The Snow Leopard Lodge People
Operating a full service wildlife lodge at the end of a switch-backing dirt road, 3 hours from the nearest market and airport, in one of the most rugged terrains on Earth, through the heart of winter at 13000 feet with temperatures plummeting to -20C is challenging – to say the least. Everything freezes! Keeping our guests warm, fed, watered and reasonably happy – WATCHING SNOW LEOPARDS!! – takes a bit of doing. And we are incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic team that gets it done for us.
Stanzin Farma (1993-2020)
Chief Tracker & spotter extraordinary; farmer, community elder, host and – with his lovely wife Dolma – owner of the property. Norbu trained with the Snow Leopard Conservancy who helped him set up his initial 2-room homestay.
Owner of several restaurants in Ladakh and Goa – landlords of the ‘Annexe’ who have always been supportive and sympathetic of our efforts.
Managing Trustee, Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust; Ka David (David Sir) to everyone in Ladakh, owner of the lovely Snow View Hotel and Ladakh guide extraordinaire. Everyone’s “Go to” man in Ladakh. Director of the Snow Leopard Lodge. He first identified Norbu and the Ulley Valley as a wonderful quiet alternative to the busy Hemis National Park and persuaded them to join hands.
Our manager hails from the Stakjing House in Stok Village, one of the oldest family lines of Ladakh. Originally agriculturalists and pastoralists, members of the family later joined the Indian army and even started their own summer property out of their ancestral lands in Stok. Rinchen’s long tryst with hospitality combined with his love for trekking, wildlife, history and all things Ladakh makes him a fantastic addition to the Snow Leopard Lodge experience.
Our ever-smiling team of wildlife spotters and trackers, trained by Norbu who hail from Ulley and neighbouring villages. These are the people who use their uncanny spotting abilities to detect an animal from a fleeting glimpse of a patch of fur, to fulfil the dreams of our guests from around the world to watch a snow leopard in the wild.
Our team of drivers are all handpicked from the villages of the Sham area, not just for their skills behind the wheel, but for their interest, knowledge, ability to understand and communicate with a wide array of people and their understanding of snow leopard terrain.
Service with a smile at 13000 feet! Extremely efficient (most of the time) and cheerful (ALL the time! Don’t they feel the cold??), they keep the lodge clean, warm and functioning in the most adverse conditions. From time to time, they even find us the ghost cat.
Logistics manager, Leh. Efficient logistics is the key ingredient in running any tourism operation – especially in winter in the Trans-Himalaya. And Phuntsog Dorjay is Our Man in Leh. And when the work is done, he can sing you a tune, repair the electrics or even cook your dinner!
The family at Numchung Pa, Mangyu – landlords of our new lodge in Mangyu. Since we believe in limiting visitor numbers in any one destination while spreading conservation tourism widely, our search and expansion into Mangyu was made really smooth and easy thanks to the Numchung Pa family at Mangyu.