A journey to the Eastern Gobi is an intimate and very unique experience. The Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Plateau has rich and unique landscapes consisting of granite rock formations, but also semi-arid steppes, small veral pools, and springs with small stands of elms and poplars.
Ikh Nart is a community managed nature reserve where local people have partnered with the Denver Zoo Foundation, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Nomadic Journeys for research, conservation and tourism. It is one of the best Gobi wildlife areas, home to an estimated 1000 Argali Sheep (Ovis Ammon), the world’s largest wild sheep with impressive horns, and about 200 Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica). While not guaranteed there is a very good chance of seeing both species. A sizeable population of Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius Monacha), the largest of Asian vultures, its size en par with the Andean condor, and a host of other avifauna, make for great birding. The area also abounds in prehistoric burial sites, petroglyphs and ruins of Buddhist monasteries, representing all layers of Mongolian archaeology.
Doing a self-guided tour on foot or by bike is the best way to explore the natural and cultural heritage of Ikh Nart ﬁrst-hand, at your own pace. Hiking is excellent and rewarding, with easy climbs on to the rocks, overlooking the amazing landscape. Mountain bikes, horses and camels are available for riding. The cool evening sunsets over the Gobi are pleasant and rewarding. Your travel choice for Ikh Nartiin Chuluu will assist the conservation efforts in the area, as it brings finances to the local economy and protection efforts.
Nomadic Journeys’ own Red Rock Ger Camp is a seasonal, low impact ger camp located on its own, right next to the reserve area. You travel there southeasterly along the Trans-Mongolian railway line towards Beijing by local train from Ulaanbaatar, and drive the remaining 40 km to the camp. Transfer back to Ulaanbaatar is by fine tarmac road for most of the way.
BRIEF OUTLINE ITINERARY
Nomadic Journeys operates a small seasonal ger (yurt) camp at Ikh Nart Nature Reserve. You can travel there southeasterly on the Trans-Mongolian railway line towards Beijing by a slow train from Ulaanbaatar. Disembark at Shivee Gobi or Tsomog, a small stations following after r town. Then drive 40 km to the Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp. Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp is located on its own at the nature reserve.
Ikh Nart Nature Reserve was established in 1996 as a wildlife reserve as it has intact populations of Gobi Desert fauna. There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife, walks and drives. There may be camels for rent as local East Gobi Desert nomadic communities still roam the reserve. The return journey to Ulaanbaatar would be by a night train but you may order a private day time transfer to Ulaanbaatar.
DAY 1: TO IKH NART
We pick you up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar in the morning and transfer to the railway station. Our train departs at mid morning and we spend about six hours traveling southeast over the grassland, which gradually turns into more arid Gobi steppe. We disembark at the small village of Dalanjargalan, where we are met by our driver and cover the last 40 km to Red Rock Camp by car.
DAY 2-3: IKH NART
For two days we explore the Ikh Nart area on foot, and if you like on horse or camel back. There are also mountain bikes available at camp. The surrounding area has much to offer. The rocky outcrops harbor various kinds of wildlife. There are Argali Sheep, which are most common to be seen, but also Siberian Ibex and many bird species. Three ongoing research projects by Mongolian and foreign scientists focus on these species, but also on Cinereous Vultures, Lesser Kestrels, and various small carnivores and their prey species. Botanists are also regular visitors. Your guide can also lead you to a whole range of archeological and historical sites from various epochs, including petroglyphs, burial sites and temple ruins. You will most probably have a chance to meet some local herding families. Being reliant on pastures and precipitation, the hardy and hospitable Gobi herders, frequently migrate in and out of the area with their herds of livestock.
DAY 4: TO ULAANBAATAR
After breakfast we leave camp and drive towards the riin Bogd Mountains, where there are some remote Buddha statues in the rock faces. We have a picnic lunch here, and drive back to Ulaanbaatar on a good tarmac road for about four 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.