The Quest for Snow Leopards of Mongolia


Of the estimated 5,000 left snow leopards left in the world today, scientists have recorded the largest numbers in China and Mongolia, of which the latter has the easiest access both politically and logistically. These big cats have been protected in Mongolia since 1972. There are now over 30 different mountainous locations where these beautiful yet elusive cats, with an estimated population ranging from 1,000-1,500 individuals. Many different species of mammals will be encountered during the trip such as the Argali sheep and wild goat, the Ibex. Estimated travel time is little over 2 weeks. During the trip, you will visit the high peaks of Altai Mountains and the low ranges of the great Gobi basins, both of which will offer unparalleled exploration of the most astonishing ecosystems of Mongolia. Participants can set up camera traps or simply follow the local park rangers and follow the footsteps of these elusive but magnificent cats.

Brief Daily Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Built as a ger capital over 350 years ago, the modern day Ulaanbaatar is surrounded by white ger districts around it. After resting in your hotel room, we will enjoy a brief city tour including of Zaisan Hill where you can get a magnificent bird’s eye view of the city. In the evening, we will enjoy a traditional Mongolian performance featuring the “throat” or khoomii singing which also features dancer girls with colorful traditional Mongolian clothes. We will then enjoy a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. Later, we will go and Overnight at hotel. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 2. Western Mongolia

Today, we will fly to the western most part of Mongolia. We will meet our local crew and after a quick stop at a local market, begin driving to the Altai mountains where our camp site is located. Enjoy dinner and overnight in tents or gers. (Field camp; B, L, D)

Day 3-7. Altai Mountains

In the morning, we will hear a brief introduction on the region’s conservation projects for snow leopard and other rare species. We will set out each day to one of the frequently sited valleys in search of the elusive cat.
Packed lunch will be provided and we will enjoy dinner at the base camp by a warm fire site. Overnight in tents or gers. (Tent camp; B, L, D)

Day 8. Western Mongolia / Ulaanbaatar

In the morning, transfer back to the local town for our return flight back to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to your hotel located in the downtown Ulaanbaatar.
The rest of the afternoon is free for resting at your hotel. Dinner is independent. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 9. Hustai  National Park

In the morning, drive to the Hustai National Park, to spot the takhi wild horses in their natural habitat with a chance to photograph them. After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the park’s various sites before returning back to Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 10. Ulaanbaatar / Gobi Desert

Our next leg of the journey will take us south to the Gobi Desert, which also features some of the most diverse mammals and bird species, depending on which season. Upon arrival, drive to Yol Valley and hike in the valley with rich variety of wildlife. Reach your field camp in the evening and overnight in tents. (Tent camp or family stay; B, L, D)

Day 11-15. Gobi Gurvan Saikhan Mountains

We will spend these days strolling in the rich valleys of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan ranges in search of Gobi’s rare mammals such as Manuul cat, snow leopard and black tailed gazelles. Overnight in tents. (Tent camp or family stay; B, L, D)

Day 16. Gobi Desert / Ulaanbaatar

In the morning, we will drive back to Ulaanbaatar, stopping for a lunch along the way. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, transfer to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 17. Ulaanbaatar sightseeing

In the morning, we will begin the day with a visit to Gandan, Mongolia’s largest Buddhist Monastery. Visit the temple of Megjid Janraisag, where a 60 feet tall Buddha stands. Reconstructed in early 90s, the statue stands as the symbol of Mongolia’s revival of religious freedom after the communist regime that fell over. The temple itself used to be the largest building in Ulaanbaatar early 1900s. Also, visit the main temples where monks chant Buddha’s sutra’s on daily basis. Also, visit the National History museum which showcases Mongolia’s best collection of traditional tools, art crafts and other exhibits presenting different periods of Mongolia’s history. Among the museum highlights is the collection of traditional costumes of different tribes, hall of the 13th century Mongolia and section which showcases a typical Mongolian ger and various nomadic tools.
The afternoon is free for individual sightseeing or resting.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Mongolian performance followed by a farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 18. Departure

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure. (B)

Trip Highlights:

  • Travel through Mongolia’s vast grassland and the steppe, learning about their ecosystem and searching for the wildlife
  • Enjoy hiking in some of the most scenic trails in Mongolia while learning about birds, flowers and geology
  • Visit the Gobi desert and ride two-humped Mongolain camels on the sand dunes
  • Visit the habitat area of the elusive snowleopards in the Altai Mountains
  • Enjoy a private tour at the Wild Horse park with a leading local biologist
  • Enjoy meeting with nomads and exploring the nomadic culture of Mongolia


Trip Date:

May 1-18; June 2-19; Oct 3-20, 2024 & Feb 3-20, 2025

2 travelers:

$7,790 per person, twin occupancy

3-5 travelers:

$6,830 per person, twin occupancy

6-9 travelers:

$6,590 per person, standard twin occupancy

Domestic flight:

$350 per person

Single supplement fee:

$900 per person


bayngol room

Hotel Bayangol

Located centrally in Ulaanbaatar, Bayangol Hotel offers comfortable accommodations with easy access to the city’s attractions. Accommodations at Bayangol Hotel cater to every need, from cozy standard rooms to luxurious suites, ensuring a comfortable stay for all guests.


Field Ger camps

Throughout the rest of the program, you will be staying at cozy and authentic ger camps set up by our field staff. These gers are equipped with beds and stoves and other amenities to make us as comfortable as possible. Field toilet is supplied.

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Land Transportation:

Land transportation is provided by Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps seating  3 passangers per vehicle. Some roads can be bumby and hard but our drivers are some of the most experienced and reliable in the country.