Destination:Bayan-Olgiy, Western Mongolia
Essence of the Trip: This Epic Weekend will take you on a breath-taking journey to Mongolia’s wild west for an incredible and unique nomadic experience. For three nights you’ll stay in ger camps with local nomadic families, set against the vast landscapes of the Bayan-Olgiy region. This remote area of Mongolia that lies close to the border with Russia and Kazakhstan is still untouched by mass tourism and honest to its cultural roots, traditions such as hunting for food and fur with golden eagles are still very much alive in Bayan Olgiy. During your stay here you’ll learn how to master the art of hunting with these majestic birds on horse back, a thrilling ancient practice that not many people get the chance to experience.
This Trip Will Give You:
- Discovery of Mongolia’s most remote regions and unexplored deserts that will ignite a feeling of complete isolation.
- The chance to camp with local Mongolia families in the middle of the Mongolian Steppe, and learn their way of life.
- The opportunity to learn how to hunt on horse back with Eagles using age-old techniques.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s fascinating capital city where you will be met by guide and driver. Situated on the Tuul River, this ex-soviet city is a mixture of traditional and modern, where flowing eaves of monastery temples stand beside communist planned courtyards and modern sky scrapers. Settle into your hotel for a quick freshen up before visiting the Museum of National History to gain an understanding of Mongolia’s remarkable past. You’ll end your first day in the country with dinner at one of our favourite Mongolian restaurants where you can sample the delicious local fare.
Day 2 starts early as you wake up for a flight arriving in Ulgii at around breakfast time. The capital of the westernmost aimag, Ulgii is a predominantly Kazakh city where a Muslim influence is widespread – from street signs, religion, clothes and food, and gives the town its diverse atmosphere. From here drive east to Altantsogts stopping on the way at Oni mountain to see some nests where eagles lay eggs in early march – the chicks stay their until mid July until they can fly themselves so the nests will be empty now. At Altantsogts, meet your host for the next two nights; the Eagle Hunter, his family, and his magnificent bird and experience first-hand Kazakh hospitality and the nomadic lifestyle. The Eagle hunter will be one of the most experienced eagle hunters in the region and trains the rest of the family to become an eagle hunters. Here he’ll give you an introduction to Kazakh eagle hunting skills and history.
Spend time with your host family, learning about the nomadic way of life in this hostile environment. You’ll be about a 6 hour drive to the nearest town so you’ll get a real sense of how life is lived out into the middle of nowhere. Amid the arid yet strikingly beautiful landscape is where these nomadic hunters still live a very traditional way of life that has defied history, geography, and political change. Roam the vast, empty lands learning the unique skills and techniques of eagle hunting. Before embarking on a hunt, you’ll take training sessions with an eagle against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and breath-taking glaciers. Then on horseback, or on foot if you wish, you’ll trek deep into the Altai Mountains to begin the hunt, watching the eagles soar to monumental heights before swooping down to catch rabbits or foxes.
After a few days out in the harsh environment you’ll soon appreciate the practice of hunting with eagles as a life’s profession and way of existence that the hunters have mastered over years of toil; master and bird have an intimate relationship which is built on over 20 years of trust. As legend goes the man trains the eagle, so does the eagle train his man.
For a insight into these communities you can meet a shaman who will give you an idea of his rituals. From here its back to Ulgii and Ulaanbaatar for your departure home.
If you are interested in taking this trip and would like to discuss it in more detail with our team of experts get in touch here or call us on 0207 426 9899 (UK) or 1-888 341 9663 (US) to start planning your trip.