Snow Leopard Expedition

Research trip of snow leopard in Annapurna

Hike with Tashi Ghale to learn about the cats of the mountains

In 2023 Jan/Feb, we will give our clients the opportunity to accompany Tashi Ghale, a field biologist with THIRD POLE CONSERVANCY (TPC), on a camera trap survey expedition aimed at calculating the population density of snow leopards in Nepal in the Manang Valley of Annapurna District. 

Over the course of the journey, participants will visit up to six of Tashi’s camera trap sites to recover memory cards and subsequently download image and video data. Photos and video obtained from the camera traps enable TPC to estimate the number of snow leopards inhabiting specific mountain tracks, in addition to the felines’ travel routes and the movement of their prey. Scientists rely on the animals’ spot patterns to identify individual snow leopards when conducting such research. Tashi Ghale’s snow leopard camera trap research is recognized as being amongst the most prolific in its field today.

Each of the expeditions – from arrival in Kathmandu to final departure – will last ten days, five of which will be spent in the company of our field biologist. Our trekking itineraries will range in altitude from 3,500 to 4,500 meters. These unique journeys have been conceived with two objectives: to allow participants to witness, first-hand, compelling wildlife conservation field research against a spectacular Himalayan setting and to provide funding support for TPC’s ongoing mission to protect the future of snow leopards in Annapurna through scientific research and community outreach programs. Participants on the journey will see the tangible application of the funding provided by the expedition to TPC to support its snow leopard conservation efforts.

Third Pole Conservancy (TPC), formerly known as Global Primate Network (GPN)-Nepal, is a non-governmental, and non-profit organization established by a team of young wildlife researchers and conservationists from Nepal with the aim of promoting science-based conservation of wildlife and its habitat in Nepal Himalaya.

Founded in 2008 by a team of young wildlife researchers (Ganga Ram Regmi, MSc MSc PhD Scholar (Small Wild Cats), Rinzin Phunjok Lama, MSc Conservation Biologist / Conservation Program Director, to promote the science-based conservation of wildlife and its habitat in Nepal, endeavors to protect wildlife through ‘people participation by developing and promoting local ‘citizen scientists’ through training and skill development programs. TPC works to engage communities – including migratory yak and goat herders – in field research through credible scientific data collection as well as by promoting awareness of snow leopard and alpine ecosystems.

Tashi Ghale today manages 30 different camera traps in the Manang area, across a dozen sites located along mountain ridges, at elevations ranging from 3,800 to 5,500 meters. Tashi started his snow leopard camera trap research in 2006, working with a self-customized analog camera. Today his digital cameras are capable of capturing photo and video data, day and night. He estimates that there are currently 25-30 snow leopards living in the area around Manang and 300-500 throughout the mountains of Nepal.

Culture

With so many cultures in Nepal, Manang DIstrict has its own people and their culture that is unique in every way. Get emerged with the locals as you travel through the villages of Manang, Khangsar and the Gompa.

Landmarks in Kathmandu Valley

Along with the trek to Langtang, we will explore few of the glamorous landmarks in the Kathmandu valley. Even though it is the capital city, Kathmandu is still filled with historical locations and old buildings. Walk through these roads as you experience the history of Kathmandu.

Guide : Tashi Ghale

With many years of experience and the knowledge of the location, our guides also our local citizen scientist Mr. Tashi will provide you with the best experience to this amazing location.

Majestic Himalayas

With many of the tallest mountains in the northern part of Nepal. Get a panoramic view of Himalayan mountains, the Annapurnas, Tilicho Lake, and so much more.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu.
Guests will be welcomed at Tribhuvan Airport then transferred to the Marshyangdi Hotel, located in the Thamel district in central Kathmandu. Over dinner, we will discuss highlights of our upcoming journey.
Day 2: Overland from Kathmandu to Chame (approx. 10 hours).
Early morning, we start our overland journey to Manang. We will cover the initial Kathmandu to Chame segment of the voyage, driving along well-traveled highways and secondary roads. Dinner and overnight at Chame.
Day 3: Jeep transport from Chame to Manang (approx. 5 hours).
Throughout most of the day, our jeep convoy will climb the twisting, arduous mountain trail ascending from Chame (2,650 meters) to Manang (3,500 meters). We will arrive in Manang in mid-afternoon, after a lunch break along the road. Our home in Manang will be the Mountain Lake Lodge where in the evenings, around the warm wood-stove, Tashi will share with us his unique experience and insight as well as the many fascinating photos and videos he has captured of the legendary snow leopard.
Days 4-8: Tracking the snow leopard.
Over the next five days we will accompany Tashi Ghale on a series of trekking excursions to collect data from up to six of his camera traps set along ridge-lines in the Manang area. Sites we will visit include Khangsar (3,800 meters), Yak Kharka (4,000 meters) and Ledar (4,200 meters). We will overnight at least once along the trail as Tashi seeks interaction with communities of migrant yak herders who today represent the most frequent point of conflict between humans and snow leopards. A large part of Tashi’s (and GPN’s) work today involves the creation of viable alternatives – to the killing of snow leopards – for the benefit of the yak herders to safeguard their livestock. Such alternatives include the construction of portable ‘safe’ corrals for young livestock as well as the supply and use of ‘fox-lights’ to discourage snow leopards from approaching herders’ encampments. Much of the funding provided by our expeditions will be allocated to the acquisition of such tools – ‘safe’ corrals and ‘fox-lights’ – to assist GPN is its efforts to reverse the trend of snow leopard retaliatory killings. As we make our way along the trail, it will be difficult not to be amazed by the collage of crystal-clear alpine rivers, jagged snow covered Himalayan peaks, Buddhist monasteries and monuments and ancient stone villages. Surrounded by the Annapurna mountain range – which includes one peak over 8,000 meters and thirteen peaks over 7,000 meters – we are reminded that we truly are on the roof of the world.
Day 9: Return journey from Manang to Besisahar (approx. 8 hours).
Our jeep descent of the storied mountain road will be somewhat more comfortable and rapid than the ascent. At the base of the trail we will have dinner and will overnight at the Gateway Himalaya Resort in Besisahar.
Day 10: Overland from Besisahar to Kathmandu (approx. 6 hours).
The Nepalese highway system will feel like 5-star comfort after our mountain ‘off-road’ experience! Closing group dinner in Kathmandu followed by overnight at the Marshyangdi Hotel.
Day 11: Optional trip extension to visit sites in the Kathmandu valley or transfer to and departure from Tribhuvan Airport.
Meet your Guide
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Third Pole Conservancy

