Mongolia Camel Trek, 5 Days
On this Mongolian Camel Trek you will explore the little traveled Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in the eastern part of the Gobi Desert. This diverse upland area is consisting of rock formations, grasslands and desert steppe and it is often hot and very dry.
There is a population of approximately 1000 Argali sheep (Ovis Ammon), the largest species of wild mountain sheep in the world. Although there is no guarantee to see them, they are actually not that shy here. The rocky outcrops are home to about 200 Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica) as well.
Sometimes herds of Mongolian Gazelle (Procapra Gutturosa) migrate through the area. The reserve also has a sizeable population of Eurasia‘s biggest vulture, the Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius Monacha). We will set out towards the East Gobi on the Trans-Mongolian railway line. For three days, we will explore this spectacular East Gobi Desert area on foot (If you are an experienced horse rider, a horse may be rented for you).
We will use our seasonal Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp and, while on the trek, will set up our own private Wilderness Camp of gers (Mongolian yurts). All our luggage and equipment will be loaded on to camel carts in the same way as Mongolian nomadic herders used to transport their belongings, when moving from one pasture to another. This kind of trip is what we have labeled as a ’Nomadic Journey’.
Mongolian nomads (herders) come and go to the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve area. As they are essentially reliant on pastures and any precipitation in the dry environment, they migrate a lot. The Gobi nomads (herders) are very interesting, hospitable and hardy people.
DAY 1: TO IKH NART NATRURE RESERVE
Our Mongolian Camel Trek will start by picking you up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar at 08h00 and transfer to the Ulaanbaatar railway station. Depart by the slow train at 09h00 and spend 6h20 travelling southeast over the grassland steppe, which gradually turns into more arid Gobi Steppe. Disembark at Shivee Gobi railway station, the next stop after the town of r. The train platform is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but actually there is a small town called Shivee Gobi just 1½ km distant. It serves a nearby open pit coal mine. From there we will drive 60 km to our Red Rock Wilderness Ger Camp, which is located on its own, right next to the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve.
DAY 2: CAMEL TREK
Today we load your luggage and all provisions to the camel carts and set out on our guided walk through the reserve. It is labyrinth of rock formations and it is easy to get lost. We explore the ruins of a temple, that has been destroyed in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. Because of horrible stories, locals avoid the place. There are fantastic petroglyphs in the area as well as ancient graves from Hunnu Empire, Turkic Khanate Empire, Imperial and Manchurian times. All layers of Mongolian archaeology are present. We will arrive at our remote cozy ger camp at Elst, which has been set up ahead of time. The name Elst indicates this is an area of minor sand dunes.
DAY 3: ELST AREA
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.
DAY 4: MANKHAN ELS
Today we load the camel caravan with our luggage. We walk north to the Mankhan Els area, situated at the edge of the Ikh Nart plateau. The dunes here are much higher than at Elst and offer fabulous views over the vast desert steppe plains below. We set up our camp here for the night.
DAY 5: TO ULAANBAATAR
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 riin Bogd Mountain. It is a detour to the east from the ugly little Soviet built town of r, 80 km away from camp. r 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.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.