Trip code Trip date
E14-01 Sep 28 – Oct 7
In the far west of Mongolia, the ethnic Kazakhs still practice the ancient tradition of hunting with Golden eagles. These massive birds of prey are caught and taken from their nest at a young age. The Kazakh men train them during the summer months and as the winter draws nearer the birds are starved to motivate them to hunt. The Eagles hunt rabbits and foxes. The fur of the trophy is used for clothing; the meat is to feed the bird The Eagles are used for hunting to the age of about 15 and then released back into the wild.
We will join a Kazakh family for one of their exhilarating hunts. The hunt itself is very exciting and fascinating to watch. The Kazakh men hunt in a group. A few hunters, with eagles, ride up to the hilltop and wait and watch. Meanwhile the other riders circle the hill below looking for nests of wild animals. They shout loudly to scare the animals and make them run out of hiding. As soon as the hunters on the hilltop see an animal running across the plain below they take the eye covers off the Eagles and throw them into the air. The eagle immediately spots the trophy and circles high above it before swooping down to catch the prey. Once the Eagle catches the animal the hunters ride down quickly to take the trophy from the bird before it damages its fur. This is why the hunters not only prepare the bird for hunting, but also prepare the horses so that they can travel with speed and dexterity.
Followed by the hunt, we’ll come to colourful festival of Golden Eagle to celebrate the unique tradition. Each year around 50 to 60 eagle hunters gather from all corners of Bayan Olgii to participate in the competition. During the time of our visit the average temperature will be about +5 – 0 Celsius during the day and 5 – 10C below zero during the night. During these days the first snow fall of the season in probable. We will provide felt gers as accommodation with stoves for heating.
Today you will arrive in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Bayangol Hotel. In the afternoon we will have a leisurely program of sightseeing stopping at the Main Square with statues of National Heroes. We then visit the National History Museum. In the evening you will be entertained by a Fashion show of traditional Mongolian costumes.
Bayangol hotel (L, D)
A day of sightseeing will start visiting the Gandan Monastery and the Fine Arts Museum of Zanabazar. You will also visit the Choijin Lama Temple Museum. These museums and monasteries house priceless collections of Buddhist artwork. The evening program is a Performance of traditional Mongolian music and throat singing. The art of throat singing is very difficult to master as it involves a technique of circular breathing with the stomach producing a deep guttural and nasal sound.
Bayangol hotel (B, L, D)
A day trip to Khustain Nuruu National Park, where Takhi, the wild horses are being bred and reintroduced back to the wild nature. Visit the information center to learn more about the Prejewalski wild horse Project. After lunch we’ll make a tour in the National Park, either on foot or in a vehicle. Those interested can explore the Park on horseback too. The Khustain Nuruu National Park is rich with wildlife, including the wild horse, red deer, marmot, fox, wolf and different species of birds. Return to Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon.
Bayangol hotel (B, L, D)
Today we fly to Khovd. On arrival we will be met and drive into the mountains, to a Khazakh eagle hunters’ family. At this time of the year the nomadic family is usually in their autumn settlement at the picturesque campsite with an amazing vista of the surrounding steppe and the snow-capped peak of Tsambagarav Mountain. We will spend the afternoon experiencing their unique culture. Kazakh people follow Islamic traditions and customs. The Kazakh women produce some astonishingly beautiful appliqué, stitching and felt rugs. The floors and walls of their gers are strewn with these beautiful handicrafts. Many of the Kazakh men pride themselves with their great skill in hunting with Golden Eagles. Today we meet with the hunters and study their preparation for the hunting. We will stay overnight in Khazak gers, the traditional felt dwelling.
Khazak ger (B, L, D)
We will spend the day witnessing the Khazak eagle hunting. In the morning a few hunters of the area will come to join. The hunters carry their large birds on their arms as they ride on horseback. You can also mount a horse and ride out to the surrounding hills to hunt.
There will be a vehicle support as well. We will follow the hunters with Eagles to the hilltop, while others will be riding at the foothills trying to scare away a potential trophy, a fox or a rabbit. As soon as a target animal runs away across the plain, the first eagle would be released, after a while the second bird would also be freed to hunt. The eagles immediately spot the trophy and circle high above it before swooping down to catch the prey. The fox or a rabbit often makes sudden turns at speed as the Eagle approaches, which sometimes makes the Eagle to miss it. That’s why not only one but more Eagles are used for the hunting. After the hunting we return to the family for a feast.
Khazak ger (B, L, D)
Today drive to Olgii, the capital of Bayan-Olgii province, where the Golden Eagle Festival will take place.
Ger camp (B, L, D)
We have two full days to enjoy the ceremonies and competitions surrounding the annual Golden Eagle Festival. The celebration begins with a spectacular parade of eagle hunters. Traditionally dressed hunters arrive on horseback with the Golden eagles perched regally on their arms. The festival continues with different contests to test the eagles’ speed, agility and the owners’ skills as well as the bond between the hunter and the eagle. The festival also includes a Kazakh folklore concert featuring traditional music and dance. We will make time to visit a Museum in Olgii.
Ger Camp (B, L, D)
Today we fly back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival you will have some time for shopping before a farewell dinner.
Bayangol hotel (B, L, D)
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Quick Reference Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive and sightseeing, o/n Bayangol Hotel;
Day 2 A day of sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, o/n Bayangol Hotel;
Day 3 A day trip to Khustain Nuruu National Park, o/n Bayangol Hotel;
Day 4 Fly to Khovd, drive to eagle hunter’s family, o/n Khazak ger;
Day 5 Accompany Kazakh men on their hunt with eagles, o/n Khazak ger;
Day 6 Drive to Olgii, o/n Ger Camp;
Day 7-8 Witness the Golden Eagle Festival, o/n Ger Camp;
Day 9 Fly to Ulaanbaatar, o/n Bayangol Hotel;
Day 10 Departure
Price per person:
USD2820 for group of 3-7 people
USD2575 for group of 8-11 people
USD2490 for group of 12-16 people
Single accommodation available at USD200
All transfers and ground transportation
Twin share stay at Bayangol hotel while in Ulaanbaatar
Twin share accommodation at Ger camp
All camping equipment except sleeping bags
All entrance fees to museums and monasteries
National park fees
Fees for riding horses
Local wranglers and other support staff
English speaking guide throughout the trip
Travel medical insurance
The price does not include:
Items of a personal nature