Prepare yourself for the harsh environment in the remote Tsagaan Sair Valley of Mongolia, tracking the Snow Leopard, Mongolia’s “Mountain Ghost.”
Experience one of the last true wildernesses and a place where few travellers venture.
Go on safari in Hustai National Park in search of Przewalski’s horse, once extinct in the wild, and learn about eagle hunting from people still practicing this ancient way of life, on this trip for the hardcore adventure and wildlife lover.
This year we have planned our trip to coincide with Mongolia’s Golden Eagle festival. Amidst the rugged terrain of Mongolia’s Altai Mountains, a fierce gathering of wings unfolds every autumn. The sound of galloping horses echs through the valley as proud hunters unleash their golden companions to soar and strike.
Stay in locally owned and operated hotels and camp in Ger accommodation. Marvel at the hospitality of the eagle hunters and assist our family of eagle hunters in relocating to their winter residence.
|Number Of Days
No age restriction
6 to 15
Adventure, Cycling/Trekking/Walking, Festival, Small group
Moderate to Challenging
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and meet your transfer to the hotel. Meet your trip leader and traveling companions for a welcome meeting and introduction to the Snow Leopard Safari and Golden Eagle Festival at 17.00.
After the meeting head out into Ulaanbaatar for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Early this morning head to Ulaanbaatar airport for your flight to Uglii (included).
On arrival, transfer to Uglii town, where 90% of the population are Kazakhs and have their own unique language and culture. Meet our eagle hunter family in their traditional ger. Local women decorate the gers with a variety of felt carpets and delicate tapestries hang from the walls, each design unique to a particular family.
Tonight, we will stay in a traditional Mongolian ger beside that of our host family where we will stay for the next 5-nights, while enjoying the Golden Eagle Festival.
We spend the day with our host family, as they make their preparations for the Golden Eagle Festival. They will teach you about their way of life, their eagles and hunting. They will show you their traditional handicrafts and how to prepare traditional dishes.
Take the opportunity to ride out into the wilderness with the eagle hunters to explore this incredible and remote terrain.
Today we spend our first day at Mongolia’s famed Golden Eagle Festival. A fantastic opportunity for us to see these magnificent birds of prey up close and to meet their owners. There are approximately 200 eagle hunters in the Bayan-Ulgii province and almost all of them will be gathered here today to test their finely trained birds in a singular contest of speed and agility.
We spend another day at the Golden Eagle Festival. Traditional ‘horse games’ are also a popular event at the festival. The horse is essential to the life and culture of Mongolia’s and indeed to the lives of people living in Central Asia in general, where a large number of the population are still living as nomads.
Games we could witness include “Bush Kushi”, which is played throughout Central Asia, but is especially popular in Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan where it is called Kok Boru, and which involve a fight for a goat skin or carcass from the back or a horse. Other games include ‘try to kiss the woman’ while the woman beats the horse rider and picking flowers while on horseback.
This evening we will witness a Kazakh concert with featuring traditional songs, music and instruments.
Today is one of the biggest days of the year for our Eagle Hunter family. Today they will pack up their lives and relocate to their winter spot and this year they will have help. Today you get to be a nomad. Help the family take down their ger (and ours), pack up all their belongings and animals and herd them to their winter residence where the gers will be re-erected and the family will settle in for the winter.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really experience the life of a nomad and to learn how nomadic gers are constructed. This is what fully immersive travel is all about!
After breakfast this morning we will drive to Khovd. On arrival our team of drivers, guides and cooks will be waiting for us for the beginning of our Snow Leopard safari.
Khovd was once a trade centre on the northern Silk Road and had good trading connections with both Russia and China.
After lunch and some shopping for supplies we will leave civilisation and drive out towards Khar-Us-Nuu, the largest lake in the region. This evening we will set up a temporary camp in the Jargalant Mountains which will be our home for the duration of our search for the Snow Leopard.
We will spend today exploring these stunning mountains in which we now find ourselves. After breakfast we will drive out by jeep to explore a sacred spring at the entrance to a spectacular gorge. From this vantage point we will have an amazing view over the wide plain, the Black Lake and the monstrous mountain range on the horizon.
On foot, we will take a short hike into the Tsagaan Sair Valley. Along the way we should start to spot the first signs of Mongolian wildlife. We could see Wild Boar, Saiga Antelope, Siberian Ibex, Argalis, foxes, grey wolves and maybe even the ‘mountain ghost’ in the flesh.
The real adventure begins on the morning of our ninth day! Spend the next five days trekking through the beautiful mountains, home to the largest populations of snow leopards in Mongolia. The remote landscape of the national park also gives us a chance to spot Siberian Ibex, Argali wild-sheep, raptors and other wild animals as we trek.
Your local guide knows about the habits, potential location and behaviour of the Snow Leopard and will give us the best chance of a sighting. The cattle breeders in the area also provide us with up-to-date intel on the current whereabouts of the animals.
On our daily hikes we will be treated to impressive mountain views and in the evening watch from camp as the ranchers drive their animals back to the gers. In this environment humans are one with nature and you will truly feel connected to it at its most basic level.
* Please note that while every effort is made to increase our chances of sighting a snow leopard, these are wild animals and sightings cannot be guaranteed. In booking this trip with us you acknowledge that sighting a rare, elusive creature is a mixture of luck and skill on the part of our tracker.
Our Snow Leopard safari ends today as we make the long journey back to civilisation and check into a local hotel for the evening. Enjoy a welcome hot shower and some creature comforts before heading back to the city tomorrow.
Today we fly back to Mongolia’s big city, Ulaanbaatar. We will check back into our comfortable hotel and later have dinner in one of Ulaanbaatar’s local restaurants.
In the morning we will head west for a safari in Hustai National Park, in search of the rare Przewalski’s horse. A triumph of conservation, Przewalski’s horse, also known locally as the Takhi, was extinct in the wild until reintroduced into its natural habitat in the 1990’s.
Apart from Przewalski’s horse, Hustai National Park also gives us the chance to spot the Altai elk, Mongolian gazelle, r deer, wild boar, marmots, grey wolf, Eurasian lynx, Pallas’s cat, red fox and Eurasian badger. For bird watchers, keep your binoculars handy to see the Daurian partridge, great bustard, golden eagle, black stork and bearded vulture.
In the evening, return to Ulaanbatar for dinner to say goodbye to our trip leader and travel companions. Dinner will be followed by a special performance of Mongolian dancers, Shamanic ritual, musicians and the famous Mongolian throat singers.
Your adventure and snow leopard safari comes to an end after breakfast today.
|02 Oct 2024
|19 Oct 2024