What country on this planet has the ability to conjure up more mystery than Mongolia, the land of Genghis (Chenggis) Khan? In what other country do horses, camels and yaks outnumber people?
Designed to exceed a photographers and adventurers wildest dreams, our journey to the Bayan Ulgii Provence of Mongolia’s far West will give you an exclusively intimate experience with eagle hunters, their daily village life, and their unique culture. Come to Mongolia with us before it is overrun with tourism like so many other parts of the world. Visit a country whose people are genuinely delighted to see foreigners and whose very smiles are the perfect indication of their warm welcome.
Wild Focus Expeditions’ co-owner Jami Tarris will personally escort and host you during this exciting adventure into the land of the eagle hunters. Jami personally knows the terrain as she has ridden with the hunters and their golden eagles into the Altai Mountains. She lived with a family of a renown hunter and eagle master and will give you opportunities to experience life with the Kazakhs. As a professional, award winning photographer, Jami will give you the opportunity to take photographs that you will be proud to share with your family and friends. She has hand-picked locations and events that will provide you with exciting cultural and landscape images that you won’t be able to capture anywhere else.
During this trip, you will have the chance to leisurely meander around Kazakh villages learning about their culture, or, if you feel adventurous, you can ride along with the eagle hunters on a special breed of horse, the famed Mongolian pony. It is said that, "a Mongol without a horse, is like a bird without wings". Mongolia has a human population of 3 million people and an estimated population of over 3 million horses. Mongol horses live in temperatures ranging from 86º F in the summer to -40º F in the winters and they search for their own food. Precious mares’ milk is processed into the national beverage called 'airag'. Horses serve as honored and revered riding animals - you will not meet a Mongol who does not have a love for horses.
On this exciting expedition, you can opt to ride Mongolian horses along with descendants of Genghis (Chenggis) and Kublai Khan on their home turf. You will sleep in total comfort in traditional Mongolian tents known as gers (yurts) which are made of a circular latticed wood structure covered with layers of thick felt. They are heated by a burning wood stove and furnished with traditional painted furniture. You will eat delicious food that caters to western standards cooked by our private chef. You will also attend the famed Golden Eagle festival, one of the most anticipated cultural events of local Kazakhs. Every year, both the eagle and the hunter prepare for not only the hunting season, but also to compete in this annual festival. Some participants come from as far as 250 kms (150 miles) away. Winning these games is a prestigious and significant event in the life of an eagle hunter.
We are very excited to offer this new and exclusively unique trip. Mongolia is like no other place that you will ever travel. If you are looking for an exotic and culturally exciting experience that very few people have done, please join us in September 2020 for Mongolia Magic!
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Day 1, September 28Arrive in Mongolia through Chinggis Khaan international airport and transfer to your hotel. After an orientation meeting, a welcome dinner follows.(Overnight Shangri-La Hotel, D)
Day 2, September 29Today is a day to recuperate from our long flight. After a good sleep and breakfast, we will spend the day exploring Mongolia’s capital. We will begin the morning with a private blessing from a Buddhist monk at Gandan, Mongolia’s largest monastery. The 90-fot statue of Buddha stands in this temple. This statue is significant to Mongols as it represents Mongolia’s independence and democracy after the country’s democratic transition in 1990. The original statue was destroyed by the Soviets in the 1930s. Next we will visit the National History Museum. This museum offers an excellent introduction to Mongolia’s rich history.After lunch, we can relax in our lovely hotel or enjoy local shopping before we meet for dinner. In the evening if we aren’t too tired, we will enjoy traditional Mongolian music and dance featuring Khoomii or “throat” singing.(Overnight Shangri-La Hotel, B, L, D)
Day 2, September 29
Day 3, September 30Today, we fly to Bayan Ulgii, a province in the far west of Mongolia and home to Kazakhs and other ethnic groups. Though Kazakhs’ pastoral-nomadic lifestyle is similar to that of the Mongolians, these nomads are predominantly Moslem. Upon arrival, transfer to the banks of Hovd river not far from Ulgii city. Check into your private camp.(Overnight in Private Ger Camp, B, L, D)
Day 4 - 5, October 1-2We are now in the beautiful Altai Mountains. Each year, just as the winter hunting season is starting, Kazakh eagle hunters from near and far attend the festival with their Golden Eagles, known as Berkut. Dressed in full eagle regalia and mounted proudly on their decorated horses, the hunters compete to show off their skill and training of their eagles to hopefully win the honor of being the best eagle hunter. Eagle hunting has been practiced in Central Asia for a thousand years. Unlike many other fading cultural practices in the world, the Kazakhs have kept eagle hunting as an important part of their culture and traditions. The Golden Eagle Festival not only tests the bird’s courage and the hunter’s skill, but also the special bond between the hunter and the eagle.The festival begins with a parade of proud eagle hunters showcasing their eagles to the public. After this parade, the festival begins. In the evenings, we will enjoy a traditional Kazakh meal followed by beautiful Kazakh singers performing on the last evening.(Overnight Private Ger Camp, B,L,D).
