Western Mongolia, Foxhunting and Golden Eagle Festival*
September 19 – October 3, 2023**
$7,490 per person / 6 – 8 people
*This trip is designed for foxhunters. You must be a current or former member of a registered foxhunt or be approved based on riding ability. **Dates and itinerary details may change slightly as domestic flight schedules in Mongolia are yet to be released.
Hunting with eagles is a traditional form of falconry practiced by Kazakh and Kyrgyz people in contemporary Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia. Their falconry custom involves hunting with golden eagles on horseback, and they primarily hunt red and corsac foxes, as well as hares. Each October, Kazakh eagle hunting customs are displayed at the Eagle Festival.
Join us for this exclusive foxhunting trip in Bayan-Ölgii! Beginning with two days touring Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, we will spend most of our time in western Mongolia in the predominantly Kazakh province of Bayan-Olgii. In Bayan-Olgii, our journey will start in Tsambagarav National Park, where we will hunt and travel by horseback with an eagle hunter for a week on our way to the Golden Eagle Festival. You will have your own horse and tack for the trip. This is a unique opportunity to ride, hunt, and stay with a nomadic Kazakh hunting family. We will be hunting on most days, including days when we will be riding up to 30 km (18 miles) to get to our next ger (yurt) camp. There also may be opportunities to do a little racing (see the video below)! We will have a support vehicle traveling with us carrying water, extra clothing, and supplies.
Once at the Eagle Festival, we will spend three nights at a hotel in the town of Olgii, about 5 miles from the festival site. Each day we will enjoy watching traditional sport competitions including skills with eagles, horse racing, camel racing, archery, and other equestrian races. There are many handicraft and food vendors set up and opportunities for purchasing all types of Kazakh-made fur wear and clothing, so save room in your luggage! While in Olgii, we’ll have opportunities to attend some traditional Kazakh musical performances.
While this trip has as high-end accommodations and food as possible in this part of the world, including gers (yurts) that are set up just for us, our own portable toilets, and a first class chef traveling with us; is an adventure; as such, you must be prepared for periodic lack of facilities, inclement weather, changes in itinerary, and having a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with stories to entertain at many a hunt breakfast.
Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Blue Sky Hotel
Day 2: Tour day in Ulaanbaatar. Blue Sky Hotel
Day 3: Tour day in Ulaanbaatar. Blue Sky Hotel
Day 4-6: Fly to Olgii. Drive to Camp 1 at Tsambagarev National Park
All day trail ride with horses, shake down
Full day hunt
Day 7-8: Hunt and ride to Camp 2 – Botei’s sister’s place
Full day hunt
Day 9-10: Hunt and ride to Camp 3 – Botei’s place
Full day hunt
Day 11-13: Ride or drive to eagle festival. Makshum Hotel
Eagle Festival day 1
Eagle Festival day 2
Day 14: Leave Olgii – Fly back to UB
Day 15: Depart for home
Kobesh Travel is an independent tour company owned and operated by local guide Akhtolkun (Agii) Makhsum. Born and raised in Bayan-Ulgii and educated in Kazakhstan, Agii’s goal is to give each one of his travelers a unique and authentic travel experience. Agii has been working with and supporting FIRE since 2004. Kobesh Travel specializes in providing the most comfortable, personable and professional trips possible in western Mongolia. Some of their repeat clients include National Geographic, BBC, and ITV.
Kobesh Travel guides, drivers, and cooks are highly skilled and adept at meeting the needs of Western travelers. They will become a big part of the trip.
Mary Williams, FIRE’s Communications Director, is an equestrian with a history of guiding and adventure. Her guiding career, spanning several decades, has included work as a climbing guide on Mt. Rainier, and river guiding in Grand Canyon, Idaho, and Nepal. She has been a member of Grand Canyon Hounds since its began in 2004 and currently holds the position of Honorary Secretary. She has been leading FIRE’s trips in Mongolia since 2019.
- Plan to arrive September 19 (or earlier) and depart October 3 (or later) to and from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (airport code UBN).
- The trip will have a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 8.
- Prices include Mongolian and US guides and all in-country expenses: three meals a day, all transportation within Mongolia including airport transfers and domestic flights, all accommodations, horses and tack, entrance fees and permits.
- These prices do not include flights to and from Mongolia, domestic overweight baggage fees, insurance, alcohol or other personal items.
- All hotel rooms in UB and Olgii City are double occupancy unless an upgrade is made for a single room.
- Gers (yurt) in Bayan-Olgii will have 2 to 4 people per ger.
- We require you to have emergency evacuation insurance for your own safety and well being.
- Travel Insurance is also required. FIRE is unable to provide refunds for canceled trip unless FIRE cancels the trip due to a lack of sign ups. FIRE can assist you in finding both kinds of insurance.
- Additional hotel nights in UB are available. Let us know if you plan to extend your trip.
- We plan our itineraries to the best of our knowledge, but please know that there may be unexpected changes. We will do our best to inform you and support you, but please be flexible.
- Please complete the 2023 Foxhunting Exclusive Application Form if you are interested in joining the 2023 trip.
- Information about the trip (please contact us for the below paperwork)
- 2023 Foxhunting Exclusive Itinerary
- 2023 Foxhunting Exclusive Key Info
- Foxhunting Exclusive Packing List
- A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is due February 15, 2023 to confirm your spot on the trip. (Most insurance policies require you to purchase trip insurance at the same time you make your first deposit towards a trip to qualify for insurance coverage.)
- Non-refundable full payment is due April 1, 2023. With your full payment, we require the following documents:
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of your flight schedule to and from Mongolia
- Copy of your emergency evacuation and travel insurance
- Signed liability release (we will provide this)
- $1,000 of the trip cost is a 501c.3 tax deductible donation.
- Payments can be mailed check to: FIRE Projects, PO Box 22187, Flagstaff, AZ 86002.
- Please contact us by email or call 928-779-2288 to pay by credit card. A 3% fee is added to credit card payments.