Snow Leopard Safari and Golden Eagle Tour $9864 AUD. per person (Twin share).
SNOW LEOPARD SAFARI HIGHLIGHTS
- Journey to remote Mongolia to track the elusive snow leopard, known locally as the “Mountain Ghost”
- Witness a triumph of conservation in Hustai National Park as you go on safari in search of the wild Przewalski’s horse
- Discover the ancient art of eagle hunting at Mongolia’s famed Golden Eagle Festival
- Meet and stay with a local Kazakh family, learn about their traditions and culture and have lunch with them in their Ger
- Be a nomad for a day as you assist our family of Eagle Hunters in relocating to their winter residence
- Stay in traditional nomadic accommodation, ger camps and locally owned and operated hotels.
Start: Ulaanbaatar Finish: Ulaanbaatar
Trip style: Special Interest Max group size: 15
What is included in this tour?
- 16-nights’ accommodation in a Ger Camp, temporary Ger camp with eagle hunter family and hotels
- Economy class flights between Ulaanbaatar and Uglii (return) 15kg luggage allowance
- Entry to the Golden Eagle Festival and all other attractions as listed
- Transport by 4×4, bus and Russian Van
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
- Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader, local guides & cook
What is not included in this tour?
Trip price does not include
- International airfares
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Visa for Mongolia
- Any expenses associated with COVID-19
- Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
- Additional accommodation before or after the tour
- Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
- Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas
- Single supplement $249 AUD
This trip travels to remote western Mongolia, a part of the world with very limited infrastructure and where few travellers have ventured. There are a few very long travel days where we will be getting up early and arriving at our accommodation quite late, most of the time this accommodation will be a ger camp with simple facilities or a ger camp with no facilities at all. Accommodation while staying in gers will also be shared and there is no option to upgrade to a private ger. We will mostly travel by coaster buses and 4×4 where necessary.
Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to Ulaanbaatar, and you should be prepared for eastern-style squat toilets in public places, as well as no toilet facilities at all while in the National Park on the Snow Leopard safari. While this trip does not travel in winter, you can expect some snow and very cold nights.
We recommend that travellers on gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets bring some supplemental snack food from home as it might be difficult to meet these dietary requirements in this part of Mongolia.
A note about fitness
This trip requires a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 10km over rough terrain, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted, use an eastern-style squat/drop toilet (beware if you have knee issues) and be free from lung issues as a portion of this journey will be at altitude. This trip involves trekking through the mountains and you should expect to be walking for between 4-6 hours on days 9-13.
You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach/4×4, suitcases are not appropriate for this trip, please bring a soft 15kg backpack. If you need to bring more or bring a suitcase you will be able to leave the suitcase in the hotel in Ulaanbaatar and bring smaller luggage into the wilderness. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.)
In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through very remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.
Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travelers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!
Please note that on this trip the single supplement on this trip only includes nights spent in hotel accommodation (4-nights). It is not possible to accommodate requests for single ger accommodation.
Trip leader description
Accompanying you along your journey will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:
- If you lose your passport or other travel documents
- If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
- If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
- Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
- Questions regarding the itinerary
Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.
This itinerary is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.
While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.
Minimum Age: 18 years
Due to the nature of this trip children are not permitted for their own safety.
There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.
Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.
Day 1 Arrive Ulaanbaatar B
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and meet your transfer to the hotel. Meet your trip leader and traveling companions for a welcome meeting and introduction to the Snow Leopard Safari and Golden Eagle Festival at 17.00. After the meeting head out into Ulaanbaatar for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 Ulaanbaatar -Sagsai Village BLD
Day 3 Sagsai Village BLD
Day 4 Sagsai Village BLD
Day 5 Sagsai Village BLD
We spend another day at the Golden Eagle Festival. Traditional ‘horse games’ are also a popular event at the festival. The horse is essential to the life and culture of Mongolia’s and indeed to the lives of people living in Central Asia in general where a large number of the population are still living as nomads. Games we could witness include “Bush Kushi”, which is played throughout Central Asia, but is especially popular in Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan where it is called Kok Boru, and which involve a fight for a goat skin or carcass from the back or a horse. Other games include ‘try to kiss the woman’ while the woman beats the horse rider and picking flowers while on horseback. This evening we will witness a Kazakh concert with featuring traditional songs, music and instruments
Day 6 Sagsai Village BLD
Today is one of the biggest days of the year for our Eagle Hunter family. Today they will pack up their lives and relocate to their winter spot and this year they will have help. Today you get to be a nomad. Help the family take down their ger (and ours), pack up all their belongings and animals and herd them to their winter residence where the gers will be re-erected and the family will settle in for the winter. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really experience the life of a nomad and to learn how nomadic gers are constructed. This is what fully immersive travel is all about!