Day 4 - 5, October 1-2
Day 6-7, October 3-4With the Golden Eagle Festival coming to an end, we will continue our Mongolian adventure by spending time on our own with eagle hunters in their villages. Today we drive to a small village of Sagsai soum to spend time with a young and proud eagle hunter and his family. This hunter will show us his unique riding skills thus allowing us wonderful photography opportunities in a gorgeous landscape. We will visit some local families and learn about Kazakh culture and tapestry making.(Overnight in Ger, B, L, D)
Day 8 - 10, October 5-7We will drive further west to the village of Altai soum. Here we will spend the following days riding on horseback with eagle hunters. We will go hunting with them and be able to photograph them in their mountainous landscape. We will include a trip to the northern entry of the Yolt Valley - one of the scenic areas where parts of the “Eagle Huntress” movie were filmed.(Overnight Private Homestay, B,L,D)
Day 8 - 10, October 5-7
Day 11, October 8After breakfast, we drive back to Ulgii. We will have a packed lunch with us so that we can stop along the way to photograph the beautiful landscape. When we arrive in Ulgii, we can visit a local flea market.(Overnight local hotel, B,L,D)
Day 12, October 9This morning after breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to Ulaanbaatar. We will arrive at the hotel in the afternoon, where we are on our own for lunch and have a free afternoon to relax or shop. Farewell dinner.(Overnight Shangri-La Hotel, B,D)
Day 12, October 9
Day 13, October 10After breakfast or depending on our outbound flight, we will transfer to the airport for our international flight home. We will take home with us many unique and fascinating experiences from this historically and culturally rich country. We won’t forget the people and their beautiful smiles. We send you home with these as permanent memories.
- Accommodations in hotels based on double occupancy
- Private gers and Bell tent camps while traveling in the countryside
- Private Chef
- Domestic flights as indicated in the itinerary
- Land transportation using Toyota Land Cruisers seating 3 passengers each
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure at each destination
- All entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
- Horseback riding (Golden Eagle Festival, Eagle hunting)
- Bottled water
- Photography fees / special photography shoot opportunities
- Wild Focus Expeditions Trip Leaders
- Local English speaking Mongolian Guide
- Local Kazakh Interpreter / Guide
- International Airfare
- Any expenses of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals as indicated on itinerary
- Tip and gratuities to drivers and national guide
- Travel Insurance (strongly recommended - https://wildfocusexpeditions.com/travel-insurance/)
- Excess baggage fees
Participants on this trip should be fit and capable of hiking up steep mountain trails that are rocky and uneven (if they opt to do so). The hikes won’t last longer than an hour as we will only be hiking for the views and photographic opportunities of the mountainous vistas. We will take our time, and our guide and drivers will be available to carry camera gear and/or daypack.
Mongolia is a landlocked country between two behemoths: Russia and China. It took a wise and powerful warlord, Chinggis Khaan to alter history. In 1206, he founded the Mongol Empire, the largest and most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Today Mongolia is the fourth most sparsely populated country in the world with more horses than people. Its rich history and enigmatic culture make it an intensely exciting land to explore. Join us to the "Land of Eternal Blue Sky" and discover the Magic of Mongolia.
Mongolia is one of the most exciting countries that I have ever visited. I fell in love with it after my first trip. The culture is intensely rich, the landscapes are stunning and the powerful history of warriors like Chinggis Khaan have shaped Mongolia into a proud, warm, lively and fascinating nomadic people. Mongolia is three times the size of France, there are more horses than people, and a third of the population is still nomadic: I have yet to find another country as fascinating as Mongolia.
Wild Focus Expeditions provides specialized, small group photography tours. Our photography expeditions are designed to get participants into distinctive, engaging locations around the world at the optimum times for photography. Our photo tours are created by our team of photographers who want to experience and photograph the world's top wildlife, nature and traditional cultures locations.
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