Day 1. Arrive in Ulgii
Today you will arrive from Ulaanbaatar in the mainly Kazakh town of Ulgii in Western Mongolia. You will be met at the airport by your guide and translator and following lunch there is a tour of the town: you can visit the local museum, bazaar, Mosque and shops. In the evening you will dine on local cuisine and stay the night with a Kazakh family.
Day 2. Visit Nomads
Today, following breakfast, we will drive south-east, past the beautiful Lake Tolbo, to visit a nomadic family and learn about their nomadic lifestyle. The journey will take approximately three hours. On the way you will have the opportunity to take many photographs of this stunning wilderness landscape. We will arrive in plenty of time before the evening meal, so you will get the opportunity to meet with your host family before settling down with them to enjoy a traditional Kazakh nomadic meal.
Day 3. Visit an Eagle Hunter
Today is an opportunity to explore your environment in greater detail with a hike to Mount Tsair before returning to visit an Eagle Hunter’s family. You will learn about this ancient Kazakh tradition of hunting by using a trained Golden Eagle to catch local game such as: marmots, foxes, rabbits and other small animals; but they have been known to even challenge a wolf. You will prepare for a hunt the following day; perhaps even learning to call the eagle to your gloved hand.
Day 4. The Hunt!
Today you will ride (on a Mongolian horse) with the Eagle Hunter on a hunting trip into the magnificent steppe and mountain country of Western Mongolia. Here is home to many rare animal species like: the Snow Leopard, Lynx, Ibex and Wolverine. But you will be hunting for common foxes, marmots, rabbit and other abundant small animals. Following the hunt you will get to celebrate with a family in traditional style by eating Besbarmak, which means ‘five fingers,’ as the meal is eaten by hand. This delicious meal, made of mutton, sausage, mixed vegetable and noodles, can be washed down, if one is so inclined, with a bottle or two of local vodka.
Day 5. Sagsai via Ulgii
After breakfast we will say goodbye to our family and we will drive to Ulgii and following a hot shower and then lunch we will then drive to the village of Sagsai. We will visit another experienced Eagle hunter and be introduced to him and his family.
On the way we can stop and see a Turkic Stone Man which dot the countryside in this part of Mongolia.
Day 6. Eagle Hunting on horseback
Today you get another opportunity to ride out into the snow covered wilderness on the world famous sturdy Mongolian horse. See again how another Eagle Hunter hunts for the small prey in this part of the world and compare and contrast their skills and technique. Tonight you will again stay with a Kazakh family.
Day 7. Return to Ulgii
Following breakfast we say goodbye to out host family and make the return journey to Ulgii, which only takes about 45 minutes. After a rest we can take the short trek to ‘Friendship Mountain’ overlooking Ulgii. In the evening you get the opportunity to enjoy a local concert featuring local musicians playing and singing traditional music.
Day 8. Flight to UB
Following breakfast you will be transported to the airport to catch your return flight to Ulaanbaatar.
Eagle hunting in winter
Riding out each day into the stunning wilderness of Western Mongolia, you will experience the ancient custom of Eagle Hunting. Mostly, the eagle hunters use female eagles, which they have taken from the nest and trained to hunt. These birds, when adult, weigh up to one third more than their male counterpart and are generally better hunters, proving to be more intelligent, faithful and easier to train.
The Kazakh Eagle Hunters release these majestic birds back to the wild when they are about 10 years old, when they still have half their lifespan remaining, to allow them to breed, thus helping to ensure the preservation of the species.