Mongolia Photography Tour Altai Eagle Hunters March 2024

A Kazak Mongolian eagle hunter and his eagle
A Kazak Mongolian eagle hunter and his eagle
A Kazak Mongolian eagle hunter and his eagle

Mongolia Photography Tour Altai & Eagle Hunters | 18 - 28 March 2024

A ten-day photography tour of the stunning landscapes of the Altai including stays with eagle hunters

Join me for a breathtaking photography tour of Mongolia’s Altai landscapes as well as stays with various eagle hunters and the eagle hunter festival (TBC).

This photo tour is the perfect opportunity for those who are happy to compromise on some luxuries to immerse themselves. We take you away from the ‘highlights’ as this means you’ll be shooting in more personal situations and have the time and space to create your own unique photography - not with a crowd of other photographers getting basically the same image.

We let you decide how little or how much photographic instruction you require throughout the trip. But, we provide you with the opportunity to have 1:1 interaction whether that be with portraiture, landscape photography, lighting, composition or post-production.

The itinerary through Mongolia’s westernmost province of Bayan Ulgii has been planned to provide you with an array of photographic opportunities. The Kazakhs are Mongolia's largest ethnic group with over 100,000 residing in western Mongolia. A percentage of Kazakhs are eagle hunters - typically hunting with female golden eagles (known as berkuts) as they are stronger and more aggressive.

This photography adventure provides a great opportunity to document first-hand the life of Kazakh eagle hunters as you spend time living alongside the hunters and their families witnessing their daily lives. On this itinerary, you will be hosted by some of the region's most experienced and respected hunters and you will learn skills and history from them as well as explore the stark yet beautiful landscapes of Mongolia’s Altai. All of your hosts are Kazakh families that the Mongolian tour operator has personally built up relationships with over the past 13 years. No agents or tour operators are used - we work directly with all the families as this leads to a more personal insight for you as our guest.

***Please note that the schedule is subject to change as details for the eagle festival haven't yet been published.

Photography Tour Itinerary in brief

18 March 2024
Final possible arrival day into Ulaan Baatar and (for those in Ulaan Baatar) a city walking tour (adapted to the time of year). 

  • Accommodation: Khovsgol Lake Hotel, Ulaan Baatar (TBC)
  • Meals - Lunch and Dinner (alcohol not included)
19 & 20 March 2024
Domestic flight to Ulgii (provincial capital of Bayan Ulgii Aimag) and then short road transfer to Ulaankhuus - a small community of Bayan Ulgi Aimag. Here you'll spend two days living alongside and documenting the way of life of the Kazakh eagle hunter Bashakhan and his family. Includes an option for photographing a training event between the eagle hunter and his eagle.
  • Accommodation: Mat on the floor of eagle hunter's home. Outside long drop toilets. No showers.
  • Meals - Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
*Depending on the domestic flight schedule, if there are no domestic flights on this day we will take the group to the Chinggis Equestrian Statue and arrange accommodation at Khovsgol Lake Hotel or similar.
21 & 22 March 2024
Experience the Nauryz Eagle Festival where eagle hunters from across the region compete in traditional Kazakh horse games as well as competitions designed to test the connection between hunter and eagle. This festival is very popular with the local community providing some great portraiture photography. The location of the festival changes each year - we will confirm the details close to the event.
  • Accommodation: TBC but probably a mattress on the floor of your host family. Outside long drop toilets. Shower available at the local town shower house in Ulgii.
  • Meals: Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
23 - 25 March 2022
Transfer by road to Altai - a small community of Bayan Ulgii Aimag. Here you'll spend three days living alongside and documenting the way of life of the Kazakh eagle hunter Asker and his family including his daughters who are young Kazakh eagle huntresses. Include an option for photographing a training event between the eagle hunter and his eagle.
  • Accommodation: Mattress on the floor of eagle hunter's home (this is a homestay). Outside long drop toilets. Shower available at the local town shower house in Ulgii
  • Meals -Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
26 March 2022
Return to Ulgii where the group can explore this small town including the panoramic view from the lookout point and the great local market. The evening will be spent at the home of our Kazakh translator and will include a simple Kazakh live music performance.
  • Accommodation: Single en-suite room (where available) at Eagle Dreams Hotel
  • Meals -Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
27 March 2022
Return to Ulaanbataar by domestic flight before meeting for a farewell dinner and photography de-brief.
  • Accommodation: Khovsgol Lake Hotel (TBC)
  • Meals - Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)

Additional information

Where do I meet you?

You will be met at the main airport by myself and the Mongolian team. Let us know if you're arriving earlier than the start of the tour.

Is it cold in Mongolia in March?

Winter in Mongolia can sometimes be susceptible to unforeseen problems which might result in last-minute itinerary changes. Things will not happen on a perfect schedule and conditions will be very rugged - you will be required to step outside your circle of comfort. Please base your expectations on this important point.

You will be expected to be flexible and patient and bring with you your willingness to participate and your sense of adventure and humour.

We will provide you with a list of things you will need to bring. In March temperatures can reach well below freezing. You'll need to ensure that you have clothing that will keep you warm from the inevitable cold and wind chill that we will be experiencing during our days out.

Do I need a visa for Mongolia?

Many countries do require a visa to enter the country. Please check with your country's embassy to see if you need one. If you do then please contact me so that a formal invitation can be arranged that you take to the embassy.

What clothing should I bring?

Merino wool base layers or equivalent. I use Icebreaker 260gsm long-sleeve base layers
Fleece mid-layer. I use RAB pull-ons for my next layer.
Fleece extra mid-layer. As an extra security measure, I use another RAB mid-layer fleece to provide extra warmth.
Down jacket. Make sure you have a well-insulated down jacket. Although Mongolia has a dry cold you are well-advised to make sure your coat will stop wind chill.


Good, sturdy walking shoes that are waterproof are perfect for the terrain that we'll be working in. In addition, I also carry a pair of Meindl Solden Winter Boots that are lined.

What camera kit should I bring?

A wide-angle lens (16-35mm) and medium zoom (24-70mm) are the lenses we'll be using the most. A longer zoom (70-300) will be useful to cover most compositional eventualities that we may need to isolate. The most used lens will likely be in the 24-70mm range as a super wide angle can create the pancake effect on the mountainous landscape, so make sure this focal length is covered. 

Do I need a computer?

Although not essential, it's a great idea to bring a laptop computer with you so you can discuss imagery with me.  

What computer support do you give?

I try and make a point of helping those that need it in digital photography. If inclement weather or tiredness takes hold it can really help to have a computer session to assess our progress.

How do I pay?

It's easy! Just use the Paypal buttons below to checkout. The balance will be due 8 weeks before the start of the tour/ workshop. You can always decide to pay the full amount up front too if you wish.

Eagle Hunter Festival - Mar 2024

5695€ / deposit of 250€

18 - 28 March 2024

10 days

Altai, Mongolia


Khovsgol Lake Hotel in Ulaan Baatar (TBC)
Mattress on the floor of eagle hunter's home
All meals where stated (excluding alcohol)
Transport during the tour
Internal flight to the Altai region
Tuition from Julian Elliott

Flights to Mongolia
Visa fees if required
Excess baggage fees from Ulanbaatar to Ulgii
Excess baggage fees from Ulgii to Ulanbaatar
Meals not mentioned

Max Group Number

Fitness Level
Low to Medium