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Mongolia - Birding the Gobi and Beyond
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Mongolia - Birding the Gobi and Beyond

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 20 day(s)
Group Size: 6 - 12 people
Destination(s): Mongolia  
Specialty Categories: Birdwatching   Wildlife Viewing  
Season: May - June
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 6450 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 6450 US Dollar (USD)

Mongolia, a land of endless steppes strewn with lakes, the spectacular Altai Mountains covered in pine and birch forests, and the vast Gobi Desert, covering one third of the country – this is a remote and beautiful country, much of it unchanged for centuries! And, with its rich avifauna, this makes it a very sought-after destination for Westerners seeking a real avian adventure. One feels that time has stood still here, where nomadic horsemen still ride across windswept steppe plains and ancient Tibetan Buddhism still flourishes. Furthermore, Mongolia is believed to be the resting place of the great ruler, Genghis Khan, whose warriors were feared throughout this region and put the country on the World map.

Our birding tour to Mongolia will see us crossing rivers and valleys, camping in the desert, and travelling high up into the mountains, experiencing fantastic landscapes along the way. From the capital city of Ulaanbataar, we will travel south to the plains and desert, camping as we go. We first head up into the Gobi Altai Mountains searching for Altai Snowcock, Guldenstatd’s Redstarts, Siberian Rubythroat, and Brown and endemic Kozlov’s Accentor. Wetlands at Orog and Boon Tsagaan Nuur support such mouth-watering species as Swan and Bar-headed Geese, elegant Demoiselle Cranes, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Saker Falcon, White-winged Scoter, the mythical and highly desirable Relict Gull, here at its breeding colonies, whilst the surrounding desert scrub holds Henderson’s Ground Jay, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Oriental Plover, Mongolian Lark and Saxaul Sparrow.

From the desert we will then travel into the mountains at Khentiy and Terelj, first stopping to look for White-naped Crane. At Khentiy and Terlej, we will search for Black-billed Capercaillie, impressive Bearded, Himalayan and Cinereous Vultures, Amur Falcon, Altai Snowcock, Daurian Partridge, Ural Owl, Guldenstadt’s and Eversmann’s Redstarts, Alpine and Brown Accentors, and the monotypic Wallcreeper. All the while we will be looked after by an experienced local crew, who will also do their utmost to show off their beautiful country while catering for our every need, including warm comfy beds.

This is truly a birding tour with a difference for anyone with a pioneering spirit and a desire to travel where few westerners have ever been!
- Tour Price (Per Person): €5,830 * £4,300 * USD 6,450 * ZAR 88,660
- Single Supplement: €430 * £320 * USD 475 * ZAR 6,530
- Flights (Approx cost): US$110.

Tour Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator) and afternoon birding at Tuul Fish Ponds and Tuul River on the outskirts of the city
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar to Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Days 3-4: Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Day 5: Gorkhi Terelj National Park to Ulaanbaatar via Gün-Galuut Wetland
Day 6: Ulaanbaatar and fly south to Gobi
Day 7: Yolyn-Am and Zuun Saikhan Mountains
Day 8: Ger camp in Gobi Desert to Khongoryn Els (Khongor Sand Dunes), steppe birding en route
Day 9: Drive to Orog Nuur (Lake Orog) with semi-desert birding along the way
Days 10-11: Orog Nuur (Lake Orog) and Boon Tsagan Nuur (Lake Boon Tsagan)
Days 12-14: Khukh Nuur (Lake Khukh) and White-throated Bush Chat
Days 15-17: Khangay village to Khangay Mountains campsite, taiga birding & drive to Bayan Nuur
Day 18: Bayan Nuur and drive to Khustain Nuruu Reserve
Day 19: Khustain Nuruu Reserve and drive back to Ulaanbaatar
Day 20: Ulaanbaatar and depart.

