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Mongolia Eagle Hunters and Gobi Desert Photo Workshop

Eagle Hunter and his Golden Eagle
12 Days
From $7,995
Interests
Culture & People, Landscape
Activity Level
Easy
Group Size
Max 6–8

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Explore the nomadic cultures of Mongolian eagle hunters and camel herders

We have been invited into the nomadic communities of Mongolia. Your guide, Kevin Pepper, has a decade-plus relationship with the eagle hunters and camel herders, meaning you’ll have exclusive access to these fascinating communities.

We will travel to Ölgii province to meet the eagle hunters, their families, and their eagles and journey into the mountains to watch them exercise their birds.

We will also travel into the heart of the Gobi desert to meet the families of traditional Bactrian camel herders. Here, you will have a rare opportunity to photograph the camel herders and camels as they walk in the picturesque Khongor sands in southern Mongolia.

Read more about why we love traveling to Mongolia.

Highlights

  • We have long-standing relationships with the people of Mongolia that transcend the photographer/subject dynamic. The people we visit are our friends, and you’ll have a more meaningful cultural experience visiting Mongolia with us.
  • Private photo shoots with camel herders on the dunes of the Gobi Desert.
  • Private photo sessions with Kazakh eagle hunters and their golden eagles on horseback.
  • Our local guides understand the unique demands of photo tours, so complex logistics in these remote locations are always taken care of.
  • We visit Mongolia during the best season for photography of the Eagle Hunters and the Gobi Desert.
  • Private chef during our journey to ensure dietary needs are met.

Your Guides

  • Kevin Pepper with Camargue horse

    Kevin Pepper

    Sep 15–26, 2024
    Sep 29–Oct 10, 2024
    Sep 15–26, 2025
    Sep 29–Oct 10, 2025
  • Rick Sammon

    Rick Sammon

    Special Guest
    Sep 29–Oct 10, 2024

Activity Level

During our time with the eagle hunters, the walks are usually less than 300 meters from the vehicle, with some minor elevation changes. Some of the shoots in the Gobi will require you to climb up or down low sand dunes. Optionally, you can climb some of the largest dunes on Earth!

This tour has an activity level of Easy. Read more about the Activity Levels for our trips.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

    Arrive at Chinggis Khaan International Airport (UBN) before 2:00 PM on this day. Air travel delays are possible, so please consider arriving early, possibly the day prior. We don't want you to miss out on trip activities. Airport transfer is included on arrival.

    You will be picked up by one of our drivers holding an “Akari Photo Tours” sign with your name on it and taken directly to our hotel in downtown “UB.” The workshop starts with a group meeting at 5:30 PM in our hotel lobby. We will then go for a group dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in UB. We’ll discuss the workshop and get to know each other better.

  • Day 2: Depart for the Gobi Desert

    After breakfast, we’ll get settled into our comfortable Toyota minivans. There will only be three participants per vehicle to allow plenty of room for you and your camera bag. We will head towards the Gobi Desert, photographing along the way, with a photo session of horses and/or camels at sunset.

  • Day 3: Khongor Sand Dunes

    We will reach the Khongor sand dunes late in the morning. These are the most substantial and beautiful Mongolian sand dunes, stretching for 170 km. At the Khongor Oasis area, the dunes reach a height of about 200 meters, and locals call them “The Singing Dunes.” Upon arrival, we will check into our ger camp. We will visit the camel herder’s family to discuss our private photo sessions of Bactrian camels and camel herders in traditional Mongolian dress.

  • Day 4: Khongor Sand Dunes and camel herders

    Today, we are at the Khongor sand dunes, photographing the dunes and camel herders. It is a full day with exclusive access to the camel herders and camels at sunrise and sunset, walking and riding on the dunes. After our sunset shoot and visit with the camel herder family, we’ll take the short drive back to our ger camp to have dinner and download images.

  • Day 5: Depart sand dunes

    After a morning photo shoot at the sand dunes, we will drive back to Dalanzadgad, where we will review your images from the Gobi Desert.

  • Day 6: Dalanzadgad to Ulaanbaatar

    After breakfast, we drive back to UB. We’re in our comfortable Toyota Minivans, and you can stretch out and enjoy a nice nap. We reach UB by late afternoon, check in to our hotel, and have dinner.

