MONGOLIA NOMAD TREK
ABOUT THE TREK
Tusker’s Mongolia Nomad Trek explores a region with some of the richest history of all our treks. The local Kazakh eagle hunters and Tuvan herders are descended from ancient Turkic tribes that have occupied this vast, magical land for over 12,000 years. Stretching back in time past Alexander the Great and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, tribes of old conducted trade on what is now known as the fabled Silk Road. Because of the cold climate, awe-inspiring relics of history are still intact. Trekking through this rich area of Mongolia, you discover fascinating petroglyphs and “Deer Stones” that have hardly changed in thousands of years. As you journey with the local nomadic herders, you step into the pages of history most people only ever read about.
MONGOLIA IS ADVENTURE
A journey into the Mongolian Altai Mountains in the Tavn Bogd National Park is an adventure you will never forget. If you had only one trip on your bucket list, this is it. You embark on a journey to a hidden, rarely seen world with nomads as your companions on an expedition of discovery through western Mongolia, along the border with China. We trace the Tsagaan Gol river, crossing broad valleys, mountain passes and lush tundra to the river’s ancient source – the massive Potanin Glacier, which lies on the border of Mongolia, Russia, and China. This spectacular area is so remote and so untouched, that it takes us two days to get to our starting point at Khoton Nuur lake. (48°37'03.7"N · 88°23'38.4"E)
Sprawled across a mountain system lies a vast and pristine wild land — a distinct territory defined by natural processes, not political boundaries. Its borders are ecological, and its provinces are interconnected habitats. This is where the boundaries of Russia, China and Mongolia meet.
ALTAI TAVN BOGD
Tusker is one of a small handful of companies that trek the entire length of the Altai Tavn Bogd National Park, which occupies the Mongolian part of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion, one of the planet’s most important strongholds of biodiversity, covering 386,000 square miles.
GREAT LAKES BASIN
The Khovd River, which in the glaciers of Mongolia’s Altai Mountains, flows into the Great Lakes Basin, a depression with no outlet. There are lush wetlands that comprise the last great reed beds of central Asia.
THE ALTAI MOUNTAINS • TAVN BOGD
- Adventure through the hidden world of the nomads.
- Trek across pristine river valleys, mountain passes, tundra and steppe.
- Challenge yourself and ride like a nomad.
- Feel the power of a mighty golden eagle on your arm.
- Hike through 11,000 years of nomadic history.
- Sleep beneath a vast canopy of stars.
If you could choose only one great adventure, it has to be Tusker’s Mongolia Nomad Trek. Eddie and Amy Frank crafted this journey to fully immerse you in a hidden world, teeming with excitement, challenges and adventure. And at the heart of your adventure are your guides and your crew. Born and raised in the Altai mountains, they have been working with Eddie and Amy since 2006 and bring a lifetime of knowledge to fully challenge you on an adventure that will transform you for the rest of your life.
Just speak with EDDIE FRANK, Tusker’s owner and Mongolia head guide. He’ll give you an insider’s view that will plunge you headfirst into this life-changing experience. Eddie has been leading Tusker’s expeditions for years and he leads our annual journey through the pristine Mongolian wilderness. With Eddie and Amy, you’ll be able to capture the magic of ancient nomadic life in Mongolia.
THE NATURAL BEAUTY
If you were to talk with any Tusker adventurer from the MONGOLIA NOMAD TREK, they would tell you that this trip was a transformative experience. The challenge of hiking in a pristine world or riding a horse alongside the nomads is so revitalizing, that you’ll want to come back for more. And more than a few Tusker adventurers have done just that. Exploring a wilderness area of 386,000 square miles, encompassing 3 mountain ranges and two of the largest river basins in the world, is enough true adventure for even the most demanding of travelers.
A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE
You too can fire up your passion and feast on the excitement of a whole new challenge. It will transform you in ways you can only imagine and will empower you to accomplish things you never dreamed possible.
YOUR BUCKET LIST
Filling your bucket list thrusts you on a path of self-awareness, forcing you to discard your fears and go all in. By throwing off your inhibitions, you fire up your passion for life and for new experiences. A bucket list forces you to take a journey on the inside as well as one on the outside, allowing you to live your life to the fullest.
Embarking on a rugged trek on the ancient trail of the nomads does not mean sacrificing basic comforts during your journey. Your lodging and meals will provide you with more than just sustenance. Meals should thrill your taste buds and nourish your soul, fueling you for long days on the trail. That’s why we fly our head Kilimanjaro chef – ALEX MINJA – to Mongolia each year, to fire up your culinary passion on the adventure of your lifetime.
