Tibet wildlife holiday, Tibet Plateau mammals

Description of Tibet wildlife holiday, Tibet Plateau mammals

Explore one of the world's harshest environments with expert guides and come face to face with some of the rarest and hardiest mammals and birds, such as Tibetan gazelles, Tibetan antelopes, wild Yaks and possibly Snow Leopards and Pallas's Cat.

Introduction:

The Tibetan Plateau is one of the largest mostly uninhabited parts of the world, the high altitude here coupled with the extreme winters have led the this part of the world going largely unnoticed by outsiders. But that is a mistake for all wildlife watchers and wildlife enthusiasts as many of the world’s rarest, least known and most heavily persecuted species can be found here and often nowhere else.

This tour is more than just a safari holiday, we explore two of the most iconic cities in the world, the wonderful and historic capital of Nepal (Kathmandu) as well as Lhasa. Lhasa is the last stronghold of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet and we will explore this city and its amazing buildings for a cuple of days before heading out into the true wilderness of Tibet. You will also experience the Himalayas, firstly the views from the plane as you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa will be spectacular (if the weather is clear) and it is possible to see 6 of the world’s top 10 highest mountains in the world including Mt. Everest.

Alongside the wonderful mountain vistas and the amazing Buddhist culture in Nepal and Tibet the focus of the tour is of course the wildlife. The route that we will take is dependant on where the wildlife has been seen recently, the main area we will focus on is the Chang Tang and Qiang Tang Wildlife Sanctuary. Here species such as Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan antelope, wild yak, kiang, goitered gazelles and Tibetan foxes can be found in large numbers and we will also scan the hillsides and horizons for some of the rarer species such as snow leopards, Pallas’ cats, Eurasian lynx, Tibetan wolves, Himalayan brown bears, white-lipped deer and of course we will keep our eyes peeled in the skies for birds such as eagles and vultures that soar high over the plateau searching out prey or carcasses over vast distances. This tour is a unique experience to join a zoologist and expert local guide in the wilds of Ccentral Asia and possibly spot some of the world’s least understood species. The level of illegal hunting conducted around here and other areas of Central Asia mean that some of the species may become extinct in the near future. It is vitally important to raise awareness of this area and its wildlife before it is too late.

Price Includes:

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day; during the wildlife watching in the plateau the drinking water will either be boiled and purified mountain spring water or bottled water depending on availability. We have our own private air conditioned 4x4 vehicles with an excellent local driver for all transfers and wildlife watching excursions. The short flight over the Himalayas from Kathmandu to Lhasa is also included.

We use at least 2 brilliant full time guides; first a professional zoologist will escort you throughout the tour as well as at least one very knowledgeable English speaking local guide. We also include an expedition crew throughout; this includes camp cooks, assistants, pony-men and porters where needed. As some of the wildlife watching may take us beyond villages and we may have to camp. Your zoologist escort is an expert in mammal biology and behaviour and will be able to help you find, track down rare and elusive species as well as interpret what behaviours we may see.

All the excursions including sightseeing in Lhasa and Kathmandu and park entrance fees, permits are also included. We include more time spent searching for wildlife in the wilderness of the vast Tibetan plateau than any other tour operator around. We can also bring camera traps with us (on request) which give you the best chance of close up photos or video of hard to photograph species such as snow leopards, Pallas’ cat and Tibetan wolves in their natural environment. All camping equipment (excluding your own sleeping bag), porters, mules and all of the expedition crew are included. We also bring along a spotlight which enables us to look for wildlife (snow leopards, red foxes and stone martens) after dark.

A comprehensive species list (which states the relative chances of seeing animals based on past tours) is included in the pre-departure pack. There is also a reference book library available for your use throughout the trip as well as some documentaries on the wildlife here which are available to watch throughout the tour. All of the specialist equipment and the number of experienced guides that we bring ensures that we have an excellent success if finding our targeted mammals on this tour.

Seasons:

Season – mid May to mid August. The best time to visit the heart of the Tibetan Plateau and the Chang Tang Wildlife Sanctuary is in the summer (between mid May and mid August) as the temperatures can drop dangerously low during winter and heavy snowfall ca close off many of the high altitude passes needed to get to some of the wildlife watching areas. Also the heavy winters makes it harder to find the wildlife as they move far and wide to avoid competition in the worst hit areas.

Why Choose this Tour:

• All of our wildlife watching tours are guided by a zoologist as well as local naturalist guides (in this case we endeavour to get the best local mammal expert, Jesper), drivers and also scientists or researchers where possible, this not only gives you numerous sets of trained eyes to find the animals but also gives you the chance to understand the behaviours and habits of the wildlife your watching.
• Our zoologist that escorts all our mammal watching holidays has great experience working with and studying large mammals all over the world and has experience in tracking large carnivores on 5 continents and big cats on all 4 continents that they live.
• We are the first wildlife tour operator to offer tours to the Tibetan Plateau to specifically search for mammals.
• We are also the first wildlife tour operator to offer nocturnal spotlighting tours in Tibet, which aim to see nocturnal mammals, such as snow leopards, Pallas’ cat and Tibetan wolves when they are more active at night.
• We can also bring thermal imaging and night vision equipment (on request) to also aid in finding wildlife after dark.
• We use camera traps (where available) which will increase the chances of getting close up pictures and movies of rare wildlife.
• By joining this tour you will be experiencing a part of the world that is seldom visited and being one of a few people that have experienced the wildlife here.
• We have explored all the areas we visit in depth and have found the best and most conveniently located accommodations to stay in whilst searching out mammals in isolated and remote places. Including our own local style tents and other camping equipment which allows us to stay close to prime wildlife watching areas.
• All the above reasons give this our mammal watching tours such great success in spotting rare and elusive species.
• Become one of the first people to dedicate time to tracking down and hopefully spotting some of Tibet’s rare and endemic mammals in the wild.
• We have an unrivalled network of experts and guides throughout Asia that are able to find and observe other animals as well as the ones of the Tibetan Plateau. We also have a great network of locations in Asia for other wildlife watching, so if you would like to visit any wildlife watching locations in any Asian country then we can arrange it. Please inform us if you wish to receive more information about any of these locations and booking An Asian mammal watching safari.
• Unlike many tour operators we are willing to run this tour for a single person (on request).

Location:

You will fly in and out of Kathmandu in Nepal and spend some time exploring this historic and iconic city before leaving for Tibet and first of all the capital of Lhasa and the stunning Namtso Lake. These are excellent for tourism and are used as an introduction to these Himalayan kingdoms and also to help prepare for the altitude. Then we head out into the remote areas in search of wildlife such as Bangkor, Nyima, Damrayongtso, Tsuchen, Shigatse, Shegar and Zhangmu. These are remote Tibetan villages that break up the vastness of the plateau, we will conduct most of the wildlife watching from Chang Tang and Qiang Tang Wildlife Sanctuaries. However wildlife can and will be spotted throughout the tour these areas are the known hotspots for many of the species.

Fitness Level:

As the tour is predominantly located at altitude (4,500 - 5,500m) a good level of fitness is required or at least experience at hill walking. However we must stress that there is not a lot of trekking involved and all trekking is done at your own pace, the longest treks (in one continuous walk) are around 4 hours and most are usually much less than 2 hours. There could also be snow walking and ice walking (depending on local conditions) as well.

Equipment:

When you book onto the tour we will send you a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will include a full packing list of recommended equipment. But here is a brief outline of the basics: Your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes (such as khaki shirts and gortex trousers as well as some warm winter clothes, a water-proof jackets is also a good idea etc. Broken in and comfortable (waterproof) walking boots with ankle support are essential. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. As there will be intermittent power on the tour please bring spare batteries for any electrical equipment. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day at altitude the affect of UV radiation are stronger. Snacks and sugary foods are a good idea, especially if you have any favourites from home that may be difficult to source in Nepal or Lhasa.

Minimum Age: 18 Years Old

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Tibet wildlife holiday, Tibet Plateau mammals

Environment

As this is just about as remote as it is possible to get in the world, most of the local towns and villages do not have environmentally sound refuse management systems. As a result whenever we are here in the wilds of Tibet (as elsewhere) our local guides and foreign escorts provide information on how to protect the environment and circulate sustainable management policies etc. We also lead by example and do not bringing excess plastics and other waste products with us and of course bringing everything back with us. We encourage you to protect the environment by not littering and by taking all non disposable items back home with you, including bringing your rubbish with you and disposing of it properly in the larger towns or cities.

As we camp in many places there are not permanent toilets, so we dig a hole at least 25cm deep and bury human waste a long way away from any water courses. We also burn or bury toilet paper and are careful to never buy products made from endangered wildlife or endangered plants and avoid bathing or washing clothes in bodies of water. We also make sure that all of the accommodation that we use minimises there impact on the environment by using kerosene/gas fuel instead of fire wood (in the more remote areas this is not always possible and we aim to provide alternative means to burning wood where and when possible.

As with all of our tours all over the world we only take small groups with a maximum of 10 people (most tours run with 2-4 people) which reduces our impact on the environment. It is important to be aware of the fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem, by travelling with a zoologist as well as local guides, the impact on the environment is a minimum. As many things are recycled as possible and we make sure that all signs of our camp are taken back with us to the town and disposed of responsibly. Every person booking on this tour will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will outline the do’s and don’ts when on the tour, these guidelines help to increase your chances of seeing wildlife as well as protecting the environment and conserving the area for future generations. All these points are common sense and by following them will increase the enjoyment of the entire tour.

At the end of each we offset our carbon footprint (based on the number of tours we have completed and the number of passengers we have taken with us), with the Carbon Trust.

Wildlife Promise:

The wildlife is of course of the upmost importance to us on this tour and all other tours run by us. We donate money to various conservation and research groups that help to protect the endangered species of the Tibetan Plateau, including George Schaller’s conservation organisations as it was through his pioneering work that there are any protected areas in the Tibetan Plateau. We also actively campaign against poaching and the illegal fur trade worldwide; we are also keen to report any abuse of the environment or wildlife that we see to the local authorities (this includes reporting marketers and shops that still continue to sell Shashtoosh, which is the wool of the critically endangered and heavily protected Tibetan antelope, in India, Nepal and Tibet).

Community

As with all of our tours we employ local guides, drivers, porters, cooks and camping assistances. We also make sure that all the food and resources that we use on the tour are sourced locally, thus helping the local economies and enforcing sustainable farming and resource management. We also encourage all of our guests to interact as much as possible with local people so that they gain an amazing insight in local life.

As we believe that part of being a responsible traveller is one that is willing to learn and respect other cultures; as well as being a great way for our guests to learn about the different backgrounds, nationalities, and religions to interact and learn from each other, fostering peace and understanding. We make sure that all of our local guides are well paid for their expert services and this has led to guiding becoming a genuine career prospect which has helped to keep the current generation of men in the villages (as opposed to the migration out of the mountains and into the towns and cities).

The other major impact is that when staying at the homestays in the remote rural villages, the money from the homestay is split to fund many projects in the village as well as some being given direct the host families. All our guests are encouraged to embrace and understand Buddhism and the daily lives of the local people, we find that this is the best way for the local ethos and culture to embed itself into foreigners and as a result the awareness of the area and its people becomes more ingrained in the mindset of tourists.

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