NOMAD LIFE AND EAGLE FESTIVAL

Eagle Hunters
Eagle Hunters

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Eagle Hunters
Eagle Hunters

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Trip Duration: 13 days

Trip Dates: Sept 07 - 20, 2022

Group Size: 8-16 paxs

Trip Cost: $5,495/person

TRIP INFORMATION

 

Explore Mongolia at the crossroads of Russia, China, and Kazakhstan, to experience the timeless beauty of the Mongolian Kazakh people and their way of life. We journey into magnificent and dramatic landscapes where for thousands of years these valleys have been home to a nomadic people whose livelihoods rely on hunting and herding. The trip is carefully designed to provide cultural immersion into all aspects of Kazakh nomadic experience, especially its 2,000-year-old tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles. In one of the planet’s remotest corners, the warmhearted Kazakhs will embrace you with authentic life-changing experiences.

 

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

• Immerse yourself into the rugged charm of Kazakh nomads of the Altai Mountains.

• Gain an intimate insight into one of the most primal relationships between man and nature, and learn about their age-old tradition of hunting with the Golden Eagles.

• Explore the largest and the most intact Petroglyphs in Central Asia dating back starting from the Neolithic period (11,000 BC) to the Bronze Age (6,000 BC).

• Discover ancient burial mounds (khirigsuur) of the early Nomadic period and stone man (balbal) from the Turkic period.

• Meet animistic Tuvan nomads, the smallest ethnic minority within Mongolia. Ethnically Turkic, Tuvans in Altai continue to hold on to their nomadic heritage as they have for centuries.

• Travel with one of the last of the Tuvan shamans of Altai. Experience an intimate Shaman ritual under the vast Altai sky and connect with the spirits of southern Siberian ancestors.

• Experience an epic two-day Horse Riding Expedition with Kazakh horsemen and pack-camels carrying all our supplies.

• Photograph up close, Eagle Hunters on a daylong hunting expedition, followed by two days being a spectator at a local Golden Eagle Festival. The trip provides endless opportunities to capture award-winning images.

• Soak up the magic of sleeping in your private Kazakh Ger in the vastness of Altai wilderness.

Guests arrive in Ulaanbaatar by September 6th evening. Upon arrival at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport, our staff will meet you for the transfer to our hotel, located within walking distance of Sukhbaatar Square, museums and shops. Best Western Tuushin Hotel

 

 

ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Enjoy your morning breakfast. Meet at the lobby at 9.30 am to meet your fellow travelers and your guide. After a brief orientation, we walk a few blocks to Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts. The fine arts museum has a superb collection of paintings, carvings and sculptures, including many by the revered sculptor, artist and historic figure Zanabazar (1635–1723). The museum also contains rare religious exhibits such as scroll Thangka (paintings), ritual masks and Buddhist statues, representing the best display of its kind in the country. The building itself carries some historical value. It was built in 1905, making it one of the oldest Manchu-era buildings in the city. During the Socialist period it served as Ulaanbaatar’s first State Department Store, the first ever department store in the country. In 1966 the building was converted to a museum.

After visiting the museum we will walk a couple of blocks to a popular restaurant for lunch. Post lunch, take it easy and rest for the afternoon. You have a long busy day tomorrow with an early morning flight and a long drive to our first campsite at Tavan Bogd National Park. Meet at the lobby at 6 pm for a welcome dinner.

Best Western Tuushin Hotel (B,L,D) Elevation: 1350m/4430feet

 

Day 2: Ulaanbaatar / Ulgii, Bayan Ulgii Province

Our destination today is the sacred Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, home to Tuvan nomads and mountain ibex. We fly early in the morning to Ulgii, the provincial capital. Our Kazakh guide and local staff will meet us at Ulgii airport. After breakfast, we ride 4WD Land Cruisers heading west to Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain in the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Most of the drive will be along the Tsagaan Gol, or the White River valley. The drive is going to be long but smooth and beautiful to our campsite. We stop along the way to take in the dramatic landscape and have an opportunity to photograph. Packed picnic lunch on the way.

Drive: 100 miles (170 Km), approx 7 hours drive time including stops. Today is going to be a long day and drive. Overnight in Ger (B,L,D)

Campsite Elevation approx: 2400m/ 7874feet

 

Day 3: Shiveet Khairkhan Mt, Tavan Bogd National Park

After breakfast we have a short drive to the largest Petroglyphs site in Central Asia. The Petroglyphs date back starting from the Neolithic period (11,000 BC) to the Bronze Age (6,000 BC). Located in a mountain valley carved out by Pleistocene (Ice Age) glaciers, the site is protected by the relative inaccessibility due to both terrain and weather. Exploring the rock carving provides exceptional documentation of the prehistoric and early historic communities, and reflects the development of human culture over the period of thousands of years in the Altai Mountains.

After viewing the Petroglyphs, we drive a little further to a stunning spot where we can view the magnificent Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain peaks. We do a short hike to Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain and if we are lucky, we will have ibex sightings up close. Shiveet Khairkhan is home to a little over 300 mountain ibex.

We have another short drive to visit the animist Tuvan nomad families, the smallest ethnic minority within Mongolia. We will have the opportunity to share tea and get to hear about their culture and way of life. Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain is considered sacred by Tuvans.

We head to our campsite to relax and refresh. In the early evening we gather around the bonfire with one of the last of the Tuvan Shamans and join in an intimate shamanic ritual at the campsite.