Your camp is a refuge from the day’s demanding hike and horse ride – a place to retreat and replenish your strength. It is also a haven where you can relax and recount your day’s adventures with your fellow trekkers, stoking the fires of friendship and togetherness. Eddie and Amy spent years redesigning and perfecting Tusker’s well-crafted signature expedition camp, to provide you with an experience like no other.
EVOLUTION OF THE MONGOLIA NOMAD TREK
When Eddie and Amy Frank scouted the 2006 Solar Eclipse trip, they traveled 3,000 miles through Mongolia and discovered one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, inhabited by nomadic eagle hunters with some of the richest history on the planet. The Mongolia Nomad trek was born out of this scouting trip. They have since built the Mongolia Nomad Trek into one of Tusker’s most exciting, award winning treks, guided by the nomads in Mongolia’s Altai Tavn Bogd.
Eddie’s desire for adventure began when he was growing up in Africa. His father took him out into the bush and instilled in him the thrill of discovery. This excitement is what propelled him to set out to cross Africa in his army-surplus Land Rover in 1977. Since that first expedition he has crossed the Sahara 33 times, climbed Kilimanjaro on 54 occasions, and traveled through almost every African country overland.
"When Amy and I went to Mongolia to scout the solar eclipse trip we couldn't believe our eyes. The remoteness and magnificence of the Altai Mountains in Mongolia’s far west blew our minds. Then and there we decided to start trekking in the Altai, and Tusker has been running expeditions there every year since 2006."
ALTAI TAVN BOGD NATIONAL PARK
Glacial rivers flow from Mongolia’s highest peaks – the Altai Tavn Bogd – in the far west of the country. Traditional nomadic families live in gers, nomadic tents, on the rocky slopes of the mountains in the park. The area we trek through is marked by massive peaks, and glacial river valleys where we camp every night. We travel on foot and on horseback, while Bactrian camels haul our gear. Silted rivers flow from the heavily glaciated mountains, the highest in Mongolia, bordering China and Russia at the Potanin Glacier, just a few yards from our final camp.
We hike by ancient 11,000-year-old petroglyphs, giving us an exciting visual history of the area. Mongolian Kazakh eagle hunters are only found in this region of western Mongolia. They capture young Golden Eagles and use them for hunting, before returning them to the wild a few years later.
THE PLANT LIFE
The flora found on the Mongolia Nomad Trek is absolutely phenomenal. We schedule the trek during the summer, when most of the plant life is abundant, causing the vistas to explode in color. Wild spring onions also add a special quality to our delectable meals.
THE ROUTE WE TRAVEL
When Eddie and Amy Frank first landed in the western part of Mongolia to scout a solar eclipse trip, they were blown away by the beauty of the Altai Mountains, on the border with China. They crafted a route which traverses the entire length of the seldom traveled Altai Tavn Bogd National Park. You spend every night in Tusker Trail’s signature expedition camp within view of an extraordinary glacial lake or rushing river. On your final night you camp near the source of all this water, the Potanin Glacier, lying at the foot of Mongolia’s tallest peaks.
LEARN TO RIDE LIKE A NOMAD
From the starting point of the trek at Khoton Nuur Lake, you can ride a horse and also hike. It’s your call. We have found that once trekkers take Eddie’s practical riding lessons, they really enjoy the riding experience. There’s nothing like riding with the nomads, who have been traversing the central Asian steppe on horseback for almost three thousand years.
After a lot of experience riding Mongolian horses, we have chosen to use Australian saddles, which we find to be the most secure, comfortable and best suited for the rugged terrain. Regardless of your riding skills, we’ll choose a horse that complements your ability.
"A wonderful trip. Well organized, good food, an opportunity to meet and begin to understand the nomadic people of Western Mongolia. Loved the horse riding, would go back in a heartbeat. -- The whole trip was very special, but trying to describe it to family and friends is a challenge. The photographs help, but it is difficult to explain just how remote the area is." - 5-Star review by "Linda G."
SUMMER • Tusker's Trekking Season
In the Mongolian Altai, the summer is the best season to trek. The grasses are green, most flowers are in full bloom, and the snow has melted off the mountain pass we cross. Temperatures range from 28° F/-2 °C at higher elevations during the night to 90° F/32 °C in the day. We usually experience some rain showers and an occasional storm.
September and October are the cooler months in Mongolia. The weather is extremely variable with occasional snow in the north, which can occur towards the end of the season.
November to February are the winter months, and temperatures are well below freezing. In January and February, the temperature can get down to -30°C/-22°F and will not rise above freezing until April. There are a few strong winds, and the ground is covered in snow, but you often see days with clear weather and the shining sun.
Springtime starts in March and April with temperatures still below freezing. The days are dry and windy. After a long winter with harsh weather, livestock will be thin and there is usually great hardship among the nomads.
NEXT • 2 of 4
WHAT TO EXPECT
Life on the Mongolia Trek