(15 days) Horse Trek: Wild Reindeer & Reindeer People

  • Wild nature of northern Mongolia
  • A visit at Tsaatan reindeer herders’ camp
  • An exploration of the Khuvsgul Lake National Park

Traveling on a horseback is the best way to experience Mongolia, and appreciate its uniqueness. Mongolian people have been breeding horses for centuries. Mongolian horses are frugal, hardy, somewhat wily, and tread safely in rough terrain. They serve not only as mounts, but also a source of meat, milk, and hides. Their importance in nomadic life is reflected in art, music, and poetry. Horses played also a significant role in Mongolian history; it is unlikely that Chinggis Khaan would be able to create his empire without them. Traversing Mongolia on a horseback gives you a rare opportunity to see the country from the perspective of nomadic herders inhabiting the region, and explore their slowly despairing culture and traditions.

Trip Duration:     15 days
Group Size:      6-12 people

Horses are also the only mean of transportation that will allow you to reach the most remote and wild areas of the country where motor vehicles have no access.  One of such areas is located deep in northern taiga and inhabited by Tsaatan, semi -nomadic reindeer herders. Reindeer play in Tsataan’s life a role similar to that of horses in other parts of Mongolia; Tsaatan people herd them not only for their horns, which they sell to local traders, but also for milk, meat, and as mounts. Currently, there are only 30-40 families still living the traditional life of the ‘Reindeer People’. They constantly move in search of a particular type of moss to feed their reindeer, so it is sometimes a real hardship to find them. However, the experience of meeting them is worth every effort, and the memories made while visiting them will last a lifetime.

The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is almost as rare in Mongolia as Maazalai, the Gobi bear. Many Mongolian people do not even know that those animals live in their country, and they are the World’s southernmost population of reindeer. While the majority of reindeer lives in captivity during this trip you may be lucky enough to see also wild ones.

The trip is suitable for:     Intermediate and advanced riders
Riding Style:     Long distance endurance rides
Horses used during the trip:     Mongol horse – the native breed of Mongolia. The horses weight on average about 600 lbs, and are from 122 to 142 cm high. Despite their small size, they are horses, not ponies.
Pace of the rides:     moderate to fast
Weight limit:     200 lbs

Taiga, where Tsaatan people live, lies in the area of the Khuvsgul Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Mongolia, and the twin sister of the Bikal Lake. Our visit with Tsaatan people will give us an opportunity to explore the shores of this rare gem of nature, often called the Blue Pearl of Mongolia. The Lake is located in the Lake Khuvsgul National Park, and surrounded by lofty peaks, fertile meadows, taiga forest, and crystal-clear mountain streams.

Please let us know should you have further inquiries! We are looking forward to assist you with organizing your stay in Mongolia and answering any questions you might have about this tour. We want your holiday experience in Mongolia to be as amazing as it is possible.

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Day 1. Our trip will start in Ulaanbaatar. Today we will transfer you from your hotel/guest house to the municipal airport for a domestic flight to Murun, the center of the Khuvsgul aimag (province). Upon arrival to Murun you will be picked up at the airport by our local personnel and drive to your first campsite.

Overnight in tents.

Day 2. Today you will drive north to a small village of Soyot where you will set up your base camp for the next part of the trip. In the base camp you will meet with local horse handlers who will provide you with mounts and pack horses. The area is very picturesque; it is located in the vicinity of the Khog River and surrounded by thick forest rich in wild berries used by local families to make delicious fruit preserves.

Overnight in tents

Day 3. Early in the morning you will start preparations for the horse trek. You will help loading baggage on pack animals and choose your own mount. Please remember to pack lightly. It will help to lessen the horses’ burden. Upon finishing the preparations you will leave the base camp and start your ride into the wilderness. Be ready for a spectacular scenery! We would recommend taking some waterproof clothes with you in case of rain.