-Top Birds: Altai Snowcock, Black-billed Capercaillie, Daurian and Chukar Partridge, Swan & Bar-headed Goose, White-naped & Demoiselle Crane, Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Himalayan & Cinereous Vulture, Golden Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Saker & Amur Falcon, White-winged Scoter, Relict Gull, Horned (Slavonian) Grebe, Oriental Plover, Asian Dowitcher, Swinhoe’s Snipe, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Ural Owl, Henderson’s Ground Jay, Wallcreeper, Mongolian Lark, Guldenstadt’s & Eversmann’s Redstart, Siberian Rubythroat, Brown & Kozlov’s Accentor, Azure Tit, White-throated Bush Chat, Long-tailed, Pere David’s Snowfinch, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Saxaul Sparrow
- Top Mammals: Siberian Ibex, Mongolian & Goitred Gazelle, Long-tailed Ground Squirrel, Corsac & Red Fox, Tarbagan Marmot, Argali, Pallas’s & Alpine Pika, Great Gerbil, Andrews Three-toed Jerboa, Brandt’s Vole
- Habitats Covered: steppe, desert, mountains, valleys, ridges, wetlands, Pine & Birch Forest, grasslands, meadows, rivers
- Expected Climate: moderate to hot with colder nights, especially in the higher lying areas
- Max Group Size: 12 with 1 tour leader and local birding leader
- Tour Pace and Walking: moderate to relaxed in general with a few strenuous hikes for some of the difficult specials
- Accommodation: comfortable lodges and tents
- Ease of Birding: generally undemanding with some trickier species
- Other Attractions: spectacular scenery, ancient deserts, pristine wildernesses, incredible history and culture
- Photographic Opportunities: excellent.

Single Supplement: The single supplement cost for this tour will be charged if you wish to have single accommodation. If we cannot provide you with a rooming partner for these nights although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

Important Notes:
- Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we quote our tours in 4 currencies. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold (US$), and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 4 months before the tour.) The same applies to approximate flight and single supplement rates, which are also quoted in the respective fixed currency.
- Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration a small party supplement will have to be charged.
- Furthermore, these costs are subject to unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result.
- Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary and / or the designated tour leader/s at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original programme as possible.

Special Notes:
- It is important for the comfort of your fellow travellers that you do not over-pack. Kindly stick to 20 kg (44 lb) for check-in luggage and 8 kg (+-18 lb) for hand luggage.
- A good deal of the tour will be spent camping in Ger Camps (Traditional, round shaped, portable Mongolian dwellings). Some of the camps will be permanent, but most will be set up for us before we arrive. There will be separate shared ablutions, shower facilities and a separate dining tent with table and chairs. We try and make the tents as comfortable as possible and warm bedding is provided. (Important: if you would prefer a tent to yourself, then please advise the office in advance. Single tent space is limited and will be assigned in order of tour registration.)
- Most of the tour will be in remote areas with no medical facilities or hospitals. Please ensure that you have all the necessary medication that you require for the duration of the tour. If you have any medical concerns, please contact our office as soon as possible.
- Although it will be summer in Mongolia, the temperatures can vary greatly, from warm day temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius in the deserts (but cool in the mornings), to cold with rain and even snow possible at any time in the mountains.
- Warm clothes, including gloves, woollen hat, raingear, hiking boots and thermals will come in handy for the cooler nights and mornings.
- Fitness: In general this tour does not require a high level of fitness, but participants should be in good general health as most of the birding will be done on foot, and may require walking for several hours at a time. Some of the walks in the mountains will however be more strenuous particularly in search of Black-billed Capercaillie. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of departure.
- Mongolia is not known for having a large variety of foods and often fresh food can be difficult to come by. We do however make a special effort to organize fresh fruit and vegetables where possible and these are regularly included in our meals on tour. In general meals consist of a variety of dishes and are generally tasty and appetizing. If you have any dietary requirements, please notify us in advance of departure.

Tipping: As noted above, gratuities for local guides, drivers, porters, camp staff and hotels are included on this tour. However, this does NOT include out tour leader. If, therefore, you feel that he has given you excellent service, it is entirely appropriate to tip him.

Arrival and Departure Details: This tour does not include any international airfares. The tour will begin at midday on Day 1. This first day is scheduled as an arrival day, but since the tour does include lunch on day 1 and as we will be doing our first bit of birding in the afternoon, it is strongly advised that you arrive prior to midday on this day. Further meeting details in this regard will be forwarded to you in due course. The tour will conclude after breakfast on Day 20. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance in this regard kindly contact our office.

Flights: Chinggis Khaan International Airport, Ulaanbaatar (IATA: ULN) is the main port of entry into Mongolia and is serviced by several major airlines. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences, but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. We can, however, book the domestic flight on your behalf. Important: please do not book your international flights until you have consulted our office for confirmation on the status of the tour.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Please note: these prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations.

Price Includes:
- Free airport transfers within 3 days of beginning or end of tour
- All meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 20
- Bottled drinking water
- All lodgings
- Ground transportation in Toyota Land cruisers
- Reserve entrance fees
- All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All guiding services
- Tips (including local guides, drivers, porters, camp staff and hotels)

Price Excludes:
- Visa fees
- Any flights (International and domestic, see above)
- Any beverages
- Camera fees in national parks
- Telephone calls
- Laundry and other items of a personal nature.

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