On our Altai rides (including the Eagle Festival below) we will be donating 5% of the price you pay for your trip to a fund to help enable sustainable livelihoods in Altai sum (village), where we base our rides (not to be confused with Altai city in Gov-Altai province).
The trip departing 12th July is scheduled to fit in with a visit to the annual Naadam festival in UB. Please enquire about attending.
This remote and little-visited region of Mongolia is just crying out to be explored. In 2008 we ventured deep into the mountains and were rewarded with stunning riding amongst snowy peaks - in fact some of the best riding Mongolia has to offer. However this country is not for the faint-hearted, with precipitous trails and dense forests. Being a mountainous region, the weather can change rapidly. Toward the end of the season snow can make some routes impassable, at least to our support vehicle. Earlier in the season the lush mountain pastures are carpeted in wildflowers, making a wonderful contrast to the barren terrain surrounding this mountain oasis.
Our local friends have a good relationship with the Mongolian border guards, allowing us to ride into some very rarely visited areas on the Chinese border. They have spent years hunting in this area (before it became a national park) and know where the hidden game trails are.
After riding as far as the support vehicle can accompany us, we set up a base camp, with a large ger (traditional felt tent) to retreat to if the weather turns cold. You will have the opportunity to help erect the ger (in fact it is considered rude to watch and not participate). Depending on weather, we hope to take packhorses and ride out from base camp for a night or two. You do not need to ride everyday, to allow for hiking opportunities and rest days. There will also be opportunities for faster riding (and these horses can really move!)
Our host in the local sum (village) is Amangul, representative for a UNDP project in the area. In 2008 we discussed various ways in which we could contribute to sustainable livelihoods for the local community and are looking forward to taking this further in 2009. There will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the hospitality of the local people during our journey, including seeing their hunting eagles. We fly from Ulaanbaatar to Ulgii (capital of Bayan-Ulgii province), and back, in order to maximize our riding time (otherwise it is a harrowing 5-6 days of driving!).
On Day 1 of the trip (or when you arrive, if you come early) we will meet you at the airport/train station and take you to your accommodation. You are then free to explore Ulaanbaatar - we are happy to point out some of the more interesting sites UB has to offer! You don't really need a guide, but we can arrange one if necessary. We are also there to assist with getting cash, finding your lost luggage if you flew with Aeroflot (just kidding hopefully!), and any other problems you might need help with before we head for Zavkhan the next day. We will meet for an evening meal and discuss the coming trip. When we return to Ulaanbaatar we will have a final evening meal togther, and then on the final day of the trip we will take you to the airport/train station for your return home or further travels. If possible you might like to leave some time on the final day for picking up gifts for the folks back home, before departing.
Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, you are free to explore the city before meeting for an evening meal.
Day 2: Depart Ulaanbaatar, fly to Ulgii.
Day 3: Drive south to Altai village (4-5 hours), meet the horses.
Days 4-14: Ride (11-12 days) into the mountains of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.
Day 15: Drive to Ulgii, visiting family along the way.
Day 16: Fly back to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 17: Depart Ulaanbaatar.
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