Contact Us
Call Charlie or Gaynor

01242 895272


Tribal Tracks partners with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

11 Jun 2024

Tribal Tracks partners with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Tribal Tracks partners with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

We celebrate the legacy of naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter Gerald 'Gerry' Durrell with this unique, purpose designed expedition to North East India 22 March - 2 April 2025. Apply to take part before 30th June.

Tribal Tracks and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust 

We are very excited to be working with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on this unique two phase expedition to North East India from 22 March to 2 April 2025. Not only will participants embark on a once-in-a-lifetime 5-day trek in Sikkim, trekking high up into the amphitheater of the eastern Himalaya mountains, but they will also get a fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Durrell to help conserve some of the world's most threatened wildlife.

Who is Gerald Durrell?

Gerald Durrell was born in India in 1925 (hence this expedition marking 100 years). He was fascinated by animals and the natural world, and wrote several books about his real-life adventures that ultimately generated sufficient income to create his own Zoo to help battle the problems facing wildlife everywhere.

He opened Jersey Zoo in 1959, and established a charitable trust (now called the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust) to not only oversee the zoo, but also to carry out conservation work worldwide. Including India.

About the trek

Day 1 of trek- 8km- Yuksom to Sachen: We start our trek at Yuksom at an altitude of 1750m ( which also happens to be the highest motorable road in Sikkim!), trekking through dense rhododendron forests (which burst with colour from March to May). As its only day one, we'll ease in gently, and walk as fast as the slowest person on the trek. There are some gradual climbs and descents and we'll cross over a number of bridges. We finish at Sachen which sits at 2179m above sea level.

Day 2 of trek- 8km- Sachen to Tshoka: Once we've crossed the Prek Chu river over the purpose build suspension bridge, we have a long but steady climb to Bakhim, surrounded with breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains, contrasting with the lush green of the forests that surround us. The moss-laden trails will lead us to tonight's camp in Tshoka (pronounced 'choka'). Today's trek should take between 3.5 and 5 hours depending on the speed of our group. It sits at around 3000m above sea level so it's a good place to acclimatize ahead of tomorrows push to Drongri.

Day 3 of trek- 10km- Tshoka to Dzongri: We'll leave camp early today so we will arrive at camp in the early afternoon. We will gain over 1000m of altitude today so we will be sure to take it steady and have plenty of rehydration stops. It is today where we will be rewarded with panoramic views. We'll be surrounded by no less than 14 towering peaks that are all taller than 6000m. Simply breathtaking views, including the third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga, less than 300m 'smaller' than mighty Mount Everest.

Day 4 of trek- 2km- Dzrongi Top: Today we will summit Dzrongi Top, setting off early again, aiming to catching the sunrise at the top, and getting to the summit before cloud cover is more likely to cause obstructions to views. It is a fairly steep ascent, but the views from the top will be well worth it

Day 5- back to Yuksom: We follow the trails back down to Yuksom where we will have a celebratory meal together (after we've all had a shower, of course!).

What next? 

We'll drive for around four hours to Darjeeling, where we'll enjoy its colonial-era charm and learn about the tea plantations and their vital role in the economy. Following our ambitious trek, we now have the chance to explore at a slow pace as tourists. 

We have quite a travel-heavy but still exciting day when we leave Darjeeling via New Jalpaiguri Railway Station to catch the train to Bongaoin. The journey takes 4-5 hours (possibly a little more) and traverses the fertile plains of West Bengal and Assam. On arrival, we have a further 2 hour drive to our jungle retreat in Manas National Park.

About the conservation phase

We will tour of Manas National Park, including a visit to the Bhutanese border. We'll jeep into the Biodiversity hotspot, the Bansbari Zone on the western side. We may spot rhinos, wild water buffalo, elehants and a whole plethora of birds. This area also plays a crucial role in the conservation of Bengal tigers. We will also visit the pygmy hog release site.

Durrell has been working with pygmy hogs since the 1970s. To date, Durrell has released over 170 captive-bred hogs into protected grasslands. We'll spend a day at the Pygmy Hog Research and Breeding Center, learning all about this vital program, which has brought the hogs back from the brink of extinction. We'll be able to see the hogs at close proximity (with the necessary biosecurity restrictions in place, of course). Read more about Durrell's work in India here.

We have an internal flight from Guwahati to Deli before catching our flight back to the UK after an incredible multidimensional experience.

What will it cost?

This is very special expedition with limited places which takes place 22 March - 2 April 2025.

It costs £2935 to take part, and you will be asked to fundraise £2500 for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. As this expedition is offered to international participants, participants will have to source and pay for their own flights.

Apply to take part before 30th June 2024

Because there are limited places on this once-in-a-lifetime, truly unique expedition, we are asking prospective participants to complete an application questionnaire. Priority will be given to Durrell Members (with a Durrell Supporter ID). The application form can be found here.

You will be asked:

  • Which Gerald Durrell quote or book inspires you and why?
  • How do you propose to raise and exceed the £2500 fundraising target?
  • What does a trek in India mean to you?

As always, feel free to email us if you have any queries.

Read more about the expedition here

See the day to day itinerary and more
Speak to Charlie or Gaynor - Tribal Tracks

Speak to Charlie or Gaynor

Let’s get you on the right track!

Call Charlie or Gaynor

01242 895272