I have twice been on memorable rides with Monkhtuya and Bodio. The first unforgettable trip was in the wide-open spaces of Arkhangai province. Th...

Susan Belgrave

UK

Snow Leopard Expedition

Duration
15 nights/16 days
Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
Group size
1-8 people

Overview

Mongolia is already a remote and untouched destination by many. But going to west of Mongolia is even more remote even by Mongolians ourselves. This trip brings us deep into the Majestic Altai Mountains and takes us through its’ breathtaking view of narrow gorges and wide-open valleys. This region is rich with wildlife, which many of them are endemic such as Saiga antelope, Takhi horse, Wild Ass, Black Tailed Gazelle, Wild Camel and including very elusive Snow Leopard! Right among all of this one of the last remaining nomadic culture of Mongolians living in their round felt dwelling called “ger” with their herds of animals, preserving the age old nomadic tradition and culture and showing it to the guests with their world recognized hospitality! Welcome to Altai Mountains a home of Snow Leopards. 


Highlight

  • Hikes in search of very elusive Snow Leopard
  • Breathtaking view of Altai Mountains and its’ surrounding
  • Rare and endemic mammals of Gobi Desert
  • Unique culture of pastural nomads of Mongolia
  • Adventure with good food and comfortable stay

Itinerary

  • expand_more Day 1: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, city sight seeing. Kempinski hotel
    Arrival in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia. You will be welcomed at the airport by your local guide and driver who will transfer you to the comfortable hotel in down town.  Depending on your flight we will have some optional sights to visit this day before resting for the night. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 2: Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar
    Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar. This morning after breakfast we will have a full day of city sightseeing through the major sites of Ulaanbaatar, including Sukhbaatar Square, National Museum, Gandan Monastery, Zaisan Memorial Hill and Bogd King’s Winter Palace Museum. In the evening before dinner we will be entertained with the folk music concert that presents very unique art of age-old Mongolian traditional singing, dancing and music. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 3: Fly to Hovd provincial center, Khar Us Lake. Migrating birds
    Domestic flight to Hovd Province. This morning we will catch an early flight to Hovd for 2.5 hours. Upon arrival we will meet our 4x4 vehicles that will take us directly to Khar Us Lake that is Protected area and located short drive from airport. Rest of the day we will hike along the lakeshore and our trip coincides with the bird migration. Depending on the day it can produce interesting list of variation and number of birds. Very comfortable tented night with delicious food and campfire.
  • expand_more Day 4: Drive to Bodonch Canyon, Ibex and wolf
    Drive to Bodonch Canyon. Today after breakfast we will drive passing over Majestic Altai Mountain that divides the Gobi Desert into 2 very distinctive regions. Scenery along today’s drive is one that will embed in your memory. Passing over 3000m mountain passes with breathtaking views and descending down into 80 km long narrow canyon with river running through with populous trees on the side gives you an overwhelming sensation overload. Our campsite will be set up towards the end of the canyon. Tented night at the bottom of steep hillside with potential sighting of Ibex. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 5: Takhiin Tal a Wild Horse sanctuary. Takhi Horses, Wild Asses, Black Tailed Gazelles. Ger stay
    Drive to Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. This morning short drive will bring us to the south side of the Majestic Altai Mountains going into Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area. We will notice that this part is more drier and therefore sediments in the soil is exposed that it provides rainbow of colors, which many don’t expect. Our journey will bring us through couple of tiny little remote villages of dozen or so families and will eventually reach the Wild Horse place called Takhiin Tal. On the way we will stop at one of the few water sources in the area for lunch and this is where wild life in the region gathers to drink and that will provide us with good opportunity of spotting the shy Takhi - Wild Horse, Khulan – Wild Ass and Black Tailed Gazelle. In the afternoon we will get to the research center and will stay in a rented gers provided by the Protected Area administration. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 6: Drive to Red Mountains. Black tailed gazelles and birds of prey
    Drive to Red Mountains. This morning we will visit the research center and get up to date detailed information on Great Gobi Strictly Protected area before heading our to Red Mountains. Scenic drive will end in front of very distinct red mountains and we will make our camp for coming 3 nights here. Tented night along small creek next to a herder family. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 7-8: Hike up the valley in search of Snow Leopard. Ibex, Red Fox, Black Vulture and Grey Wolf
