Will I be safe on the trip?
Riding horses is dangerous and you need to understand and accept the risks involved. You will be hours or days from medical care. Falls from horses are unlikely but we want you to wear a helmet anyway, which we will provide. Prevent dehydration by drinking lots of water. Mongolia’s elevation, clear skies and just the fact that you’ll be in the sun all day mean sunblock/sunscreen is a must. Bring insect repellent but don’t worry, there is no malaria in Mongolia.
Do you have nice horses? What are they like?
What should I bring?
Please bring warm clothes, a waterproof jacket and sturdy shoes. Long pants are required – jeans or other heavy pants are a good choice for being in the saddle. Bring a headlamp/torch/flashlight. Take sunblock, sunglasses, and hat. Definitely bring your camera, but don’t promise to send photos. Most people have no fixed address, and even in those who do have an address don’t have a mailbox.
What’s the weather forecast?
The weather in Mongolia is dry, sunny and beautiful. June, July and August are about 7 C at night and 25 C during the day. It rains, but it usually does not rain for a long time. The sun shines frequently in Mongolia – we average 260 sunny days per year. It will definitely be cooler and more windy up on the mountains. We use the Weather Underground web site for weather forecasts and you can check their site to see what the weather might be like when you are coming.
What are your water conditions (drinking and showering)? What about other drinks?
Water is provided in two ways. At the ger camp, we have a natural underground well that provides fresh drinking water that we use to cook with and boil for tea and drinking. On horse treks, we provide bottled mineral water for you to drink. You can purchase more water if you require more than is provided. Other drinks such as beer and vodka can be purchased at the camp. Hot showers can be had at the camp once a day, but hot water is limited.
How’s the food?
We serve fresh, homemade Mongolian food, prepared on site in our “kitchen ger.” While the traditional Mongolian diet is largely meat and dairy, we serve plenty of vegetables, as well as rice and noodles. We are happy to cook for vegetarians with prior notice, but if you stay with a local family and eat their food, this is usually not possible as all family meals are one-pot meals. In the morning we serve a meal such as sweet rice pudding with bread and jam and hot tea. At lunchtime we serve a cold snack on the trail and at dinner we prepare a full hot meal. Meals include Mongolian specialities such as soups, dumplings, and fried meat pancakes. If we’re on the trail and ride through a village, we will stop at local shops so you can buy water, juice and snacks.
What’s the accommodation like?
We can accommodate 24 guests at our site. We have 8 traditional Mongolian gers and 6 of them are for guests with 4 single beds each. A ger is a round tent covered in felt and canvas. Blankets and sleeping bags are provided. Each ger has a stove if it gets chilly at night. We have a well-built, clean outhouse with western-style toilet seats. In the evenings we use candles for lighting. At our home it’s simple but very comfortable and very peaceful. On the trail, we provide tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. Note: there is no electricity and no running water at our camp. That means that your nights will be star-filled but don’t expect a hot bath in the morning. We can boil hot water for the occasional shower, but we try to conserve natural resources so we encourage you to go easy on the water usage when showering.
I’ve never ridden a horse before – is that OK?
There are two things to consider: your experience with horses, and your fitness level. We think it is more important for you to be strong and healthy rather than have a lot of experience riding horses. You do not need to know how to ride a horse before coming to Stepperiders. We will teach you as you go. It helps if you are comfortable and calm around animals. Fitness is more important than specific riding experience. The more exercise you do on a regular basis, the more comfortable you will be on horseback. People who are not very fit will still have a great time, but they can expect some aches and stiffness the next day. 1 or 2 day treks are fine for anyone, but people who are not used to exercise may tire easily and become quite sore on a longer journey. If you fall into this category, but still want a long trip, we can schedule it so that we take a rest day every 3rd day.
When does the trek start?
The trek starts right after breakfast on the first day we quote you. That is why we would like you to stay with us the evening before your trek, because your trek will start immediately after breakfast the next day. This night’s accommodation is free, so please take advantage of it. We’d like to give you maximum riding time, and if we have to pick you up the first morning of your trek, you probably won’t really get organized and start riding until lunchtime.
Will I be sharing my “room”?
You will be sleeping in a ger with 4 single beds. You may be sharing. We do our best to give you privacy, but sometimes we have a lot of people and two or more parties share a ger. On the Naadam trip you will definitely be sharing. Meeting other travelers can be part of the fun!
Can I call you last minute and get on a trek?
Definitely. We have several horsemen and plenty of horses. Please call or email us to see if we’ve got treks running – we might already have a trek scheduled that you can join.
Do I have to pay a deposit? How do I pay for the trek?
To reserve a trek we require a 20% nonrefundable deposit. You can pay the deposit online via PayPal.
You can pay the balance the same way (so you don’t have to worry about that when you arrive in Mongolia) or you can pay in cash when you arrive. At Stepperiders camp we accept US Dollars and Mongolian Togrog only. We can only change small amounts of money (less than US$5). Please plan accordingly and visit the ATM before we pick you up, if possible. There are ATMs in the airport and in the train station.
Where can I stash my stuff when I am on the trek?
During your overnight horse trek you can (and should) leave extra luggage with us. We can provide storage space. (But the standard small print applies: Stepperiders is not liable for any property loss or damage.)