Kazakh people in the Bayan-Ulgii province of western Mongolia continue the ancient Central Asian tradition of falconry (training raptors to catch wild game). Using golden eagles, the Kazakhs capture such prey as rabbits, red foxes, and wolves in the winter, when their pelts are most plush. Boojum Expeditions introduces travelers to “eagle hunters” and their families, who lead a hunt and welcome you into their nomadic way of life.
WHAT YOU’LL DO: Learn from the hunters about how they capture, train, and care for the eagles; on horseback or camelback, join the hunters as they pursue prey; visit other nomadic families who live in gers (yurts).
HIGHLIGHTS: Spend several nights in the hunters’ cabin, sharing stories and singing Mongolian folk songs. Sample boiled horsemeat and rice soup with aruul (dried cheese curds), dishes served to honored guests. See Kazakh women make colorful, intricately woven rugs.
Boojum Expeditions, (800) 287-0125, 11-day trips for $2,250 plus internal airfare (about $650), including lodging and meals. This appeared in the July/August 2010 issue.