The elusive Red Panda is a charming animal found in the Indian Himalayas . An endangered species, this solitary Himalayan animal is one of the most sought-after sightings in the wild. The Singalila National Park (most common for its beautiful trekking trails to Sandakphu and beyond), with a total area of 78.60sq kms at an altitude of more than 7000ft, lies in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, bordering Nepal, and is one of the most populated red panda habitats. As such, it is an ideal location to spot the Red Panda in its natural habitat.
The best time to spot a Red Panda in India is mid of March until late April. The weather conditions during the months of March to April is pretty wide, ranging from 0 degrees Celsius at night to 8 to 10 degrees at noon. The area may experience occasional snow during this time of the year as well, when the temperature drops by several degrees. It is best to be well packed in layers, so that you are covered. Sudden short spell of showers is very common, so a poncho or rain cover is recommended. A good waterproof trekking shoe will be a great asset during the expedition. Remember to carry another pair of walking shoe as a backup. Team GroupOuting™ conducts the Red Panda Search Expedition with its team of experts in March – April each year in small teams of no more than six members accompanied by an experienced naturalist, well aware of the Red Panda trails. The week-long expedition involves long treks on plain/easy to medium terrain and traveling to up to three panda corridors at different locations to cover multiple locations known for their Red Panda population. As a participant, you are more active and involved during the expedition, trekking to different parts of the forest unreachable by a vehicle. This increases the possibility of sighting the Red Panda in their natural habitat. In addition, the team also spot several other rare birds and the flora and fauna in the Himalayas.
In order to ensure the expedition team members get the best-in-class experience, GroupOuting takes the end to end responsibility of the trek including Airport/Railway Station Transfers. All transfers from airport to basecamp outside the National Park is done through well maintained sports utility vehicles, and within the National Park, all transfers are on the vintage Land Rovers as per the guidelines of the Highlanders Association in Manebhanjan. All through the week-long search operation, GroupOuting’s ground staff take care of everything right from comfortable lodging, fresh hot meals through the expedition, packaged drinking water , warm beverages and ample supplies of quick bites during treks. The accommodation is offered in neat and hygienic private rooms with attached western toilets at the small hamlets in the Himalayas so that the trekkers can experience the local life. There is little luxury but comfortable stay for those who prioritizes the experience of an outdoor adventure in the hills and woods. GroupOuting staff also accompany the team through the entire tour to ensure there is no language barrier.
When opting for the Red Panda Search Expedition, the physical fitness of the expedition team members need to be moderately high, so as to undertake all the treks involved. The expedition is safe for all participants who are physically fit to undergo a strenuous activity of such demanding nature in such hostile weather conditions. Wifi and mobile phone connectivity during the trek can be very limited to none in some areas, and yet, you may be able to make calls using the landlines of the local hosts by paying for the services. Whatever be the case, safety of the guests are always prioritized. So anyone interested in exploring the lush green forests of mighty Himalayas as well as ready to take up the enduring task of sighting Red Panda in their natural habitat in the most cost effective way, this tour is ideal for you.
The trip is thoroughly guided by a GroupOuting staff at all times, and is safe for all participants who are physically fit to undergo a strenuous activity of such demanding nature in such hostile weather conditions. So anyone interested in joining, apprehensive of what it would be like to join an unknown group of wildlife enthusiasts, it is totally safe for you. Group of women, solo travelers of any gender, young teens as well as guests visiting India for the first time, all can freely take part in the Expedition. A minimum of two heads can start the expedition privately, or may take part in an ongoing group departure. GroupOuting encourages expeditions in smaller groups of not more than six participants in one group. This ensures less noise, quick movement and better managed expeditions.
The most rewarding Expeditions are those where you are awarded with a view of the elusive panda in the wild. However, as with any natural sighting, it can never be guaranteed. Typically the possibility of sighting the elusive Red Panda is around 95% if we follow the trail for a week. That aside, you may trust that the GroupOuting team will do everything out of our way to make sure you have a memorable and pleasant time. Because of our small teams, we always get to know our guests well and take all necessary precautions for a safe and comfortable expedition each time.
Our Red Panda expedition is starting on the first week of March 2019. Our itinerary is designed to ensure maximum possibility of sighting the animal in the wild.
Scroll through the gallery to get an idea of the views you will come across, the guest reviews and don’t miss out on the Red Panda images and other rare bird species spotted from our last expeditions. Also stay hooked for the upcoming Red Panda video that we will upload soon.
If you are interested to join us in this expedition, please inbox us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to respond to your questions.