  • Day 7: Depart for Ulgii

    We’re up very early to fly to Ulgii on a 6:00 AM flight. Don’t worry about airline luggage allowances. We’ve taken care of that! Once we arrive in Ulgii, we will visit and take photographs at the local outdoor market. Afterward, we’ll grab a coffee in Ulgii, discuss upcoming events, and have the first of many private photo sessions with our host eagle hunter family. We will live alongside an actual eagle hunter family for the next three nights.

  • Day 8–9: Eagle hunters

    We have private sessions with five eagle hunters in the foothills of the mountains. You will photograph the eagle hunters’ methods to supply food and fur for their families for over a thousand years. We’ll have five eagle hunters on horseback with their golden eagles at sunrise and sunset. Throughout the day, we have various photo sessions and portrait sessions planned.

  • Day 10: Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar

    Catch our early afternoon flight back to UB from Ulgii. Upon arrival in UB, we will head to our hotel and have dinner in the hotel.

  • Day 11: Archers on horseback

    Today, we travel to a remote location to photograph 10-20 traditionally dressed archers on horseback. During our private archer photography session, you will capture images of archers running on horses at full speed as they shoot arrows at various targets—the art of archery on horseback dates as far back as Attila the Hun.

    We will visit the best cashmere stores in UB, where you can purchase some of the finest cashmere in the world and grab a quick lunch. Back at the hotel, we will have a final editing session. Then, it’s a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Day 12: Departure

    You can book your return flight for anytime this day. Airport transfer is included on departure.

Accommodations

We will be staying in multiple locations. In Ulaanbaatar, we will be staying in a 5-star hotel. We will stay in comfortable ger camps with the eagle hunters and camel herders. When with the eagle hunters, washroom facilities are an enclosed drop toilet structure and no shower facilities. The bathroom facilities will be dormitory-style toilets and private showers when staying near the camel herders.

Why Travel With Us

Our small-group trips are designed for photographers, with guides who know the best locations and offer instruction to help improve your photography. Read more about why you should travel with us.

Dates & Prices

  • Sep 15–26, 2024
    $7,995 USD Per Person
    Double Occupancy
    $795 USD
    Single Supplement
    Waitlist
    Sold Out
    Guides: Kevin Pepper
    Payment Terms: Deposit: $2,000 USD
    Remainder Due: May 18, 2024
  • Sep 29–Oct 10, 2024
    $7,995 USD Per Person
    Double Occupancy
    $795 USD
    Single Supplement
    Guides: Kevin Pepper, Rick Sammon
    Special Guests: Rick Sammon
    Payment Terms: Deposit: $2,000 USD
    Remainder Due: Jun 1, 2024
  • Sep 15–26, 2025
    $7,995 USD Per Person
    Double Occupancy
    $795 USD
    Single Supplement
    Waitlist
    Sold Out
    Guides: Kevin Pepper
    Payment Terms: Deposit: $2,000 USD
    Remainder Due: May 18, 2025
  • Sep 29–Oct 10, 2025
    $7,995 USD Per Person
    Double Occupancy
    $795 USD
    Single Supplement
    Guides: Kevin Pepper
    Payment Terms: Deposit: $2,000 USD
    Remainder Due: Jun 1, 2025

All of our standard Terms & Conditions apply. Be sure to read our Cancellation Policy.

What's Included
  • Double occupancy lodging. Single lodging is available with payment of a single supplement fee.
  • Single rooms only available at hotels for four nights.
  • All transportation during the tour, including internal flights.
  • Airport transfers at arrival/departure and during the tour.
  • All meals, soft drinks, water, and snacks during the tour.
  • English-speaking local guides.
  • All model fees and model releases.
  • Exclusive Mongolian souvenir.
  • Gratuities for local guides & crew included.
  • Pre-workshop briefing via personal phone call
  • All permits and entry fees.
  • Instruction, guidance, and image reviews from our expert photography guides.
What's Not Included
  • Airfare to and from destination, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees.
  • Passport and visas, if applicable.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Travel medical & evacuation insurance (required).
  • Trip cancellation insurance (optional but recommended).
  • Any accommodations or meals before or after the tour dates.
  • Items of a personal nature.

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