A weekend trip to Khustain Nuruu National Park to see the horses that almost became extinct!
Przewalski’s horses at Khustain Nuruu National Park.
- The main reason to visit Khustain Nuruu National Park is Przewalski’s horses (Takhi in Mongolian). The horses, once native to Central Asia, became almost extinct in the 1960s.
- The species survived thanks to a breeding program run by a handful of captive individuals.
- Since the 1990s, reintroduction efforts have also started in Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Khustain Nuruu was the pioneer of the process.
- Today there are over three hundred Przewalski’s horses living in the park. Another three hundred are in the Gobi and Western Mongolia.
- Przewalski’s horse has long been considered the only ‘true,’ never-domesticated wild horse. But, recent research suggests otherwise. The modern animals may descend from the domesticated Botai horses.
Getting to Khustain Nuruu National Park.
You can also contact the park for arrangements.
- If you decide to catch a public bus, try one going to Kharkhorin, but keep in mind that you will have to get out on the way.
- The bus leaves from the co-called Dragon Bus Terminal, and the best spot to get out of it is the junction of the main, paved road, and the earth road leading to the park. It lies around eighty-seven kilometers away from Ulaanbaatar and is marked by a sign with the Khustain Nuruu’s logo. From there, you can try to walk the remaining thirteen kilometers.
- But be aware that even if you reach the park, you will still need to figure out how to move within its borders.
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Best Time to Visit Khustain Nuruu National Park
Most visitors come to Khustain Nuruu for a short visit. They arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon (the best time to see the horses) and leave after a couple of hours.
Accommodation at Khustain Nuruu National Park
- Some travelers stay overnight in the camp run by the park. The lodge is a bit run-down and can be crowded in summer. Still, it offers excellent access to the area, and your money goes to support the park’s projects. It is also one of the very few facilities operating during winter.
- Whether you decide to stay in Khustain Nuruu or not, make sure to visit the associated research center. It hosts an exhibition dedicated to the park’s activities and takhi.
- Consider also hiring one of the park’s rangers to help you find the animals. But be aware that they aren’t always available and may not speak English.
- If you wish to stay in Khustain Nuruu National Park but cannot secure a place in the park’s facility, there is one more option in the area. The tourist camp Lunoba lies around seven kilometers away from the park’s entrance. Comfort-wise it is better than Khustain Nuruu camp. But it is further and can be quite dusty due to wind spreading soil from the nearby fields and dunes. Camping isn’t allowed within the park, but you can easily set up your tent anywhere outside of its borders.
Costs at Khustain Nuruu National Park
The entrance tax to Khustain Nuruu is comparatively high — 25’000 MNT per person.
Getting Around Khustain Nuruu National Park
A visit to Khustain Nuruu also requires a vehicle. The easiest way to proceed is to hire a tour company or an independent driver in Ulaanbaatar.