Surprisingly near the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, the Gobi gradually begins to appear. We will travel south over vast steppeland before meeting our camel herdsmen, who will go with us on this incredible journey.
We use low impact traditional modes of transport. Our equipment will be carried on camel carts in the same way nomadic herders transport their belongings, moving from one pasture to another. In this area camels are used for this purpose. We will also carry a ger, which is the traditional felt tent that Mongols live in today. Essentially, it means that we can use the services of the local people living in the area where we travel. The herdsmen are the experts and we will be able to get a first hand experience of how to move a camp the traditional Mongolian way.
If you wish to ride a camel or horse on this trek, there is a small additional cost which can be paid when you arrive in Mongolia. Mongolian camels are Bactrian (two humped) and easy to ride even without previous experience. Mongolian horses are incredible to ride, different from home but an experience worth trying.
Guide and all meals outside Ulaanbaatar. Tents, ger camp (4n.), camping equipment and all local transport.
|Tour Provider||50 Degrees North|
|Number of Days||
Cycling/Trekking, Family, Walking
|05 Jul 2019||09 Jul 2019||Available||AUD $1,382|
|12 Jul 2019||16 Jul 2019||On request||AUD $1,382|
At 08h00 pick up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar and transfer directly to Ikh Nart Nature Reserve by travelling southeast over the grassland steppe, which gradually turns into more arid Gobi steppe. We’ll reach Mankhan Sands, on the west edge of the Ikh Nart upland and pitch our Tentipi camp here.
Today we load your luggage and all provisions on to the camel carts and set out on our guided walk through the reserve. We firstly head out south, leaving the great views of the plains below behind us. It is a labyrinth of rock formations and it is easy to get lost. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex. We will arrive at our remote cozy mobile ger camp at Elst, which has been set up ahead of time. The name Elst indicates this is an area of minor sand dunes here.
We will remain in the ger camp at Elst for another night and explore this wild area of rock formations, sands and grasses, growing up to two meters high. There is also a small ephemeral (seasonal) lake, which sometimes has desert tadpole shrimps (Triops spp.), a relative of other tadpole shrimps found in the deserts of the Middle East and the southwestern United States. The surroundings are rich in petroglyphs and rock art, and we may come across Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex as we explore this dramatic area.
Today we again load our luggage on to the camel caravan and head east. Exploring fantastic petroglyphs as well as ancient graves from Hunnu, Turkic Khanate, imperial and Manchurian times. All layers of Mongolian archaeology are present. We will also come across the ruins of a temple, Oroigui Temple which was sacked in the Stalinist purges of the 1937-38. Because of horrible stories of lamas being burnt alive inside, locals avoid the place. The monastery was a large complex of some 50+ structures. The major standing structure is a Buddhist temple, said to originate from the 17th century. There has been no archaeological survey why best not touch anything here. We continue northeast towards the Red Rock Wilderness Camp, the semi-permanent ger camp of the area. It is nicely designed at the edge of the Ikh Nart plateau.
At mid-morning, we set out for our journey back to Ulaanbaatar by car or minibus. We will drive until the tarmac road, and further on we will visit some remote Buddha statues in the rock faces at Choiriin Bogd Mountain. It is a detour to the east from the ugly little Soviet built town of Choir, 80 km away from camp. Choir is also a railway station along the Trans-Mongolian Railway between Ulaanbaatar and China. We will have a picnic lunch and then we will continue the drive back to the capital which takes approximately 4½ hours.