Known for its arid steppes, skilled nomadic horsemen and Genghis Khan, a visit to Mongolia feels like a trip back in time. At the annual Naadam Festival, contestants vie to be the victor in the centuries-old pursuits of wrestling, archery and horse-racing.
On this amazing adventure Art Wolfe will guide the group to photograph prehistoric wild horses as they roam the steppe, ride in the mountains with a Kazakh tribesman who hunt with golden eagles and has set up a special photo shoot with some of the local shaman.
Led by Art Wolfe
Assisted by Gavriel Jecan
Limited to 8 participants
Transportation and Accommodation
All meals, lodging, and transportation specified on the itinerary are included. You will be responsible for your flight to and from Ulaanbaatar. You are encouraged to arrive one day prior to the workshop so that there is no worry of flight delays causing any problems.
*This tour is just being finalized now, the itinerary will be adjusted with additional information when it becomes available.
July 6 ULAANBAATAR
Arrive at the international airport. Meet with guide and driver, and transfer to the hotel. At leisure in the city.
July 7 ÖLGII OR HOVD
Transfer to the domestic airport and fly to Ölgii or Hovd for 2-3 hours. The time difference is one hour. After arrival, transfer to a local hotel.
July 8 ALTANTSÖGTS SOUM
In the morning we drive one hour until Altantsögts community, who reside on the north side of the eternally snowcapped twin peaks of Tsambagarav and Tsast Mountains.
July 9 ALTANTSÖGTS
Explorations of the area in the vicinity of Altantsögts, and spend time with the family, who share the practice of Eagle hunting and learn about Kazakh traditions. We can bring the hunters on horseback to scenic locations for photography. Their home base is excellent for photography of nomadic tasks. Kids horses, livestock, milking, handicrafts.
July 10 Tavanbelchir
Depart for Tavanbelchir which is a fairly high mountain where there is eternal snow on the mountain tops, which makes for great landscape photography. Perhaps even bring the eagle with hunters to this location for a different backdrop.
July 11 HOVD-RURAL NAADAM
Today we will drive to rural Naadam early, to experience Naadam Games of Mongol communities wrestling and horse racing. People will dress up in their best attire as entire communities gather. Also community members in the diaspora, such as residents in Ulaanbaatar, Ölgii or Hovd will have come to be with their kin. Nomads have trained their horses for 21 days for speeds of up until 20 miles per hour in full gallop. The children, aged 4 to 12 years old are the jockeys.
Overnight at Hovd.
July 12 HOVD
Hovd is a small multi-ethnic town of Halkh Mongols, Myangad Mongols, Kazakhs etc. It has both Buddhist temples and a mosque as well as an interesting local museum. There are markets here to explore. As Hovd is the provincial capital it will gather the Naadam competitors from the entire province. Some wrestlers and horse trainers will have come here all the way from the Dzungarian Gobi, on the China-Xinjiang border. The games in Hovd will possibly add also archery, as the Uriankhai ethnic group are keen archers.
July 13 HUI DOLOON HUDAG VIA ULAANBAATAR
Early in the morning we will drive to the airport for the domestic flight to Ulaanbaatar. After arrival at the airport we will exit Ulaanbatar to the west and drive 40km to Hui Doloon Hudag, the grasslands outside the city where the Naadam horse races take place.
July 14 HUSTAI NATIONAL PARK
This week the national park main locations is fairly crowded. The park is however large and it is possible to avoid the crowds as we are lodged at Hui Doloon Hudag. We can use park biologist guidance for avoidance as much as possible, lining up our itinerary with the best possible wildlife sightings. Since it is the warm summer period we expect the Przrewalskii Horses will descend from the mountains to drink in the evening.
July 15 ULAANBAATAR
We will start off the day with a morning visit to the community groups who inhabit the fringes of Hustai with their livestock. We will enjoy a local wonderful lunch provided by the locals, partners in the conservation of Hustai. After lunch meet with Shaman and attend their ceremony before returning to UB. There are nearby small mountains in the park which are sacred.
July 16 FLY OUT
Check out and transfer to the airport and fly out.
End of tour