Mammoth tusk hunters of Arctic Yakutia

10 days
From $5963
July - September

Tour Overview

Yakutia sits on the remains of millions of woolly mammoths buried in the permafrost. Every year, the top layer of permafrost thaws. As the ice melts, it expands and pushes new tusks to the surface. Every summer, mammoth tusk hunters go out into the taiga and tundra to search for them. This trip takes guests to visit mammoth tusk hunters in Verkhoyanskiy District of Arctic Yakutia. Guests will live with a band of hunters in the Arctic wilderness, observing their search for and extraction of mammoth tusks, as well as their hunting and fishing lifestyle. Finds of mammoth remains are 100% guaranteed. As well as visiting the tusk hunters, we will visit the remains of Kestyor gulag camp, the mysterious kisilyakh rock pillars and the Batagay Crater. This crater appeared about 30 years ago. It is 100 metres deep, 800 metres wide and over a kilometre long. It is getting wider every year.


  • Observing the work of Yakutian mammoth tusk hunters
  • Seeing freshly excavated mammoth remains with your own eyes
  • Travelling through the dense Yakutian taiga forest
  • Visiting the enormous Batagay Crater
  • Visiting Kestyor gulag camp
  • Visiting the mysterious kisilyakh rock pillars
  • Visiting remote villages of indigenous horse herders


Day 1: Arrival in Yakutsk

Meet your guide at Yakutsk airport and transfer to 4* hotel. After check in and lunch we depart on a city tour including:

  • Visit to museum displaying the remains of mammoths found in the region
  • Visit to the underground museum built in tunnels hacked into the permafrost. The tunnels lined with ice sculptures of Yakutian gods and mythical figures. The walls and ceiling are covered in beautiful ice crystal formations.
  • Visit to open-air ethnographical museum to learn about Yakutian culture and witness a traditional blessing ceremony.
  • Visit the reconstructed wooden old town near the river bank
  • Dinner of traditional Yakutian dishes

Overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Flight to Batagay

Two hour flight north to the Arctic village of Batagay in Verkhoyansk District. Visit the nearby Batagay Crater. This huge crater appeared around thirty years ago. It is 100 metres deep, 800 metres wide and 1.5km long. It is getting wider every year. High chance of finding mammoth bones in the bottom, as well as bones of ancient horse and ancient bison.

Overnight in Batagay hotel.

Days 3: To the mammoth tusk hunters

Today we will travel out to the mammoth tusk hunters’ camp. What transport we use will depend on exactly where they are camped. Most likely they will be camped on a river bank, using pumps to erode banks and create tunnels to search for tusks. In this case we will access their camp by motorboat. If they are further away from the bank, we 

Days 4 - 5: With the mammoth tusk hunters

Spend 3 nights with the mammoth tusk hunters observing their work hunting for and extracting tusks, as well as hunting and fishing for food.

Day 6: To the kisilyakh

Travel 2.5 hours by motorboat. Disembark and set up tents. Hike up mountain to the spectacular 35-metre tall kisilyakh rock pillars. 

The kisilyakh are giant stone pillars up to 40 metres tall that protrude bizarrely from hill tops at several locations in Yakutia, including Verkhoyanskiy District, Oymyakonskiy District, Nizhnekolymskiy District and the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean. Legend has it that they were once giants who were turned to stone for their sins.

Overnight in tents near the bottom.

Day 7: Return to Batagay

Return to Batagyay, visiting a community of indigenous Evenki horse herders near Betenkyos village on the way.

Overnight in hotel.

Day 8: Kestyor gulag

Visit Kestyor gulag concentration camp, with the remains of buildings, watch towers and barbed wire fences still intact. Overnight in hotel.

Day 9: Flight back to Yakutsk

Fly back from Batagay to Yakutsk. Overnight in 4* hotel.

Day 10: Service ends here

Our service ends here. Transfer to the airport for guests flying home.

Tour price

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Price includes:


  • All transport and transfers in Yakutia
  • Flights Yakutsk – Batagay – Yakutsk
  • All food in Yakutia
  • Accommodation in the best hotel in Yakutsk and in Batagay
  • Camping equipment in Verkhoyansk District
  • English- and Russian-speaking guide
  • Accompaniment by Russian-speaking representative of the company the mammoth tusk hunters work for
  • Fees for mammoth tusk company and tusk hunters
  • All activities and entrance fees as per itinerary, including on the spare day at the end
  • Letter of invitation for 30-day Russian tourist visa
  • Satellite phone for emergency calls 


Price does not include:


  • Transfers, accommodation, food or guiding in Moscow. This can be added at extra cost if so desired. 
  • Flights to and from Yakutsk. These can be added at extra cost if required.
  • Personal travel insurance or medical insurance 
  • Personal expenses 
  • Satellite phone for personal or work-related calls. You can purchase minutes for $2 per minute. 

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