Zavkhan horse riding holiday in Mongolia
Description of Zavkhan horse riding holiday in Mongolia
Mongolia is a land of horses and horsemen. What better way to really experience it than on a horse riding holiday in Mongolia? This trek takes you far away from the main tourist areas, to remote Zavkhan Province.
Where We Travel:
This rarely visited area is a wonderful mix of steppe, forest, rivers, mountains and desert, populated by hardy nomadic herders. The riding is often said to be the best in the world - no fences, few roads, and terrain that allows you to gallop forever. Zavkhan sees almost no foreign visitors, and tourism has had no impact on the traditional way of life.
The Horses and Riding:
Experienced riders will love the local horses, small but fast and strong, and perfectly suited to the environment. However, the trek is also suitable for those with less experience - adventurous travelers who recognize that horseback is the ideal way to experience Mongolia.
We structure our treks so that experienced riders who dream of galloping across open steppe, like Genghis Khan on the war-path, can do so, while those of us who prefer a more gentle pace can take our time and enjoy the scenery. Even people with no riding experience at all are welcome to join us on our rides - we will make sure to look after you well.
At the end of each day we meet our 4WD support vehicles and set up camp. Zavkhan is an undeveloped region with no tourism infrastructure, so you will be wilderness camping during the trek. This is a rare opportunity to travel in a part of the country that has seen little change over the years. You will meet the local herders and experience their ancient way of life.
Why Trek With Us?
We have been arranging treks in this region for more than 10 years, working directly with our friends amongst the nomadic herders. The staff who accompany you are very experienced - most have been with us from the start. Our horse wranglers will teach you how to ride the Mongolian horses in a way that is exciting and safe.
During the trek you will be accompanied by an experienced English-speaking trip leader and our team of wranglers, drivers and cook. The trip leader will make sure you have the perfect horse to match your riding experience.
The Great Mongolian Road Trip:
We begin with an epic road trip to Zavkhan, an experience not to be missed. Mongolia's roads are notorious, but our sturdy Russian 4WD vehicles can handle anything. The drive takes us west across beautiful open steppe and forested hills, stopping at the ancient capital of Karakorum, arriving in Zavkhan after two and a half days. At the end of the trek we fly back to Ulaanbaatar (driving one way is enough for anyone!).
Naadam Festival add-on:
After our June trek, you may like to stay on for the annual Naadam Festival opening ceremony (11th July) in Ulaanbaatar, a spectacular celebration of Mongolian culture. Quite unlike any other festival in the world!
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3 Reviews of Zavkhan horse riding holiday in Mongolia
Reviewed on 04 Oct 2019 by Rachael Harrison5***** Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Oct 2018 by Timucin KaracaWe stayed in untouched nature, saw the most amazing stars at night, and had great and freshly cooked food! It was probably one of the best trips I ever made! Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Oct 2016 by Anne ConnorsAwesome trip - first class, great food, well looked after. Read full review
PlanetIt's hard to avoid the fact that you are likely to arrive in Mongolia by plane - although we do recommend the train for those with plenty of time! Once you are here, however, we minimise further carbon emissions by traveling in the most sustainable way possible - by horse. Mind you, once the horses get a taste of the lush mountain pastures where we ride, their carbon emissions do tend to increase significantly!
Happily, riding is also the best and most traditional way to experience Mongolia, travelling the way the locals still do.
Clean water is thankfully not a scarce resource where we ride, and we want to keep it that way. This is about maintaining the purity of rivers and streams that we camp near. We ensure that our toilet is dug a suitable distance from the water course each evening. Dishes and clothes are washed away from the waters edge. We do encourage guests to swim and wash in rivers, but soap-free is the way to go.
Our drivers are banned from washing their vehicles in the rivers, an unfortunately common sight near towns.
Nomadic herders have great respect for the rivers, and they have their own prohibitions such as not letting blood or milk enter the water. We follow their lead when it comes to living sustainably on the steppe!
PeopleVisiting Mongolia is as much about experiencing the local culture as it is about the beautiful scenery and fantastic riding. Over many years we have built up close relationships with our local staff and their families. We recognise that the best way to really get to know Mongolia is by drawing in close to the camp fire in the evening and getting to know the local people you are riding with.
All our staff come from the area where we ride. They are not tourism professionals from the city, rather they are 'real' Mongolians, a bit rough around the edges sometimes but with a strong desire to give you a wonderful and lasting impression of their country.
Zavkhan province is known as one of the least developed regions of Mongolia, due to its remoteness and the difficulty getting here. This is one of the reasons we decided to start running trips in the area, to provide local employment and help develop sustainable livelihoods.
Most tourism is concentrated around areas such as Lake Khovsgol and Terelj. By coming to Zavkhan you avoid the 'beaten track', experience the real Mongolia, and help families who do not otherwise benefit from the tourism industry.
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