Drive: Today is mostly short drives | some short hikes; little longer hikes may depend on ibex sightings | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2400m/ 7874feet

 

Day 4: Mogoit Valley

We drive following the Tsagaan Gol (White River), through sandy terrain and on to rocky high passes. Today the terrain changes. We will see more trees on our drive. On the way to Mogoit campsite, we will stop by an old cemetery that marks the first Kazakh migration from northern Xinjiang in Western China. We reach our campsite for lunch. In the afternoon we do a short hike to Turkic Balbal (human) rock.

Drive: 50 miles (80 Km) 4 hours drive including stops along the way | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2100m/ 6890feet

 

Day 5: Dayan

Today is going to be a short drive. By lunchtime we reach our campsite. We drive southeast to Khovd River, then to Black Lake and Dayan Lake. The Khovd River is the longest river in western Mongolia. At Black Lake, we will have the view of Khoton and Khurgan Lakes, located in the far west following the Altai Mountain range, bordering China. In the afternoon we might have chance to visit some local nomad families close to our camp.

DRIVE: 30 miles (50 Km) 4 hours drive including stops along the way | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2800m/ 9180feet

Day 6-7: - Two-Day Horse Trek Expedition to Khara Kul

Experience an epic two-day horse riding expedition with Kazakh horseman and pack-camels. Brush up on your horse riding skills, saddle up your horses and ride through pristine valleys and passes. We would have a Bactrian camel to carry our pack lunch and support gear. The 4wd land cruiser would take round trip to get to the next camps.

On Day 7For those interested, chance to fly fish for graylings at Black lake of Altai village.

Horse Riding: We will ride horses at a Walk, for most parts of the trail. It will be very gentle and relaxed riding. The approximate distance each day will be a 10 mile ride; approximately six to seven hours ride including lunch break and stops in-between | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2600m/ 8530feet

Day 8: Altay Village

Today we have a short drive through a scenic valley to our campsite close to an eagle hunter family in Altay village. After lunch we take a short rest. In the early afternoon we visit an eagle hunter family to spend time with the hunter. Over piping hot Kazakh tea, we have the opportunity to get insights into their daily lives and age-old traditions of hunting with the golden eagles. After some more tea, we will have a hands-on demonstration by the hunter on how they train the eagles.

If time permits, we will visit a few more eagle hunters to hear their stories. By late afternoon we come back to our camp to enjoy traditional Kazakh dinner with an eagle hunter family.

Drive: 21 miles (35 Km) 2 hours drive including stops along the way | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2000m/ 6560feet

 

Day 9: Altay, Eagle Hunting Expedition

After a leisurely breakfast, at around 10 am we meet legendary eagle hunters of this area and ride with the hunters to a nearby mountain on a hunting expedition. The expedition lasts for approximately five hours. Today is your chance to photograph up close the eagle hunters.

We are back at the camp by mid-afternoon. Enjoy time to relax and refresh. In the late afternoon we gather around a bonfire at the camp to enjoy folk songs by local herders.

Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 2000m/ 6560feet

 

Day 10: Sagsai Village

After breakfast we say goodbye to the eagle hunter and his family and leave Altay village and go to Sagsai village, home to more legendary eagle hunters. Sagsai is where the local Eagle Festival will take place. We reach Sagsai in the late afternoon. We would have some fly fishing time at Sagsai River for couple hours. We find a pristine camping site to put our Gers on the river bank of Khovd River. This is home for the next three nights.

Drive: 70 miles (115 Km) 4 hours drive including stops along the way | Overnight in Ger (B,L,D) Campsite Elevation approx: 1790m/ 5870feet

 

DAY 11 & 12 Sagsai, Eagle Festival

Opening Ceremonies | Competition | Awards Ceremony

Witness a local eagle festival featuring about 40 eagle hunters. The competition begins with a parade by the hunters wearing hunting outfits and accessories. The most elaborate and beautiful adornments receive the highest marks. It is followed by thrilling competitions.

The golden eagles are evaluated for their speed and agility. Interesting Kazak traditional games such as Kokbar (buzkashi) and Kazak archery will also take place at the eagle festival. Winners are selected in each event. The festival provides a great opportunity to photograph. Post festival, time permitting we spend time with eagle hunters in their homes in the valley.

On the last night of the trip we invite some local musicians and some hunters to our camp to share a special evening together. Campsite Elevation approx: 1790m/ 5870feet

 

Day 13: Back to Ulgii Airport and fly back to Ulaanbaatar

After an early morning breakfast, we begin our journey back to Ulgii airport to catch our morning flight back to Ulaanbaatar.

We arrive in Ulaanbaatar in the early afternoon and return to our hotel. After checking back into our hotel, spending the afternoon for rest and relaxation.

Meet at the hotel lobby at 7 pm for a farewell dinner at a restaurant in town. Tuushin Hotel (B,L,D) Elevation: 1350m/4430feet

Day 14 : Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Depart Ulaanbaatar today after breakfast. You would get transferred to airport (B)

 

Additional Cost

$600.00 Single Supplement

 

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides

  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary

  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary

  • Potable water and snacks throughout

  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)

  • All necessary horseback riding gear

  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation

  • Arrival and departure day airport transfers

 

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges

  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides

  • Personal expenses such as, laundry & alcohol

  • Airport transfers if arriving outside of Day 1 or departing outside of the Day 14

  • Optional travel protection