Experience

Eagles and nomads in Mongolia

Journey to Mongolia’s wild west for an incredible and unique nomadic experience. 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 and traditions; 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 few people get the chance to experience.

Urban discoveries in Ulaanbaatar

You’ll arrive in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, and be met by your guide for the next few days. A heady mix of traditional and modern, the flowing eaves of monastery temples stand beside communist planned courtyards and modern skyscrapers. Take the day to explore the city. The Museum of National History is a must for gaining an understanding of Mongolia’s remarkable past. In the evening sample the delicious local food in one of our favorite Mongolian restaurants.

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Early the following morning you’ll be taking a flight to Ulgii to arrive around breakfast time. The capital of the westernmost aimag, Ulgii is a predominantly Kazakh city where a Muslim influence is widespread, from street signs to clothes and food, and gives the town its diverse atmosphere. You won’t linger here for long and soon will be driving east to Altantsogts, stopping at Oni mountain to see the nests where eagles lay their eggs in early march. At Altantsogts you’ll meet with your host for the next two nights: the Eagle Hunter, his family and his magnificent bird. You’ll experience the warm and welcoming Kazakh hospitality and authentic nomadic lifestyle.

Hunting with eagles

One of the most experienced hunters in the region, the Eagle Hunter will be your instructor in the nomadic way of life in this hostile environment. Amid arid, yet strikingly beautiful landscapes the nomadic hunters have a traditional way of life that has been shaped by history, geography and political change. You’ll take lessons with the Eagle Hunter learning the unique skills and techniques of eagle hunting before embarking on a hunt. With a backdrop of snowcapped mountains and breathtaking glaciers you’ll set off on horseback, or foot, and trek deep into the Altai Mountains to begin the hunt. Keep your eyes peeled as the eagles soar to monumental heights before swooping down to catch rabbits or foxes.

A practice that has unfolded over hundreds of years, it’s a way of existence that the hunters have had to learn. Master and bird have an intimate relationship which builds up over 20 years of trust. As legend goes; the man trains the eagle, so does the eagle train the man. For a deeper insight into these communities you can meet a shaman who will give you an idea of local rituals. From here it will be back to Ulgii and Ulannbaatar for your departure home full of incredible memories.

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