Vehicle safaris in Himachal Pradesh are popular among tourists. You can enjoy the natural and cultural beauty of the region without spending extra calories on trekking or hiking! Just sit back and let the driver and guide take you around the Himalayan terrain of Himachal Pradesh. During the summer and autumn season you will face fewer mountain hazards and road blocks due to snowfall and avalanches, so this is the best time for safaris.
Vehicle Safari Experience in Himachal Pradesh
What makes vehicle safaris much sought after in Himachal Pradesh is the number of motorable roads at high altitudes. You can drive through mountain passes, Himalayan villages, dense coniferous forests, along rivers gushing down mountain slopes, cultivated fields and apple orchards without being concerned about climbing a steep elevation to reach a peak. When you see a monastery, temple or monument of interest in the vicinity, you can stop and pay a visit. Even after the journey ends, the memories will remain forever...
Vehicle Safari Gear
A sturdy jeep or sports utility vehicle with lots of room for comfortable seating and big windows for a clear view of the surroundings is the primary requirement for a safari in Himachal Pradesh. Space for storing luggage is another thing you should keep in mind while choosing a vehicle for your Himachal safari. If you wish to enjoy this journey alone, you can use a good motorcycle. Other essentials you will require are a route map, guide book, GPS, camera, water bottle, food supplies, binoculars and camping gear (if you plan to camp in the wilderness). You can easily hire a vehicle and driver (recommended) and other important gear in Himachal Pradesh.
Safari Regions in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a picturesque playground for safari enthusiasts since the road network is widespread across the state. Safaris can be categorized according to the major attractions of the region:
One of the most popular safari routes in Himachal Pradesh is from Manali to Leh. It is not only famous for being the highest motor route (18,000 feet), but also for displaying the magnificence of the Himalayas in a 5 day ride across 4 passes (Rohtang, Baralacha, Taglang and Lachulung). You will also cross the state boundary into the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Well known attractions on this route are:
- Vashist Temple and Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa in Manali
- Deepak and Suraj Tal, mountain lakes near Baralacha Pass
- Tsokar Lake, salt water lake in Ladakh
- Views of the Karakoram Ranges from Taglang Pass (5292 meters above sea level)
- Hemis Monastery, the wealthiest and largest monastery in Ladakh
- Thiksey Monastery, 19 kilometers away from Leh
- Shey Monastery and the Palace in Leh, famous for its 7.5 meter high gold plated Buddha statue
Other popular Himalayan safari regions are in the districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and northern parts of Chamba. These areas have high rise mountain terrain overlooking breathtaking snow capped peaks, monasteries and quaint nomadic villages. If you wish to drive through Lahaul and Spiti, you must be careful in the trans-Himalayan areas of the district. The roads are inhospitable, but the views are well worth the rickety ride!
Home to a wide range of Himalayan flora and fauna, wildlife safaris in Himachal Pradesh are a favorite. You can visit national parks and sanctuaries to see snow leopards, Himalayan ibex, musk deer, Himalayan pheasants and other species. These are the popular national parks and sanctuaries:
- Pin Valley National Park in Lahaul and Spiti
- Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu
- Renuka Sanctuary in Sirmour
- Pongdam Lake Sanctuary in Kangra
- Kugti Sanctuary in Chamba
- Shri Nainadevi Sanctuary in Bilaspur