Just three hours of drive northeast of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, yet remotely located in the uppermost parts of the Tuul River Valley, lies Jalman Meadows Ger (yurt) Camp. It is a beautiful pasture teeming place with wildflowers in the summer. It is located within the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, which is Mongolia’s only true wilderness area, extending all the way up to the Russian-Siberian frontier. This area constitutes the transition zone of steppe and the southernmost reaches of the boreal forests of Siberia.
Hence, there are steppe valleys, lush meadows along the Tuul River, and extensive larch forests with patches of birch. Wildlife such as wolf, lynx, brown bear, red deer, gazelle, moose and wild boar are certainly present but hard to see during the summer. The surroundings are perfect for hiking or horse riding and we offer a whole range of other activities including rafting, kayaking or relaxing in the riverside ger (yurt) sauna.
While to the south in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, the southernmost extension of that wilderness area, conventional tourism has been allowed to develop, Nomadic Journeys low impact ger (yurt) camp, is located completely on its own next to the Tuul River. The camp is put up for the summer season and taken away in the winter, leaving no traces anywhere. We use low-impact indigenous, thus appropriate, technology to offer lodging and sometimes also transportation with the assistance of yak carts or riding horses provided by the local Mongolian nomads (herders).
DAY 1: TO JALMAN MEADOWS
We leave Ulaanbaatar in north easterly direction for the Upper Tuul River Valley in the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, a 3 hours (120 km) drive by bus or jeep. If you arrive in the city before 10 a.m. or have arrived the day before, we first visit the Gandan Lamasery, the liveliest Buddhist monastery in all Mongolia. For the first hour of our trip we drive on a tarmac road out of the city, and then, leaving the tarmac road, we’ll follow a beautiful steppe valley, ted with gers (yurts) and herds of livestock of local Mongolian nomads. We cross a mountain ridge at Zamtiin pass and drive up through forests until we reach the Upper Tuul River Valley. These are the winter pastures of the local Mongolian herdsmen, why most of them are not in the area in the middle of summer. This allows for a profusion of wildflowers such as edelweiss. At the Jalman Meadows Ger Camp we are met by yak carts provided by the local Mongolian nomads, onto which our luggage is loaded, and move into the comfortable gers.
DAY 2-3: KHAN KHENTII
Two full days can be used for exploring the Jalman Meadows area. Either on foot, on horseback or using the Russian catarafts or inflatable kayaks available at the ger (yurt) camp to float down Tuul river. You choose your pace of journey here, and also the modes of transport according to your preferences. The Khentii Mountains are covered with larch and birch forests and rivers flow down broad steppe valleys past wooded and alluvial meadows with broad leaf forests. The strictly protected area was established in December 1993 and covers most of the Khan Khentii wilderness, stretching all the way up to the Russian-Siberian frontier. While Mongolian herdsmen (nomads) keep their livestock in the southern areas, following a lifestyle essentially unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan (Chinggis Khaan), to the north there is only uninhabited wilderness. Although rarely seen, wolves are numerous in the area. There are also wild boars, moose, red deer, marmots and gazelle in the surrounding area. As for other activities, on hot days swimming in the river is quite refreshing. There are also mountain bikes and kayaks available at the camp. If you wish to relax we can set up a ger sauna on the riverbank or you can enjoy a good read in the library ger.
DAY 4: TO ULAANBAATAR
After breakfast we drive back to Ulaanbaatar and bring you to your hotel. See the capital city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can by reached by foot.