Day 7 - Sagsai Village - Khovd and Jargalant Mountains BLD
After breakfast this morning we will drive to Khovd. On arrival our team of drivers, guides and cooks will be waiting for us for the beginning of our Snow Leopard safari. Khovd was once a trade centre on the northern Silk Road and had good trading connections with both Russia and China. After lunch and some shopping for supplies we will leave civilisation and drive out towards Khar-Us-Nuu, the largest lake in the region. This evening we will set up a temporary camp in the Jargalant Mountains which will be our home for the duration of our search for the Snow Leopard.
Day 8 - Jargalant Mountains BLD
We will spend today exploring these stunning mountains in which we now find ourselves. After breakfast we will drive out by jeep to explore a sacred spring at the entrance to a spectacular gorge. From this vantage point we will have an amazing view over the wide plain, the Black Lake and the monstrous mountain range on the horizon. On foot, we will take a short hike into the Tsagaan Sair Valley. Along the way we should start to spot the first signs of Mongolian wildlife. We could see Wild Boar, Saiga Antelope, Siberian Ibex, Argalis, foxes, grey wolves and maybe even the ‘mountain ghost’ in the flesh.
Day 9 - 13 Tsagann Chuluu and Khar Chuluu Valleys BLD
The real adventure begins on the morning of our ninth day! Spend the next five days trekking through the beautiful mountains, home to the largest populations of snow leopards in Mongolia. The remote landscape of the national park also gives us a chance to spot Siberian Ibex, Argali wild-sheep, raptors and other wild animals as we trek. Your local guide knows about the habits, potential location and behaviour of the Snow Leopard and will give us the best chance of a sighting. The cattle breeders in the area also provide us with up-to-date intel on the current whereabouts of the animals. On our daily hikes we will be treated to impressive mountain views and in the evening watch from camp as the ranchers drive their animals back to the gers. In this environment humans are one with nature and you will truly feel connected to it at its most basic level.
* Please note that while every effort is made to increase our chances of sighting a snow leopard, these are wild animals and sightings cannot be guaranteed. In booking this trip with us you acknowledge that sighting a rare, elusive creature is a mixture of luck and skill on the part of our tracker.
Day 14 - Tsagann Chuluu and Khar Chuluu Valleys - Uglli BLD
Our Snow Leopard safari ends today as we make the long journey back to civilsation and check into a local hotel for the evening. Enjoy a welcome hot shower and some creature comforts before heading back to the city tomorrow. Our Snow Leopard safari ends today as we make the long journey back to civilsation and check into a local hotel for the evening. Enjoy a welcome hot shower and some creature comforts before heading back to the city tomorrow.
Day 15 - Uglli - Ulaanbaatar BLD
Today we fly back to Mongolia’s big city, Ulaanbaatar. We will check back into our comfortable hotel and later have dinner in one of Ulaanbaatar’s local restaurants.
Day 16 - Ulaanbaatar (Hustai National Park) BLD
In the morning we will head west for a safari in Hustai National Park in search of the rare Przewalski’s horse. A triumph of conservation, Przewalski’s horse, also known locally as the Takhi, was extinct in the wild until reintroduced into its natural habitat in the 1990’s. Apart from Przwalski’s horse, Hustai National Park also gives us the chance to spot the Altai elk, Mongolian gazelle, roe deer, wild boar, marmots, grey wolf, Eurasian lynx, Pallas’s cat, red fox and Eurasian badger. For bird watchers, keep your binoculars handy to see the Daurian partridge, great bustard, golden eagle, black stork and bearded vulture. In the evening return to Ulaanbatar for dinner to say goodbye to our trip leader and travel companions. Dinner will be followed by a special performance of Mongolian dancers, Shamanic ritual, musicians and the famous Mongolian throat singers.