Join one of our most unique adventures and explore diverse regions of Mongolia by traditional modes of transport: traveling by kayak and on horseback.
Traveling by kayak, glide across pristine Lake Hovsgol in the north, considered the cleanest freshwater lake on the planet, and explore the surrounding mountains on horseback. In the south, camel-trek through the Gobi and discover an awe-inspiring landscape with a surprising variety of wildlife. And in Central Mongolia, discover the beauty of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, where nomads camp and gazelles cross the grasslands beneath the vast blue sky. Approximately four to six hours will be spent in the saddle during horse trekking days, with Russian cavalry-style saddles provided for each participant. The kayaking portion of the trip will involve a full afternoon (approximately 2-4 hours) paddling in quality one- and two-person Folbot™ expedition kayaks. And in the Gobi, explore the diverse landscapes of this mystical desert on the back of a Bactrian camel. These two-humped camels, known for their strength and endurance, are easier to ride than horses and no prior experience is necessary.
The Darkhad Valley lies deep within Mongolia’s northern wilderness, an isolated region of mountains, lakes, and taiga forest where nomadic reindeer herders live much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. This is where shamans carry on the traditions of one of the earth’s oldest spiritual practices, communicating with the realm of the gods and the spirits of their ancestors. And it is in this valley, reached by a private flight to the country’s northernmost village, that you will have the privilege of meeting those who act as conduits to the spirit world and witnessing a shaman dance.
For two days we will explore the valley, visiting representatives of the local shaman community and learning about their age-old ways. Our expedition will then turn south toward Lake Hovsgol, known as Mongolia’s “blue pearl,” where we will explore the famously pristine scenery, hiking through meadows and along forested lakeshores, and experience the hospitality of the area’s nomadic families.
The highlight of Mongolia's northern provinces, an alpine region bordering the forests of Siberia, is pristine Lake Hovsgol, known as Mongolia’s "dark blue pearl." Believed to be several million years old, Mongolia’s deepest freshwater lake is surrounded by dozens of small rivers and streams that empty into its waters, pristine taiga forest, and valleys and meadows rich with wildflowers.
Summers at the lake are ideal for kayaking, camping, and birding, while winter, when snow blankets the wilderness and the lake freezes over, can be a beautiful time to visit and enjoy the celebrations and competitions of the Ice Festival.
Northern Mongolia is also an excellent destination for horse trekking, hiking, and fishing. Darkhad, an area containing hundreds of small lakes and streams, is where anglers can catch the world’s largest salmonid, enormous taimen weighing up to 200 pounds. Travelers are unlikely to encounter the brown bears and wolves that roam the forests, but elk and moose are among the less elusive wildlife that may be seen near Lake Hovsgol, while a wide variety of bird life can be spotted throughout the region.
Northern Mongolia is also home to a large population of reindeer. Among the nomadic peoples who inhabit Mongolia’s northern forests and steppe are the Tsaatan, members of a small Tuvinian ethnic group who have herded domesticated reindeer for centuries. The culture of these herdsmen has changed little since the Ice Age, and like many of Mongolia’s nomads, and particularly those in the north, shamanism plays an important role in their lives.