• Depart London on an overnight flight to Ulaanbaatar, via Istanbul or Beijing. 
    • On arrival at Ulaanbaatar, we will be met by our guides and drivers before transferring to a comfortable hotel in the city. Depending on our arrival time, we can visit the nearby Tuul River Forest to familiarise ourselves with Mongolia’s birdlife. A small pond should provide us with azure tit, azure-winged magpie, white-crowned penduline tit and waterfowl in the pond.
    • In the evening, we visit a local restaurant in Ulaanbaatar for a welcome dinner. 
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, 1-night on full board basis
    • This morning we make our way west towards the famous Hustai National Park (also known as the Khustain Nuruu National Park). Covering 506 square kilometres, the national park protects 44 species of mammals and 217 species of birds.
    • We then drive to a small spring to look for Przewalski’s horse, which were reintroduced to the National Park back in 1992. This fascinating species is the only truly wild horse as it has never been domesticated. 
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Hustai National Park, 1-night on full board basis
    • Waking to crisp air and a sky full of birdsong, we start the day by heading west to stAfter an early breakfast, we head to the next birdwatching site where we can visit areas of marshland contrasting with mountains. Here, there are opportunities to ride horses and camels across a sand dune and steppe to visit a local family. eppe lake (Tsagaan) to look for ducks and shorebirds.
    • We then travel to a large freshwater lake, Ugii nuur, scanning the shoreline for white-winged black tern, common tern, Mongolian gull, common ringer plover, bar-headed and swan geese. If we are lucky, we may also see Pallas’s fish eagle and white-tailed eagle.  On the western side of the lake, we will see large numbers of swan geese, pochards and Asian dowitcher, and near our ger camp, we may see rock sparrow, small snowfinch, upland buzzard, white-winged scoter and Dalmatian pelican. 
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Ugii Lake, 2-nights on full board basis
    • After breakfast, we drive to the town of Kharkhorin, which marks the easternmost foothills of the Khangai Mountains, where they meet the steppe of central Mongolia. Kharkhorin was once the capital city of Mongolia from Genghis Khan’s time, and features ruins of the Great Mongol Empire.
    • On the outskirts of the town, we look for late migrants amongst the sea buckthorn shrubs including greenish, yellow-browed warblers, and a few flycatchers. 
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Kharkhorin, 1-night on full board basis
    • After an early breakfast, we head to the next birdwatching site where we can visit areas of marshland contrasting with mountains. Here, there are opportunities to ride horses and camels across a sand dune and steppe to visit a local family.
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Elsen Tasarkhai, 1-night on full board basis.
    • Today, we drive back to Ulaanbaatar city, and relax in preparation for the next few days in the Gobi Desert. The drive today is around 350 kilometres, but there will be plenty of stops along the way. 
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, 1-night on full board basis
    • We take a short flight to Dalanzadgad in the southern region of the Gobi Desert. On our drive to the scenic Yolyn Am region, we should find our first handsome Pallas’s sandgrouse. Horned and Asian short-toed larks are common here, and we spend some time searching for the beautiful oriental plover that should be displaying with its stiff-winged flight. We should also see many birds within a close range, including bearded vulture, sulphur-bellied warbler and Altai snowcock. 
    • We gradually approach the dramatic hills of the Altai and enter a breathtakingly beautiful landscape, where we spend the rest of the day. A small stream at the bottom of a gorge acts as a magnet for local birds and migrants. Ibex is often seen on the cliffs while the argali is uncommon. At the bottom of the valley marmots and Daurian picas are everywhere and easy to observe. 
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, 2-nights on full board basis
    • In the morning we start our journey into the depth of the Gobi Desert, more specifically to the Khongoryn Els sand dunes. This landscape is renowned for its extreme remoteness, natural beauty and, of course, its birdlife, as well as some of the most spectacular mammals we find during the trip. 
    • Our drive will take the whole day, but will surely be eventful as we stop at several desert oases, which can hold many surprises: the more unusual species may include Daurian starling, black drongo and Siberian rubythroat.
    • On arrival at the camp we settle into our spacious individual gers and enjoy meals and drinks on the verandah of the small bar, in an impossibly scenic setting.
    • The next morning we stay within the dune complex of Khongoryn Els and visit a habitat typical of this region, the so-called saxaul forest. This can be highly rewarding in terms of migrants, but our main focus is to find the pretty saxaul sparrow, Steppe grey shrike and Asian desert warbler. Not far away is a green oasis that attracts hundreds of Pallas’s sandgrouse – this is also one of the best sites to find Mongolian finch, which visit the stream in small flocks.
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Khongoryn Els, 2-nights on full board basis
    • We drive back to Dalanzadgad, birding on the way and visiting suitable green spots for migrants. Our route takes us across the lower areas of the Altai Mountains in search of chukar, rock thrush, Godlewski’s and grey-necked bunting. We have yet more opportunities to see Mongolian finches at close range. 
    • On the outskirts of the town, we look for late migrants amongst the sea buckthorn shrubs including greenish, yellow-browed warblers, and a few flycatchers. 
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Dalannzadgad, 1-night on full board basis
    • Flying back to the busy capital city in the morning, we will hope to be able to transfer to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park as promptly as possible. In the Siberian boreal forest, we go in search of forest and steppe birds, including oriental cuckoo, Eurasian hoopoe, Siberian rubythroat, red-throated thrush, Siberian stonechat, white-cheeked starling, dusky warbler, taiga flycatcher, Asian brown flycatcher, Blyth’s pipit and the more familiar birds such as great spotted woodpecker, great tit and common buzzard. During our visit, we will look for two challenging species; Chinese bush warbler and black-billed capercaillie. 
    • The following morning, we drive east of our camp to an area of riparian river forest to look for three-toed woodpecker, black woodpecker, long-tailed rosefinch, olive-backed pipit, common rosefinch and taiga flycatcher in breeding plumage.
    • Accommodation: Ger Camp, Gorkhi-Terelj, 2-nights on full board basis
    • On our last day we transfer back to Ulaanbaatar, where we board a flight back to London, again via Istanbul or Beijing.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We stay in hotels and at a range of tourist ger (yurt) camps.

Overall, the standard of accommodation is good, but do be aware that Mongolian hotels can average below the international standard. All rooms are en suite.

Ger camps are geared to accommodating tourists and are usually comfortable, but simply furnished. Facilities here are shared.

Meals

All main meals are included.

Birds

We will be looking for the many species that characterise the area, some of them very difficult to see anywhere else. From the moment we arrive at Ulaanbaatar we will be seeing new species, Daurian jackdaws and Pacific swift, and at Hustai we search for Mongolian lark, Daurian partridge and Isabelline shrike, while in the vast Gobi desert we look for the oriental plover.

  • Pallas’s sandgrouse
  • Henderson’s ground jay
  • Steppe eagle
  • Azure tit

Mammals

Mongolia is home to many exciting mammals, including the shy grey wolf and the endangered Przewalski’s horse.

  • Tarbagan marmot
  • Long-tailed souslik
  • White-tailed gazelle
  • Argali sheep

Scenery

Our tour takes us through Mongolia’s majestic landscape, amidst endless steppes and deserts, steppe lakes and taiga forests, and offering unspoiled scenery and stunning landscapes.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London – Ulanbataar - London, plus domestic flights Ulaanbaatar – Dalandzadgad – Ulaanbaatar.

Ground transport

Ground transportation will be by minibus or 4 wheel drive vehicle, with driver.

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In particular, please note: It is a condition of joining our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks. We strongly recommend having insurance in place from the point of booking confirmation, with adequate cancellation protection to cover your deposit.

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