This is a pioneering short extension to our Ladakh Snow Leopard expedition in search of another awe-inspiring large mammal, the ‘Dren-mo’, or Himalayan Brown Bear. In recent years sightings have been fairly regular around the town of Dras, 3,280m in the Kargil district of Ladakh, otherwise noted for being possibly the coldest inhabited place in India!
As well as Brown Bear and the stunning scenery of this seldom-visited region, there will be plenty wildlife to see. Although it is a short tour specially concentrating on Brown Bear, we will of course manage to see several good birds at the same time. Expect to see Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture, Chukar Partridge, Ibisbill, White-throated and Brown Dippers, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Choughs, Wallcreeper, Himalayan Rubythroat, Robin and Brown Accentors, Brandt’s Mountain Finch and more. Keen birders amongst us will be searching for Long-billed Bush Warbler, a species only once reported since 1933!
Day 1: Leh to Kargil
Having spent yesterday in Leh, this morning we will set off west for Kargil, the westernmost region of Ladakh, a drive of about 220 km (6 hours). We will have time for impromptu stops en route.
If you wish to join this tour directly and not as an extension to our Snow Leopard expedition, you will need to arrive in Leh at least two days previously, to allow sufficient time to acclimatise to the high altitude. We can make appropriate arrangements for flights, transfers and accommodation in this case.
Days 2 – 4: Dras
We will leave on the 65 km (2 hours) journey to Dras, the base for our search for Brown Bears. Each day we will explore the area together with our local guides and trackers. As well as Brown Bears, we can expect to see Tibetan Wolf (the subspecies of the global Grey Wolf found in Nepal and Tibet as well as the Indian Trans-Himalaya region), Red Fox, the mountain sheep Bharal (Blue Sheep) and Urial, and several bird species. This area close to the Kashmir and Ladakh border is not nearly as well as explored as areas further west or east, and we look forward to some interesting discoveries. Raptors here are likely to include Bearded Vulture and Golden Eagle, whilst Ibisbill probably breeds along the Dras River. At this time of year, we may well find some unexpected migrants passing through from their summering grounds of central Asia, China, Mongolia and Siberia to wintering areas further south in the Indian Subcontinent, or on to Africa.
Day 5: Dras to Leh
Today we can have a final morning to hopefully enjoy further sightings of Brown Bears before we return to Leh in the afternoon.
Day 6: Leh to Delhi
Morning departure from Leh for Delhi, and a transfer to the airport for late evening or early morning flights home. If your flight is later the following day, we can provide suitable accommodation.
View species bar chart on eBird.
As with all Bubo Birding tours, your booking is handled by Asian Adventures.
This tour is guided by Mike Prince, plus local birding guides.
- Prices quoted are per person, assuming an exclusive 2 person tour. Larger group sizes attract a discounted per person price, which we will confirm to you on enquiry.
- International flights are excluded.
- We may change the itinerary described due to various reasons such as latest birding information, availability of accommodation, state of the roads, and other unexpected factors that, this being India, do pop up from time to time!
- The final price and itinerary will be confirmed before booking and depending on your expected arrival and departure plans.
See Asian Adventures for full tour details, including accommodation, what's included, other exclusions, prices for larger groups, single room supplements, and booking details.