Partnered

Third Pole Conservancy (TPC), formerly known as Global Primate Network (GPN)-Nepal, is a non-governmental, and non-profit organization established by a team of young wildlife researchers and conservationists from Nepal with the aim of promoting science-based conservation of wildlife and its habitat in Nepal Himalaya.

Tour Inquiry for
Upcoming Dates
Snow Leopard Tour

Have a Question?

Feel free to reach out and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Price includes

  • 2 nights at Hotel Marshyangdi Deluxe Room with breakfast
  • Transfer within the country on private vehicle
  • Welcome Dinner & Farewell Dinner with drinks
  • Entrance Fee & Guide Fee for Tours in the city
  • Hotel Mountain Lake and Restaurant in Manang – owned by Tashi Ghale
  • Good Condition Tea Houses/Lodges for accommodation on research trek
  • Guest orders all 3 meals from the lodge menu (no restrictions)
  • All meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
  • Boiled Water, Tea, Coffee, Hot Lemon, Ginger Tea included
  • Trekking Guide and Porters fee, accommodation, and meals
  • Last Frontiers duffel bag for trek portion to use & take home
  • Trekking Permit and National Park Fee
  • Trekking Guide/Porter insurance covered
  • % of the sales goes to support the Primate Network project

Price excludes

  • International Airfare
  • Visa Fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a Personal Nature
  • Tips to city Guide & Drivers
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Bottled liquid like water, Juice,
  • Any soda or alcoholic drinks
  • Any Meals not mentioned
  • Gifts, Souvenirs, Donations
  • Gratitude to trek guide & porter

Why take this trip with us?

Explore the culture and landscape

As you drive from the lower part of the Manang, you’ll pass through rich forests, with birds and the occasional monkey. The trip passes through pinewoods and on to the high valley with yak pastures, open skies and glaciers, and the homes of the Manang people. Explore the history, culture and heritage of the Manang region.

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Support the local economy

Manang Valley is a well-trekked region where the famous Annapurna Circuit trek goes through.  But on this trek, we will be supporting the local citizen scientist and their work to conserve the mountain big cat.

Easy access trek

This trek starts from the rugged road from Besisahar to Manang.  A 4WD on a speed less than 5km per hour, we drive about 10 hours from Besisahar to Manang.  A road that has a high cliff, one vehicle road access in most of the places, an adventurous drive, we have to take to reach our destination.

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What To Expect

Note on Itinerary

Although we generally stick to the schedule date, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions, lodging availability, and the group’s general timing.

 Air Travel

Please check with your travel agent for a better route to fly into the arriving to Kathmandu. We advise you to check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Weather

The two best seasons for the Manang trek are spring (March to May) and autumn (mid Sept to mid Dec).  But for this trip, we will be heading to Manang during the winter months, because of the possibility of capturing more images of the snow leopard.

Qualifications

This trek is considered moderate, but due to the rough long drive, it can also be considered strenuous.  This trip takes you as high as 4500 meters in elevation and symptoms of high altitude sickness can happen. 

Distance of the Trek

The drive from Besisahar to Manang is approximately 90 kilometres. The hiking will be approximately 5 – 6km per day, depending on where we go.

Want to experience the snow leopard trip? Book now today!

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is this trip only for scientific research interested travelers?
  • This trip is for everyone who has an interest in exploring not only the science of snow leopards in the Himalayas but also who is interested to see the culture, people, and mountains of the area.

    2. What travel insurance do I require?

  •  You will require Travel Insurance. If you need any clarification, do not hesitate to contact us.

    3. I am traveling alone, can I still book the trip?

  • For any single room travelers, we suggest you to email us, and provide us your request. If you wish to room single, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. During the trek, we will do our best to provide you Single Room depending on availability.
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