Overnight in tents

Days 4-5. After a long ride, you will finally reach the Tsaatan people at one of their camps in taiga. Tsaatan are part of Dukha, the Turkic – speaking Tuvian ethnic group. They constantly wonder in search of fodder for their reindeer and live in small tipi-like dwellings. You will be able to spend a whole day with them and learn about their life firsthand.

Overnight in tents

Day 6. Today, fallowing the directions received from Tsaatan, you will leave to search for wild reindeer. The chase will likely take you deeper in taiga, in the direction of Russian border. The terrain is rough, so you will move in a rather slow pace. This will, however, give you a chance to take a close look at the surrounding you pristine nature and rich wildlife.

Overnight in tents

Day 7-9. You will continue your search for wild reindeer. While we cannot guarantee that you will see any since they are extremely rare, but the search itself will be real fun. Adventurous riders will be able to test their skills on a variety of terrain including muddy river crossings, forest, steep hills, and never-ending Mongolian steppes. And, if you are lucky in your search, you might be able to snap a photo of an elusive wild reindeer. We will provide you with good quality binoculars, so it is easier for you to notice the reindeer in the distance. Every day you will spend on average five – six hours riding. However, your tour leader will make sure you have enough time to take breaks to rest, photography and enjoying nature in general. In the evenings you will have plenty of time to relax by a camp fire, admire starry sky and chat with other participants of the trip.

Overnight in tents

Day 9-12. The Khuvsgul Lake

Set off on horseback again, this time on a linear route to the lake. The ride will take you over varied terrain from gentle river valleys to rocky mountain slopes, and finally down a forested mountain path to the shores of the lake. You will take the first glimpse of the lake is from the ovoo on the peak of Gisheg Mountain. The final day of the ride will be along the shores of Khuvsgul, between the forested hills and the crystal blue expanse of water. Pack horses will again carry all food, equipment, and personal baggage, and we will be moving camp every night. On the final evening we will rejoin the vehicle at our camp on the Khankh village at the shore of the Khuvsgul Lake that is northernmost settlement of Mongolia.

Overnight in tents

Days 13. Rest day.

Spend a day of leisure around the lake at our base camp. It is a wonderful setting to relax after several days of strenuous riding. You can swim or fish in the lake or hike in the surrounding mountains.

Overnight in tents.

Day14. Khatgal village

This morning you will pack up and head south to the town of Khatgal. The drive will take about eight hours and we will stop on the way for a packed lunch. The road will be along the shore of the Khuvsgul Lake.

Overnight in a ger camp.

Day15. Back to Ulaanbaatar 

You will reach Murun just in time for the late afternoon flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival at the capital you will be taken to your hotel. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Overnight in a hotel.

2016 TRIP DATES & PRICING OPTIONS

 
Trip Dates: This trip has 2 departures.

Start Date     End Date
26 Jul 16       11 Aug 16
13 Aug 16      28 Aug 16

Pricing Options: Solo traveler:  3970 usd p.p
2 people:          3700 usd p.pSingle Supplement: 560 usdRide price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.
Inclusion:
  • Well known tourist ger camp, twin or double share
  • Three meals in a day and mineral water
  • Air conditioned off road vehicle
  • English speaking guide service
  • Round trip domestic flight
  • All entrance & activities costs
  • All camping gears (sleeping bag etc)

Exclusion:

  • Gratuity for staffs

Cancellation Policy:

Minimum fee (non-refundable) 20 usd
1-2 days prior to start 50%
3-6 days prior to start 80%

Please, be aware that this itinerary is flexible, and changes may occur due to weather or other unpredictable occurrences. Flight schedules can be altered with little or no advance notice. We will make every effort to realize the itinerary the way it was designed, but it may change for reasons beyond our control. If such changes occur, your patience and understanding will be highly appreciated.
Please note that, during the trip you will be proceeding into areas with very sparse or non-existent medical care. This means that in case of emergency, providing you with a medical care may be delayed.
If the tour guide notices that your experience is not sufficient to allow you to handle your horse properly, you will be on lead to ensure your own safety.

Here is some pictures from the previous trips.

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