in the field
- No credit card facility – nearest ATM in Drass/Kargil
- Vehicles / guides / spotters at disposal
- Rooms are heated with gas heaters or bukharis
- Hot/Cold water in bathrooms/toilets provided in buckets
- Toilet – Cleanwaste technology – odour-free dry chemical toilets
- Projection system for screening films
- Nearest Hospital in Drass/Kargil (approx.15min/1 hour drive)
- These itineraries are customizable based on guest interests to an extent and within the limits of the region/scope of operation.
- Depending on the time of the year these itineraries can be started from both Srinagar and Kargil and we can provide any further assistance on either end of the fixed departure if one feels the need.
- THE FIXED DEPARTURE DATES WILL OPERATE ONLY WHEN A MINIMUM OF 4 PAX SIGN UP PER TRIP.
- Minimum stay at the Lodge – 2 nights (suggested is 4 nights)
- The Himalayan Brown Bear Lodge can be used as a base to explore the heritage of Kargil, Suru Valley, Drass and other regions of Western Ladakh, apart from being the best site to view the Himalayan Brown Bears.
- Access – Less than 30 mins from Drass town. From Leh it is a 6 hours drive and from Snow Leopard Lodge Ulley it is 4 hours 30 mins, From Srinangar the drive takes 4 - 5 hours to our lodge depending on snow and traffic around Zoji La Pass. (open only after May)
- Valid ID proof (Passport/Voter ID/Drivers Licence)
- No suitcases. Opt for 70 to 90 litre backpacks
- Water-proof trekking shoes
- One down jacket or warmer for chilly nights
- Rain poncho or jacket/windcheater (a must!)
- Thermal inner (not advisable to wear it while trekking)
- Trekking pants (one spare)
- Sun block
- Sun goggles
- Trekking pole
- Spare under garments and socks (three pairs max)
- Flashlight with extra batteries (preferably wearable)
- Water bottle, preferably wide mouthed, with at least one litre capacity
- Personal toiletries
- Power bank (if you want to use phone camera)
- That book you’ve been meaning to read
- All outdoor related activities involve a certain level of risk. You are expected to sign an Indemnity Form in agreement to the risks involved through part taking in such outdoor activities
- Delays are expected on account of roadblock & weather conditions. Our effort will be to continue with the trip as per the schedule & make you as comfortable as possible. But in such situations we may have to compromise and adjust to these situations then & there. Our Lead Guide on location will take the final call
- The itinerary should be viewed as ideal we may have to make some spot changes due various unavoidable reasons
- The distances & altitude mentioned in the above itinerary are to the best of our knowledge & information; marginal variance in the actual distances & altitudes is possible.
- You are expected to be in reasonable shape and fitness
- Roots Ladakh reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals and photographs submitted by them on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes