Our Snow Leopard Trip to Tajikistan combines the incredible landscapes of the High Pamir with old-fashioned exploration. Discover legendary hospitality in the heart of Central Asia while searching for snow leopards, Argali, Ibex, and the famed Markhor. We visit three different conservancies on the search for some of the rarest wildlife in the world.
As a participant on this tour, you are directly supporting conservation. 20% of the price is donated to the High Asia Habitat Fund to build predator proof corrals and support ranger trainings in snow leopard habitat in Central Asia. The snow leopard trip to Tajikistan is a fantastic adventure.
November 1 – 16
2022 | 2023
4 – 6 Guests
Starts/ends in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Led by Behzad J. Larry FRGS, FRAS
From $6,880 per person.
Departures can be made private.
Bespoke departures possible.
Introduction to the Snow Leopard Trip to Tajikistan
A Unique Snow Leopard Trip
The Snow Leopard Trip to Tajikistan is ideal for travelers that love exploration, culture, and wilderness. It is not a trip for those seeking luxury (see our Signature snow leopard expedition for that). We’ll travel in Land Cruisers on the fabled Pamir Highway, along the storied Panj river that separates Tajikistan from Afghanistan, and stay with remote communities on scenic conservancies.
The High Pamirs are the heart of the continent. Mighty mountain ranges sweep away in all directions from this tangled core. Towards the east, the main Himalayas dip, swell, and burst into the Tibetan plateau, with the Kun Lun coming in from the north and the jagged spires of the Karakorum buried between. From the north-east, the Tian Shan, the Heavenly Mountains, rise white and glittering over the empty steppe and cold deserts. From the south-west, comes the formidable Hindu Kush.
Classical Arab and Persian geographers called the High Pamir bam-i-duniya, the roof of the world. Of all the monumental mountain ranges of Asia, the Pamirs may be the wildest. Today they are still one of the most remote and inaccessible places on earth, and they remain a great geopolitical tangle, too. They predominantly occupy the entire eastern half of Tajikistan, spilling over into south-western Kyrgyzstan, western Xinjiang, and through Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan corridor into Pakistan.
This is ideal snow leopard landscape. Vast interconnected mountain systems, low human population densities, strong prey-bases, and incredibly hospitable remote communities make our Snow Leopard Tracking Tour to Tajikistan an incredible journey. This journey also plays an important conservation role. Voygr is working with communities in Tajikistan to develop environmentally friendly and ethically fair tourism that can replace trophy hunting. Every guest that travels on this trip is an ambassador for type of fair and regenerative tourism we want to support here. Your participation directly supports these efforts.
Our Snow Leopard Trip to Tajikistan starts off with arrival in the country’s capital, Dushanbe. The first day is spend exploring the capital with a stay at the city’s best hotel, the Hilton. On the second day, we set off for the south-east of the country, driving about five hours to enter the spectacular Hazratishoh range of the Western Pamir. We’ll stay by the small village of Anjirob, near the Panj river for two days, searching primarily for markhor. Then we’ll set off towards the famed Bartang valley, one of the remotest and wildest spots of Tajikistan. We’ll spend 6 days tracking snow leopards, argali, ibex, and other rare animals with our rangers.
After this, we’ll drive along the Panj river to Khorog to resupply, then head on the Pamir Highway to Alichur. Alichur, located on a vast plain is in the Eastern Pamir and is more of a high altitude plateau. We’ll spend a day here searching for Marco Polo Sheep and snow leopards, before heading to the legendary Wakhan Corridor. Here, in the village of Zong, we’ll visit some ancient petroglyphs, a hike, and enjoy the local hot springs. We’ll return to the town of Khorog, stopping by the ruins of ancient Buddhist stupas at Vrang, dating from the Kushan Empire. Relax at our hotel in Khorog. We will begin our journey back to Dushanbe on day thirteen, stopping overnight in the town of Kalai Khumb. What an incredible journey!
Itinerary : Signature Snow Leopard Expedition To Ladakh
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Day 1. Arrive in Dushanbe
1.Arrive in Dushanbe. Explore local markets, have lunch at a lovely local restaurant, and get a “feel” for life in Tajikistan’s capital and largest city.
Day 2. Transfer to Shurobod
2.Head South to the region of Shurobod in the vast province of Kuhustani Badakhshan Autonomous Region (also called Gorno-Badakhshan). We’ll drive for about five hours and arrive at the small village of Anjirob, on the banks of the famous Panj river. The Panj is a tributary of the Amu Darya River (the Oxus of antiquity) and forms a major part of the Tajik Afghan border. Across the river lies Afghanistan.
Day 3. Shurobod. Markhor tracking.
3.We’ll wake up really early and head towards Devlokham mountain, arriving there before sunrise. This will allow us the ideal vantage point to search for markhor. The markhor (Capra falconeri) is the largest wild mountain goat species. It has striking spiral horns that can grow five feet long for mature males. Its name means “snake killer” in Persian, most likely referring to its wide hooves that can be use against serpents. We’ll spend the day observing markhor and doing a typical Central Asian picnic, then drive back to Anjirob to spend the night.
Day 4. Transfer to Bartang Valley
4.Transfer to the Bartang valley. We’ll set off for one of the most remote valleys of Tajikistan, the Bartang. Named for the Bartang river, a tributary of the Panj, and thus the Amu Darya, this area is achingly beautiful. The drive itself is long, perhaps 10 hours. The 334 kilometers (207 miles) take time because of the long stretches without tarmac. The drive to Bartang is incredibly scenic as we follow the Panj river upstream before turning East where the Bartang meets it. We’ll have several stops along the way to take photos, have tea, and get delicious snacks.
The Bartang valley remains one of Tajikistan’s wildest and most remote regions. This of course, makes this one of our planet’s last wildernesses. The vast area has a low population density – around twenty small villages are scatters through the valley. The inhabitants engage in subsistence agriculture and depend on livestock. The Bartang has a high population of both ibex and Marco Polo sheep. These high mountain ungulates support a population of snow leopards. Three conservancies operate in the area, protecting over 100,000 hectares of wild habitat and employing over 50 locals. Over the last decade, these local organizations have played a critical role for conservation; almost eliminating wildlife losses due to poaching.
Here, we’ll stay with another family in a local guest-house.
Day 5-9. Snow Leopard Tracking in Bartang
We’ll spend six days tracking snow leopards. Before we get to Bartang, ranger teams will already be on the job, tracking the cats and keeping up with movement in the area through camera traps, spotting, and collecting information from shepherds. Based on any intel, we’ll plan out our six days of tracking.
An Average Day In Bartang
Snow leopards are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Our spotters will leave at dawn. They will scan the ridge-lines and slopes for wildlife, send word if they see something. We will
Based on the days plans, guests accompany the spotters and trackers to various parts of the valley as they search for the snow leopard. Spotters, trackers, and the field team always point out interesting birds and wildlife, as well as share details about local life and culture.
There will be opportunities to visit some local homes and villages as well. These visits are always an important way to understand what life is like in this beautiful region of the world, and how essential communities are to conservation. Breakfast, lunch, dinner at our home base, or packed.
Day 10. Khijez to Khorog to Alichur
11.Khorog and Alichur. We’ll reconnect with the Panj river and driver further south to the regional capital of Khorog. Here we’ll have lunch and resupply, before heading East on the legendary Pamir Highway to Alichur. We’ll cross the Koitezak pass (4,271 meters) to descend into the vast plateau known as Alichur plain. This is now the Eastern Pamir. The landscape is different, reminiscent of Tibet or Eastern Ladakh.
We’ll stay in Alichur with a local family.
Day 11. Alichur
11.We’ll explore the area of the nearby Burgut Conservancy. We’ll learn about life in this region and also search for its famous inhabitants, the argali. Argali are the largest wild sheep, and get their name from being famously described first (in the West) by Marco Polo. Burgut conservancy offers some excellent opportunities for Marco Polo sheep and snow leopards. We’ll spend the morning tracking them with a break for some cultural exploration, stopping for lunch and a yak ride, a traditional form of transport. In the afternoon, we’ll return to tracking Marco Polo sheep, before heading back to Alichur for the night.
Day 12. Zong
12.We will depart Alichur to head South, towards the Wakhan Corridor. Our destination for the day will be Zong, nestled on the Afghan border. We’ll get there by crossing the Khargush pass (4,344 m). Sometimes you can see yak and camel caravans making their way in Afghanistan from the pass. It’s almost like looking into the past. The roads we travel in this region once only had yak and camel caravans. We’ll get to Zong in the early afternoon. We’ll do a short hike through the villages and check out some Bronze Age petroglyphs. Unfortunately there’s also a lot of Soviet-era Russian graffiti. After our hike, we can take a dip in the nearby hot springs. At Zong we’ll reconnect with the Panj river, but this time, going downstream.
Overnight in guest-house.
Day 13. Khorog
13.We’ll continue downstream on the Panj towards Khorog. Stopping to see an ancient Buddhist stupa, built during the Kushan Empire, which rules this region between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE. We’ll also visit a small little museum dedicated to an 18th century Ismaili scholar, poet, and musician at Yamg village. We’ll also get to visit some impressive Silk Road fortresses, the Yamchun and the Kaha-Kaha fortress. The Yamchun is ancient and in ruins. Built in the 3rd century BCE by Zoroastrians, the fortress is locally called the Zamr-I-Atisht Parasht, translating to fortress of the fire worshippers. The Kaha-Kaha is right on the Afghan border and its ruins are still in use by Tajik border guards. We’ll make our way to Khorog by the evening and stay at the Khorog Serena Inn.
Day 14. Kalai Khumb
14.Before leaving Khorog, we’ll take in the two popular sites here. Khorog is the administrative capital of the region we’ve spent all this time in: Gorno – Badakhshan. We’ll visit the botanical garden and the Ismaili Jamaat-Khana, or Mosque. The Ismailis, led by the Aga Khan, are the dominant religious group in the region now. The Aga Khan has an outsized presence in the area, funding or operating many major things in town, such as a branch of the Central Asian University as well as the hotel we stay at, the Serena. After this, we’ll drive downstream along the Panj and stop overnight in Kalai Khumb.
Day 15. Back to Dushanbe
15.We’ll get back to the city around lunch time. A relaxed evening at your hotel.
Day 16. Depart
16.We’ll drop you at the Dushanbe airport for a flight home!
Maps & Satellite Imagery
The Dushanbe Serena
Few hotels in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, combine five-star elegance with Tajik heritage, architecture and ancestral wisdom. Dushanbe Serena Hotel exudes the vibrant culture, cuisine and character of its surroundings while maintaining the sophistication expected of a leading hotel of the world.
The Serena’s deluxe rooms have an understated elegance. They are appointed with one King or two twin beds, custom-made wood furniture and Penhaligon’s bath amenities. Spacious, airy and comfortable, these rooms offer views of the Hissar Mountains and sycamores lining the bustling Rudaki Avenue.
Khorog Serena Inn
Nestled in the rugged mountains not far from the border with Afghanistan, the setting of the Khorog Inn feel like no other place in Central Asia. It’s exceptionally peaceful here at the “Roof of the World,” framed by wood and stone architecture and majestic views of the Panj River and the Pamir Mountains. The hotel’s interiors are exceptionally cosy and intimate with six rooms and suites designed in the manner of a traditional Pamiri home.
Elements of local heritage and culture can be found in design touches like wood ceilings, graceful antiques and furnishings and richly patterned fabrics. Social areas include an elegant Tajik-style lobby and an indoor/outdoor restaurant with river views.
Inspired by its ancient mountain surroundings, Khorog Serena Inn infuses rustic charm and style with unmatched service and amenities befitting one of the finest hotels in Tajikistan.
Home-stays and Guest Houses
We will stay at a variety of home-stays, guest houses, and lodges except for when we are in Dushanbe and Khorog. These are mostly basic accommodations – standard for this remote part of the world. However, all of them have incredibly hospitable hosts, and we’ll be warm and well taken care of. Our team will strive to keep you comfortable and content.
Dates and Prices for the Snow Leopard Trip
- USD $6,880 per person – twin-sharing rate
- USD $7,740 per person – single rate.
TWIN RATE VS SINGLE RATE?
- On the sharing rate you’ll share accommodations with other people. In Dushanbe and Khorog this means 2 guests to a room. In the conservancies, it could be two or three. Depending on what’s available.
- On the single rate, all accommodations will be yours alone. Single accommodations in Dushanbe are easy to arrange. We will inform you if single accommodations are possible or not at the conservancies. If not possible, we will adjust the single rate accordingly.
2022 Fixed Departures
November 1 – 16, 2022. Spots Available. November 1. Arrive in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. November 16. Fly out of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
2023 Fixed Departures
November 1 – 16, 2023. Spots Available. November 1. Arrive in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. November 16. Fly out of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
- Book by email or phone.
- A 15% deposit is required for confirming bookings.
- Paying in full when booking will get you a 5% discount.
- Full payment is due 60 days before departure.
- See full booking terms & conditions.
Voygr’s Flexibility Guarantee
We know you’re looking to travel again. And we know you need your plans to be flexible.
Need to change plans?
Reschedule it. Change plans up to 45 days before your scheduled departure. We’ll let you reschedule to the same tour within a 18 month period. You may incur charges if the tour you switch to is more expensive.
Need to cancel entirely?
No penalty cancellation up to 60 days before departure.
New travel restrictions imposed?
We understand that travel restrictions can pop-up forcing you to change plan. We’ll issue a full refund if a restriction affects your trip and you can’t reschedule it. We’ll do this up to 45 days before start of trip.
What's Included & Excluded
- All guiding, tracking, and expedition services.
- Professional expedition leader and professional snow leopard specialist in addition to Tajik field team.
- All accommodations with all meals.
- At least 2 high-powered Swarovski BTX 95 or 115 spotting scopes per group in addition to at least 2 Swarovski binoculars.
- All road journeys and airport transfers. 4WD vehicles with professional drivers.
- Alcohol where available.
- International flights
- Visa for Tajikistan
- Travel insurance (required).
- Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, calls, laundry, room-service.
Altitude Information About The Snow Leopard Expedition
Snow Leopards are some of the most elusive animals on earth. Spotting them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
However, the terrain they live in is high, harsh, and difficult. Participants on our Snow Leopard Tour must be relatively fit, have medical clearance from their physician to be at high altitudes (above 10,000 feet), and should be able to walk 3-6 kilometers (2 – 4 miles) per day in sometimes rough, mountainous terrain. There are always plenty of staff around to help you.
We promise you, the sight of a Snow Leopard in the wild is something you will never forget.
If altitude is a concern, explore our snow leopard tour to Mongolia instead.
We're Experts At Altitude
Voygr’s team are part conservationists and part mountaineers, and one of the finest expedition crews on the planet. You’re in the best hands.
Your Expedition Leader, Behzad Larry, has a decade of experience leading high altitude trips across the Himalayas. Your Expedition Lead Tracker, Dorjay Stanzin, has two decades of experience in tracking snow leopards and working with groups at altitude.
Our itineraries are built with acclimatization in mind and our staff is well trained to always monitor guests’ well being. Together, your team is well equipped to handle any emergency that pops up.
Health & COVID
Exceptional care is taken to protect our staff and our guests from the transmission of any communicable diseases. Training and re-training are the norm. If you’d like to read a more detailed account of our COVID policies, please go here.
As an organization, we love science. We’re following the advice of the WHO on best practices to keep everyone safe and healthy. We’re also a very transparent organization. If you have questions, just ask.
Or give us a call:
US: +1 646 905 0550
UK: +44 1316 080 049
Can’t figure out which tour is the one for you? Download our 43 page e-Book. The goal of this detailed PDF is to lay out the various options possible. It is designed to help YOU choose the ideal type of snow leopard tour and ideal destination for YOU. We list all the merits of each destination, alongside the challenges. We also discuss photography, so you have the correct expectations, cover the ethics of snow leopard tourism, and finally, list our snow leopard itineraries, so you have it all in one place.
This is the most extensive information on snow leopard expeditions anywhere on the planet. If you have questions – just get in touch. We’d love to exchange emails, speak on the phone, or do a video call.
Snow Leopard Expedition Team
With a diverse set of specializations, our expedition leaders add an immense amount to any tour. If you have trouble deciding on the right one for you – just get in touch. We’ll be happy to recommend the right leader.
Behzad J. Larry, FRGS, FRAS
Behzad Larry is a professional photographer, historian, and adventurer. An avid explorer, Behzad specializes in documenting the remote reaches of the world. Through his travel photography he covers wildlife, portraiture, and landscapes in the high Himalayas, Central Asia, and the…
Dorjay "eagle-eyes" Stanzin is probably the world's top snow leopard spotter. Hailing from the small village of Skiu in Hemis National Park, Dorjay has been working with snow leopards and conservation since 1990. Between 1992 and 1997 he helped start…
Behzad and Dorjay will be supported by several Tajik specialists and ranger teams.
Testimonials for the Snow Leopard Expedition
Exceptional journeys get exceptional reviews.
5/5 stars from every guest that’s ever reviewed us.
This is the second time I've traveled with Voygr Expeditions, and I'm sure to come back for more. What makes Voygr so special is that they have created adventures that are deeply aligned with and respectful of the land, the…continue reading →
What an exciting trip it was to go see the Snow Leopards in Leh. I was not sure what to expect but what I experienced far exceeded it. We were able to see 7 snow leopard sightings. On top of…continue reading →
This adventure absolutely exceeded my expectations. It was a unique combination of being totally in nature with many upscale comforts. The staff was exceptional, they anticipated your every need and were especially accommodating. I have such respect for everyone who…continue reading →
My wife and I had a dream trip up to Leh/Hemis National Park with Voygr Expeditions and Behzad and were lucky enough to see several snow leopards! We even saw a mum and 2 cubs playing around in snow from…continue reading →
Just came back from an 8-night trekking expedition with the Voygr crew. Wow. Unbelievable camp experience with some nice amenities (e.g. cots/carpets/side tables in the tents), and great food prepared 3x daily (lunch was delivered to us wherever we were…continue reading →
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