Wild Horses in Mongolia
wild horses in mongolia
Kelsey from Poland who visited Mongolia in December writes about wild horses in Mongolia... "It's amazing how long forgotten childhood memories can surface so quickly and still have such an impact on you. I recently had such an experience on encountering Przewalski's wild horses of Mongolia at the Khustai National Park in Mongolia. As a child, I used to see the horses inside rather small seeming enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, listed as extinct in the wild. It was almost like seeing a miracle when I saw these horses running free today through the Mongolian countryside.
Khustai National Park is located about 100km west of Ulaanbaatar, and is accessible from a paved road. Shortly after entering the park on a dirt road, we encounter a large herd of Elk and a small herd of Przewalski's horse running from the car. We left the car and began to hike over the terrain in search of more horses and elk.
The terrain at Khustai is a massive washboard of rolling hills covered with a uniform grass and spotted with marmot dens. The hills are topped with ridges and crowns of ancient worn rocks, frequently placed so symmetrically or balanced so precariously that they seem as if they were placed by some ancient artists. The open Mongolian landscape rolls in every direction and a spots of winter mist made the whole scene appear like some fantasy.
We hiked carefully along the ridge lines to avoid startling any of the horses and being attacked by a defensive male. After crossing several ridges, we climbed up to a large rock outcropping where we could safely see the horses grazing. The view was breathtaking. The wild horses exhibited
classic defensive positions, with the Stallion alert to everything we were doing and the mares grazing facing in all directions to keep an eye out. Seeing these horses in the wild in this fantastic setting was truly a life fulfilling moment.
There is a standing research station at the park, funded by the dutch government and staffed by researchers from around the world, in addition to ecovolunteers. The station was unoccupied when we arrived but there were detailed park maps and information posters about the horses, as well as a variety of other indigenous species that we did not encounter.
The park is massive, but seemingly well protected, and impressively beautiful. There are several dirt roads that can be traversed by cars, and wildlife can be easily spotted from the car on these roads. There is no entrance fee, but the entrance itself is very difficult to find, marked only by a single billboard about 90km outside of Ulaanbaatar.
There is also a tourist camp on the way in, with lodging and food available. If you will be eating dinner or lunch at the camp, it is best to stop by on your way in to let them know what time you would like to dine so that it is ready when you are on your way out of the park. The Lodging includes traditional Ger, modified Ger with bathrooms, and a regular building with more conventional rooms.
This is an easy 2 hour drive from Ulaanbaatar, through beautiful valleys and hills. Business travelers to the capital can easily visit the park and see wild horses in Mongolia on a one day trip, but depending on the time of year, prepare carefully for the weather!