    Exploration of Red Mountains. During these 2 days we will be settled down in a small gorge next to a beautiful creek that feeds the nomad family downstream. This is one of the prime spot for Ibex and Snow Leopard. We can hear from local herders about their frequent incidents of livestock being “taken away” by the “Spotty” as they call the Snow Leopard in respect of not addressing them directly. After breakfast we take a small rather easy hike to our scanning spot on a small hill and look for “Spotty”. Surely there will be Ibex, Red Fox and birds of prey in sight but we will concentrate on Snow Leopard. During these 2 days we will try different spots and different parts of the Red mountain and from our previous trips we know their territorial range.  Tented nights with the sound of a small river and campfire. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 9: Drive to Sharga Nature Reserve. Saiga Antelope, Black Tailed Gazelle
    Drive to Sharga Nature Reserve. This morning we will drive over Majestic Altai Mountains back to north side. On the north side there is a stretch of Nature Reserve called Sharga. The main reason of establishing this reserve is to protect critically endangered species of Saiga antelope. Saiga is one of the oldest mammals with pre-historic look and very characteristic run. We will set up our camp literally in the middle of nowhere on a vast open steppe of Sharga. Tented night under huge sky with an incredible display of stars. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 10: Drive to Jargalant Mountain and stay with herder family.  Ger stay
    Drive to Jargalant Mountain. Today we drive to our prime location for Snow Leopard. There is about 40 Snow Leopards counted in this mountain and from our previous trips we can clearly see that local herders see more often than other places that they have accepted the Snow Leopard in their daily life. We will stay with one of the cooperative families who work closely with WWF and they will host us and guide us during our 3 full days of excursion. Ger stay rented by the family. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 11-13: Hike the valley, and hills in search of Snow Leopards as well as Ibex, Argali Sheep. Ger stay
    Jargalant Mountain. During these 3 full days of excursion we will set out into the depth of a Jargalant Mountain hiking up through its’ narrow valley up along the fast running river looking both sides for Ibex, Argali Sheep and the elusive Snow Leopard. Our campsite is set up around 2000m above sea level and we will be coming up to highest elevation of 3000m. Hikes are moderate and we take it easy. There are also bronze age petroglyphs littered on the rocks along the side of the trail that depicts mostly Ibex, Argali sheep, Wolf and occasional Snow Leopard. Ger stay with bubbling river outside and fire in the stove. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 14: Drive to Hovd provincial center. Local hotel
    Drive to Hovd. Today we will have another morning in the mountain if necessary before going down to Hovd provincial center for our tomorrow’s flight. This afternoon we can visit local museum that displays flora and fauna of the region together with rich history of Hovd province. Local hotel stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 15: Domestic flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Hotel
    Fly to Ulaanbaatar. This morning after breakfast we will catch a 2.30 min domestic flight back to UB. Upon arrival we have optional sightseeing or shopping before having farewell dinner. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 16: International Departure
    International departure. Today you will be transferred to the airport for your international departures to your next destination. /Breakfast/

Inclusions

This price includes:
  • All accommodations based on twin share
  • All transportation including domestic flight
  • All meals in the city and out in the field
  • All local staff and field guides
  • Entertainments as shown in the itinerary
  • National Park and Protected Area fees
This price doesn’t include
  • International flight
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa processing
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature

Dates

Trip date:
15-30 Sep, 2019
Second departure:
11-26 Oct, 2019

Gallery


Testimonials

To travel with Ishee and staff in Mongol Khan Expeditions is to travel beyond your wildest imaginations and to full fill your best expectations!

Kill Person, (Yes, that is my real name!)

I have used Ishee and his crew of Mongol Khan Expeditions on all of my trips to Mongolia. You can´t find a better tour agent than Ishee in Mongolia. He got important contacts with locals where ever we go in the country, which is very essential when you will find rare birds and animals. And he is very nice too!

HG Karlsson   Tour Manager for AviFauna Nature Tours, Birdlife Sweden


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