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Eagle Hunting is one of the most noble and awe-inspiring unions of beast and man. Get an inside look at this truly ancient and wonderful art.
The Kazakh minority in the west of Mongolia still practice the ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles. Each winter, Western Mongolia hosts the Eagle Festival in a spectacular two-day festival. Watch as Eagles land on their master’s arm while he is riding a horse at full speed, and other incredible competitions. This trip involves hiking through the Tsambagarav Mountain National Park (110.960 hectares) which contains numerous glaciers and snow-capped mountains, with a number of nice valleys and gorges.
The park is host to spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife and numerous Turkic stone-men and petroglyphs. Enjoy mountain climbing, horse and camel trekking in the popular snow covered Tsambagarav mountain (4195 meters above sea level). Stay with a Kazakh Eagle Huntress throughout the trip. Following the hunt there is entertainment in Kazakh gers, which differ from the usual Mongol gers in that they are highly decorated with woven carpets and textiles wall hangings.
Join us and come on this adventure of a lifetime to one of the most unique festivals in the entire world.
Traditional Ger Camps & Hotel, Nomadic Families.
As a Mongolian company we prefer to support Nomadic families financially and help support their livelihoods. We are sure this resonates with our travellers who enjoy engaging with their culture on The Steppe. It is therefore our preference to stay with these families if they have an extra Ger. As well as directly supporting local herders, you can experience this rich traditional way of life first hand. You will also stay in the Hotel in Bayan-Ulgii during Eagle Festival.
We will organise a driver to meet you at the guesthouse and drive you to the airport at 5am. Your flight to Ulgii town will depart at 6:50am, arriving at Ulgii airport at 9:10am. There is a one hour time difference between Ulaanbaatar and Bayan-Ulgii. You will meet the local driver and a guide at the airport and enjoy breakfast in a local café.
Bayan Ulgii province was established in 1940. Bayan-Ulgii is Mongolia ‘s ‘Roof of the World’, a remote land of high mountains, glaciers, steep slopes and rushing torrents. Visit the museum and stay at a local Kazakh community camp.
After hearty breakfast at 8am, head south to attend Eagle Festival. Expect to see some spectacular feats of control and cooperation between bird and man. This two day event is host to so many visual spectacles it is hard to comprehend them all! Races, flying competitions, tug of war, archery and much more will be available for viewing. Eagle Hunting Festival, a colourful and picturesque event attracting the best hunters and birds, and an important celebration for the local community. The festival begins with each hunter displaying the hunting outfits and elaborate, beautifully adorned accessories. Later, the hunting eagles are evaluated for their skills. The eagles are released from a rock cliff, while their owners stand below and signal for them to land upon their arms, as they do during hunting. Those with the fastest times and best technique are awarded the highest scores.
There are food tents for lunch here as well as souvenirs and even opportunities to take a photo holding and eagle!!
After the festival return to Olgii to see a Kasakh and Tuvan music and dance concert. Dinner at a local Kasakh cuisine. Accommodation at a family ger camp including shower.
After breakfast 8am. In addition to the eagle hunting contests, the participants play such traditional Kazakh games known as Kokbar, where teams compete to pass a goat skin over to their side of the field and the winner throws the skin onto the ger of his choice and this family is expected to host a party for everyone. The events ends in grand Dastarkhan, or a party at which the winners are toasted and great hunting tales are shared. This event represents the very essence of the culture of nomadic Kazakhs and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After the Festival drive south to a Eagle Huntress’ Family. Have local dish stay with the family.
Today is all about meeting the Kasakh ethnic people. More than 100 herding families possess their own Golden Eagles, used for traditional hunting. Stay with an eagle hunting family with the opportunity to observe traditional Kazakh customs and activities such as the training of hunting eagles and the making of handcrafts.
Today we will hike and explore the Tsambagarav Mountain. Tsambagarav Mountain has two peaks, its highest peak “Tsast Uul” (in English “Snow Mountain”) has an elevation of 4,193 meters (13,767 ft), while the other peak is called “Tsambarav”. Of course climbing to top of Tsambagrav needs special climbing equipment, so we will hike and climb to around 2,000 meters to the mountain for 5-6 hours.
In evening at the same day we will organize a small nomadic ceremony by inviting all neighbours and slaughtering a sheep and enjoying a “Five fingers” feast. Sing songs and enjoy your time with nomads. Our team will make a camp fire in the evening. Overnight in Gers with the family.
After breakfast we will meet the horses. A local guide will choose the best horses for everyone by asking their horse riding experiences and give some tips on how to best ride Mongolian horses.
Ride horses to the snow-capped mountains for hunting with Golden Eagles. Mongolian horses are small sized but very powerful and resistant. You will be riding horses and hunting with eagles on your arm Also, you will be able to wear Kazakh eagle hunter’s traditional clothes and take photos with an eagle on your arm. Picnic lunch. (In the evening we may attend a Kazakh traditional wedding ceremony or have a karaoke night, or go to “Kimizkhana Mare Milk Lounge” which has hookah) Stay in the hotel.
Depending on the flight time, after breakfast in the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport. If the flight is in the afternoon, you can wander around Ulgii town, visit the museum, market and shops for local handmade goods and souvenirs.
In Ulaanbaatar, we will organise a driver to meet you the airport and drive you back to your accommodation.