Our rare “back of beyond” adventure brings you from the fascinating eagle hunter cultures of the Altai Mountains in Mongolia’s wild west to the epic setting of the vast Gobi Desert. In the Altai, you’ll witness the thrilling Golden Eagle Festival as Kazakhs come from afar on horseback to show off the skills of their majestic trained eagles—a truly spectacular display of this ancient and vanishing art. The opportunity to meet and mingle among them, watch their amazing horsemanship, and visit local families is an unforgettable experience. Heading to the Gobi, you’ll walk on the golden Moltsog Els dunes and in the glacier-carved Yol Valley, then watch a blazing sunset at the legendary Flaming Cliffs, where the first dinosaur eggs were found.
The festival was fantastic. The locations of the eagle camp and Three Camel Lodge were beautiful. We were thrilled to experience the mini-Nadaam in the Gobi, and we really enjoyed the hike to see the petroglyphs in the Gobi.
— Becky H., Chandler, AZ
Ulaanbaatar / Ulgii / Kazakh Culture / Golden Eagle Festival
From Ulaanbaatar, we head to the grasslands below the snow-dusted peaks of the High Altai to witness the Golden Eagle Festival, where Kazakhs parade on horseback dressed in their traditional hunting finery, accompanied by magnificent golden eagles perched on their arms. We watch as the eagles fly down from cliffs to attack their decoy targets in the valley below, with the crowd erupting in cheers at a successful “kill.” While here, we have wonderful opportunities to visit nomad families in their gers and explore hidden archaeological sites with amazing petroglyphs.
Gobi Desert / Flaming Cliffs / Yol Valley / Three Camel Lodge
After a day to explore Ulaanbaatar's Gandan Monastery and National History Museum, we fly to the remote Gobi Desert, site of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century. With overnights at the award-winning Three Camel Lodge, we climb the dunes in the stunning Moltsog Els, explore precious petroglyphs, and hike in Yol Valley National Park, habitat of Argali mountain sheep and soaring lammergeiers. For a grand finale, we head to the famed Flaming Cliffs, where in 1923 Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the first nest of dinosaur eggs the world had ever seen. Scientific expeditions continue to make significant discoveries here, and we have a chance to experience an unforgettable sunset that paints the cliffs in a soft orange glow. Depart on Day 13.